Random Thoughts! (March 16, 2010)

Random Thought! A special edition of random thoughts this week, people! It's random thoughts time! Get excited!

Link Thought! Quickie Reviews (Mar 10 2010) (The Unwritten makes a small comeback!). Is it Just Children? (or is it okay to kill everyone?). High Road/Low Road on Chris Jericho/Edge at WrestleMania (I really love this, but still have to argue against it... dammit). Wrestling 4Rs featuring my review of the first edition of TNA Impact in its new semi-live Monday night timespot (spoiler: I thought it was shit). Fuck Me? (people who comment on wrestling sites are much funnier than those who comment on comics sites). Wrestler of the Week (only two weeks left...). Art Discussion Month 2010 (it passes the halfway mark today... I'm mostly done! Also, check out Frank Teran's comment in my discussion of the Hellblazer issue he drew... it's all gossipy and fun!). The Splash Page Podcast Episode 8.1 (Tim swears, but I had to bleep it out to keep the podcast clean). The Splash Page Podcast Episode 8.2 (I swear, but I had to bleep it out to keep the podcast clean). An interview with Keith Champagne on WWE Heroes (yes, it's on this blog, but people miss things...).

Random Thought! I'm oddly comforted by the thought that, if I lived in Russia, comics would be reviewing me... (Taken from my Twitter feed on Sunday.)

Random Thought! I have no interest in that Young Allies book beyond how awesome the name Bastards of Evil is. That's not just a good bad guy team name, it's a Joe Casey-esque bad guy team name, and no one does supervillains who revel in their villainy as well as Casey these days, so nicely done, Mr. McKeever.

Random Thought! Because it gives me focus, the rest of the column will be my "I'ds of March" to follow-up on Brian's annual posting. Sure, that was yesterday, but I don't want to step on his toes, let him do his thing and I'll keep mine in this column. If I remember next year, the 15th will be on a Tuesday and mine will actually go up on the day. I did this previously, on my blog, two years ago. (Linking to that so I won't repeat myself...)

I'd... have ended Secret Invasion with Noh-Varr helping to turn the tide against the Skrulls and, then, turning on the heroes, because he intends to take over the planet himself and remake it in Hala's image. Not taking over then, Norman Osborn could still be in charge and Dark Reign happens mostly as planned, but Noh-Varr is set up as a threat, someone who isn't working for the same goals as anyone.

I'd... have brought Steve Rogers back in Captain America as a regular arc with Butch Guice as the artist, kicking off his run on the book. Not necessarily as smart a sales/business move, but I think it would have worked artistically better.

I'd... have not marketed Joe Casey's tenure on Superman/Batman as a follow-up to "Our Worlds at War" and would have also let people know that was writing the book when the first issue came out in October and made it clear what was going on.

I'd... hire Jim Starlin to take over one of the Marvel cosmic books. With Thanos coming back, all we need is Starlin. It would lighten the load for Abnett and Lanning a bit and also give the line a little bit more diversity in writing. I've enjoyed the unified vision, but, come on, DnA and Starlin writing those characters? That would be amazing.

I'd... have hired J.M. DeMatteis to write Spider-Man: The Clone Saga. Or, at least, a back-up strip to give the series a little more flavour and breathing room. I'd have also included some extra material like one-page interviews on the story throughout the series. Small things to make it a better experience.

I'd... have not made Wednesday Comics exclusively 12-part serialised stories. Do some one-offs and short serials, mix things up a bit, play with the newspaper format.

I'd... have released the "Final Crisis Aftermath" book in a different manner, maybe not all at the same time nor with such similar titles. They all sort of blended together that way when they might have done better by making their differences more obvious and trying to target each book's specific audience more directly.

I'd... release Paul Jenkins's Hellblazer run in trades. Plus, I do a trade or two of the remaining uncollected issues from that series. The one- and two-parters that popped up over the years.

I'd... have hired almost any other artist than Philip Tan for the second Batman & Robin arc. That arc sticks out like a sore thumb and DC could have found someone much better suited to Morrison's writing -- and someone whose work doesn't look ten times worse in the middle of Frank Quitely- and Cameron Stewart-drawn arcs.

I'd... have hounded Chip Zdarsky to contribute to Strange Tales... because he's great.

I'd... hire Paul Cornell and Leonard Kirk to do a second Dark X-Men mini-series later in 2010 to explore what happens to the characters without Norman Osborn in charge. That could be very interesting and act as a nice sequel to the recently-concluded mini.

