web stats

CSBG Archive

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #165

This is the one-hundred and sixty-fifth in a series of examinations of comic book urban legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous one-hundred and sixty-four. Click here for a similar archive, only arranged by subject.

Let’s begin!

Oh, wait, before we begin – I forgot to ask for one last scanning request. Does anyone have a good resolution scan (800×1000 pixels or better) of the “methylene” panel from Walt Disney Comics and Stories #44, “The Mad Chemist”? It’s the first panel on the second page of the story. The story was reprinted in Walt Disney’s Donald Duck Adventures #15 in 1989. Thanks for any help y’all can lend!

Sorry about that, NOW we can begin! :)

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Strikeforce: Morituri was originally intended to be a New Universe title.

STATUS: False, at Least in the Typical Sense of the Term “New Universe”

Reader Rob M. wrote in with this one just a week or so ago, so the turnaround on this one is not too shabby, if I do say so myself (which is what I was just doing, in case you missed it ;) ). Rob asks:

Hey! I remember in the mid-80s, when Marvel first announced the New Universe, seeing Strikeforce: Morituri on the list of books. I think it was in one of Shooter’s columns…
Was Strikeforce supposed to be a New Universe title? If so, why was it removed from the line-up?

So I says to myself, “Self,” I says, “Who better to ask this of than the guy who created Strikeforce Morituri, Peter Gillis himself?”

So I posed the question to Mr. Gillis, and he was kind enough to give me a prompt response:

Nope. Completely bogus.

I had been shopping the series around to various companies, and a number of them were interested. Since I was working with Carl Potts on Dr. Strange, I showed it to him. Carl surprised me by saying he wanted to do it. He’s the one who suggested Brent Anderson draw it, which delighted me still more.
Both Brent and I had to feverishly insist that this was NOT a New Universe book, no no no, please don’t associate us with it, because most of the people said New Universe the way people say ‘boy band’ or ‘reality show” these days.

It was a bitter truth that Jim Shooter had cancelled a whole slew of books to ‘free up the creative teams’ to do the New Universe, but that none of those people were offered slots in that project. He had killed two of my series, Defenders and Micronauts, and I was feverishly looking for work to make up for it.

Plus, for Morituri to be a New Universe book, it would have to have been a Shooter idea, as they all were, and I get just a little bit indignant at THAT suggestion.

Carl Potts was trying to develop his own distinctive approach to comics, and Morituri was part of that, much in the same way that Larry Hama put out The ‘Nam. They deserve credit for their daring.

So there ya go!

I would slightly add to Gillis’ recollection that the New Universe wasn’t ALWAYS made up of Shooter creations – that’s just what it ended up being at the end of the day, so theoretically, Strikeforce: Morituri COULD have been envisioned as a New Universe title (like Speedball was). I allow that, as Gillis notes, in the case of Strikeforce: Morituri it was NOT, but I just thought it notable to point out that just being a non-Shooter creation isn’t, in and of itself, reason for a book not to have been meant for the New Universe.

EDITED TO ADD: Carl Potts helpfully chimes in on his blog by saying that yes, this WAS, in fact, one of those original New Universe designs, like Speedball, when the New Universe was an entirely different animal.

Anyhow, thanks to Rob for the question, and thanks a lot to Peter Gillis for the wonderful response!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Geoff Johns once had an Avengers script sent back because it had “too much story.”

STATUS: True

Reader Dave M. wrote in awhile back asking:

I remember hearing somewhere that Geoff Johns had a script for an issue of Avengers split into two issues by Marvel. That sounds hilarious if true – but is it true?

That story, Dave, is BASICALLY true.

It is funny, the story popped up in 2003, when Johns was pretty early into his run on Avengers, and at the time, the whole “Marvel is padding their books – the stories are too spread out” argument was really getting a lot of traction.

So when the rumor started that Johns pitched an issue of Avengers and had his ONE issue turned into TWO issues, well, that just was the epitome of that, wasn’t it?

As it turns out, Rich Johnston, in his Lying in the Gutters column back then, addressed the rumor, and as it turns out, it was BASICALLY true.

