Er, you do know Hancock wasn’t a documentary, right?: Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Annette John-Hall on her favorite superhero. Who is it? Here’s a hint: He comes from Philly.
“There aren’t stories where Thomas the Tank Engine turns into a vampire”: Well if there were, I’d totally read that book or watch the DVD. Noah Berlatsky discusses superhero-decadence in relation to a very specific personal example—his young son being frightened by a comic featuring a vampire Batman. Berlatsky raises an interesting question that I know from experience is an awful touchy subject among a lot of super-hero comic readers. Are these children’s characters or not? Because DC and Marvel both use the exact same characters in books and products geared toward different audiences. That is, you can read Batman in Super Friends or a Doug Moench/Kelley Jones vampire comic; you can read Thor in an Essential or a Marvel Adventures comic or in his Max miniseries series where he’s knocking the heads off of rampaging Viking zombies. Please don’t get me started on DC’s marketing of Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family. It’s always struck me as odd that the only characters in either of these companies’ catalogs that are specifically marketed to a single age group are the Vertigo characters. I’d argue that there’s a far greater gulf between Super Friends and, say, Identity Crisis than between Identity Crisis and Swamp Thing or Hellblazer, for example. Berlatsky isn’t necessarily pissed at DC Comics or the comic shop owner or anything—he specifically mentions that it’s up to him to keep an eye out for what his son’s perusing—but it serves as an interesting real world example of something a lot of us usually just talk about in the hypothetical.
“Why not Wildstorm?”: Jeff Parker rounds up a dozen positive reviews of his new series with Tom Folwer, Mysterius The Unfathomable, and addresses a recurring question about the book—why it’s at Wildstorm at all. Says Parker:
The short answer is “because Senior Editor Ben Abernathy asked Tom and I what we would like to do.” But I don’t know how to address people who feel WS is supposed to do only post-Watchmen superhero stories. Maybe… they’d like to try other things? I think that’s it’s a question that doesn’t demand being asked- a publisher wants to expand their base beyond superheroes into other genres. Should we look a gift horse in the mouth or give it some carrots and encourage it to keep pulling?
That’s certainly fair. I guess the question probably shouldn’t be posed to Parker or Fowler, but to Wildstorm, and maybe not of Mysterius, but of the rest of the line. The imprint remains a pretty confused brand, splitting its attention about equally between Wildstorm “universe” books and spin-offs of video games and TV shows, with seemingly random books like Mysterius and Storming Paradise appearing now and then. At any rate, don’t let the fact that Wildstorm is publishing it keep you from checking out Mysterius #1; I agree with the other eleven people who gave the book pretty high praise.
Spider-Man: Threat, menace or hero?: I passed on Dark Avengers #1 last week, since my need for Avengers books was already being met by the existing ones, but I have been enjoying reading folks like Paul O’Brien and this Snell character trying to make sense out of Norman Osborn’s marketing of his new team, which includes at least one former supervillain turned publicly perceived good guy (Venom) posing as a former superhero turned publicly perceived bad guy (Spider-Man). The increasingly experienced comic book virgin Nina Stone dug the book though, as it met the rather low bar she had set for it:
I don’t know the real version of these characters, this Ms. Marvel, that Wolverine—and yet I got a little freaked out by these very bad, very mean, versions of those characters. I don’t know the Avengers well enough to pick them out of a line-up. But I came away from this comic knowing that these weren’t them, and that what this Norman Osborn was doing was wrong. I got it, and I didn’t start with much. That’s something. Is it the best comic I’ve ever read? No. No way. But it sure wasn’t the worst.
Compared to this, the Omega Sanction doesn’t really seem all that terrifying: Rachelle Goguen on the single most traumatic thing to happen to Batman the week that Final Crisis #6 came out.
Twit for tat: Kevin Church catches a Twitter exchange between a fan and Marvel, and the Marvel Twitter tweeter takes the opportunity to denigrate the current output of long-time Marvel stalwarts Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley, who happen to be working for DC at the moment. While you’re there, check out Church’s reader participation features this week.