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“Secret Wars” Hopes, Marvel Rejection & More Scrooge McDuck

by  in CBR Exclusives Comment
“Secret Wars” Hopes, Marvel Rejection & More Scrooge McDuck


Assuming everything they say is true and can be taken at face value, i.e. Marvel Marketing isn’t using hype to hide the repeated “illusion of change” chestnut to the Nth degree, what can we take away from “Secret Wars”? Some guesses, hand wringing, and hopes follow.

  • Jubilee can go back to not being a vampire. Bonus points if she’s not a mother. Revert her to 1991 and make everyone happy.

    Time to repeat a tangent here: I think one of the things people surprisingly overlook to this day is how important the X-Men cartoon of the 90s was to comics. It’s the “G.I. Joe” cartoon of the decade, pulling in more comic readers than any other multimedia push of the decade. It comes up repeatedly in creators’ backgrounds now, and has always been there amongst a certain readership that today is in their early 30s. And they loved Jubilee from that series.

    I remember watching that series when it first came out. The pilot episode aired before the special effects were finished, most notably Jubilee’s fireworks. It fell into repeats after two or three weeks. (They wouldn’t be alone in that. “The Simpsons” did that, too, in their day.) It tread water badly initially to get on the air and stay there, but you know what? People loved it.

    OK, enough of that aside, let’s get back to “Secret Wars”:

  • I worry sometimes that this whole publishing initiative is just a cover story while Marvel moves its editorial office to Hollywood.
  • Yes, this is all a big stunt to pull Miles Morales into the Marvel Universe. In general, it’s an easy way to “diversify” the Marvel Universe without needing to come up with a series of painful excuses for it, or additional story stunts.
  • The best news to come out of this is that the stupid “616” name will no longer be relevant. I’m all for “Secret Wars” for that reason, alone.
  • I hope all of the worlds from the classic “Excalibur” “Cross-Time Caper” storyline show up in “Secret Wars,” but I’m not holding my breath. I hope someone sneaks a dragon-powered train into a background somewhere, at least. (Or maybe I’ve just been reading too much “Top 10” lately.)
  • I guess this means we’ll never see the end of Kevin Smith’s “Daredevil: Target.”
  • That might be the scariest part of this: If Marvel wants to emphasize its newly designed universe, they might want to squash the older reprints of the superhero universe, the way DC ignores their heroes just prior to New 52.
  • In an unseen Battleworld fight, the Disney movie version of “Big Hero 6” will beat out the original Marvel Comics version, because they have a better Baymax. But Marvel will never mention it.
  • Only the Samuel L. Jackson Nick Fury can survive. Marvel, wanting to modernize everything, will be all too happy to bury the original Nick Fury, leaving him only to show up in Steranko career retrospectives and “Artist Editions” books. But since the Ultimate Universe and then the movies, I think people have forgotten about the white dude who chomped on cigars Marvel won’t allow to be shown anymore, anyway.


Let’s take a journey, shall we?

Back in 1994, Gladstone started publishing Don Rosa’s master work, “The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck” in the pages of Uncle Scrooge #285. It had already seen print in Europe, but this was the first time it would see print in English from Rosa’s original script. It was such a big deal, Gladstone splurged and got Todd Klein to letter it instead of their usual awkward computer lettering.

Here’s that first issue, recently pulled from a longbox in my basement:

Eventually, the series concluded. (Sort of. We’ll get to that in a bit.) But Gladstone, seeing the force of nature that was the series, reprinted it in a collector’s edition hardcover book, complete with a forward by Don Rosa. The version of it I bought includes his autograph. As I recall, another edition was also available with a Rosa sketch for a higher price. As I also recall, Rosa wound up drawing a LOT of those sketches…

It’s an impressive book, all the more so because Rosa went in and corrected the introduction’s factual errors. By hand. In every copy. OK, so he used a rubber stamp. But, still. The work was that important to him. Here’s that book:

Here’s what the corrections look like. Why they got someone who wasn’t a fan of Rosa’s work in the first place to write the introduction to the book is another story for another day…

Gladstone also was big on the album format back in the 90s. I have their entire run of “Uncle Scrooge Adventures” reprinted in album format — a larger paper size, though only about 44 pages each. Gladstone reprinted “Life and Times” in four of those volumes at about 64 pages a shot. Each was $10.95.

Yes, I bought those, too:

Three versions of the same story is about enough for any man, right?