Here’s what Rich had to say back then:

At Wondercon, Geoff Johns stated that after writing one of his first Avengers scripts, it was sent back for having “too much story.” He then cut the script in half, padded it out a bit, and made two issues out of it.

He was then not surprised to see reviews saying that not enough happened in the comic. He agreed.
When a version of this was posted on an AOL board, Tom Brevoort confirmed Johns’ account, saying “I would have chosen a different way to describe all this, but yes, that’s essentially accurate.”

So, yeah, Dave, I guess the story is, more or less, true.

However, Tom Brevoort feels the story is skewed. Here is Tom on the incident:

Boy, I wish you’d asked me for a clarification about that Geoff Johns/AVENGERS item before posting it-because the way it’s being spun isn’t quite the way it went down.

On “Red Zone”, Geoff initially beated the story out with me as a five-issue arc. However, during this period, Marvel President Bill Jemas was very concerned about how our stories were opening, how much information and backstory was being thrown at the reader all at once, and how accessable this was making them. This was a concern up and down the line, not just for AVENGERS-and while Bill could certainly be dogmatic about his opinions, there was some merit in what he was saying.

So when we spoke about the opening to “Red Zone”, Bill suggested that we were hitting the ground too quickly, especially since it was the arc on which Olivier Coipel would be joining the creative team, and there was going to be a much bigger push on this issue. We discussed it, and Geoff in essence decided to take the events that would have played out in the single issue #65 and spread them over issues #65 and #66. Bill was very big on introducing the characters and situations deliberately and linearly, and was especially big on building up reader empathy through connections with ordinary people within the story. So the inital Red Zone attack became more involved, and the family who dies is given a bit more screen time, in order to try to make them feel like real characters rather than simply cannon fodder. Doing this had nothing to do with writing for the Trade and needing to hit a magic six-issue length -it was all motivated by a desire to make the opening of the story as welcoming to new readers as possible. And any complaints that the rest of it was just as padded are just plain wrong-the last four parts precisely mirror Geoff’s original outline for the story. It was only the first two issues that were affected.

And while Geoff probably tailored his approach on his remaining stories to take Bill’s feedback on this into account, we were never bothered in this way again, so “Search for She-Hulk” is four parts because we chose to make it four parts. If it felt padded and empty to people, that’s because they didn’t like the story, not because somebody was looking over Geoff’s shoulder and making him write bad. If we produced a clunker, then we produced a clunker-but in all honesty, I don’t really think we did. I’m very proud of Geoff’s run on AVENGERS and would work with him again in a heartbeat. You may fel differently about those stories, but that’s what makes horse races.

Tom B

Thanks to Dave for the question and thanks to Rich Johnston, Geoff Johns and Tom Brevoort for the information!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Legion of Superheroes character M’rissey is named after Legion fan Rich Morrissey.

STATUS: True

Some rather rude individual (I forget the poster’s name) asked me about this one awhile. I really ought not to answer it, but it’s a good story, so here ya go!

Rich Morrissey was a really notable comic book fan, who was deeply involved in fandom. He passed away in 2001 at the far too young age of 47.

Mark Evanier has a great piece on him here. Rich was especially known for being a really smart guy with a real love for comic trivia.

Recently, Jim Shooter introduced a Legion applicant named M’rissey, whose “power” is that he is really really good at calculus and trivia. He has become a real supporting character in the book as the team’s business manager.

I asked Shooter about the character and here is what he has to say:

The character M’rissey in the current LSH run is an homage to Rich Morrissey. Though I had little contact with him except for a few encounters in the seventies and reading his LEAPA zines (copies of which my friend Harry Broertjes sent me), I counted Rich as a friend. He was a good man.

So there you go!

Thanks to Jim Shooter for the information, and thanks to Rich Morrissey for making us comic fans look good!

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comic Book Database for this week’s covers!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com.

See you next week!

59 Comments

Tom Fitzpatrick

July 25, 2008 at 4:57 am

Just loved the series Strikeforce: Morituri. I do believe that this series had Mark Bagley drawing it in the latter half.

Agreed. Strikeforce had incredible potential as an SF and a tragic story comic… Especially the first 20 issues – the first big arc (there is amovie in there somewhere). Unfortunately, I suppose it would be very hard to sustain a story in which lead characters keep dying, but still – it way, to me, the most in-your-face, mature mainstream superhero comic at the time. And Anderson was great on it from the start.

