I've been a little bit stuck on writing this blog recently (but no fear, I've got over a month queued up!) Instead, I spent some time today taking a break from it by... um, well, writing about Uncanny X-Men. The Wikipedia article about it, that is. Makes a nice change, anyway. I've hacked away a far too detailed plot summary into a (if I do say so myself) promising publication history section. Need to find more references, add more critical reaction and analysis stuff, figure out what to do with the very big tables, and I'm away. Of course, pretty much nothing I've written here is of any use to me there: here I'm being snarky and trying to have new insights and perhaps make new connections (and I've certainly got some of that in my queue). There, I'm doing source-based research and trying to get some perspective.
It's a difficult thing. Clearly, someone thought it was a good idea to have it like it was. Some people find it useful: I've heard comics writers say how great Wikipedia is because they don't have to look things up in the Handbook any more. But as a general encyclopedia article, it wasn't up to snuff.
The most obvious problem with the plot section was that it was far too long and consisted of a blow-by-blow recounting of random chunks of the series. To cap it, it wasn't even done with much wit or grace. It was, as my lodger pointed out, like reading a child recount what happened in a TV show they just watched: "and then this happened and then this happened and then this happened and then this happened and then this happened". A depressingly large amount of writing about fiction on Wikipedia is like that.
But there was a secondary problem, obscured by the prose quality, which is that it's in fact not actually possible write a plot summary of Uncanny X-Men. It's not just the magnitude of it (although that doesn't help), but it's the structure. Which is why of course, I'm not even trying to do it for this blog: instead I'm writing a plot summary of all the X-Men ever, which is at least possible, although no more sane. It's only 1984, and already we've got very strong interplay between the two series: Illyana, who I covered in the last post, is testament to that. This will only get more complex, as I'm going to point out as we go on...