Sometimes, you have to think about the climate out there in the wonderful world of comics. Look at Marvel, for example; after being beaten up for sexism, you’d think that they’d have learned their lesson and be a little smarter about things in their publicity. Instead, this week, the following appeared:
Black Cat, Mary Jane, and Aunt May? Is it one of these ladies that take a dirt nap in the upcoming storyline ‘One More Day’? You heard it here, folks. A re-assuring voice and shoulder-to-lean-on is going to be taken out permanent-style in this four-issue storyline, which kicks off in Amazing Spider-Man #544 and Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #24. This body check is whipped up by war horses J. Michael Straczynski and Joe Quesada. Pain is promised. No tissues will be issued! Who next gets thrown under the bus like the long-lost Gwen Stacy?
No tissues will be issued, fanboys, so you’d better accept that women being thrown under buses and taking dirtnaps is what you’re going to be getting from now on.
But let’s look at what DC are offering as an alternative. Geoff Johns, why don’t you explain the basis of DC’s latest event?:
The whole idea is that life itself, sentient life, is what gives birth to power. And emotions, which complex lifeforms experience — like humans, who are on the low end of complex lifeforms in the universe compared to other advanced races — when they experience an emotion, when we do, it’s much more powerful than just an evolved and complicated brain. It’s about the soul and the spirit, and that releases a kind of energy into the universe. The more people feel certain emotions that are important to our spirituality, either positive or negative, the greater that power will exist in the universe, and the more someone can tap into it… So this is me kind of delving into the idea and breaking open the Green Lantern mythology a bit more to explore it. Exactly what emotions are and how they relate to spirituality, and how those are so special in the universe.
But wait, that’s not all! This week, DC also announced that Mattel are the toymakers of choice for them. So, on the one hand, it’s the rainbow of emotions and the people who make Barbie, and on the other hand, an sixty-odd-year-old woman is being threatened with being thrown under a metaphorical bus. Which side are you on?
I mean, sure, it’s not like no-one at DC has missed the lesson that it’s all about teasing fans with destruction, death and debasement these days, as Dan DiDio displayed, as he went to town explaining that first Countdown teaser image:
It was a lot of fun to put together – and yeah, sometimes we felt too clever for our own good, but what amazed us was just how that every piece was figured out, more or less – not all of them were figured out at the same time, by the same readers, or on the same site, but everything was identified, and everything was there. It was something that people who know and love DC were able to have fun with and play along with, and that’s what prompted us to do the second one.
The problem is that people at DC are just too happy these days. Ask Dwayne McDuffie, who’s taking over Justice League at the end of the summer about how dark and twisted he was when asked to take the gig:
I got a phone call from Editor Eddie Berganza. He asked me if would be interested in writing the JLA series after Brad’s run, so I pretended to think about it, then called him back and said “yes.” It would have been a better bluff if I’d waited more than 15 seconds to return the call.
I’d been kicking around Vertigo for a while and I wanted to write some big, upscale action for the DCU. Jock and I wanted to bring our own brand of crazy action from The Losers to the wider audience that the DCU brings. And while I’d had a hoot writing Adam Strange, I didn’t want to get mired in the interminable crossover continuity cluster-f_ck of Infinite Crisis, 52, Countdown and the like.
Origin stories and revamps are great in that regard, as you can start with a completely clean slate and rebuild a classic character from the ground up. You can give the hero a real arc, put him through real growth and change, without having to worry about what he’s supposed to be doing in sixteen other editorially-mandated crossover appearances that month.
That’s the stuff that we want to read about, isn’t it? Luckily, this week’s mothership interviews had enough emotional resonance that Geoff Johns would be able to power the Green Lantern, Sinestro and every other corps he wanted for the next year – WITNESS:
SELF-LOATHING! From Brett Booth:
I haven’t read any comics in years. The last good ones I read were Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and some old Justice League Internationals… Right after I got into comics, I pretty much stopped reading them altogether. I just bought them for the art. Then after that, I just stopped getting them.
TRAGEDY! From Michael Turner:
Since I’ve pretty much been dealing with chemotherapy everyday for the past 10 months or so, I honestly haven’t had much creative time to explore Wolverine that much. Even though it seems like I always have a lot of covers coming out and have been doing quite a bit of work, many of those were done months in advance. For a long period in there, I was only doing maybe one or two things a week since I couldn’t physically sit down for more than a couple hours at a time.
(As much as I sound like an asshole above, and as much as I may not personally be a massive fan of Turner’s art, I really can’t imagine how horrible it must be for Turner, and he completely has my sympathies and respect for dealing with it and managing to keep working. Which isn’t to say that I wish he’d learn more about anatomy, but still.)
CYNICISM! From Kirkman on Ant-Man:
It doesn’t have to be cancelled. If everyone went out and bought the Volume 1 Digest TPB and it sold out in a week—they’d bring the book back. Marvel’s getting a ton of mail about the book—and that’s totally cool. But buying that digest is really the thing that would make them stand up and take notice.
RELIEF! From Matt Fraction:
It was a bummer because we couldn’t really promote [The Order, formerly The Champions, before the threat of legal action forced a name change] until (the controversy) got resolved. But it did, so: Hurray! The Order! …I think it’s a good solution. It’s not like The Champions was anything great – it was 17 issues in the mid-1970s, and the coolest thing about them was their stupid car. It’s not like a grand legacy we’re missing out on or anything.
AND THEN BACK TO HAPPINESS ALL OVER AGAIN! From the newly-re-signed-back-to-Marvel Brian Michael Bendis:
There are a lot of guys that jump ship back and forth [between companies], and I’m sure that’s good for them, and everyone’s got their own thing, but for me particularly, I’m very lucky that the books I want to work on are and the people I want to work with are all at the same company, and on top of that, unbelievably, so many people at that company are supportive of that so that I can stay on and keep working there. Believe me, if I didn’t have the support, I wouldn’t be there.
And there are other projects coming up – other comics and projects throughout the year that will be seen – this is just the beginning. Plus, I feel that we’re at the cusp of digital comics, and I really want to be a part of that. I’m a big believe in what Dan [Buckley] and Joe [Quesada] are trying to do.
And that’s not even going anywhere near the Carla Speed McNeil interview or the James Kuhoric conversation about Army of Darkness, both of which were interesting but hardly the stuff of tears and recriminations as soon as they see print. I know what you’re thinking; you’re thinking “Isn’t this a little over the top? They were only interviews, after all.”
Dude, this is the wonderful world of comics. Everything here is a little over the top.
(Oh, and by the way: Happy Day, Canadians.)