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CSBG Archive

Responses to CCI News

A lot of interesting news bits out already from Comic Con, so I’d figure I’d note the ones that struck me as particularly interesting.

Especially that whole Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi doing Astonishing X-Men thing.

Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi on Astonishing X-Men. Probably the highest-profile new creative team ever to lose 40% of the sales of the previous creative team. I kid, I kid!!

Seriously, though, Axel Alonso had practically an impossible task on hand to replace Joss Whedon and John Cassaday, and I think he did about as good of a job as you can expect from an editor. Good on him.


That’s a cool looking cover.

Terry Moore and Humberto Ramos on Runaways? Well, one of the biggest problems with Joss Whedon’s run is that Michael Ryan’s art, while technically good, sure isn’t that interesting to look at, and Ramos will certainly at least be interesting. Moore does a fine job with character works, so this should be a good move on Marvel’s part.

Marc Guggenheim exclusive to Marvel. Good pick up on their part, and it’s certainly good news to hear that he’s one of the four writers who will be doing the almost-weekly Amazing Spider-Man series.

I think that Neil Gaiman did a nice job of setting the Eternals up in the Marvel Universe, so I guess an Eternals ongoing could work. I dunno if the Knaufs are who I’d go to, but I will give them this much, the father and son team have been improving a little bit each month on Iron Man, and as I’ve always said, the transition from other media to comics is a lot harder than most folks think.

Michael Green to take over Superman/Batman? His Batman Confidential issue had some good parts, and some laughably awful parts, so I’m a bit wary here.

I dunno about The Sinner, but Steve Niles is owed at least a look with him bringing Bill Sienkiewicz on board.


That’s it for now, but I’m sure there will be more news to react to later!

And I can’t wait to see what Burgas has been up to there! :)


The only news that’s interested me, aside from Cooke, was the Matt Wagner MADAME XANADU monthly. I’ve been a fan of that character for ages and its great that she’s getting a nice push…and its Vertigo as well, so that makes me even happier.

Ian Astheimer

July 27, 2007 at 4:58 pm

I’ll be picking up Astonishing as soon as Ellis and Bianchi start.

And dropping Runaways as soon as Whedon and Ryan leave. I haven’t been feeling their run much, and I’m not looking forward to the new creative team at all.

I really hope Moore and Ramos’s Runaways is good. The interview with Moore fills me with equal parts interest and trepidation.

I have no clue what Ellis’s AXM will be like, but I’ll at least give it a whirl for Bianchi’s art.

No, no, no. You missed the big news: IDW is doing a Doctor Who comic! WOOOOOOOOO

Oh, right, and I totally pegged Ellis for AXM. Nice to see Bianchi is with him. I never planned to buy an X-book again, but now I’ll have to.

Aaron Kashtan

July 27, 2007 at 5:20 pm

Blecch. I love Runaways, but I hate Terry Moore’s writing. Maybe I’ll try the first issue and see if I can stand it.

Man, while Ellis is annoying in that Newsarama interview (why do UK writers try SO damn hard to be clever in interviews all the time? It’s almost desperate), I am excited to see what Astonishing X-Men will be like.

I have no idea who Michael Green is or what he has worked on in the past or what his writing is like, but on the bright side, he will definitely be an improvement on Jeph Loeb.

Oh wait…I just looked up who Michael Green is. He works with Loeb on Heroes and wrote that horrid Batman Confidential story with the Joker’s origin. I take it back, they may have actually found the one writer worse than Loeb to write the book.

Uhg… I am not a fan of Bianchi’s art at all. I’ve been just hoping the Wolverine Arc would end sooner, and now… now he’s going to be drawing the ‘premiere’ X-Men book with a writer a really like. Hmph. Seriously, I don’t know why everyone loves his art. I mean, it’s clear he has skill, but… I think the characters all look ugly and oddly shaped. And Cyclops’ visor looks awful.

Ah well. At least Ellis is writing it.

I am more excited by the announcement that Morrison is writing Final Crisis.

With JG Jones on art. That’s a damn good team.

That Bianchi image makes me hard. I just wanted to share that.

So far I’m most excited by the announcement of Final Crisis’ creative team. Morrison and Jones have made that book go from “Ugh, not another Crisis,” to “Can we just skip Countdown and start this now? Please?”

Still, the Astonishing X-Men team looks good. Hopefully each issue will take more than two minutes to read and not leave me disappointed like Whedon and Cassady have done since pretty much issue 6.

Stoked about Ellis writing Astonishing. Wasn’t too keen on Counter X and all that, but everything else he’s done is ace.

But about that art…is Emma telekinetic now? And is X-23 actually on the team, or just being used in the promo art?


Bill Sienkiewicz FTW!

Ian Astheimer

July 27, 2007 at 8:37 pm

But about that art…is Emma telekinetic now? And is X-23 actually on the team, or just being used in the promo art?

I’m pretty sure that’s a promo piece since Ellis said he’s yet to settle on a cast.

Moore on Runaways? Crap.

“Final Crisis,” no matter who’s writing it? Crap.

Ellis and Bianchi on AXM? That’s a bit more like it…

Superman/Batman continues to suck? Not surprised at all.

Final Crisis by Morrison and J.G friggin’ Jones. Anyone hesitant about picking this up can blow a dog.

I will buy Final Crisis because Morrison is writing it. Yes, I will buy a big “event” book. But, you know, Grant also knows how to tell a good story, which most writers tend to forget when they’re doing events.

Given Charlie Knauf’s amazing work on Carnivale, I’d have to say I think he could be perfect for a series with intricate mythology behind it and messianic characters.

