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CSBG Archive

365 Reasons to Love Comics #253

The world’s most positive comics column rolls on! Let’s check out a creator who has become darling of the internets and is totally the next big thing, mark my words. Also, I invent a silly term for said creator’s group of fans. (Archive!)

9/10/07

253. Jeff Parker

Jeff Parker 1.jpg

I am one of Parker’s Poseys. (Heh heh.) Why? Because he gets comics. He understands what makes them fun and exciting, and then he goes and writes fun and exciting comics! Who woulda thunk it?

You all know the story. Boy meets comics, they fall in love, boy becomes kickbutt cartoonist and writer. It’s how these things go. Jeff’s big splash was with the Interman, his own graphic novel which I’ve never read (don’t cut me!). I know it’s good though, because it’s Jeff Parker, and that’s just what he does.

And check out the stuff he’s doing now! Marvel Adventures: Avengers has become the best Avengers comic being produced– and when you consider that Marvel is putting out as many Avengers books as they possibly can, that’s pretty cool. The line-up may not be what you expect, but the stories are exciting, energetic, and hilarious. They’re just dang fun. Where else are you going to read about a bunch of superheroes turning into MODOKs, or Ego the Living Planet hitting on the Earth? Not to mention Snakes on a Quinjet. It’s a rocking comic and one of the best thing’s Marvel’s putting out.

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Mr. Parker’s also writing the best X-Man comic being produced right now with X-Men: First Class. It’s a contemporary adventure series about the original X-Men line-up. You know, the one with the snazzy yellow costumes. Naturally, it’s also crazy fun, and enjoyable for kids and adults. And it’s totally in continuity! Well, it is if it’ll get you to buy it. So buy it! You shall be getting yourself a good comic.

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His biggest fan smash, however, has been Agents of Atlas, a book that brought back and revamped a bunch of old 50s-and-earlier Marvel characters and brought them together for the first time since, uh, an issue of What If and part of Avengers Forever. And, you know, it’s awesome, and he keeps on bringin’ ‘em back. They deserve the spotlight, dangit! Pick up the trade or hardcover or whatever. Anything with Gorilla-Man and the Human Robot has to be great. It’s the law.

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I will finally be able to die happy if Jeff Parker gets to write Amazing Spider-Man. One day, I am sure this will happen. Only Jeff Parker can restore the webspinner to the glory he so desperately needs! Give it to us, Marvel! And let him draw some of his stories, too!

Jeff’s website, Parkerspace, can be found at the link embedded in this sentence. Are you one of Parker’s Poseys? If not, you should be. ‘Nuff said.

19 Comments

On FCBD 2006, a friend of mine who doesn’t read comics went to a signing by Jeff Parker in Portland, OR and got me a signed copy of Marvel Adventures: FF 10. At the time, I had no idea who he was, but I enjoyed the comic. Since that time, I’ve been nothing but blown away by his output.

And I say that as a diehard DC guy. Parker and Dan Slott are pretty much the beginning and end of Marvel for me.

I really like Jeff Parker. I enjoyed AoA a lot but as I didn’t really get into his First Class I haven’t read any of his stuff in a while. I think there are a couple of books at Marvel that could use his touch. I think he’d do a good job on New X-men personally.

Interman is actually the only thing I’ve read by Parker. I declare it good clean fun.

I wholeheartedly agree. I’ve only known him since AoA and that was a great, fun read. He’d be a great fit for Spidey indeed. Besides the excellent lead-story the Agents of Atlas hardcover also features all the first appearances of the characters and the ‘What If’ issue that they were in.

Great art, story and value for money. There are very few valid reasons known to man not to own it.

I’m right there on this reason; Jeff Parker’s Marvel Adventures stuff is absolutely better than the “mainstream” Marvel Universe, period. His MA: Spider-Man is better than ‘Amazing’, his MA: FF is better than the FF comic, and his MA: Avengers is umpteen billion times better than either the New or Mighty Avengers.

Jeff Parker is good. I wish he’d get a mainstream ongoing set in the current MU. He could bring some fun that they don’t seem to want to stick there too much.

I actually prefer the MA books to AoA (although the latter series does have one of the greatest comics panels ever–the one in which the Human Robot carries Gorilla Man who is firing M-16s with all four limbs). Other Parker MA classics include “Goom Got Game” (from MA Spider-Man) and “Doom, Where’s My Car?” (from MA FF).

Parker has moved to the list of writers whose work I will pretty much always give a shot. Agents of Atlas was fun and thoughtful, and I’m quite enjoying his take on the X-Men and even the Marvel Adventures Avengers, which I expected to really dislike based on the cast.