Add me to this list of huge fans of Strikeforce: Morituri.

I still scrounge around back issue bins looking to complete my run. One day, it’ll be collected in trade.

One day.

One of the two pairs of co-writers for Iron Man got the job because Marvel liked the pilot script they recently wrote for a potential “Strikeforce: Morituri” TV show.

Yeah, it screams “for an Essential” treatment… Although I must say after the initial 30-or so issues, when artists and formats and colorists changed frequently, it lost most of its power. Once the short-lasting deluxe mini-series rolled around, it was painfully obvious it was not going anywhere…

Count me among the friends of the late Rich Morrissey; I visited his home in Framingham, Mass. for a number of Interlac collations.

I’m surprised you didn’t mention Rich’s other, more infamous, appearances in a DC title by a creator who =didn’t= like him…

I’ve always been fascinated by characters named after fans, but who was Jed Rikane?? In Superboy #240 (June, 1978) Paul introduced Jed Rikane, Power Boy. Then in Adventure Comics #467 (January, 1980) he introduced Jediah Rikane in the story of Starman IV (Prince Gavyn).

Who was Jed Rikane?? I’m guessing he was a close friend of Paul Levitz. Or was he one of the fans who sent in characters to the Legion Outpost (Amazing World of DC Comics (March, 1977)? When these characters later appeared as Legion Academy trainees they were named for their fan creators – Lamprey (Tayla Scott), Nightwind (Berta Harris), Crystal Kid (Bob Cohen).

I’m a little surprised someone like James Robinson hasn’t written a story tying the Starman legacy into the Legion by explaining the two space characters are one and the same.

Top 5 characters named for fans???

Actuall, now that you mention it, a TV show would work much like Heroes. Star power could be added as needed so there wouldn’t be much furror raised about killing the cast off. I’m all for it – and it could be a good experiment for TV.

A few years ago Sci-Fi channel announced that they were going to do a Strikeforce show called “A Thousand Days” or something like that but then nothing more was ever said about it.

If you looked at how sparingly Johns used six issue arcs on his early-middle DC work (Rogue Work and Black Reign are PERFECT examples) and then the fact that Red Zone, off the bat, started out as a six issue arc, you can sort of see things. I’m glad to have this confirmed though. The story feels stretched out and really sub par. Writing for the trade era Marvel was pretty terrible a lot of the time.

I don’t think people would have minded Chuck Austen nearly as much if we weren’t stuck with six issue arcs with him.

Concerning STRIKEFORCE: MORITURI, Rob M. said that he remembered it being on an early (if not initial) list of titles in New Universe publicity . Is he misremembering, or is there something more to this?

Another Legion character based upon a real person (two, actually) was Flynt Brojj, the Legion’s biggest fan. His name was taken from those of Mike Flynn (the founder of The Legion Outpost) and Harry Broertjes, the Outpost’s editor. His appearance (according to some) was modeled on another Legion fan, Jay Zilber. Flynt Brojj is the gold standard as far as Legion characters based upon real people goes.

@ Matt D “I don’t think people would have minded Chuck Austen nearly as much if we weren’t stuck with six issue arcs with him.”

Agreed, a lot of his done in ones were quite good.

Dave Blanchard

July 25, 2008 at 9:04 am

Paul Gambi, tailor to the Flash Rogues Gallery, was named for Paul Gambaccini, a noted fan in the 1960s.

Shooter giveth, and he taketh away.

For some reason… Strikeforce: M’rissey

I just keep reading that in the comments after reading this whole article.

“I’m surprised you didn’t mention Rich’s other, more infamous, appearances in a DC title by a creator who =didn’t= like him…”–I want to hear more!

Another Legion character is a variation of Mike Kypers. (Spelling may be wrong.)

Was Kypers a fan notable? The name seemed familiar, but I couldn’t place it.

@Mike Blake: this is actually the third character modelled after Richard Morrissey to appear in a DC comic. The first was the one you’re thinking of, created as an act of petty revenge by a notoriously thin-skinned and mean-spirited creator Rich had criticized. The second, however, was an affectionate tribute from Neil Gaiman in an early issue of Sandman. Neil and Rich had several friends in common, and meeting him in person at a convention led Neil to write one of his supporting characters with Richard’s voice.

