So, I should start this off with something or the other about how this blog or post or response shouldn’t and doesn’t reflect on the views and attitudes of Zenescope Entertainment? But in all honestly, that feels a bit pretentious and too similar to the pre-opening credits of the latest offering of DVD/Blu-ray madness that hits the movie rental stands each and every Tuesday. So casting all that aside and knowing that not everyone will agree or disagree with what I have to say, I’ll just come right out with it.
I could spend the next few paragraphs talking about what Zenescope has planned for 2009 and the great series that we have currently hitting the stands, playing up what has become the norm for the standard in the ongoing Internet hype machine that is comics. And more than likely, I will a tad bit later, but for now I’d rather talk about other things that matter to me and maybe to you. Things that we can talk about and have a conversation over instead of the regular “look look look and yes, that looks cool or no that sucks.” And while I may jump about subjects (whether it’s comics I’m reading and digging or music or the economy or whatever floats in my Grey matter at any given time) a bit like a hummingbird on a crack binge, it’ll at least be an interesting couple minutes worth of reading (with pretty pictures of Zenescope goodness) material to pass the time. So with that said…
The last issue of Batman RIP felt like the biggest c— tease of all time, and in all things, standard with what you would expect from a “string the reader along type mentality” that has run so prevalent throughout the industry as of late. I mean, how many parts did this thing run? A decent amount of cash spent for what was the equivalent of an amateur hand job that doesn’t come close to getting the job done and leaves you with an aching set of blue balls. (Yes, I like pornographic metaphors) A story that doesn’t really leave you wanting more but instead makes you wish you had tried reading something (cough Beyond cough Wonderland) else. At least when you got to the end of Knightfall and Knights End, Batman either had his back broken or there was a brand new Batman. Or Death in the Family, where there was at least a very real possibility that Batman was going to off the Joker once and for all. At least if I pay an arm and a leg in an economy where you literally have to live in fear with where your $2.99 is spent and where it isn’t…at least give a loyal fan and reader a pay off. The “bomb going off and missing bodies” ending kind of says it all that Batman RIP didn’t really live up to its namesake (unless you want to go as far as saying it was a way to “RIP” off the fans and a quick at pulling the masses in for one quick peek ala Captain America or the Death of Supes).
Again it’s just my opinion, but it all just seems to be such a common fare where big league crossovers are now the norm and the promise of radical change never seems to hold true when all is said and done. Look at Civil War. It was all a build up to see Captain America killed in his own title. I understand the need to sell comics and string the readers along for as long as that wallet can hold out, but can’t you just tell great stories and do that anyway without the hype machine running over everything we as readers hold dear? Comics did it for years before the Internet even came along, and I know it’s a much different time but still…remember reading Daredevil, or Swamp Thing, or whatever book really did it for you and telling anyone who would listen about it? “Hey, did you hear, they just killed off all the X-men and Apocalypse is taking over!” I can’t tell you how many people got hooked into comics when they did the Age of Apocalypse over at Marvel, or when DC “had some upstart kill the Joker and Supes retired” in Kingdom Come.
Promoting a comic where Batman might die, knowing that the reader knows he’s not going to die, is annoying as shit. It’s even more so given that I fell right into DC’s trap, and brought all the issues knowing I knew what I knew before I even picked the books up. And all on the faith that somehow, the awesomeness that is Grant Morrison would shine through. He did it on X-Men, Animal Man, Doom Patrol . . . but you have to wonder how much hand-tied DC higher-ups handcuffs came into play. I mean, Didio knows his shit, if he didn’t he wouldn’t have a job, but I guess we’ll never know; there are times where you have to wonder what the end result would be if the powers that be just let go and let the stories that they hire these guys to tell, just got told. And what’s worse is that as long as these things sell hundreds of thousands of units, they’ll just keep doing it because from a business aspect it makes sense even if the story…for lack of better words…meanders. It had some good points, but overall, not enough to keep me reading Bats any longer.
Then again, maybe I should give it all another read and see if there was something there that I missed. I’ll be the first to admit that my favorite story in comics is Watchmen and that the first time I read it in junior high, I found it boring and not at all interesting, so maybe this is like that. Or maybe it’s like The Happening and every time I see it…it just gets worse and worse. Who knows?