It would be nice to see him get a mainstream book, but on the other hand, I’d love to see him turn in a run of a hundred issues of X-Men First Class.

He’s definitely old-school. I guess that’s enough for some people.

He gave us the modern Agents of Atlas, and the M.O.D. avengers.

What more could you want?

A story that makes me look at the world a little differently. You know, profoundness and impact. Something that effects, instead of just amusing.

That’s all.

Hey, profound has its place, but so does good old fashioned crazy fun. There’s more than enough room for both, I say.

That’s placing all kinds of false restrictions on the art. I’m not saying it should be profound instead of old-fashioned. I’m saying that old-fashioned alone isn’t enough. I want profound good old-fashioned crazy fun.

Why settle for the pastiche alone?

Who said I was “settling”? That is exactly what I _wanted_. I’m sick and tired of people demanding profundity in everything, even their kid’s comics. Sometimes, you want something light, frothy and meaningless, like having chocolate meringue pie after a good meal. I’d be irritated if someone told me I had to eat oatmeal for my dessert, because it was “better for me”, and I’m irritated at the thought that the only good writers are the ones who write deep things for grown-ups.

Unless you’re name is Anthony Strand, I don’t think I was talking to you, John.

Maybe sometimes YOU want something light, frothy, and meaningless, but I don’t. My brain doesn’t turn off and I’d rather read something that gives it some exercise, than not. Otherwise, my brain wanders off to more engaging things. And, like I said, there’s no reason something can’t be goofy, exciting, off-the-wall AND profound. I haven’t read it myself, but that seems to be the design of Flex Mentallo, for instance. And I don’t know why you think that kids don’t want profundity. My favorite books as a kid were ones like “A Wrinkle in Time” that were both profound and exciting. Sure, Goosebumps entertained me, but those stories aren’t the ones that had an impact on me or even stick in my memory. Effectively, they didn’t even matter.

You sound very defensive in your post. Nobody’s telling you what you have to like. I’m telling you what tickles my fancy. If that feels like a challenge to your own stance, that’s all on your side. I don’t really understand, though, why you feel the need to justify disposable entertainment as being a peer to more meaningful stuff. Your enjoyment needs no justification. However, your enjoyment of something, alone, does not indicate any sort of quality. If that were true, Gallagher would be one of the comedic greats of all time. He was immensely popular.

I just don’t get how, on a blog called “Comics Should Be Good”, there is such fanfare for comics that are meaningless. Fun does not automatically equal good. See: any drunken sexual mistake ever.

No, but from all accounts Jeff Parker is very very good at being fun.

I’m not saying your experience isn’t valid, Apodaca; however the vast majority of people do in fact place great value on just plain being entertained. The makers of gourmet chocolates are not considered lesser artists because their product is lacking nutritional value; same applies to gourmet brain candy. :)

At any rate…unless you’re prepared to argue that chronicling the adventures of, say, a man swinging around dressed in spider-themed longjohns is truly meaningful, there’s a core of pure joyful irrelevance at the heart of any superhero-comic-reading experience. If Parker can tap into that, then I’d suggest he’s actually created something seriously meaningful.

I’m not being defensive. I’m being aggressive. :)

I genuinely think that the vast majority of people who want “depth” and “meaning” in their comics, because “comics are an adult medium”, are actually pretentious twits who wouldn’t look out of place in a coffeehouse, analyzing Stan Lee’s comics for their semiotic thickness and asking, “Yes, but is it Art?”

Because comics are not an adult medium right now. Comics are a painfully adolescent medium, obsessed with seeming grown-up, disdaining things that are “babyish”, interested in sex and violence, and really awkward and clumsy in dealing with the opposite sex. And most of the people who complain about comics needing more respect as an adult medium are arrested adolescents who are unwilling to let go of the comics they used to enjoy as a kid, but want them to change so they can read them without being ashamed of themselves. So they demand more sex, more violence, more awkwardly-inserted “depth”, and insist that anyone who doesn’t want what they want are stupid kids. (By, say, repeating “I thought that this was a blog called ‘Comics Should Be _GOOD_’”, every time someone likes a comic that doesn’t fit their rigid criteria for intellectual acceptability.)

It’s a mentality I’m thoroughly sick of, and frankly it’s what is killing comics as an industry today.

(And as an aside, if what you said was meant as a private comment to Anthony Strand, then email it. By putting it up on a comment thread, you are opening yourself up to…you guessed it…comments.)

[...] (Image blatantly stolen from Chapel Hill Comics‘ website ’cause I needed a generic comic shop-y image. Go buy your comic wares at Chapel Hill. Jeff Parker’s gonna be there this week! Bam. Free publicity.) [...]

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