After doing a little karaoke recently, it made me think about how the concept could be applied to comics (it is quite strange how many things I think about how they could be applied to comics..hehe), and it occured to that there have been a bunch of books out there that I would consider to be “karaoke comics.”
A karaoke comic is a run on a comic that follows a previous run very closely, but as it is a copy, ends up being inferior to the original product.
Chris Claremont and Alan Davis recent Uncanny X-Men run was basically doing a karaoke version of their run on Excalibur. Nightcrawler and Rachel Summers are members of the team, Jamie Braddock played a big part and characters like Courtney Ross were dusted off for the first time in a decade or so. The more recent run, though, lacked the humor and creativity of their initial run on Excalibur. I mean, a race of Saurons in the Savage Land? That soooo would not make it into the pages of the Cross-Time Caper.
Mark Waid‘s second run on Flash. A perfect example of someone who just should have left earlier than later (although I freely admit that I admire his dedication to the book). His second run on the book (#142-162) just lacked the inventiveness of his first run on the book, which still stands up as one of the best superhero runs of recent memory (especially #61-100). Here, in the second run, Waid ended up being influenced too much by both his own earlier run and the work of Grant Morrison. Regarding the first, Waid brought us yet ANOTHER storyline where either Wally or Linda was lost in time/space/whatever. This time, however, BOTH of them went missing! In addition, Abra Kadabra ended up being the big bad guy, making this literally the FIFTH time Abra Kadabra was used during Waid’s run (the others being in the #70s, in Zero Hour, in Underworld Unleashed, and in the story where Linda was frozen). Regarding the latter, Morrison’s big thing during the period was to evoke the Silver Age. Well, Waid definitely evoked the Silver Age, only Waid evoked the stuff from the Silver Age that probably was better left untouched. Barry Allen’s Evil Twin Brother? *Groan*
Not to pick on Waid too much (as I like his work), but his run on JLA was also, to me, an example of karaoke comics. His work really struck me as “Grant Morrison-lite,” even going so far as to make his first storyline as regular writer be a cast-off idea of Morrison’s (the Batman protocols). This irked me because Waid’s two previous fill-ins (not counting the ones he wrote with Devin Grayson) were, while still written in a Morrison-esque style, still had enough Waid in them to really stand out. His later issues, in my view, did not. Likewise, Joe Kelly also opened up with some karaoke comics, but quickly went away from that style (not to the benefit of the comic, though).
Garth Ennis did not appear to really have many more stories in the vein of “Welcome Back, Frank” left in him, but that did not keep him from writing another 28-30 issues of Punisher in the same style. Luckily, I think even Ennis realized he was just singing over the same tune, and relaunched the title, and it is much different now.
Early in his solo Justice League Europe run, after Keith Giffen had left the book, Gerard Jones seemed to try to keep the style in the same humorous tone…but really did not match up with the humor of Giffen at all, so the book was like a bad karaoke performance, until Jones changed directions with the book (at which point it was still bad, but at least it wasn’t a bad karaoke performance).
Can anyone think of any others?