A few years ago, BOOM! had the Disney license and printed “Life and Times” as a trade paperback. They also printed a second trade collecting all the related stories Barks did, including Chapter 0 and a few half stories. I can’t find my copy of that “Life and Times” trade paperback at the moment, but here’s the “Companion” book:

At the time, BOOM! was also making PDF versions of those books available to reviewers. I still have mine:

That’s enough copies of the book now, right?

Gee, thanks, Scott Dunbier and IDW…

There’s a sucker born every minute, but I’m a very happy one.

Next time: “Savage Dragon” #1, which I might actually own more copies of…


In the summer of 1991, when I was a teenager, I submitted story ideas to Marvel. Sadly, I don’t have those story nuggets anymore, or I’d share them here and we could all have a good laugh. They were short stories for “Marvel Comics Presents.” I remember that much. One was a Jubilee story. Past that, I have no recollection what kind of useless and consequence-less drivel they might have been.

This weekend, I ran across a folder with the rejection letters I got back from Marvel. I had written the date of each receipt at the top and saved them all. I probably thought this would make for a great history of all my rejections before I was a big time creative guy in the comics industry. Ah, the foolhardiness of one’s teenage years…

In case you were curious, here’s the form letter Marvel sent back (rather quickly, as I recall) 14 years ago:

They would also include other photocopies with those letters sometimes. I have a copy of the famous 22 Panels worksheet from one of those rejections. I also have a copy of the “Mighty Marvel Submissions Guide” for every creative position. I’ve scanned those in for your reading curiosity:

The system doesn’t work like this anymore, so don’t use this sheet. I only present it for historical purposes.


  • Every now and then, I bring up the “Batman/Spawn” crossover that was announced at San Diego a few years back (2006 or 2005) and then never showed up anywhere. It disappeared like it was never even announced. This last week, the ever-loquacious Todd McFarlane posted about it on his Facebook page:

    “I [was] to have written and inked it, while a talented penciller, Greg Capullo, was going to draw it. for a variety of reasons (mostly on my shoulders) the book never got off the ground, but a few pages and promo pieces were done for it.”

    I can’t remember anymore if this was the same image that was in the promo poster they were giving out at that convention or not. I don’t have it anymore.

    I’m just happy to know now that I didn’t hallucinate the whole thing.

  • Boulet did a 24 hour comic at Angouleme again this week, and the whole thing is available — in English — on his website. It’s a funny tale of a god who owes a mortal a favor. It’s sweet, it’s funny, and it contains some off-color language that you might not want to show the kids.
  • DC Comics is putting out a hardcover book in July collecting 520 pages’ worth of Norm Breyfogle’s “Batman” work. Good job, DC. It has “Volume 1” in its name, so let’s hope this is just the start. I hope they go on long enough to reprint “Holy Terror,” which I have sadly never read. (Robot 6 has the latest updates on Breyfogle’s condition.)
  • Podcast pick of the week: The Bleed Book Club hosts comic creators and spends half the show interviewing them before spending the other half discussing a specific book. I listened to the latest two shows, and they were both a lot of fun. In one, Lawrence Marvit discusses “Planetary” #8, and the other features Jimmie Robinson talking “Rat Queens.”

    Marvit, for those of you who might not remember, authored the excellent “Sparks: An Urban Fairytale” that was an early Pipeline favorite (March 2001). Funny enough, the on-line animated short I mentioned at the bottom of that column recently turned into Marvit’s new webcomic.

    “The Bleed” had an earlier incarnation as a video podcast, but I usually find those too awkward to watch. Plus, I tend to listen to podcasts, rarely finding the time to watch a video of one.

  • Doing a search for “Asterix” on Twitter means suffering through pages of people who don’t know how to spell “asterisk.” This is doubly true when it’s football people talking. At least this guy knew what he was doing:

  • The good news is, a new “Asterix” volume was announced at Angouleme last week, but we’ll have to wait for October to read it. That’s OK; I’m sure it’ll be worth it.


Having spent far too many weeks in a row writing 3000 word epics, I’m taking it a bit easy this week.

But I have a feeling we’ll be back to 3000 words again next week, as we re-start the Epic Re-Read of “All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder” with the sixth issue of that series. I have lots of reviews lined up for the weeks ahead, and I’ve been reading more comics in the past month than I possibly have time to review. I’m in the middle of “Akira” right now, for example, which I’ll have something to say about when I’m done. How much, I don’t know. Stay tuned to find out.

And for those of you following me on the various social networks, you’ve seen a lot of my art lately. There’s something of a point to all that, and we’ll be going there in the weeks ahead, too.

2015 is shaping up to be an exciting year already. Thanks for stopping by to read my little corner of it!

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