By Night Thrasher 16 Comments
There's a Simpsons marathon and a Doctor Who marathon at the same damn time!
These are called life choices people!
There's a Simpsons marathon and a Doctor Who marathon at the same damn time!
These are called life choices people!
Yeah Booi!!!!! *Flava Flav voice*
Writer: Grant Morrison
Penciller: Philip Tan
I would love to see Grant Morrison bring his quirky off the beaten path style to a book that almost necessitates that. Imagine giving Morrison free reign on The Microverse, The Negative Zone, Celestials, Counter Earth(s) and all sorts of psuedo technology and imaginative things he can come up with. I think Hickman's run is the gold standard of the modern age but if any one can bring it back to that level Morrison can.
Writer: Paul Cornell
Penciller: Carlos Pacheco
This is probably the most underused part of any of the mainstream universes. The Eternals is the happy medium between The Inhumans and The New Gods. For me I love the Eternals more than almost any other Kirby solo creation. They just scream "KIRBY!!!!". I think since they are so isolated within the Marvel Universe that a good writer can really dive head in and create something stand alone that wouldn't have to be bothered by outside events and bring an almost indy flavor to the mainstream.
Writer: Neil Gaiman
Penciller: Mico Suayan
I wish Marvel had something like Vertigo. This for me would be about as close as possible to having that. Neil Gaiman could write characters like Strange with minimum effort and Suayan is vastly underrated as an artist. I could see this as a title that would climax early in terms of sales but consistently be one of the more highly reviewed and critically acclaimed titles in the Marvel stable.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: David Finch
Quick quiz: You know why Aquaman is considered such a B@D@$$ today? Because Peter David decided a couple of decades ago to write him more like Namor! I think that Namor deserves an ongoing with a little push behind it. Now, before you go lamenting the Bendis pick I want to say this; Bendis is probably the best in the business when it comes to character interaction. Namor is one of those characters that Bendis could really thrive on. There's the noble side to Namor that constantly clashes with the prick side. Bendis could actually do Bendis stories with Namor and not miss a beat.
Writer: Nick Spencer
Penciller: Stefano Caselli
Secret Avengers is good. Nick Fury proper would be great. I need this in my life and I going to keep trolling to I get it. I love espionage books no matter what publisher, format or era. Why not have comics' premier espionage group get a little shine. Spencer is more than capable and Caselli is criminally overlooked. Make this happen!
My Love/Hate Relationship with Grant Morrison’s work
I’ve been reading through some of my past posts and I really come off as a Morrison hater. So, to remedy that I’m creating this blog post to make my feeling about his work crystal clear. I don’t hate his work, but I do think he is overrated. Now here’s the thing, you can be a fan of someone and not think they’re the greatest ever at their craft. I consider myself a fan of Morrison, but I definitely wouldn’t say he’s the best ever or even in my top 10. I much rather read something by Hickman, Johns or Brubaker. But I’m going to go through my likes and dislikes of his work.
1. He thinks outside of the box on everything. With a Morrison story there is no such thing as cut and paste. He takes everything you thought and turns it on its head. His run on Batman is a prime example of this. The way he blended in the Silver Age stories and made them seem as if that’s what the original writers intended is a marvel in and of itself. Bat mite finally made sense to me.
2. High concepts seem to be his comfort zone. When some writers try to do expansive stories for characters that don’t seem to fit with expansive themes then they more often than not fall flat on their ears reaching for stars. Morrison introduces concepts that sound silly with the spoken word and puts them on paper as naturally as you and I would breathe. Case in point; Lobo and the talking Space Dolphin in 52. If you read the trade then in the annotations they (Waid, Rucka, Johns and Giffen) pretty much admit that the far out stuff was almost all Morrison.
3. Bravery! This is almost a continuation of the second point but not really. Morrison isn’t afraid to take what you thought you knew and completely give that a finger between the index and the ring finger and make it better. Read Marvel Boy and you’ll understand what I’m saying. Noh-Varr is a Kree, we know what that is right? Blue or Pink, imperialistic race with a hard on for killing Skrulls. Wrong! Somehow Morrison mixed in an origin that involved cockroach DNA and made it super awesome. But it was still Kree. It is an awesome series that I advise everyone to read.