I'd... have hired a writer with sensibilities much more in common with Grant Morrison than Keith Giffen to write The Authority: The Lost Year. A cool idea for a book that went wrong by hiring the wrong writer to do it. That needed someone much more in tune with the way Morrison writes.

I'd... have chosen more Spider-Woman over the motion comics animated thing.

I'd... have made those Dark Reign: The List issues actually... you know... mean something...? Like, made them count for something lasting and important within the "Dark Reign" story rather than just coming out and... not really doing much of anything.

I'd... hound and pester Craig Ferguson until he agrees to write an Aquaman comic, dammit!

Random Thought! That was fun.


Random Comments! Your comments. My replies. Rather obvious. Trying something new by replying to portions of comments directly. If it's confusing or people don't like it, let me know.

Bill Reed said: People actually watched Corner Gas? Really? Did they enjoy it? Does one have to be Canadian to enjoy it? Some station or another here in God's United States aired it for a bit there, and I stumbled upon it one day... it's like some kind of terrifying black hole of quality.

Corner Gas is a decent, middle-of-the-road sitcom. It only produces a couple of chuckles in an episode, but gets the odd big laugh. Or, it did when it was on. I don't think it's a uniquely Canadian thing, but who knows with you Americans?

I'm tired of this shtick already. Deadpool isn't that overexposed. I proved it with maths. Still, he does have a surprising amount of solo titles, more than I think the market will be able to support. In a year's time, he'll probably be back to one, unless the movie comes out.

Just because other characters appear in more books, doesn't mean Deadpool isn't overexposed. Something like that is relative to the character and how much exposure is too much. Spider-Man and Batman appear in more books? Fine, but we're also used to them appearing in a lot of books. There's a longtime demand for them to appear in numerous books. As of yet, there's an apparent shortterm demand for Deadpool that could easily turn against the character like happened to Punisher and Ghost Rider. Your math, while interesting, doesn't tell the whole story.

CW said: The whole 'Deadpool overexposure' thing is really weird for me. Not because I hate the character, or I'm offended by the character being rammed down my throat, but I guess I'm from the time when Joe Kelly and Ed McGuness couldn't buy readers for his solo series. I grew up with Deadpool as a third-rate Wolverine knock-off (violent guy with an attitude) fighting second-rate characters (Black Tom?) from a second rate X-book (Leifeld-era X-Force, you suck!). That Joe Kelly was able to take the character and make something truely moving and halarious is nothing short of miraculous. The book was constantly fighting cancelation, and although it never really recovered after McGuness left the book, it was still one of the best books Marvel was publishing at the time.

Everything being published today featuring the character is a pale shadow of what was done in that first series. I don't believe that later work of any creator or of any character can diminish the original work, but what's being published as Deadpool comics these days makes me almost say he's been ruined. As it is, I see those books as being the one shining gem in a big pile of turd. And it makes me realize just how funny and vindictive the fates must be to make *now* be when Deadpool is at his most popular among the hoi poi. It's almost like something... Deadpool would come up with.

Agreed. Having read Deadpool books for reviewing purposes at CBR, I can vouch for the lack of funny. They're cute. There's maybe one funny moment per issue. Then again, humour is relative, so maybe lots of people are finding the current books very funny. I did enjoy Deadpool's recent guest-spot in Amazing Spider-Man by Joe Kelly and Eric Canete. That was great.

Mecha-Shiva said: Frisky Dingo, man... what a great show. I ran into Adam Reed at my mechanic's (I had no idea what he looked like, but he started talking to someone at the counter and I'm wondering why this guy sounds like Xander Crews then he said his name and it made sense) but lacked the balls to say hello or anything. I don't understand why Frisky Dingo (or the all-too-brief Xtacles spinoff) never got the same kind of attention as the Venture Bros. Not to take anything away from the Venture Bros., which is great, but... other than the crappy animation, I see nothing not to like about Frisky Dingo. Ka-kow.

I can understand why: The Venture Bros. do self-contained episodes. Frisky Dingo opted for episodes that told one big story, much like a comics storyarc written for the trade. That doesn't make it less good, it just makes it harder for people to get into it. That, and The Venture Bros. is better. Sorry.

Mario said: People who don't like Deadpool or constantly whine about his overexposure are simply in denial of their desire to read a comic that will have no "serious" long term effect. Deadpool comics are all about enjoyment (in the best and worse ways possible).

No, I'm all for those books. I've read recent Deadpool books and they're just not good. Not funny or entertaining.

Jason Arron's Wolvering doesn't suck.

No, Jason Aaron's Wolverine book doesn't suck. That's what made me realise that I just don't care for the character. I'd read an issue here and there and enjoy what I've read, and, yet, I felt no desire to read another issue.

