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CSBG Archive

Cross-Hatchings for March 2013

This and that. Comics, pulps, television, all sorts of things. You know the drill by now.


Dead Robins: I didn’t actually READ the damn thing. I went cold turkey off the Bat books a few months ago and I’ve stayed off ‘em. But people keep asking me, as a Bat-fan of forty years’ standing, what I think about the death of the latest Robin.

I always reply, “Didn’t read it.” But they keep after me anyway. So here’s my hip-shot, didn’t-read-it, man-on-the-street assessment.

First, the “event death” stunt is a lame ploy for ANY continuing serial character, no matter what the series might be. Star Trek and the death of Spock. Dallas and the death of Bobby Ewing. Whatever. Because the audience will instantly get pulled out of the story and start arguing– with each other, with themselves– over how long it’s going to last and how long it will take for the franchise owners to walk it back. And what that walk-back is going to look like. (All a dream? Clone? Superboy punch? Lazarus Pit?)

And it’s especially stupid in superhero comics where the audience is already so jaded. I don’t care who’s writing it. Grant Morrison, Alan Moore, Will friggin’ Eisner, I don’t care. It’s still lame. For a writer of fiction, anything that causes your audience to become LESS involved with your story is a dumb idea.

Secondly, this makes, in DC continuity time, the third dead Robin in a period of, what? Five years? Six?

That just doesn’t make sense on any level, not if Batman is as noble and caring about innocent lives as he says he is. Don’t forget, in the original Dark Knight Returns (which is actually where I think this let’s-kill-Robin! idea first started) Frank Miller also posited that the death of Jason traumatized Bruce Wayne to the point where he quit being Batman.

But in the current DCU, the death of Robin just means that a vacancy’s opened up in the Batcave. Time to recruit another kid. Yawn.

Does that make sense to anyone on a character level? Forget for a moment that both Jason and Stephanie got better, that doesn’t matter to the internal logic of the story and characters; no one in a DC comic goes around thinking, Well, yes, I might be killed, but chances are that a crazy alternate Superboy will punch an energy wall and I’ll eventually return and be fine. The characters treat these things as serious, real events, and that creates huge problems for internal consistency and suspension of disbelief.

Consider this. If Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, Tim Drake, even Barbara Gordon or the Justice League… if these people are actually the people we are constantly told they are, it seems to me they all would be reacting, on some level, with “Never again. No more Robins. Not burying any more teenagers.” All of them. Including Batman himself. Hell, they would all have been saying that after the first time; but this is the third for Christ’s sake. After a third dead kid, how is the JLA not actively trying to shut down the whole idea of Robin at that point? Wouldn’t they even be having doubts about Batman himself? (Again, haven’t read it, but if that’s actually happening in the books no one is talking about it. All the coverage I’ve seen is speculating on who the NEXT Robin’s going to be.)

So, the short version of my response to the Damian Wayne thing is this– I thought it was a dumb tasteless idea that stank of desperation the first time, with Jason Todd, and my opinion hasn’t changed now that it’s the third time DC’s done it. It probably won’t change the fourth or fifth time either. Event Deaths are just a dumb idea, period. It’s played out. And with Robin it’s getting to the level of South Park killing Kenny.

That’s my response….again, without having actually read the thing. It may be genius. But I doubt it. (What was genius was the role reversal of the Dick-and-Damian version of Batman and Robin, and yes, I am still bitter that we didn’t get more of that.)

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Emerald City Loot: I didn’t much chance to go shopping at the Emerald City Comics Convention beyond my customary twenty minutes at Randy’s Readers, but I did get to pick up some new titles. A couple of spaces down from us, Andrew Salmons was tabling and he had a few books out. Of those, I was immediately drawn to this one.

Dan Fowler: G-Man volume one is another fun anthology of original stories featuring a classic pulp character that’s fallen into the public domain. I’m always interested in the Airship27 pulp revivals, and Mr. Salmons let this one go for ten dollars, which is a pretty hefty discount. Apart from all that, I’ve had a soft spot for Dan Fowler since I encountered him in the pages of High Adventure.

