Spider - Girl relocated
I wanted to start with some good news and what could be better than Spider - Girl getting more exposure ? I´m not sure if it is because of the demands of fans or if Marvel wants to give Mayday Parker one more chance but the new adventures of everyone´s favorite wallcrawler Spider - Girl are now to be found in the pages of the newly launched WEB OF SPIDER - MAN comic. I know the title is nothing new ( as older Spidey fans might know ) but you have to say that Marvel sticked to their " no new Spidey titles after BRAND NEW DAY policy " for two years. We will have to wait and see how this all works out but it could be the beginning of Spider - Girl´s return to a solo title. I know how this sounds but Legion of Superheroes also started in Superboy comics ( twice ) and took over the main feature and later replaced Superboy altogether ( twice ). And I think Mayday has at least that much star quality.
Madman Atomic Comics ends
After the good news we come to a bit of bad news. I´m saying a bit because although Mike Allred is ending the Madman Atomic comics series with issue 17 this is not the end of Madman. It´s not the first series Madman had and it´s not going to be the last even if it is unsure in which capacity the book will continue. Still I´m sad to see this incarnation of the Madman books go since I especially enjoyed the experimental and trippy approach Mike Allred took ( like I wrote in my my big madman atomic comics post ) something that is reflected in the critical acclaim and positive response by fans. There is a special on the way and I have to say I´m excited in which incarnation we will meet Frank next.
Angel meets Fallen Angel ( well, kind of )
It seems that female characters are all on the move this month this notice tops Spider - Girl who only moves from one comic title to another. Because tv hit series ANGEL´s supporting character Illyria makes the move from tv to comic book. And not to her own series rather she is going to star in a four part storyarc of Peter David´s IDW comic FALLEN ANGEL.
Now I don´t know how this came to be as there is no mention of it in the article. I only know that I´m thinking about giving FALLEN ANGEL a new try after it gave comicfans one of the biggest ripp offs in comic history. Back in the day when the series started at DC Peter David hinted that the title character might be his version of Supergirl that just was canceled at the time. Hinted at but never outright confirmed or denied because he got himself caught in a catch 22.
You see because of legal reasons he couldn´t openly use the name Supergirl or the character he had created for DC. So the minute he openly said it was Supergirl it would have been the end of the book. So he had to create a new character even if he worked in many similar traits to keep the readers thinking it really could be Supergirl. But it never was.
Now on the other side he couldn´t openly confirm that the main character in FALLEN ANGEL was not and has never been Supergirl because than he would loose all readers who only read the title thinking they were reading the continuing story of Peter David´s Supergirl. Eventually the gig was up when the book went to IDW from DC and Peter David could spill the beans. I still think that it wasn´t a good way to handle the situation and is one of the reasons why I have problems with Peter David. I think the right thing would have been to tell it like it is from the start.
One of the most important things in the comic industry that can´t be bought with gold but is worth more than anything else is the reader´s trust. It´s why CrossGen went down in the end : because they weren´t honest with their readers and didn´t admit when they had problems. And the way Peter David used the reader´s insecurity to boost sales on FALLEN ANGEL instead of relying on the strength of the book and just telling his readers : " Hey, it´s not Supergirl, it´s not what I could have done with Supergirl but it what I WOULD have done with her and never could. But with this new book I can. So if you liked me on Supergirl you will LOVE me on Fallen Angel. And if you loved me on Supergirl you will now want to have kids with me. "
Or something along the way. Anyway, to add to that bad aftertaste in my mind the series in itself was not that good to begin with storywise and artwise. It had Sachs & Violence guest starring in the last two issues but apart from that the characters were just to undefined to really strike interest with the readers and it was all just too full of the usual writers clichees. You know what I mean :
Main character with a mysterious past who is the meanset mother on the block but has his own code of honor underneath. He / she has a heart of gold and must do drugs ( liqor, tobacco, narcotics, heroin ) to be interesting. Because an addiction is not a sign of weakness but of strength. The main character lives in a mysterious town with it´s own unknown history in a bar with other mysterious characters with a dark past.
Well, sounds familiar ? I guess I can bury my hopes of reading a comic about Heroguy who used to be a baker and who one day started to fight crime because it was the right thing to do. And who has no mysterious past, doesn´t do drugs and lives in a normal town. On the other hand that sounds a lot like my life as a comicbook and who would want to read that ? Anyway, so far FALLEN ANGEL is not on my " to get rid of " pile but mostly because I have the complete run and I want to re - read the series before making a definite decision.
And while we´re on the subject of Peter David here´s an in depth interview with the man who wrote such crap like YOUNG JUSTICE but also gems like SPIDER - MAN 2099.
Marvel´s mistakes - the events
As it is something I should have posted long ago here is the third and final part of Matt Ampersand´s thoughtful and insightful look at what Marvel´s doing right and where it´s mistakes are - this time focusing on the events and doing the resume. And I couldn´t have said it better : Marvel should stop on the events before hurting itself. And I mean that in both senses.