1. Morrison is a little too fan boyish for characters he likes. I wouldn’t mind this as much, but you can honestly tell which characters Morrison has an actual love for and which he’s just collecting a check for. His All Star Superman read like a glorified fan fic IMO. All it was is a 12 issue feat fest for Superman. I mean honestly he had a pet Suneater. I like not love Superman as much as the next guy but that’s a little too much for me. It already seems to me that all Superman fans want him to do is outdo what he did in the last issue with an even more outlandish feat and not really care about character development. And ASS was just that. The whole story read like fan fic to me. Sorry!
2. Morrison doesn’t care for continuity. I know that I said in my likes that he did continuity during his Batman run well, but that was for a character that he loves. You can see the love for Batman spill off the page during his run. But for characters he doesn’t (i.e. X-Men), continuity just gets in the way of the story he wants to tell. Never mind that Scott and Jean were actually doing well as a couple and were shown as a loving couple before he came along. Morrison doesn’t like Jean, Jean gotta die! I honestly thought he didn’t read too much of what came along before him with the X-Men and I still don’t think he’s picked up too many X-books in his lifetime. He gave Emma Frost extra powers because he couldn’t use Colossus and explained it as a “secondary mutation” and did the same for Beast. Never mind that the whole secondary mutation concept has been explained already previously in X-books with characters like Nightcrawler. Or, the fact that Beast feral appearance isn’t a mutation but the result of his own experimentation on himself. Those things just got in the way of the story that he wanted to tell.
3. My last gripe is not of him, but of those who worship him. Morrison gets all the credit in the world for being original and creative (even though I see tons of similarities between him and Alan Moore and Warren Ellis), but when someone else does something creative and original fans rip it before it bears fruit. Two examples that I will give is, Hickman’s Avengers run and Slott’s Superior run. First Hickman’s Avengers. Hickman is crafting something big. We know it’s big because he keeps reminding us it’s big. The concepts in both of his Avengers books are of an epic scope and that is taking some time to set up. Hickman’s style is like setting up an elaborate domino maze. It’s huge and intricate, but if you have the patience then the payoff is worth it. I feel if his name were Morrison then a lot of people would be willing to sit through 48 issues of buildup and even if the ending were anticlimactic then some would be willing to call it the greatest story ever. The same could be said of Slott’s Superior Spider-Man. Slott is doing something truly bold and original but fans are ready to take his head off because he’s not writing the Spider-Man they’ve been getting. If his name were Morrison would you be so impatient? Would you shut up and enjoy the ride? I for one, am entertained regardless of whose name is on the title page.
Okay, so I like to write and try to be creative. But, I'm a little hesitant to have people read my work. Not because I'm afraid of what people will say; but more because I'm a little of a perfectionist. I will rewrite and rewrite until it's nothing like I intended to begin with and then get mad and throw it away. But anyway I'm thinking of trying out the Fan fic section for fun and I'll give you a little insight of my first draft synopsis.
The team is basically Robbie Baldwin's attempt to redeem not only himself, but also the name of the New Warriors. By beginning with Erik Josten and Rina Patel he sets the ball rolling to a makeshift team of vigilantes.
My idea isn't about who the team fights but more about how the team interacts. Mind you, I only thought of this about an hour ago so it's still a work in progress.
So what do you think?
I've been spoiled by comic book movies lately so I decided to post my count for views of the two best movies lately IMO of course!
Dark Knight Rises 5 times
Avengers 8 times
Captain America too many to count
Make no mistake I'm not talking about the move. I haven't seen a trailer for it and the only thing we know about the movie is the cast. So...I'm holding off judgment on the movie until I see more. I'm anticipating it and have high hopes for it.
With that being said, the new Guardians of the Galaxy comic is lackluster in my opinion. To me the only thing good about it is the art. Bendis, while a capable writer with a hit or miss record, hasn't delivered something that fans of the previous volume can grasp onto. Sure, new fans can and will enjoy the series; but fans of the second volume of Guardians of the Galaxy can't help but compare the two. And when you compare the two Bendis' run falls short.
1) Setting: Bendis started off his run with Earth being very prominent. That for me was an instant negative. I want more Galaxy and less "Space Avengers". The previous two volumes were truly cosmic books and didn't mention Earth hardly ever. Having a Space Avengers isn't necessarily a bad thing, but not with this group of characters. You have to remember that this group was spun out of the Annihilation conflict. The basic premise of the team was that Earth had protectors and the rest of the universe needed someone to look after them.