And normally I’ll but anything Bill Sienkiewicz does, but the fact that most of his upcoming projects seem to be collaborations with Steve Niles is sorely testing that policy.

I’da thunk after ONE MILLION, DC would’ve let Morrison do ALL of their event crossovers. Only took ‘em about ten years to figure that out, but whaddya gonna do? No one writes the Big DC Thing better than Grant, and so long as he keeps his hyperimagination supporting the plot and not, y’know, AS the plot, it should be worth the year of mind-numbing confusion leading up to it.

I like Ellis fine enough, even a lot on some projects, and Bianchi can wow a page like the best of ‘em. But ASTONISHING just needs to die. Its scheduling problems are bringing down the rest of the X-line and it doesn’t appear that the “hook the newbies on ASTONISHING, let them trickle to UNCANNY and ADJECTIVELESS” is working. I don’t see a slightly less lateness-prone team with dimmer wattage than Whedon/Cassaday or Morrison/Quitely improving anything. Just kill the third X-book, Marvel. You’re stretching too thin.

Maybe on the ‘stretching too thin’ bit, Mr. West, but I’m not following the rest of your argument.

How is Astonishing’s lateness “bringing down” the rest of the line?

So new readers aren’t moving on to Uncanny and Adjectiveless…how does “Cancel Astonishing” follow from that? Shouldn’t it be A) Cancel one of the other books (y’know, the ones that aren’t selling quadrillions), B) Put better talent on them and make THEM more new-reader friendly, or at the very least C) Cancel Astonishing, but graft its model (big name talent, new reader friendly) onto one of the other books?

It could be Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman sitting around having a chat in a park and it would still be titanic and earth shattering just because it’s the team of Grant Morrison and J.G. Jones.

The problem I have with Astonishing is that it’s a bad flagship model, compounded by a “whenever the creators get around to it” schedule. Your goal with a flagship isn’t just sales, it’s to be a beacon that draws readers into the rest of your line — a “flagship” being the centerpiece of a unified fleet, as it were. You want Astonishing to be both an engine that drives Uncanny and Adj’less and also a magnet that pulls them together. For a classic example, look at Morrison’s JLA: it was the guiding centerpiece of the DCU while at the same time incorporating what the rest of the DCU was doing. Or to use an X-ample, Claremont’s Uncanny: unquestionably THE X-book, but acted like the first-among-equals with New Mutants, X-Factor, and Wolverine. And you also want your flagship to be relatively simple and conservative (which doesn’t mean stupid and stale); Busiek’s Avengers is a good model for that.

But the third X-book, be it New X-Men or Astonishing, hasn’t done any of that. Morrison tried, but Casey, Austen, and Claremont couldn’t keep up with what he was doing (the “simple and conservative” idea), and New X-Men became nothing more than a ditched experiment and ultimately a failure in its role as flagship (irrelevant of its quality). Whedon’s failure comes from the erratic schedule — to go back to the fleet metaphor, your flagship is no good if its sitting at the dock while the fleet is sailing. Again, quality is important, but a flagship can’t get hung up on trying for perfection at the sacrifice of its leading role. And then the “stretched too thin” thing compounds it: the headlining characters of the line are locked into a floundering title, while the other titles have to make do with C-listers.

I’m really not trying to judge Ellis and Bianchi before they even see print, but past precedent has to give pause. Bianchi has what must be a time-consuming style, and while he has thus far proven his deadlines, I do wonder if he can keep up over the long-haul — which then makes me wonder how Marvel will handle it if he doesn’t. Last-minute Van Sciver rush-jobs didn’t help Morrison, nor did delays help Whedon and Cassaday. Ellis, meanwhile, is sort of the worst of both worlds: like Morrison, he has a capacity to overwrite a flagship, and because of his hefty workload, runs the risk of falling behind like Whedon. On top of that, Marvel wants Astonishing to be the flagship without actually editing it like one.

The shame is, Carey and Brubaker actually are writing flagship titles, akin to how Lobdell and Nicieza split the job in the ’90s. Both seem to have a goal of re-stabilizing the line at the moment, with Messiah Complex forthcoming to be the envelope pusher. Essentially, they’ve made Astonishing irrelevant. The worst thing that could happen to them is if Ellis came along, took the spotlight off them, and he starts going in a completely different direction with the headliners. Which is why I say cancel Astonishing. It’s running the risk of inadvetently sabotaging the rest of the line.

Besides, it’s not like the third title is really pulling in overwhelming sales. Morrison’s sales weren’t, ahem, astonishing, and there’s a question of whether much of that was due to New X-Men’s flagship designation and characters (IOW, if Marvel had treated X-Treme X-Men like the flagship and given Claremont Wolverine, might its sales have been high?). And Astonishing pulls in huge numbers, but does it matter if it isn’t monthly? Austen pulled in about half of Whedon’s numbers, but did it about 3 times as often; Whedon’s salary-to-sales ratio ends up being a negative. From an economic standpoint, the third title might not even be worth it.

Terry Moore doing Runaways is something I seriously look forward to. But art by Humberto Ramos? God, why hast thou forsaken me??!!

I hate to be a downer here….but I’m not thrilled with Ramos on Runaways. Moore though….maybe we’ll get a good cover out of thim to boot. Not that anyone can top Jo Chen’s covers.

Ellis wrote Planetary and Authority and I love them both, but that’s it. I’m not gonna be picking up Astonishing after Whedon/Cassaday leave. And That image sucks. Did Beast join a gang while I wasn’t looking?

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