High Adventure #83 starring Dan Fowler and his hard-as-nails crew of Feds actually was my candlelight reading during a really crappy storm here a few years ago, and it’s nice to see Airship27’s picked up the character.

The anthology itself consists of four stories– “The Dungeon of Death” by Gregory Bastionelli, “Harvest of Crime” by B.C. Bell, “The Music of Murder” by Aaron Smith, and Salmons’ own “The League of Dead Patriots.” All four were enjoyable, and the Salmons entry even had a guest appearance by the Domino Lady. The illustrations from Kelly Everart are very much in the pulp tradition, as well (though to be honest it always throws me a little to see them reproduced so cleanly, which is not in the pulp tradition at all.) I’d recommend this to anyone that’s looking for a pulpy good time; the print version is a probably priced a little high for most people, but there’s a digital version available at the Airship27 page for a very reasonable three dollars. While you’re there, you might want to check out some of the other stuff too.

Another impulse buy came when I was passing Michael Woods’ table and he had a little standup sign that posed the question, Do You Like Westerns?

Well, I do like Westerns. A great deal, as regular readers could tell you, and I especially like them in comics. So I had to see what this was all about.

Turns out it was about this.

Outlaw Territory Volume 2 is the second book of an amazing anthology series from Image that, somehow, I had not heard about.

  • This hilariously nasty story about a rumormongering undertaker creating chaos for his own benefit opens the book. Astonishingly, it’s scripted by Rich Johnston. Coincidence? One wonders. In any case I have to admit it tickled my funnybone and the art from Tom Fowler was a treat as well.
  • A variety of writers ranging from Len Wein to Robert Kirkman to Greg Pak to Rich Johnston team with an even wider variety of artists– Joe Staton, Sean Phillips, Rafael Albequerque, along with an array of astonishingly talented folks I’ve never heard of– to produce a book full of punchy, well-crafted Western short pieces, all of which feature really terrific art– there’s not a loser in the bunch. I especially dug the stuff from the folks I’d never heard of like Diego Tripodi and Jose Jaro.

  • Jaro on the left, Tripodi on the right. The stories were good too.
  • You can bet I’ll be on the prowl for volume one and I was very pleased to see there’s a volume three on the way, too. When he signed it Mr. Woods thanked me for taking a chance on the book but what I really love, as it turns out, is that he and Image are taking a chance on doing it. I hope they keep going for a long, long time.


    Super-People on My TV: I admit to being largely ambivalent about it at first but I am slowly getting into the TV show Arrow.

    It’s not really what I think of as “Green Arrow,” but then again, neither is the current DC Comics incarnation. Unlike the comic, though, the TV show has kind of sneaked up on Julie and me. We’re enjoying the fumbling beginnings of Oliver Queen’s crimefighting career, the crew he’s assembled (Like most of America, we fell in love with Emily Rickards as snarky IT girl Felicity, and every week we wonder why Ollie keeps trying to get next to Dinah or McKenna, when Felicity is clearly the girl that’s got it going on.)

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    But never mind all that. The IMPORTANT part is that the Paleyfest panel with Geoff Johns interviewing the producers and cast of the show is now online at Hulu, here, for free. I thought it was interesting and fun and answered a lot of the things that were bothering me about the way they’d set the show up. If it’s not MY Oliver Queen, well, it’s still a pretty good one and I appreciate the craft and care everyone involved is obviously trying to bring to it.


    From The Review Pile: People continue to send me cool books, particularly small-press folks. As usually happens, they’re starting to pile up on me a bit so I’m going to try to get through as many as I can here.

    I was really impressed with Silence & Co., from Crystal Productions.

    As far as I know this is their initial entry into comics publishing and it’s set a really high bar for them to match with future efforts, assuming there are any. It’s written by Gur Benshemesh with art by Ron Randall. The story is about a Alex, a disillusioned ex-soldier who’s currently a career hitman, who finds himself taking on a corrupt international banking organization and trying not to get caught in the crossfire between South American drug cartels and U.S. law enforcement while he does it.