@Glen: Flynt Bjojj did look like then-Legion fan Jay Zilber…but funnily enough, he also looked like a cross between Flynn and Broertjes as they appeared at the time. So it’s very hard to say what the intent was there.

“@Mike Blake: this is actually the third character modelled after Richard Morrissey to appear in a DC comic. The first was the one you’re thinking of, created as an act of petty revenge by a notoriously thin-skinned and mean-spirited creator Rich had criticized. ”

Tell more!

Gotta be John Byrne.

Was it Ron Marz? Morrissey was not a fan of Kyle Rayner and what happened during Emerald Twilight. I’m definitely curious about this too!

I could modestly mention that one of the main characters from Shooter’s short-lived Broadway comics line was named Nick Bartilucci…

Boy, I wish you’d asked me for a clarification about that Geoff Johns/AVENGERS item before posting it–because the way it’s being spun isn’t quite the way it went down.

On “Red Zone”, Geoff initially beated the story out with me as a five-issue arc. However, during this period, Marvel President Bill Jemas was very concerned about how our stories were opening, how much information and backstory was being thrown at the reader all at once, and how accessable this was making them. This was a concern up and down the line, not just for AVENGERS–and while Bill could certainly be dogmatic about his opinions, there was some merit in what he was saying.

So when we spoke about the opening to “Red Zone”, Bill suggested that we were hitting the ground too quickly, especially since it was the arc on which Olivier Coipel would be joining the creative team, and there was going to be a much bigger push on this issue. We discussed it, and Geoff in essence decided to take the events that would have played out in the single issue #65 and spread them over issues #65 and #66. Bill was very big on introducing the characters and situations deliberately and linearly, and was especially big on building up reader empathy through connections with ordinary people within the story. So the inital Red Zone attack became more involved, and the family who dies is given a bit more screen time, in order to try to make them feel like real characters rather than simply cannon fodder. Doing this had nothing to do with writing for the Trade and needing to hit a magic six-issue length –it was all motivated by a desire to make the opening of the story as welcoming to new readers as possible. And any complaints that the rest of it was just as padded are just plain wrong–the last four parts precisely mirror Geoff’s original outline for the story. It was only the first two issues that were affected.

And while Geoff probably tailored his approach on his remaining stories to take Bill’s feedback on this into account, we were never bothered in this way again, so “Search for She-Hulk” is four parts because we chose to make it four parts. If it felt padded and empty to people, that’s because they didn’t like the story, not because somebody was looking over Geoff’s shoulder and making him write bad. If we produced a clunker, then we produced a clunker–but in all honesty, I don’t really think we did. I’m very proud of Geoff’s run on AVENGERS and would work with him again in a heartbeat. You may fel differently about those stories, but that’s what makes horse races.

Tom B

Johns too-brief run on Avengers was the best the book has been in a long time. He had a great feel for the characters.

“He had killed two of my series, Defenders and Micronauts”

…FINALLY! I’ve been looking for proof of this rumor for quite some time. When Micronauts was cancelled right about the time the New Urinal line was launched, there were rumors circulating on FiDOPEnet and WWIVNet, and mumblings on Usenet, that some of the books that were canned at that time were canned not due to sales, but so Shooter could redirect the resources over to the NU books. IIRC, someone asked Carl Potts about this at a convention shortly after Micronauts was canned, and he hemmed and hawed a denial – apparently the “fear of Shooter’s Wrath” was still prevalent – but this is the first time I recall Gillis being hit up on this.