FunkyGreenJerusalem said: That's because it's by an Australian director Gregor Jordan, who makes the most empty and souless films of all time. He won a big short film competition in Australia with a clever short... although apparently it's VERY similar to another short, or scene from an old film. He then made a crime film which wouldn't have gone anywhere, except it had Bryan Brown swearing a lot, and was the breakthrough (in Australia, which led to US work) of Heath Ledger. That got him signed up to a five picture film, and it's been a slow and steady output of dribble ever since. (I know his career because I keep thinking every film will be his last, and am just shocked at watching his mediocrity continue to live). Having seen The Informers the other week, don't stress Chad, just about every character in it will die of AIDS soon after the credits. (Although I think we're supposed to ignore that by combining the stories, and making them all happen at once, nearly every character had, presumably, unprotected sex with someone who had slept with another character, all leading back to the girl who dies of AIDS at the end... AIDS of course being added in, as it's not in the novel, to give the film some kind of ending).

I haven't read the collection in a while, but, yeah, I don't remember AIDS being in any of the stories. Hell, the girl doesn't even die necessarily in the book. Thanks for the background info. From what I read, the director really fucked with the script and cut it down considerably.

I loved when that book hinted that Xavier was in their heads and manipulating the X-Men the whole time. That never went anywhere.

That was very frustrating. Xavier was perfectly happy to alter Magneto's memories and mind, but wouldn't act on a larger scale to solve the problems with mutants and humanity -- or, at least, influence the minds of the right people to move things along. Again, small-scale, status quo-feeding bullshit.

So you're praising Ellis for writing a nice outline of a story, and then publishing it as a story? From memory, the book has a scene where the main characters - all of whom have nothing original or distinguishing about them - are standing in a warehouse. The police are intercut with the heroes talking, surrounding a warehouse, and they kick down the door... but they have the wrong warehouse. That's Chuck Austen level of writing.

No, Ellis wrote a conclusion to his story, but part of it was introducing ideas that could be more fully explored in the future. And that scene happened, but it, you know, made sense in context and wasn't bad. But, I'm not going to change your mind.

Willie Everstop said: Random Thought! What the hell is up with comic characters leaving the word what out of the phrase "What the hell" lately? Is it a creator quirk or just some weird way to avoid censorship? It always seems out of place to me.

I say 'the hell?' or 'the fuck?' Just a variation on the phrase that some people use.

TimCallahan said: Hey, I was an English major and I read ALL the assigned books. (Problem was: I usually didn't read them until the day before the final, and Chaucer isn't really all that great when you read him like that. He may not be great for other reasons -- the jury is still out on that.)

I did that with Moby-Dick since it was the one book in my American lit class in undergrad that we had to discuss in an essay on the final exam. By the halfway mark, I was skipping the chapters on whales, sticking to the narrative. Good times.

Rome said: BTW, did you like the new Iron Man 2 trailer? Any thoughts on the Suitcase Armor?

Looks decent. No real thoughts or judgements since the first movie was good enough to earn the sequel a viewing. So, I'm trying not to care too much, preferring to leave my thoughts until I see the finished product with everything in its proper context.

Jack Norris said: As soon as the words "hero's journey" pop up in an argument, I automatically feel less obligated to read on in a respectful manner. It's become the fans & critics (oh, and let's not forget some creators as well) version of "because, uh... because Jesus, God and the Bible, that's why!" in the way that it's just an empty appeal to authority.

Agreed. But, the endpoint of Peter's progression into adulthood is leaving Spider-Man behind and learning about real responsibility. Just the way it is.

Mike Loughlin said: My problem with JMS' better comics (Midnight Nation, Rising Stars, Supreme Power) is that he spent an awful lot of time on set-up, and very little on delivery. I read all 18 issues of Supreme Power, but got the impression that the story JMS wanted to tell would have taken at least 50 more. Rising Stars started out great (although the art was sub-par), but ended limply. Midnight Nation is a self-contained story, at least, but they seemed to spend most of the issues lurching toward a rather predictable conclusion (I liked it, despite its flaws). I think JMS is good at world-building, but falters when it comes to structuring.

Yeah, that's why Babylon 5 was so great: he had the room to set up plots and characters and world build without it cutting short the eventual payoffs. Comics are limited by page-count and the speed at which they come out and JMS seems to need more room to work. He hasn't adapted to the medium as much as he should have by this point.

That's it. Thanks for reading. Later.

DC Releases Bendis & Maleev's Complete Detective Comics #1000 Story

More in Comics