    I had mixed reactions to this story. I found it enormously compelling– it was almost impossible to put down once I’d started. It’s very tough and cool, in much the same action-movie, hard-R tradition as other crime comics like 2 Guns or The Losers. Certainly Mr. Benshemish knows how to spin a tale; the writing is as crisp and spare as a story like this calls for, and he keeps things moving along at a good clip with plenty of twists and turns along the way.

    And Ron Randall’s art is a delight, maybe even a career best for him as far as I’m concerned. He’s always been good, in a dependable journeyman-artist sort of way, but here he’s really stretching himself.

    So let’s get all that up front. This is a hell of a nice piece of work, it’s really well-done. I admire it enormously and I want to see more books like this. I love that it’s a crime novel. I love that it’s produced in black-and-white in a relatively inexpensive but classy format. I love that everyone involved is bringing their A-game. I really do think this kind of bookstore original graphic novel is the wave of the future.


    There is a ‘but.’ A couple of them, honestly.

    With all this talent and passion that everyone clearly brought to the project, I feel almost guilty for not liking it more. I enjoy a dark crime story as much as anyone and more than most people, but everyone in this book is so relentlessly awful it’s hard to care about any of them. Snappy patter and a badass attitude don’t really cover up what a horrible human being Alex is. I get that he has reasons for being disillusioned and bitter, but he’s still a sociopath that kills indiscriminately for cash…. and he’s the hero. Everyone around him is worse. I freely grant you that realistically, this is how hitmen and drug dealers and mobsters and even embittered federal cops really would act… but it nevertheless makes the story less enjoyable when you feel like no one in it deserves to be the victor.

    And– this is my inner production printer guy holding sway for a moment– the book is way too black. Black title and chapter pages, thick black story page borders, the cover’s mostly black…. I can tell by looking at this that every press guy that worked on this book hates Crystal’s production designer with a white-hot fury, whether they admit it out loud or not. This would be a production nightmare just because of the way they must have had to fight to keep all that black ink from offsetting from one page to the next, or soaking through. And the net effect is that all that black ink bordering the art washes out all Ron Randall’s beautiful linework and makes the pages look too empty. Somebody got a little carried away with the idea of doing a noir book, I think.

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    All that said, I do recommend it. Silence & Co is well worth your time. But I hope Crystal follows it with something a little less bleak.

    Speaking of crime stories that are a little less bleak, I really loved the latest from Hard Case Crime, a terrific Max Collins-Terry Beatty collaboration called Seduction of the Innocent.

    This is another mystery set in and around the comics industry of the 1950s, featuring newspaper syndicate VP Jack Starr and his imperious stepmother (and boss) Maggie. There were two previous entries in the series, with both of them also featuring illustrations by Terry Beatty.

    The Jack Starr mysteries are not the kind of hard-boiled fare one might expect if you only know Max Collins through Road to Perdition or his Nate Heller books. These are breezy, fun mysteries much more in the spirit of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe, or maybe the Ellery Queen TV show with Jim Hutton.

    Except the Starr novels are always built around something to do with comics. In this case, as you probably guessed from the title, the mystery is loosely based on Frederic Wertham and the Kefauver hearings on comics. Who killed Dr. Werner Frederick, the crusading psychologist out to destroy comic books? Was it Frederick’s nemesis Bob Price from Entertaining Funnies? Or the troubled artist, Will Allison? Or media vulture Harry Barray? Or the senator, or the juvenile hood, or….

    You get the idea. It’s all in good fun and Terry Beatty’s illustrations really help set the mood.

    The Starr books are a treat in any case, but especially welcome for those of us that know something about comics history and enjoy seeing Colllins and Beatty working together again. Even if it’s not Ms. Tree, it’s still a crime book from the same creative team and it’s just as much fun.


    That’s all I’ve got, this time out. I really am trying to whittle away at the review pile, but this week’s column is well into “TL;DR” territory already, so I figured it was better to cut it short. If you sent something and I didn’t get to it yet, I will, I promise.

    And in the meantime, I’ll see you next week.