…One of my OMBloggers asked one time what Marvel titles from the 1980′s that were no longer around that I missed the most, Strikeforce: Morituri was at the top of the list in a three-way tie with ROM and Micronauts. A lot of my Marine ROTC buddies loved the Morituri stories, as it took the panties-n-capes concepts to a level of maturity that hadn’t been seen before in comics – at least, not on a monthly basis. At the same time, it provided a great psychological and sociological look into not just characters facing certain death, but into the same reactions in the *readers*! Until they came up with that “alien symbiotic virus” accidental cure for the “Burn-Out:”, Morituri fans knew going into the book that the characters were going to be around no more than a “year”, whether it be in book time or in actual issues. No matter how popular a character was, he/she/it was doomed once they became Morituri. Today we complain about long-standing characters getting pine boxed out of the blue – Bart Allen, Ted Kord, J’Onn, Steve Rogers, Ralph & Sue Dibny, Jonni DC – but Morituri showed that death could be handled properly in comics, even if it suddenly came out of the blue at the most unexpected and inopportune time. How the readers dealt with it was in many cases the same way they dealt with death in real-life situations, and was an interesting case study into how people deal with such losses.

As for the other two books, they were simply textbook examples of how to do a toy tie-in comic and make it better than the toy itself could have ever hoped to be…:-) :-) :-)

Fond and funny memories of Rich Morrissey, a fellow Superman devotee, who was not a John Byrne fan at all.

And the legendary Harry Broertjes also appeared in “Jimmy Olsen’s Pal, Fred Hembeck,” along with another fan whose name escapes me (reprinted in the current Hembeck omnibus.)

“Boy, I wish you’d asked me for a clarification about that Geoff Johns/AVENGERS item before posting it–because the way it’s being spun isn’t quite the way it went down.”

…Oh come on, Tom! With “decompression”(*) all the rage at Marvel during that period, how else *could* it have been interpreted? “We aint’ retreating, we’re advancing *southward!*” logic only applies to Marines in combat!

(*) May as well tell my infamous Bruce Jones joke:

Bruce’s Kid: “Daddy? Tell me a bedtime story!”

Bruce Jones: “Ok, son. Once up on a time….”

[pregnant pause]

Bruce’s Kid: “….And?”

Bruce Jones: “…And we’ll pick this up tomorrow night. Now go to sleep!”

I remember there being a Mike Chary Parademon somewhere too. Somewhere lame, like Extreme Justice.

Dave Blanchard said: Paul Gambaccini, a noted fan in the 1960s.

He went on to be a famous DJ in the UK. He still crops up on radio and TV over here. That’s one third of your recommended daily allowance of useless information.

Just to clear up a point made way up at the top, Mark Bagley actually did the art on about the last year of Strikeforce Morituri and then a follow-up story called ‘Electric Undertow’. I haven’t read it myself, but understand it wasn’t up to the earlier Gillis run. The first 20 or so issues, before, y’know, the cure thing, were brilliant – coinciding with Gillis’ time on the book before James Hudnall took over – keeping readers enthralled with action and poignancy as we literally didn’t know who might die next. And there was no coming back from it. I’ve heard people saying it should be collected a lot of times, but there’s been no sign of movement from Marvel. Maybe if a film becomes a reality, as Wizard mooted some years back in the course of some article on the 10 Best Comics You’ve Never Read (or something like that), we’ll see something. Until then it’s well worth hunting down in back bins or on eBay.

OM, do note that that is just Peter Gillis’ take on what happened. Not saying he is INcorrect, but just noting that I don’t think it really confirms anything.

And Tom, I tried to be good by qualifying the heck out of the legend! :) I used two “basically”s and a “more or less”! :)

But I’ll tell ya what, I’ll edit your comments into the piece, proper!

Ciaran: Are you sure it wasn’t called “Electric Boogaloo”?

My question for Mr. Gillis, who owns “Strikeforce Morituri”?? (I am guessing Marvel, since they continued to publish the book after you left it.) Can you take it to another publisher? Would you have any interest in revisiting that universe and telling new stories? I think there are plenty of interesting stories left to be told especially now. I would love if you picked up with issue #21 or #22 and we can all pretend Hudnall’s stuff didn’t happen.

kevin grindle

July 25, 2008 at 2:38 pm

i love this site. i check it every friday to see the new urban legend. it is sooo hard waiting for the next one. keep up the good work.
two questions:1) when hank pym became yellow jacket (avengers 59 & 60), was he supposed to stay a villian, and 2) was jim shooter going to make me a villian (avengers 212)

Ciaran: “…as Wizard mooted some years back in the course of some article on the 10 Best Comics You’ve Never Read…”

I remember reading this in Wizard and thinking “Hey, that sounds like a pretty cool comic.” So I spent the next year trying to track down the series, and luckily enough I found a bundled collection at a Comic con (Minus “Electric Boogaloo”). I loved the series, and I think it would be amazing as a TV show. By the way, did anyone else think “The Order” was going to end up being a kind of re-hash of SF:M? I mean with the whole “Initiative” thing, the gov’t making super heroes, add a time limit, and it comes pretty close.

