Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Random Thoughts April 2011

Retro-Active from DC sounds absolutely abysmal. I’m a long time comic fan and all I see from this is a company that is trying to rely on memories instead of moving forward. Based on what I continue to read about DC in the news it feels like Bob Harras maybe the new Editor in Chief, but it is hard as hell to put your stamp on something when the old EIC is your boss. Marvel has the same issue, the companies did not boot out the guys running the show they promoted them, leaving the new guys in charge as second stringers instead of top dog.

Back to Retro-Active, DC announced a new series that has classic creators doing an untold story from the era they were involved in the book. Featuring: Superman - Martin Pasko (‘70s), Marv Wolfman (‘80s), Louise Simonson (‘90s)

Batman - Len Wein (‘70s), Mike Barr (‘80s), Alan Grant (‘90s)

Wonder Woman - Denny O'Neil (‘70s), Roy Thomas (‘80s), William Messner-Loebs (‘90s)

Flash - Cary Bates (‘70s), William Messner Loebs (‘80s), Brian Augustyn (‘90s)

Green Lantern - Denny O'Neil (‘70s), Len Wein (‘80s), Ron Marz (‘90s)

The Justice League of America - Cary Bates (‘70s), Gerry Conway (‘80s), Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis (‘90s)

Okay that sound swell and all, but the Len Wein Legacies book was a comic I skipped and most of these guys I can skip. Not to cast too many stones at these guys but some of the eras were not that great when they happened. It was more of we need a writer to fill in and that writer stuck around for awhile. Finally to have Len Wein representing Batman in the seventies is a joke as any fan knows that was the time when Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams made Batman cool again, not Len Wein. DC does way too much looking back and not enough looking forward. I’m happy to hear that Johns is doing a new Aquaman series (if he can manage to actually write it for a couple of years that would be even better), but this announcement leaves me pretty cold.

Speaking of retro-cons, the latest sentimental journey in ASM where a history was created that made Spider-Man a long time friend of the group and like their next door neighbor was also a joke. I love how Marvel does something inane (adding Spider-Man to the FF) and then tries to justify it with retro-cons. Plus this history goes back so far that it becomes impossible to reconcile it with Marvel’s sliding continuity scale of everything happened within the last 10 years. Now that Reed is established as the smartest person on the planet his bold ride into outer space seems ludicrous when assumed to have occurred in the year 2000. The actual issue (#657) was well done, but just did not jibe with what has been going on in the books for many, many years.

Kirkman announced that Mark Grayson won’t be Invincible for at least an issue or maybe longer in 2012, the post shows a black guy as Invincible. This is another idea that I think is just poor sounding. I don’t buy Invincible for Invincible, I’m reading Mark Grayson’s story. If you want to add a black character or gay character, add them as characters on their own merits. If Grayson is not Invincible, then I’m not following this book. I know I talk about putting new people under the mask all the time, but that is because with the big two characters never grow or change so the only way to move things forward is switch out who is the Flash. With a creator owned book Mark can marry Atom Eve, get older and the book is not tied to a status quo. I will check out the book for a little while to see why the switch, but unless Grayson is dead or married and retired, not sure where we are going with this stunt. It also smacks of being a stunt and when a creator book starts to rely on gimmicks to get attention instead of just story, it is not a good sign.

Lots of negative energy going on with my views, but part of what I do every week is review comics, so I always have a critical eye on stuff and use the promo stuff the companies throw out there as ways to determine if I will try something or not. The Retro- Active stuff will be hit and miss, with my skipping more then I will get (unless it hits a cheap week).

Let’s move onto something that I’m ecstatic about. IDW has announced a second Artist Edition format book. This time instead of Dave Stevens we are getting Thor #337-340 and #360-#362 by Walt Simonson. This is a $100 retail price point and worth every penny. The format gives you reproductions of the actual pages of the artwork produced for the series. The Dave Stevens book is just amazing and you can see so much about what goes into the art. It is as close to owning the original art as you can get. I can’t wait to see Simonson’s work and they are scanning it from the original art pages as I understand Simonson has never sold any of that artwork (or much of his artwork at all). If you are a fan of Simonson’s art, this is a must book to have in your collection.

Another happy thought is that Terry (Echo) Moore is already talking about Rachael Rising, his next project and is equating it to more like a TV series as opposed to Echo being a movie.This means Rachael sounds like it could be around for awhile. I have been slowly (really slowly) reading Strangers in Paradise, have loved Echo and can’t wait for this series.

I wish Marvel and DC could come up with more new ideas, but creators are pretty smart today and leave many of their best ideas in a box for series they maintain ownership over. If the big two can compensate the creators in some better fashion maybe these ideas would be used inside their universes.

Lee dropped the April Fools tag line off Friday’s post, not sure I agree, but it was obviously tongue in cheek.

One quick political random thought, bad enough we are in Iraq and Afghanistan, we sure as hell have no business being involved with the Libyan situation at all.


  1. I'll give Kirkman a little leeway with Invincible. He's used pedestrian sounding gimmicks on other occasions to do something much more inventive. He's as well aware of the issues with the Big Two as you and I are, more so having been a writer for Marvel, so I suspect he's pulling something here to play off the switching of who's wearing the mask that the big boys do.

  2. Kirkman seems like he's really getting away from storytelling in favor of gimmicks lately. SEE: WALKING DEAD.

  3. To which gimmick are you referring? I'm seeing lots of story and significant changes to the lives of the characters.

  4. I just lost all that I wrote...My son is always logging into HIS Google account!

    Let's see if I can remember...


    Ahhh, beware the "cheap weeks" where you'll bring home just about anything and blow your omnibus budget in the process.

    I hadn't heard about that Simonson book, but it sounds incredible. Looking forward to the his Thor Omni out soon too (when I can afford it).

    You're totally right about Spidey and the Human Torch. They were NEVER that close of friends. I just got the Marvel Team-Up MMW (re: "cheap week" -- only $20 and it did have all the early issues I'm missing) and Gerry Conway said it was originally going to be a Spidey/HT buddy book, but the continuity made it too difficult. So, they dropped the Human Torch. Johnny even tries to seek Spidey out to chat (about mooning over Crystal in #2) and Spidey basically tells him he doesn't need another neurotic. Perhaps this was more of the real beginning of their friendship, rather than have them be rivals, but still no way were they that buddy buddy. How can you be when you don't even know who Spidey really is?

    I actually think the Retro-Active idea sounds great. I love untold tales, but at $5 a pop, it's a bit expensive for me. I'm the polar opposite of you on this issue, I love mining the gaps of the older stories, especially when the new stuff is not very exciting.

  5. Thomm,

    Last issue of Walking Dead? GIMMICK. Character assassination. Written for the same kind of shock value the escape from prison was except without the character building that preceded it to make it work.

    That Invincible promo is the equivalent of Spiderman getting a new costume or Bucky taking over for Cap. Since I have no idea which character it is I'm guessing it is a new one. It would have been a more effective promo if any other of the supporting cast members were in the costume. Like Mark's brother or his best friend. It's a gimmick.

    Now I cut Kirkman a lot of slack because he has written amazing comics. But the last issue of WD really left a bad taste in my mouth.