Wednesday, March 14, 2007

When Tie-Ins Go Bad, or Why Isn't Heroes More Like Lost (Which It's Obviously Copying Anyway?)

Those of you watch Heroes on NBC may know about the free comic books to enhance your "Heroes Experience" (TM).

Some of the books work. Eden's backstory, for instance, told an effective story, and made her character more complex and compelling.

But most of the books fail. On average, the collection is one of the worst examples of graphical storytelling I've ever seen. (Disappointing for a show produced by Jeph God-of-Comics Loeb).

Maybe the low quality supplements are excusable, they're still figuring tihs thing out, and hey, you get what you pay for. Besides, they could do worse.

In fact, they already have. The worst tie-in they've made to date: this little gem, from Hana Gitelman's blog is completely embarassing for everyone involved. (Can someone fire the intern that wrote that, and then the other intern who read it? And anyone else who heard it and didn't stop it?)

Even if the absent quality was somehow forgivable, the way the comics rewrite the motivations of central characters is insulting. In Claire's backstory, we see that she didn't mean to kill her rapist when she sped his car into a wall, she just wanted to scare him a tiny bit. (The fear on her face when she found out he actually lived was just, what, PTSD?). In Nathan Petrelli's comic, we find out that he hasn't actually been in denial about his power at all. Go figure.

Used to be we'd have to wait for a remastered edition to be horrified like this.

All this would still be forgiveable if they hadn't committed the cardinal sin of tie-ins: making them necessary to fully understand the show. I can gripe about The Lost Experience all I want, but in the end, my participation was completely optional (assuming this gets worked into the show sooner or later).

But Heroes has gone farther, they require you to sift through their inane and contrary supplements to fully understand basic plot. At the end of Fallout (episode 11) Sylar has basically escaped from Mr. Bennett. In the following episode, he's back in custody, his recapture saved for the comic, to the complete bewilderment of those not sufferring along at home.

Mandatory external content is bad. Hastily written ad-filled comics are bad. Please, Heroes: save the tie-ins, save the show.