How Lee & Kirby's "Fantastic Four" Birthed the Marvel Universe, Part 1
This is the third in a series (of indefinite length and regularity) explaining the context behind (using reader danjack’s term) “meta-messages.” A meta-message is where a comic book writer comments on/references the work of another comic book in their comic. Each time around, I’ll give you the context behind one such “meta-message.”
Today we look at Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s take on…the Architects!
In the very cool comic book story that I just recommended earlier tonight, Doctor Thirteen: Architecture and Morality (which originally ran as a back-up in Tales of the Unexpected #1-8 but is now collected in its own trade paperback), the characters in the story are dealing with the fact that the “Architects” do not want them to exist any more.
The story is basically about the whole concept of a story like, say, Crisis on Infinite Earths, determining which fictional characters are “a part of the DC Universe” and which ones no longer “belong.”
In this instance, it is Infinite Crisis that is being discussed, the most recent (at the time) company-wide crossover.
So in this story, “the Architects” are determining which characters are going to be a part of the DC Universe, so naturally, Azzarello and Chiang put together a group of characters who no longer seem to have a place in the DC Universe, including Anthro (a caveman character), Genius Jones (an old Golden Age character) and Captain Fear (an old swashbuckling pirate character from the 1970s).
And who ARE these “Architects?”
None other than the four writers of 52, Grant Morrison, Mark Waid, Geoff Johns and Greg Rucka.
They first appear when the characters (who are traveling in a ghost pirate ship) are attacked by a walking Mount Rushmore, but after some cosmetic changes, it is clear that it is…the Architects (or Misters Morrison, Waid, Johns and Rucka)…
In the next issue, they appear wearing superhero costume masks…
What I especially love about Azzarello’s take on the architects is that he clearly is not picking on these four guys or anything like that, but rather, just the idea of a universe having “architects,” as obviously, as soon as these guys leave the company, someone ELSE will be in charge and things that they did not want to have happen will happen (which we have seen over and over in comic history – heck, it’s not like Waid even ended up as much of an “Architect” of the DC Universe, really).
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