    The Original Jimmy

    March 16, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    I’m about to step of the Batman train as well after reading the title on and off since 1978, and actively collecting it since the mid eighties. And it’s not because of all the Robin deaths. I can understand the reason why Batman gets new partners after they’ve died – Jason Todd was made Robin because Bats thought he’d end up a criminal like his Dad so the role gave him a purpose. I never understood the Tim Drake reason because that was because of Bruce Wayne’s needs, which in the end is pretty selfish. Damian I could understand as Robin because after all, the little dude was a trained assassin, so it was his only hope of not ending up as a world despot like his grandfather. So historically Robins keep appearing because they’re damaged individuals who wouldn’t survive unless they’re given that role (counselling, and analysis don’t exist in comics. It’s a plot device – otherwise Bruce would have received therapy and just become a philanthropist)
    But I agree comic book “deaths” are old hat now. But I take issue with Spock. His death and resurrection was cool.

    Minor quibble, but Damian is only the second dead Robin in the New 52. Stephanie Brown does not, as yet, exist. No Spoiler. No Robin. No Batgirl. No nothing.

    Still, you’re right, one isn’t enough?

    Also, link to Airship 27 website doesn’t work. Still, I found it on my own and I think they should be giving you royalty money. Just glancing at their website, I think they’re going to be getting quite a few of their titles. They look like they have some fun stuff.

    And thank you for mentioning the new Max Allan Collins/Terry Beatty novel. Max is one of my favorite authors and I had completely forgotten this was coming out.

    Found your comments about Airship 27 and Dan Fowler quite interesting. But have you checked out any of the other new pulp publishers that are making a go of the genre today?

    Also, link to Airship 27 website doesn’t work. Still, I found it on my own and I think they should be giving you royalty money.

    Fixed it. And I like to plug things I like, and I don’t enjoy writing bad reviews. Anyway, they do a lot of good stuff. Adam Garcia’s Green Lama Unbound is a terrific book. Also the Mystery Men collections.

    Found your comments about Airship 27 and Dan Fowler quite interesting. But have you checked out any of the other new pulp publishers that are making a go of the genre today?

    You must be new! Yes indeed, it seems to come up around here once every six weeks or so.

    ” First, the “event death” stunt is a lame ploy for ANY continuing serial character, no matter what the series might be. Star Trek and the death of Spock. Dallas and the death of Bobby Ewing. Whatever. Because the audience will instantly get pulled out of the story and start arguing– with each other, with themselves– over how long it’s going to last and how long it will take for the franchise owners to walk it back. And what that walk-back is going to look like. (All a dream? Clone? Superboy punch? Lazarus Pit?) ”

    But Damien’s death was planned all along, and Grant Morrison’s said that he was going to end Damien’s story much earlier than he did (but held off due to the character’s unforseen popularity). Damien was not the kind of character who was designed to have a neverending career as a fixture of the cast. He was created with a story in mind that had a tragic conclusion. I.E. The opposite of an event death.

    But Damien’s death was planned all along, and Grant Morrison’s said that he was going to end Damien’s story much earlier than he did (but held off due to the character’s unforseen popularity). Damien was not the kind of character who was designed to have a neverending career as a fixture of the cast. He was created with a story in mind that had a tragic conclusion. I.E. The opposite of an event death.

    And you don’t think it’s diluted at all from it being the third time it’s been done? That Grant Morrison couldn’t have come up with something better to “end Damian’s story”? That maybe there was a different way to get there? That it doesn’t diminish the character of Batman to have him stubbornly continue to put kids in harm’s way?

    I mean, if you really think so, okay, but “But Morrison PLANNED it!” doesn’t seem like much of a defense of what still strikes me as intrinsically a bad idea.

    Jason Todd’s death was pure shlock (The toll number, the aftermath of grieving Batman), and it was in poor taste because Jim Starlin never went anywhere with it. It was shocking just for the sake of it.

    I don’t think it’s fair to judge whether if killing Damian was a good or bad idea yet because we haven’t even seen it play out! There are still four more issues left, and honestly I’m confident that Morrison will deliver.

    The whole conceit of Batman: Last Rites is that Death in the Family was the event that sent Batman comics spiraling from one tragic event comic to another. I honestly don’t think it’s a coincidence that Morrison is coming back to this now at the end of his run.