“Doing this had nothing to do with writing for the Trade and needing to hit a magic six-issue length…[so on and so forth]…”–Come on, Tom. Are you really gonna pretend that the Trade Era of Marvel didn’t happen?

And I’m still waiting to see which creator mudslung Rich Morrissey.

Gosh. It just feels so… weird to see Strikeforce: Morituri praised. I saw a lot of clunkers back in the day, but S:M was in a class of its own. Shooter would indeed never have suggested something so bad – in execution, at least; the core concept is good enough, but the actual writing took every wrong turn it could find. It was cooorny all the way. I actually felt sorry for Peter Gillis. I still do.

Me, I would take the average New Universe book over S:M any day.

Heck, I would take Merc, perhaps even Kickers Inc., over S:M.

@Jono11: you already know the answer to that.

Interesting that it was the first issue of the Red Zone arc that was split in two, as it was issues five and six that felt the most padded to me — the climactic battle between Red Skull and Captain America was abruptly broken in two, if I recall.

And this is a problem that is still ongoing on Avengers books — the following contains some spoilers, I guess — one of the first SI tie ins (it was drawn by Cheung, though I don’t remember the issue number) had one page that was three panels of slightly different angles of Skrulls standing around. The recent New Avengers issue about Spiderwoman (also drawn by Cheung, I believe) ended with two pages of a spreading white-out over one identical panel. I could deal with dilated stories if they’d bother to include more information; it’s the idiotic padding with overblown panels that rankles me.

“Johns too-brief run on Avengers was the best the book has been in a long time.”

Fun challenge: Try and find a Geoff Johns run in a regular series to which the phrase “the best the book has been in a long time” doesn’t apply.

Decompression “was” all the rage at Marvel “then”?

Are these posts coming from the far-flung future or a parallel world? Because last I checked, it’s STILL the reigning practice.

You tend to see more done-in-one and short two-three part stories these days than you did even a few years ago.

@Eric:

The Charydemon appeared in issues #2-3 of the “Total Justice” toy-tie-in mini by Priest. It was actually a decent enough story as a way to hang the ridiculous “fractal tech gear” snap-on accessories and had some fun character moments with Wally, Kyle and Robin, but the art was outright atrocious in the first issue and merely enh in the others.

“Fun challenge: Try and find a Geoff Johns run in a regular series to which the phrase “the best the book has been in a long time” doesn’t apply.”

Teen Titans.

I loved Strikeforce: Morturi. One of my life’s motos comes from that title (I hope that isn’t as pathetic as it sounds.)

A mangled quote is, “You know what to do. You know what the answers are. So, I watch you and hope that someday I’ll know, too.”

Theno

With all due respect to Tom Brevoort, you’re telling me it was just a coincidence that almost *every* writer in Marvel at the time suddenly was unable to tell stories in less than 3 issue arcs? That every story had to be a 5 or 6 parter, which conveniently made for a better trade? That if it was less than 4 issues long, it wouldn’t be a good story? Please.

These days, a classic story like “Who is Donna Troy?” would be padded out to at least a 5 issue story arc. Hell, her wedding would’ve been a one-shot crossing over into half a dozen other titles. Or, to use a Marvel example, God only knows how long “Days of Future Past” would end up today…

Saturn Girl’s parents in the reboot were named for fans; her mother (and the name has stuck into the threeboot) is named for Sidne Gail Ward.

What is the ownership deal w/ Strikeforce? IIRC, in an interview early in Quesada’s E-I-C tenure he mentions that Greg Pak had done a fantastic pitch based off of the concepts but for a variety of legal reasons, would not see the light of day… I wonder if these reasons also prevent a reprint.

