web stats

CSBG Archive

Meta-Messages – Garth Ennis Takes a Fond Look at Crossovers

All October long I will be exploring the context behind (using reader danjack’s term) “meta-messages.” A meta-message is where a comic book creator comments on/references the work of another comic book/comic book creator using the characters in their comic. Each time around, I’ll give you the context behind one such “meta-message.” Here is an archive of the past installments! If you have a suggestion for a future meta-message, e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com.

Reader Alex suggested I take a look at a fun bit in Hitman #37 where Garth Ennis finally acknowledged all the DC crossover that took place during Hitman’s tenure (this is a more general meta-message about a BUNCH of creators rather than just one).

Even though Hitman came from the Bloodlines crossover, these things are obviously not Garth Ennis’ forte. Heck, the first solo Hitman story was ALSO a crossover tie-in (to a Batman crossover involving a deadly virus let loose in Gotham City).

So in Hitman #37, with Gotham City once again caught up in a crossover of sorts, No Man’s Land (where Gotham City is cut off from the rest of the world after an earthquake), Ennis finally caught up with the various crossovers, in an irreverent fashion….

Cute bit.

22 Comments

The ‘alien invasion’ they referred to was probably 1989’s INVASION!

J.A.P.

Man, does Garth Ennis write anything that ISN’T shock value and rants about how he doesn’t like superheroes?

“Man, does Garth Ennis write anything that ISN’T shock value and rants about how he doesn’t like superheroes?”

Um … well, for one, how about the scene that Brian just posted?

amazing how many cross overs garth has hitman refer to. from invasion to contagion to of course blood lines where tommy got his powers from and also final night no wonder garth hates writitng superheroes having to keep track if his character is involved in such cross overs

Man, does Garth Ennis write anything that ISN’T shock value and rants about how he doesn’t like superheroes?

Yes. For instance, the scene in this article.

“Even though Hitman came from the Bloodlines crossover”

The reference in the scene makes more sense when you know that, in the context, nobody (except maybe Nate) knows about Tommy’s Bloodlines-based powers. I think they said later that Ringo knows too, which is implied by his dialogue here.

Yeah, nobody knew except Ringo. That was when they were setting up the whole Tommy vs. Ringo thing (the two best guns destined to go at each other) near the end of the series.

Yes. For instance, the scene in this article.

Um… a scene which takes the piss out of superhero crossover events probably qualifies under “rants about how he doesn’t like superheroes”.

I’m with John: I never understood the worship of Ennis. Though I would add cynical humour and ultraviolence to the list of his standard tropes along with rants about superheroes and shock value.

Only if you’re really, really sensitive about it. I’m the reverse, in that I don’t really understand the backlash against Ennis. I like superhero comics; that’s why I read them, but I can handle someone poking — in this case the gentlest of — fun at them now and again. There’s a lot that’s inherently ridiculous about them, so it seems counterproductive to have no sense of humor regarding those tropes.

Hi Brian,

I was reading Captain America Corps #4 yesterday and if you take a look (sorry, don’t have the book with me to give you exact page number, it’s the first half the book though) I think you may find Roger Stern’s thoughts on the Civil War Marvel event.

I don’t think there even is such a thing as “worship of Ennis”, not in the sense that you can say that there’s a worship of Morrison or Moore. He’s a very divisive guy.

Ennis is my favorite comics writer. Hitman is just one of the many reasons why I like him. Yes, he does have his bag of tricks, but so does every writer in the industry. And I love superhero comics, but the way Ennis shows his dislike for the genre always makes me laugh (The Pro comes to mind in that respect).

Ennis’ appeal for me is in the well-defined characters and subtle moments that allow the cruder,more broad (and more well-known) moments to work. Books like War Stories and Heartland deal mostly with the subtle, while Preacher spends more of its time with the crude. I think Hitman might have had the best balance between the two sides of his writing.

Man, does Garth Ennis write anything that ISN’T shock value and rants about how he doesn’t like superheroes?

Hitman #34, Fury: Peacemaker (a WWII story), War Stories, Enemy Ace: War in Heaven, most of his Hellblazer run (but especially the arc about the race riot in the North of England), his entire run of Midnighter, Punisher: The Tyger (which is surprisingly low on violence for a Punisher story, let alone an Ennis one…), his recent Dan Dare series, and plenty of other examples I’m not thinking of.

I will admit, though, that Ennis is basically the Martin McDonagh of comics, both in terms of over-the-top content and sheer bloody talent.

Um… a scene which takes the piss out of superhero crossover events probably qualifies under “rants about how he doesn’t like superheroes”.

I’m with John: I never understood the worship of Ennis. Though I would add cynical humour and ultraviolence to the list of his standard tropes along with rants about superheroes and shock value.

Exactly. If he doesn’t like superheroes so much, I’m at a loss as to why he keeps going on about it. Just don’t write superheroes.

+1 on John Turnbull’s

And I myself hate crossover events.

He may not like superheroes too much (Superman excepted) but he seems to like making fun of them sometimes, so what’s wrong with that?

First of all, Ennis hardly occupies the majority of his time with superhero-bashing, although he does seem to wail on about it a little more than necessary. As for “shock value”? OK, I guess if you’re trying to be offended, but he’s no more “shock value” than Quentin Tarantino. What Ennis does, he does for a reason, and it always serves a purpose. Anyone who only saw Preacher as some sort of sick, messed up thing–and there were people who liked it for being that and disliked it for being that–missed the entire point.

Garth Ennis writes some of the most warm, sweet, human characters in fiction. He does it against pastiched backdrops of War Story, Crime Story, and Western Story, and paints with a broad palette that usually includes Crazy Gross Spectacle.

And then there’s The Boys, which in essence flips the black-and-white superhero moral system on its head. He takes a group of “superheroes” and a group of characters who most comics would cast as “supervillains,” and switches it up so that the villains are the defenders of virtue and rightness, and the heroes are the depraved ones. It’s just an interesting little look at the genre, not a polemic.

The Beast Of Yucca Flats

October 29, 2011 at 9:11 am

‘Man, does Garth Ennis write anything that ISN’T shock value and rants about how he doesn’t like superheroes?’

[ahem]

Punisher MAX
Unknown Soldier
The entirety of War Story & Battlefields
Heartland
Troubled Souls
True Faith
Enemy Ace: War In Heaven
That take on Dan Dare he did with Gary Erskine
That 2-pager he did with Lee in Ex Machina #40

Garth Ennis is the best mature stories writer in the business. Fact.
He’s the only major British writer I know who’s transcended the superhero trope. And he’s done this by having absolutely nothing to do with it. He earns the ‘Mature Comics Writer’ title more than anybody else in his league. Even his superhero comics ( mercifully a few of them ), don’t even READ like superhero comic stories, much less are one. When some people’s horror are basically Batman stories without the cowl and the cape.

So fuck Neil Gaiman and/or Grant Morrison, and maybe even Alan Moore. Definitely Mark Millar.

Plus, if you are to think of someone who bafflingly writes superheroes despite his ( pretentious ) distaste of them, think Warren Ellis.

* Major British writer in American comics.

Mindless Ones pointed out that Garth Ennis wrote his Hellblazer run at 21, and True Faith when he was eighteen years old.

You wouldn’t have guessed that from reading them, is all I’m saying.

Mychael Darklighter

July 29, 2012 at 9:58 pm

fuck ramboratrat.

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