Now this might be just me stringing you along and trying to get you to check out the latest Zenescope titles that do give you a pay-off worth the bang of your well earned buck, but the fanboy in me can’t help but be annoyed because I love these f—ing characters. And when you hear Grant is coming to play, you expect it to be for keeps. But I guess we should have known better, considering that given enough time, companies will wipe the board of everything that has come before in order to tell what’s new and fresh (ahem, Brand New cough Day cough cough) and minty Hollywood clean. But at the end of the day, it’s the nature of comics, especially those of the iconic immortal nature like Supes, Spidey, etc, etc. so it’s not like you didn’t know what the deal was coming in.
So with all that shit talking and opinion voicing, you might think me a troll with nothing good to say. Ah ha. That’s where you’re wrong. Mary Jane Loves Spider-Man Vol 2 is the shit. I just love this book to no end. It’s like the Chasing Amy version of a comic without the dick and fart jokes and lesbians, but considering it’s Terry Moore of Strangers in Paradise fame writing the book, given enough time, and Marvel willing, lesbian Nazi clone assassin Skrull warriors will find their way into the book and have a massive all girl orgy that will change comics forever…or at least one can hope. But regardless, of all the Marvel books I read, I love this (USM comes a close second, as does the guilty pleasure of reading the dumbed down HULK) more than anything else. Nothing really even happens in each issue and it’s still great. Just love the hell out of it.
So hopefully, that gets a few more people over to that book, as looking at the numbers recently, it’s not selling too big. And that book should be selling a f—load more, but sometimes that’s just how the cookie crumbles in a non-Wolverine title.
Oy, did I mention I finally got the new Kayne West album and the not new Katy Perry CD? Both of which I love. I recently got into a long discussion about the reason behind the new KW CD and what it means to evolve and stretch one’s self as an artist, and the flip side which is the fact that the fans expect a certain product from creators that they support. IE: If you’re a Britney Spears fan (and there are a few out there) the last thing you’re expecting to hear is Brit pretending to be KORN. So the fact that Kayne sounds more like T-Pain than Kayne might be discomforting for those expecting the norm, but if that was the case Outkast would never have become the trend setting, masterful unit it has become to date. Pink would still be whatever the hell it was she was before she evolved and Jay Z would still be just a rapper instead of a Mogul. All I ask is to be entertained regardless of how you do it and for my tastes don’t let me down; and I have to say that after getting past the whole voice modulation thing and knowing that a lot of this came from Kayne dealing with his mother’s unfortunate death, I can feel it enough to get some decent writing out of listening to it for the twentieth time and as a listener you can’t really ask for more than that.
And there really is something to be said for weight loss and alcoholism (see, I told you this was going to be jumping all over the place) as both have been something I have struggled with over the years. I do love losing weight, and being sober, but f— if I don’t write my undisciplined ass off when I’m binging and drinking my fourth glass of rum and coke (and now that the coke is gone, rum and orange juice which isn’t half as bad as it sounds once you have enough liquor sloshing about within you). Even as I polish this article off a day later in a much more sober state of mind, a cold glass of beer still sounds appealing.
Not that this had much to do with anything, other than I enjoy knowing that the people behind the scenes making the comics I love to read are people just the same as you and me, so I thought it be cool to give you a peek behind the curtain and see what the wizard really looks like. And speaking of the Wizard…
Troy is a rockstar who missed his calling in porn, but that’s a story for another day.
Till then and until next time I remain,
Raven Gregory is the Executive Editor of Zenescope Entertainment and recovering alcoholic who really should stay sober more than he currently does. But he has a fun job editing titles such as Grimm Fairy Tales, 1001 Arabian Knights: The Adventures of Sinbad, Beyond Wonderland, Straw Men, The Living Corpse, The Chronicles of Herbert West, and the upcoming Salem’s Daughter and Stingers coming out in 2009 of which you probably knew coming in that there was a mandatory plug to follow. He also writes of bunch of comics but that again, is a story or an interview for another day.
These great titles can be found at www.zenescope.com and more of Raven Gregory’s madscape antics can be viewed at www.myspace.com/ravengregory