    @The Original Jimmy
    Don’t forget, that’s the Post-Crisis Jason Todd you’re talking about–the Pre-Crisis one was a sweet kid.

    Andrew Collins

    March 16, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Sat down a few weeks ago and burned through Seduction Of The Innocent in one sitting. I only discovered the Jack & Maggie Starr novels from Collins recently and loved all 3 of them. This was probably my favorite. I was a little sad when Collins mentioned in the acknowledgements this was the end of his planned trilogy for the books, so I contacted him on his website and asked if there was any possibilities for getting more. He replied that if sales warrant it, he has ideas for more, including one centered around George Reeves’ murder. So go out there and buy it people, it’s good reading!

    Andrew Collins

    March 16, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Oh, and I forgot to add “no relation” in my praise of Collins as an author! :)

    Depends; if you just see the story as “Robin dies”, it’s derivative. But Damien’s had a complete character arc, from the pompous little Anti-Christ he used to be, to the Robin trying desperately to be good but having no idea how to do so, to the present point where he actually becomes the hero of his own independent choice– only to die ignominiously in the middle of a struggle between his parents. It’s a nature vs. nurture arc with a tragic conclusion, where the forces competing for Damien’s soul ended up doing him in.

    It’s a sad story, not a bad one.

    I just found out about “Seduction of the Innocent” about 2 weeks ago when it was reviewed on another blog – and I was wondering when/if you would be writing about it. Needless to say, I ordered a copy immediately. And just for good measure, I tracked down used copies of the two other Jack Starr mysteries. I’m really looking forward to reading these.
    And thanks for the reminder to visit the Airship 27 site. That new Mike Baron book promoted on the home page also looks pretty interesting…

    As much as I love Morrison’s Bat run, I’m not sure that he’s done the best work with Damian. The l’il bastard has been a lot of fun in various things (which I think probably contributes to the Morrison version not coming across as well — it’s not quite a “pure” version of what Morrison’s trying to do when we know Damian from other stuff too).

    But I think Peter Tomasi has done 2 of the best Damian related comics lately — Batman and Robin Annual 1 and B&R 18. 18 deals with Bruce mourning, and is word(balloon)less, while the Annual was a wonderful tale of Damian getting Bruce and Alfred out of the country so he could dress in a Batsuit, but the way he got them away really helped grow Damian’s character, and even Alfred got some good bits in the book!

    Anyway, as to your in story “why isn’t someone stepping in and stopping Batman?”, you’re totally right, it’s absurd in story that no one is stopping him from having Robins.

    In the top picture on this post, what is that comic about in the middle, with the lady in glasses, and it looks like it’s signed with a pink smiley face?

    Dan Fowler looks about 12 in that first cover. “Look out, he doesn’t care if he has to go to juvie!”

    Have not heard of Outlaw Territory, which is odd because I try to look out for Image stuff. Plus, I read bleeding cool fairly regularly and I don’t know that Rich turns down an opportunity to hype a comic he’s done work in ;) Hopefully when v.3 comes out they’ll re-solicit the rest and I can pick ‘em all up.

    Now I guess it confirms that I need to get Silence and Co. Hopefully it’ll do well and we can get more Trekker (did they collect that from DH recently? I thought you mentioned it before, but I could be nuts. Well, more nuts than I think….)

    But Silence & Co is in the March issue of Previews on page 293 (so says Other Greg’s Flippin’), so your local shop should be able to get an order in for it still.

    Andrew Collins

    March 17, 2013 at 2:09 am

    The next Previews coming out features a listing for a “Trekker Omnibus” from Dark Horse, which collects all the previously published stories. It also mentions new material in the listing, which I presume is the recent story that appeared in DH Presents..

    Oh, rockin’! I’ll have to pick that up, thanks for the info Andrew. I’ve always liked the different Trekker stories I’ve seen in various DHP issues, so having them all together will be cool.

    Now let’s see Black Cross all together…

    Boo to the stereotypical “savage Indians” on the cover of “Outlaw Territory.”

    I don’t know, I remember Spock dying as a very moving moment in Star Trek, and would have been fine if that was where his story ended. Looking back, maybe it should have been obvious that Spock would be brought back, but, if Search for Spock had ended with Kirk realizing he could not bring his friend back, I would have been fine with it, especially since the movie we were given was not all that good. Isn’t it weird, though, that that movie ended with the death of Kirk’s son? Still, I will always argue that Barry Allen’s death was so incredibly well done, that it elevated the character in a way that his early comics did not. He became the martyred hero, and, though he was dead, he appeared everywhere. He appeared in flashbacks and appeared in miniseries like New Frontier where he just came off cooler and more heroic if the fans did not know how heroically he died. Also, his death made Wally West a much more interesting character, and I actually thought it a ‘stunt’ when Barry Allen was brought back to life.
    I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t consider death of genre characters to be a horrible unforgivable thing, but, when it comes to the death of Robin, I definitely see a problem. The problem comes from the fact that, one, Robin is supposed to on some level be the heir to his hero mentor, in the same way a knight’s page will take his boss’s mantle in the future. By killing Robin, it does feel like you’re killing hope. Second, there does seem to be a lot of killing of children in comics these days. Before the new 52, the Teen Titans was basically a killing ground for any character below the age of 18. Heck, there is now a Marvel comic where the premise is that you kill a teenager every issue. I just wonder what it says about fandom, and our world in general.

    In the top picture on this post, what is that comic about in the middle, with the lady in glasses, and it looks like it’s signed with a pink smiley face?

    It’s Y The Last Man #47. I should add that the photo is not MY pile of comics. I found it on the internet doing a search for ‘comics pile,’ because that seemed like an appropriate header– we’ve been asked to supply some kind of a graphic for our headers now. I probably should try to come up with some sort of regular one but I kind of enjoy the challenge of deciding what the header picture should be each week… something that will work as a horizontal stripe because that’s the dimension we’ve been given, that’s also interesting to look at, and suggests content.

    I’m still figuring it out… actually trying to figure several things out, because the site revamp came with a software revamp. But we’re getting there.

    From what I’ve read of the “Trek” movies, the producers didn’t start with the intent to bring Spock back to life.


    Spock’s death was intended to be irrevocable, but Nimoy had such a positive experience during filming that he asked if he could find a way for Spock to return in a later film.

    Spock’s death was intended to be irrevocable, but Nimoy had such a positive experience during filming that he asked if he could find a way for Spock to return in a later film.

    I guess I should clarify my viewpoint on this. These deaths are ALL intended to be irrevocable when people first use them in a story. Sure, Spock was intended to be forever, that’s how they got Nimoy to even show up in the first place. Barry Allen was intended to be forever. The Kara Zor-El Supergirl was intended to be forever. Hal Jordan. Oliver Queen. Jason Todd. And so on and so on. I will even posit that the writers that use that plot point, every one of them, meant those character deaths to be emotionally affecting and to have real resonance in the context of the story in which they were presented. Even the Dallas writers with Bobby Ewing.

    It doesn’t matter.

    Because in an endless, serialized storytelling format, sooner or later those characters leave the custody of that writer and eventually the corporate entities that DO own the characters will realize that a dead character isn’t generating income. And the bigger the character franchise is, the more likely that the death won’t stick. (In the Spock example, the commitment didn’t even last the length of time it took to make the goddamn story Spock DIED in.)

    Robin the Boy Wonder is a huge property for DC comics. Period the end. And DC learned what the reaction of the general public was to screwing around with that property with the 1-800-Kill-Jason stunt. That’s what I’m talking about. It’s not about Damian Wayne. It’s about the fact that Batman, the corporate intellectual property, is never going to be allowed to exist without the associated corporate intellectual property, Robin the Boy Wonder. Therefore any story that claims to kill off that property, to end it forever, is going to get walked back sooner or later. It is inevitable, no matter how determined the writers of the time might be that it won’t happen THIS time.