And since I don´t want to be onesided here´s Kirk Warren´s look at what DC is doing wrong. Although it doesn´t mention really important stuff like needlessly changing Power Girl´s magic cleavage window from it´s easy to draw oval to a complicated " don´t even know what to call it " new form.
While being on the subject what DC is doing wrong one of it´s problems is that their patent company Warner has no idea what their books are all about. Otherwise I can´t explain how they ( or anyone ) could even entertain the idea to call something as timeless and with so much still untapped potential as the Superman franchise " broken goods ". It could be that this is just a cheap ploy in their battles about the rights but it´s not good publicity. The only problem Superman has are lazy writers since almost nobody seems to know how to write Superman something that Graeme McMilan explores in this article.
Now I know what you´re thinking : it´s easy to call somebody else lazy. But in the case of Superman that is true. I mean the first problem is that too many writers just thibk he´s too powerful and get writers block. They think he´s superfast, superstrong, invulnerable ( not really ), has supersenses like superhearing, supervision, superstrength, heatvision etc. Well, thinking that way never really helps. If you start any project constantly thinking what you can´t do you will most assuredly fail.
So instead you have to focus on what can hurt Superman. Like magic. Do something with magic and he goes down. Okay, that way he usually goes for help but that way you could have Zatanna in the story....rrowwr. Or if you don´t like magic go with science : kryptonite or red sun radiation.
Okay, kryptonite is the oldest trick in the blook but red sun radiation gives you a lot of options. Or you can have him go up against someone who can neutralize his powers or suck them out of him like the Parasite.
Okay, you don´t want to go that option of just nullifying his powers because that seems lame. Then you have to go with options where his powers don´t make a difference. One of the things Superman depends on is what he knows. Like his senses. He does have supersenses but what happens if he can trust what he sees or hears or smells ? What if somebody can create illusions or change his memory ?
If he can´t trust his memory or what he knows to be right and wrong.......if he can´t tell the difference between dreaming and being awake.....if he doesn´t know which way is up or down.....how can he act ? You see where I´m getting at. Another option would be to emphasize where his limits lie. Lex Luthor has had the upper hand for years because Superman was unwilling to take the law into his own hands.
Or the last option is to do what Grant Morrison did : remembering what the character is all about. How he´s a cypher for striving for the best in humanity and then try to spin that into a story using the rich well of incredible ideas the lore of Superman has to offer. I don´t think it´s that difficult to write a good story if you keep that in mind.
Comic book writing 101
Speaking about comic writing ( said the master of the segueway ) here are some articles on the subject. The first one is by Dave Gibbons and it also has some tips on which tv shows to watch.
The second one by Shannon Cronin tells you all about how to become a successful comic writer in 5 steps. Some of the comments show that most readers see the piece as satire but I have to tell you it is the dark reality my brother.
And just so you know what all this talk about Tyrese Gibson and Mayhem is about here´s the link where you can get further information on the newest comic book bestseller. Now dare to tell Shannon Cronin she´s wrong.
I don´t know but the longer I am writing this post the more I get the impression to write the latest chapter of the big book of wrong. First what Peter David did wrong on FALLEN ANGEL, then what Marvel as a whole did wrong, then what DC as a whole is doing wrong, then what DC is doing wrong with Superman, then what´s wrong with today´s successful comics......I´m just a bundle of negativism today, ain´t I ? So to beat a horse to death here´s a look at the top 5 things comic movie adaptions do wrong ( not that I count showing Eva Mendez´butt - if it was her real butt and not a buttdouble - since any occasion to show a nice butt is much appreciated ).
Although I have to add that while he´s right on the subjects of cramming too many villains in one movie, needless waste of interesting side characters and needless origin stories that take too much time from the movie ( how much origin story did you ever need for a James Bond movie ? ) I have to say " Veto ! " on the Stan Lee cameos. They are a timeless tradition and you have to give credit where credit is due. It wouldn´t be a real Marvel movie without the cameo. And it´s not like they are long scenes that are essential to the whole movie. In that regard I find the cameos by Quentin Tarantino more annoying. Although he was cool in ALIAS.
And lastly to end this post on a more positive note here are two of those popular top 10 ( or top 25 ) lists, the first being the 25 coolest villains and the second one the 10 comic characters who deserve a second chance. Although I have to add that in the first case it would be nice if we had a few words of comment why they made the list and what makes them so cool.
As for the second list : Kamandi, Spider - Girl and X - O manowar are all good examples - especially since Spider - Girl has gotten a new home with WEB OF SPIDER - MAN and Kamandi is now on DC´s brandnew Wednesday Comics but after the death of Mike Wiringo it seems unlikely that TELLOS will be continued since it was partly his loveletter to comics.
And I would have to include LEAVE IT TO CHANCE another comic milestone that´s also enjoyable for kids.
Anyway, the next part will all be about books anding and changes in the creative team. I will however make an exception in the case of 100 BULLETS as I´m reading the final issues right now. I think the event of such a grand opus ending deserves a post of his own.
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