2) Characters: Aside from the overall theme of the book the characters seem out of whack. Rocket Raccoon seems like an anamorphic Deadpool. I'm waiting for Drax to Hulk out at any moment. Starlord seems too Steve Rogers-ish and Cosmo is nowhere to be found. There's no Moondragon, Phyla, Jack Flagg or Adam Warlock. The second volume of Guardians of the Galaxy was almost the anti-Avengers. Starlord was a man who was unsure of himself. The team was a mixed bag and it showed in the writing. They didn't trust each other but stuck together for the cause. It was interesting to see this team grow together and the friendships that actually grew on the pages, particularly between Rocket and Groot.
3) Cool Factor: The second volume had the coolest base of operations that I've ever seen in a comic. Their headquarters was a disembodied head of a "dead" Celestial. Read that part again; they were staying inside the head of a Celestial!!!! How awesome is that? Thing about that is; the Celestial was dead and kind of alive at the same time. So they knew the Celestial wasn't alive but it still had some sentience? And the "person" in charge of this base? Cosmo, a former cosmonaut who was lost in space and somehow gained telepathic powers. Oh yeah, he's a Golden Retriever. To me that in itself is interesting, wrapped in cool, coated in awesome! If the book were just the base and the telepathic dog I'd be picking it up for at least a couple of issues. Add in the truly mixed bag of supporting and central characters and you got the "you don't know what's going to happen next" vibe that keeps you hooked.
4) Comparison: In a vacuum Bendis' version of the Guardians is cool. I'd recommend it to someone with no prior experience with the characters. But for someone who knows the characters and read the previous installment it just falls flat. It's good to see the team finally get some push from Marvel but it's about 4 years overdue. Much like Bendis' run on Moon Knight the characterization of the series seems a little off. Mind you, I'm a fan of the Bendis' run on Moon Knight. So much so that I went and got back issues of the previous series. Particularly the one with David Finch and the Bill Sienkiwicz run. It's true that Bendis' version didn't match up characterization wise, but it was a fun read. For me his Guardians doesn't match up and that's what makes the read not fun for me. And also Iron Man. There's no good reason for Iron Man to either be on the team or even team up with this team. They aren't the Avengers, should have little to do with the Avengers, and should rarely if ever cross paths with Avengers.
I don't think the book is terrible; it’s just not for me. I love the Guardians of the Galaxy and want to like the book, but the issues just keep me from doing that. I had to go on this rant to get this off my chest and now I feel better. Now I can go back to reading back issues of Teen Titans, like a normal person!
This is a blog about the books I really miss. Self explanatory right?
1. Guardians of the Galaxy: Not the Bendis crap we have now, but the "REAL" Guardians that DnA so masterfully crafted. I need my Super base inside the head of a fallen Celestial. I like the telepathic former cosmonaut dog as the head of security. I love the quirkiness of the characters mixed in with unpredictable action sequences. The DnA Guardians/Nova were the most fun books in my pull list during that era.
2. Hawkeye & Mockingbird: Was this the greatest book ever? No. Was this a book that was going to change everything you ever thought about the characters? No. Was it fun? Yes! And totally worth the investment. This book was worth buying for the "& Mockingbird" part alone. It's great to have B-List characters get a spotlight and actual carry a good book.
3. Amazing Spider-Man: I love Superior Spider-Man! I love Dan Slott and what he's doing! I have no problem with whats going on in the world of
Peter Parker Otto Octavious currently. But boy!, do I miss me some pre-OMD JMS JRJR Amazing Spider-Man. The organic webbing, the still having a hot Mary Jane the not having a stupid deal with Mephisto forced on us by Quesada. Man! those were some amazing times! No pun intended.
4 Ghost Rider: Johnny Blaze, Dan Ketch, that weird chick, I don't care! I miss Ghost Rider; period! Marvel is sitting on pure creative gold! The image of a flaming skull on a biker with a sick chain itself should keep this book above the red line. Ghost Rider is among my list of a few characters whose image alone sells me on the concept. Punisher and Batman are the others We need more Ghost Rider. Limited series, maxi series, ongoing, something. Give us something Marvel!
