CREATORS IN THEIR OWN COMICS
NOVA #7 was an interesting send-off to the series. Erik Larsen tied things up as best as he could, even if it ended in a stunted and overly-moralistic Red Raven storyline. I really hope that wasn't the planned storyline. The preview cover shown in the letters column makes it look like next issue would have been the big blowout for the Red Raven storyline. That's all well and good, but if the ending would have been the same, I would have gagged over the waste of a whole issue, rather than the first few pages of this issue.
The long-awaited date between Richie Rider and Jennifer Smith was handled really well, and teaches a lesson without being moralistic and hitting us over the head with the message. The Venom story was quick and interesting, but odd. Didn't Erik Larsen complain about how redundant the Venom storylines were in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN? Spider-Man tried dropping Venom off in a deserted island once already.
But the worst thing, as far as I'm concerned, about the issue is the insertion of the creators in the book. Larocca and Claremont did it in a recent FANTASTIC FOUR issue that served little to no purpose. And here it just comes off heavy-handed and silly. The worst part of it is how little Erik Larsen looks like his caricature in this issue. However, there are some nice digs at Marvel in the scenes.
I'm afraid this is coming off too negative. NOVA was doomed from the start. It was a character few people are rabid about, with an artist who hasn't hit his prime yet - at least so far as name recognition goes. It was still an entertaining ride, despite its many faults. There were moments in there in which everything clicked and it showed signs of brilliance. Those moments were just too hidden in many cases.
CREATORS ON THE WEB
There are a bunch of official creator sites out there these days. The Internet gets blames for comics' problems, and at the same time helps creators to promote their own books. Go figure. So I thought I'd highlight a few of the better ones here.
Creators: If you're web site isn't listed here, drop me a line with your URL. I may do a follow-up column someday.
This is writer Chuck Dixon's web page and it's pretty complete. It includes a small message board, whose denizens stay amazingly on-topic and keep a high signal-to-noise ration. Dixon, himself, answers a lot of the pertinent questions asked of him, and pretty candidly, as well.
There's a section there with script samples, most recently two of the NO MAN'S LAND issues Dixon wrote. Those were posted to show where artist Matt Broome went off-script in his illustration of the story. You can also get a list of books Dixon's worked on that are coming out in the next three months, some columns devoted to the writing of comics, and a few oddball tidbits from Dixon, such as his costume design sketch for Firefly and various architectural layouts from the Bat Universe.
You can also get convention appearance schedules, an on-line bookstore, links to other sites, the Dixon FAQ, and a bibliography.
It's a pretty complete web site for a creator. Where he's been. What he's doing. What he's going to do. How he does it. Why he does it. Best yet, the creator is active on the site on a daily basis.
If you're a fan of Chuck Dixon, The Dixonverse is a terrific site. And if you're not a fan of Chuck Dixon, you obviously haven't been reading BIRDS OF PREY.
It doesn't have quite everything the Dixonverse has, but it has most of it. The message board - run off of Delphi - is much more voluminous, but touches on a lot more than just Ellis' comics. If you're into the kind of books Ellis writes and agree with his periodical articles on the topic of super-hero comics, the message board here will probably be right up your alley.
There are also a bunch of writing samples, from full scripts and series proposals to book introductions. Ellis' periodic columns "From the Desk Of" are archived here. Personal appearance schedules, bibliography, interviews, and contact information are all there, as well as the continuation of the popular "Instructions", originally started in the TRANSMETROPOLITAN letters column.
This is the home page of Brian Michael Bendis' burgeoning media empire. It's also the first to feature a guy who actually draws books. Like the others, this one contains the bibliography and the message board and the obligatory appearances list, the bookstore, the biography, and the news. Bendis has also thrown Michael Sangiacomo's syndicated comics review column up on his site. There's a behind-the-scenes section Bendis uses to talk about how to produce a comic. Everything from "write what you know" to "use models when drawing."
I approached this site with one goal in mind: How can I, as someone who's only read SAM & TWITCH so far, figure out what's out there that BMB has done and what the proper order to read it is? I've seen a lot of what Bendis has done now, but there's no specific page devoted to a bibliography. And if I had to guess, I'd say the GOLDFISH Graphic Novel comes first, then the JINX phonebook collection, and everything else is gravy. TORSO just finished from Image. There's also the FIRE graphic novel. There also appear to be a few one-shot specials I can order, although I'm not sure if those are published in the phonebook or not.
Basically, there needs to be some sort of "Guide to Bendis" on the web site to make it complete. Otherwise, everything else is there.
Me? I'm looking forward to meeting Bendis at the National Con in NYC next month and asking him myself. =)
MONSTER FIGHTERS INC. - REMEMBER THEM?
They were a hot topic of conversation back when I first started writing Pipeline for CBR. Recently, writer J. Torres announced a new Christmas-themed MFI one-shot. This, of course, led me to ask him whatever happened to MFI #2? To simplify things, there's a lot of behind-the-scenes issues which caused its cancellation. J. said he hopes to have the series on a quarterly schedule for next year, but that the sales on this Christmas one shot might help determine that. So give it a shot when it comes out and we'll see what transpires. Previews of the Christmas special can be found at the Monster Fighters web site.