@Luis Dantas…. Not intended as a bash but it’s even weirder to me that anyone would consider the Gillis run on Strikeforce: Morituri a clunker… that’s the first time I’ve ever seen any negative criticism of Strikeforce: Morituri in 22 years. Ah, well… to each their own.

“He had killed two of my series, Defenders and Micronauts”

Doesn’t jibe with what I recall Shooter has said about the NU. Sounds to me like an Urban Legend for the future.

“Interesting that it was the first issue of the Red Zone arc that was split in two, as it was issues five and six that felt the most padded to me — the climactic battle between Red Skull and Captain America was abruptly broken in two, if I recall.”

The Skull and Cap completed their fight in one issue (the Skull cheated and won). The next issue featured a fight between the Skull and Black Panther.

“@Jono11: you already know the answer to that.”–I don’t think I do.

“You tend to see more done-in-one and short two-three part stories these days than you did even a few years ago.”–Unless you’re referring to Jonah Hex, JLA, Detective Comics and Blue Beetle, no, you really don’t see that from either of the Big Two.

Doesn’t jibe with what I recall Shooter has said about the NU. Sounds to me like an Urban Legend for the future.

Agreed, like I said above, while Gillis may be correct, I don’t think anything he says on what Shooter was thinking is definitive, just what Gillis was thinking, vis a vis the creation of Strikeforce: Morituri.

Scott Rowland

July 29, 2008 at 8:15 am

I never knew Rich Morrissey personally, but I really enjoyed reading his articles and letters. It’s good to know taht he is well-remembered by others. I don’t remember either the Gaiman character or the less favorable reference to him, but did catch the Legion one.

@Jono11 – I think you do know the answer already, based on a previous post. Perhaps it would help to point out that Rich Morrissey wrote a guest editorial for Amazing Heroes complaining about a story in which Superman cold bloodedly killed some supervillains. I don’t know for sure that it’s the person who wrote that story, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised.

R. J. Sterling

July 31, 2008 at 3:45 pm

I’m another reader who can’t believe there’s someone who didn’t think Gillis/Anderson’s ‘Morituri’ was an instant classic. As long as we’re comparing it to New Universe titles, it stood head and shoulders above any of those except ‘DP7′.

@Scott: If it really was Byrne I wouldn’t be at all surprised. When I posted that, though, I was just thinking, “Well, this is a total dick move, so let me think of who the biggest dick in comics is…oh yeah, John Byrne!”

ParanoidObsessive

November 22, 2008 at 3:33 am

>>> A few years ago Sci-Fi channel announced that they were going to do a Strikeforce show called “A Thousand Days” or something like that but then nothing more was ever said about it.

Sci-Fi has a habit of talking up properties to make into bad mini-series, then never uses them for whatever reason. WAAAAY back in like 1998 or so, they mentioned about 8 different classic sci-fi series they were planning to do mini-series with, but only Dune and Earthsea ever remotely saw the light of day. Though, considering how they turned out, perhaps I shouldn’t feel TOO upset that they never made the Nine Princes in Amber series I was looking forward to…

I remember Rich Morrissey from the mid- to late-90s through AOL (particularly DC Online’s section of that online service), where he had a screen name that read “RMorris” with a few numbers after the letter s.

He was indeed a smart guy (he had apparently earned a law degree but I don’t think he ever went into practice), we would go back and forth in interminable e-mail debates that typically started off about comics but ended up enveloping politics and theology, and I was surprised and saddened when I read in a random 2001 issue of Comics Journal (which I very rarely ever read) that he had died. I used to get frustrated whenever I thought he was ignoring what I thought were axiomatic points and would sometimes put him on a temporary e-mail block list so that I could for a few weeks at least derive some satisfaction from having the last word. Upon unblocking him would our exchanges resume where they left off as if no interruption had ever occurred.

He tolerated me referring to him as Dick Morris (I thought the R stood for Richard), but still never failed to correct me whenever I did, explaining that he found that former Clinton advisor an unsavory character to whom he didn’t appreciate being compared.

He seemed to be a pretty cool guy with some pretty strong opinions and a pretty vast reservoir of comic book trivia. It’s nice to see some other people still fondly talking about him 7 years (and now 12 years) later.

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives