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SDCC Thoughts on Diggle Named New Thunderbolts Writer

If it weren’t for that pesky Neil guy, Andy Diggle becoming the new Thunderbolts writer would be the coolest news of the Comic Con for me, personally, as Ellis’ Thunderbolts was a really great book, so I was fearing the worst with his departure, and Andy Diggle is one of the few writers out there that is not much of a step down from Warren Ellis (whose Thunderbolts run was great).

At the same time, I remember a few years ago, when the signs all seemed to be pointing to Diggle being the next DC writer to make the move to Marvel, but then he stayed at DC, instead – and promptly did basically nothing of note (I mean, don’t get me wrong, I have really enjoyed his Hellblazer work and I absolutely adored his Green Arrow: Year One mini-series, but he did not exactly have a ton of major projects that would make you say, “Ah, so THAT’S why he stayed!”)!!

So while it’s a few years later then one would think, he’s at Marvel now, and I can’t wait to see what he has up his sleeves for the Thunderbolts. I just hope Songbird isn’t screwed!!

SDCC Thoughts on the Agents of Atlas Ongoing

On the one hand, Marvel has certainly given the Agents of Atlas a real slow burn, by having them make guest appearances in a number of books in back of their critically-acclaimed (it was critically acclaimed, right? I mean, I liked it, but I forget if other people did or not) original mini-series, so the news that the series is being given an ongoing (written by the great Jeff Parker, but sans original artist Leonard Kirk, who is on the great Captain Britain book right now) is not, like, totally out of left field.

That said, I think a series of mini-series would fit the concept better than an ongoing, and if the mini-series do real well, THEN I can see an ongoing.

I just hope that if the sales aren’t there, it won’t affect seeing them in future mini-series and one-shots.

And, of course, I naturally hope that the sales ARE there, as I’m looking forward to the book.

SDCC Thoughts on Flash: Rebirth

Wouldn’t it be funny if this series mostly just reversed the whole “the Rogues blast Bart Allen and then kick him to death” story (I see Johns is already sorta addressing the silliness in Rogue’s Revenge)?

What’s the current record for shortest time before a story came out to explain away a previous story? How long after Avengers #200 was Avengers Annual #10?

Gotta give Van Sciver props – that’s a neat cover.

SDCC Thoughts on Mark Millar’s Ultimate Return

Well, just recently, I did a “Top Five Ultimate Trades” list, and I gave four of the five spots to Millar’s Ultimate work, so you know I was pleased when it was announced that he would be returning to the Ultimate Universe.

He seems to really “get” the concept of the Ultimate universe better than most other writers (perhaps even Bendis, whose work on Ultimate Spider-Man, as a whole, has been awesome).

SDCC Thoughts on the Return of the Archie Heroes

See, now THIS one I am less wary over. Newsarama has a good interview with J. Michael Straczynski where he discusses the move (that’s where this neat promo image came from, as well!).

The Archie heroes are fine heroes, in and of themselves, but unlike the Milestone heroes, they’re not tied to one specific universe, as already noted by the !mpact experiment of the early 90s (which had some really good comics, notably the Black Hood and Waid’s The Comet), so they’re basically blank slates for Straczynski to attempt to work some magic on.

I’m looking forward to their usage in The Brave and the Bold. It sucks that he’s able to get the usage of characters from a whole other comic book company, but can’t use Vertigo character. Feh, I say! FEH!

By the by, who drew the promo piece? Is that Joe Bennett?

SDCC Thoughts on the Return of the Milestone Heroes

(I apologize for the multitude of posts, but I like to wait until San Diego Comic-Con is over before I sort out the news that strikes me most interesting, and I don’t think a catch-all entry is cool with so many disparate stories)

Talk about a mixed reaction! On the one hand, I am a huge fan of Milestone Comics, so I am thrilled to hear that DC was able to work out a deal to bring the Milestone characters back to the world of comics. And with Milestone founder Dwayne McDuffie directly involved, to boot!!

THAT SAID, mixing them into the DC Universe?

Boy, am I wary about that.

Don’t get me wrong, a bunch of the Milestone characters should be able to mix into the DC Universe without a real problem, with Static being the most notable example – his shtick works in any universe. The same goes, I would say, for Icon and Rocket.

But Blood Syndicate? Hardware? Holocaust? The Shadow Cabinet? These are concepts that scream out “isolated universe,” much like the Marvel Family (who have never really been adequately integrated into the DC Universe, despite Jerry Ordway doing yeoman work for years to make the square peg fit into the round hole).

So I fear that some of the unique characters will lose their uniqueness a bit, but in the end, it is a return to comics of some great characters, so really, it’s a secondary issue – Static is back! Woohoo!

Thoughts on the Dabel Bros./Fall Out Boy Comic Situation

Okay, so I’m reading about the whole situation where the band, Fall Out Boy, is no longer interested in doing a comic book by the Dabel Bros. since the lawyers from the Simpsons got involved over the use of the name “Fall Out Boy” (who is a character from the Simpsons, and while not a registered trademark, certainly is a trademark of the Simpsons).

Now, I get that the Dabel Bros. are pissed off because they had a contract from the band to do the comic, and since the Simpsons’ legal team got involved, the band has cooled off, interest-wise (it seems to me like they want to cause as little ruffles with the Simpsons as possible, because they understand as well as anyone that they’re using a trademarked name).

However, according to the Dabel Bros., the comic CAN proceed, it just can not use the name “Fall Out Boy” as a title (or for advertising). They quote the Simpsons’ lawyers as saying, “Our sole interest is that the name “Fall Out Boy”, the related Simpsons images and any references to The Simpsons not appear in any of your publications.”

Well, okay, but while I certainly feel for the Dabel Bros. here – who exactly is interested in reading a Fall Out Boy comic where you can’t use the name Fall Out Boy in the comic book?

I’m not saying the Dabel Bros. don’t have rights here, but I wonder whether they’re really worth enforcing. How well would a comic about Fall Out Boy, without the support OF Fall Out Boy and not even CALLED Fall Out Boy sell?

Thoughts on the latest Daredevil arc

I do not know if the current Daredevil arc is a response to some of the criticisms levied at this title lately, or if it was just a matter of the creative team realizing beforehand where criticism might end up coming,so they decided to address it themselves – either way, the end result is a great arc so far by Ed Brubaker and co-writer, Greg Rucka, where the pair add a bit less dreariness to the life of Matt Murdock.

Throughout the latest issue, various characters all remark on how depressing and dreary Matt’s life has been lately (as he has gone through the wringer, including losing his wife to the machinations of Mr. Fear). As the characters speak, it is almost as if they are teasing the book itself – “Come on, enough with the moping, do something productive!”

And in this storyline, it is about Matt clearing the name of a thug who is on Death Row for decapitating three children, but Matt and Dakota North (who Brubaker has turned from a character only my pal Matt Bib loved to a character most folks, I am sure, have grown fond of) believe he is innocent, of this particular crime, that is (thanks to his senses, Matt probably KNOWS otherwise, but that’s beside the point).

Who is he protecting? Who is working with the bad guys? What are they trying to hide? How do you save a man who wants to die?

All these questions and more are raised in the latest issue, and once you couple it with the routinely excellent artwork of Michael Lark and Stefano Gaudiano, you have yourself a good comic book. Well worth giving a look see!

Thoughts on The Middle Man

So, I’m seeing a lot of ads for the new ABC Family TV series, The Middleman, in comic books.

I think that’s cool, as the character first appeared in a Middle Man comic book, written by Javier Grillo-Marxuach with art by Les McClaine.

Here’s the thing, though. The ads, which appear IN comic books, do not actually mention that it WAS a comic book!!!

How ridiculous of a marketing campaign is that?! Advertising your comic book related product in the pages of comic books without noting the connection!!

What’s the deal?!

Thoughts on DC Universe O

It is interesting to note that DC Universe 0, which flowed about as well as a given issue of Marvel Previews, was ten times the comic book that Countdown was, and received by DC fans at about the same rate.

The rousing success of DC Universe 0 makes me think that there is a sort of blueprint you can follow to see what the generalized modern superhero fans will enjoy. They appear to want at least one of the following two things:

1. The comic to be good

or

2. The comic to “matter.”

52 (as a whole) was good, DC Universe 0 “matters.” Countdown gave the fans neither.

Thoughts on the Eisner Nominations

For the most part, seems like a solid job. Obviously, I can quibble here and there, but the nominations are fairly understandable.

And then there’s nominating Justice League of America #11 as one of the Best Single Issues/One-Shots of the year?

With all due respect to the judging panel of John Davis, Paul DiFilippo, Atom! Freeman, Jeff Jensen and Eva Volin, what could you folks possibly be thinking?

I can’t believe that you actually reached the consensus that, of the hundreds of single issues/one-shots released within the time frame of the Eisners, that JLA #11 was one of the five best, so what else could it be? Is there some pressure to include something from the Big Two? I notice Marvel had an issue, too (a Sensational Spider-Man Annual that was actually quite good, although I doubt I’d count it as one of the five best single issues of the year, either), so is that it? Even then, though, The Spirit, one of your nominees for Best Continuing Series, had a number of one-shot issues – why not an issue of The Spirit?

It just puzzles me greatly. I can understand differing tastes, but I cannot understand taking a position that JLA #11 was one of the five best single issues/one-shots of the year.

Thoughts on Trials of Shazam #12

Now, come on, that’s funny.

(Spoilers ahead). Continue Reading »

Thoughts on Children Aging in Comics

In his most recent column, Keith Giffen pointed out a few things he considered “NOT QUITE JUMPING THE SHARK, BUT CLOSE,” and two of them were the recent additions of “sons” of both Batman and Superman. Whether you agree or disagree with Giffen, it reminds me of the fact that both characters were introduced already as children. This made me think back to other children of superheroes (who were shown born in the comics) – and the list of children who were NOT killed/prematurely aged is quite slim.

While certainly, from a writing perspective, it is a lot easier to write a child then to write a baby/toddler – but is that really it? It’s easier? Is that the reason writers always seem to try to avoid writing growing children? Or does the whole fear of continuity explain it? Children aging means characters have to age, while children prematurely aging – that allows growth without having to age their parents. Still, it’s strange how practically universal the avoidance of aging children is in comics.

Thoughts on…Recommending Comics

Danielle’s piece sorta inspired this thought, which is “what comics would you recommend to people?” And what strikes me is this – all things being even, the odds are that the person you’re recommending comics to is not going to be a superhero fan.

That’s not a knock on superheroes. You all know I loves me my superhero comics, and most of the readers of this here blog dig them, too. But come on, superhero comics are a genre of comics, not comics themselves, and when recommending comics to a random person, odds are they’ll be more interested in non-superhero comic books.

Comic books are a broad market of styles and genres, and for whatever the person you’re recommending books is into, there will most likely be a good book to fit that style/genre. And for some of them, superhero books certainly WILL fit the bill, but most of them, not likely.

This may seem like a bit of a “Duh, Brian, that’s obvious,” but too often I see stuff like, “I am looking for comics to get my 13-year-old daughter/niece/cousin/daughter of a friend into comics, do you have any recommendations?” and the recommendations are, like, “Cable/Deadpool!” Okay, Cable/Deadpool was a joke, but the answers sometimes ARE stuff like, “Justice League of America, Hawkgirl, Birds of Prey, Rogue, Manhunter, etc.,” and while all those books might very well work fine for a 13-year-old, the odds are that they are not going to fit the median interest range of a 13-year-old girl.

It could be manga, it could be Archie, it could be Disney, it could be Vertigo, it could Persepolis, it could be Minx, it could be any number of other books. So when recommending comics, just keep in mind the interests of the person you’re recommending to – just like one size does not fit all, one comic genre does not fit all.

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