    For Grant Morrison to not be aware of that, for him to make a big deal of turning Damian into the new Robin and insisting the entire Batman line of titles adapt to that (to the point where Chuck Dixon was fired off writing the Tim Drake Robin title that he essentially created, don’t forget) just for the sake of a single story arc where the big payoff is killing Robin a third time… to me, that’s either arrogance to the point of rock-star excess or naivete to the point of Pollyanna silliness. That’s not how corporate comics work.

    When his big moment is an echo of two previous big death-of-Robin moments (that were both, inevitably, undone) and Mr. Morrison has already been to this well once with the “death of Batman” in FINAL CRISIS that he knew he’d have to undo from the outset… sorry, I just don’t care how good the actual story is. It weakens the piece. It doesn’t have to be Morrison, it doesn’t have to even be Robin. It’s a truism derived from the nature of pop culture serial characters. When you KNOW a death can’t stick, a story is stronger and people pay more attention to the actual story without it. Think of all the TV shows and movies where a main character is thought to have died and is doubletalked back to life by the end. It’s lame.

    Apparently everyone’s complaint is that I’m ignoring the actual story in the examples I gave. Well, yeah. That’s my point. Because the death stuff is too distracting, franchise-character stories work better without the Franchise Character Event Death baggage attached to them, no matter how well-crafted or well-intentioned the original story might have been. That’s my position.

    The first page of the first issue of the DCnU Batman Incorporated is a flashforward to Bruce standing over a gravestone saying “It’s over, Alfred. Batman. All of it.” So this idea that Bruce is going to mourn for a bit and then gleefully resume his children’s crusade on crime doesn’t hold up. Anyway, it’s no coincidence that this story comes in the middle of Bruce’s war against Talia and Leviathan, whose plan revolves around recruiting and brainwashing child soldiers. Morrison is well aware that the whole kid-sidekick thing is problematic. You can also see it with Knight and Squire–Knight was the original sidekick who wound up a washed-up alcoholic, and is now more-or-less dependent on his sidekick to keep him on the straight and narrow; then he dies, leaving her alone.

    Anyway, it seems sort of beside the point given what a huge number of teenage superheroes there are running around nowadays. You’d think the safest place for an enterprising young vigilante would be next to Batman.

    i agree with you on the lastest dead robin thing in batman just being a ploy espically when damien was done in by a clone of himself which means down the line dc will wind up having him pop up as a new clone by talie or another dip int he Larus pit though given how dc editors freaked when damien was first concieved as batman having a bio kid. odds are it may be a long time before he returns like other comic deaths and will have to track down silence and co to see how the story turns out now

    Erech Overaker

    March 17, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    Wow, 2 books I hadn’t heard of AT ALL I need now. Silence & Co. and that western anthology look great, thanks.

    […] from jaded cynicism to accusations of child murder to heartfelt misery, to Greg Hatcher’s heated argument that the Robin concept doesn’t work if fatal harm befalls one of them, let alone several. But […]

    I still like the idea I had for Spock’s return from the dead. When they sent his body to the Genesis planet, the Genesis process would incorporate him into what it was doing, resulting in – Spock the Living Planet.

    It’s difficult to bring an iconic TV character back when the actor refuses to play the role any longer. But I agree with you in general, Greg.

    Are you the greg Hatcher that wrote the Nero Wolfe pastiche Memo for Murder?

    Are you the Greg Hatcher that wrote the Nero Wolfe pastiche Memo for Murder?

    Yes, I am. God bless you for reading that. It is possibly my favorite writing credit ever. Sorry I took so long to answer.

    If you enjoyed that, there are also these:


    Anthologies containing similar old-school mysteries of roughly the same novelette length. There’s another Holmes due out sometime early next year, and also a swashbuckling Harryhausen-esque fantasy for an upcoming volume of the series Sinbad: the New Voyages. All from Airship 27.

    Anyway, I’m delighted someone remembers MEMO. I wrote it as a lark for my friend Karen and sent it to the Gazette on a whim. When they took it, I got all excited and did another Wolfe for them that was about a comics convention murder but it didn’t get used. And then I started to crack paying markets with the fiction and let the fan stuff go. But the work was some of the most fun I’ve ever had. Again, thanks for reading.

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