5. Pre New 52 DC: I'm talking about everything about DC comics before New 52. I miss the logo, the writers they used to have. The characters that didn't have a face and were really just really cool detectives that asked questions and weren't linked to some kind of trinity of sin in some forced plot to make perfectly good characters supernatural for no good reason. I miss how terrible Countdown was and how unnecessarily convoluted Grant Morrison's plots were. I miss Superman being Superman and not some mix of Superboy/Superman Prime. Do you guys remember Donna Troy? I do, she was awesome! Remember Wally West? Again, awesome...better than Barry Allen even! Gather round kids as I tell the tragic story of a man named Ralph Dibny and the tragic story of his wife's death and his downward spiral of awesome. What do you mean he doesn't exist in New 52!? So did the awsomeness of 52 not count now? I'm serious about all of this. I'm definitely not the biggest DC fanatic, but I did enjoy the hell out of a lot of their books and new 52 really turned me off in a big way.
In my previous blog I questioned the lack of popularity of the Fantastic Four. In this blog I hope to present a solution to the problem, albeit hypothetical and hopeful at best. I figured an All-Star creative team would definitely get more readers to enjoy the First Family of Marvel. So before I reveal who I think should write and pencil the book, let me expand on how I came to my conclusion.
For a good Fantastic Four run you need three things from a writer: 1) realistic character interaction 2) adventure 3) grand cosmic scale conflict.
1) The book features an ensemble cast with the family as a centerpiece. You can't write this book as you would a traditional team book wherein the characters are only together because they have a common enemy. These characters have a history together that goes back to before they had powers and that has to show through the writing. It's a formula that really works well for the X-Men in that the original five have been together since they were teenagers and the book really draws upon that. Also, the Future Foundation is a great way to explore how these relationships are formed and strengthened. Very few books have both dynamics working for them at the same time. The only other examples I can really think of off the top of my head are Teen Titans and X-books. The Fantastic Four isn't dissimilar in that sense to these books.
2) The thing that sets the Fantastic Four from most books in this genre is that it isn't about a team of vigilantes. It's a book about a team of explorers. Were most books are about a team that responds to threats big or little, the Fantastic Four is a team that acts on a sense of curiosity. The things that other teams stumble upon the four should be actively seeking out. Imagination should be the catalyst of the book instead of evil despots. The more you push the envelope of what's possible and what's not, the better.
3) With that being said, the third ingredient is grand, cosmic conflict. By cosmic I don't mean just outer space. I mean outer space, inner space, other space, etc. The universe, microverse, negative zone, cancerverse should all be in play with this book. If there is a corner of the Marvel Universe that hasn't been used lately or hasn't been discovered yet then this is the book that should explore it. And by conflict I'm not just talking about Galactus-types. Black holes, collapsing stars, infringing universes all can be conflicts that are worthy of epic tales. The whole concept of the book originally was that the universe is a big place and there are millions of things happening at once.
For me the art is the simpler part of the equation. The Fantastic Four is one of the few books that lend itself better to the dynamic over lined art style that ruled the 90s. By that I don't mean the Rob Liefeld disproportioned high cheek bones bad art. I mean the hundreds of Jim Lee clone detailed with a hundred lines around the face and head style (i.e. Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio and Marc Silvestri). The main reason for this is Ben Grimm. Those lines are exactly what makes Thing look best and that 90s style is imo the best rendition of the rocky one.
For writer I think Warren Ellis is the perfect choice to head a run on The World's Greatest Comic Magazine! Who else could pull of the grand scientific scope of the magazine better than Warren Ellis? Other than Jonathan Hickman of course. But he already had his run and it was awesome!!! Ellis has a thing about not writing long runs for characters that he doesn't own because he's not seeing anything from the sells other than his work for hire salary. I do have a solution for this: Marvel should offer Mr. Ellis the "Mark Millar reach around package". Simply put, if Warren Ellis would write the book for at least 60 issues then Marvel can publish his creator owned work under its Icon label. And to sweeten the deal I would even offer advertising within the book itself. So...Warren Ellis gets better publishing for his own work and Marvel gets the superstar writer for its formerly premiere book. I would see that as a win-win. Marvel might even get the better of that deal if Ellis' creator owned work sells well or gets a movie because they would get movie rights which would be awesome for all involved.
For artist Brett Booth was the name that kept popping into my head. I tried to ignore it and was leaning heavily toward Jim Lee. But, after further review I think Booth is perfect. Reading his issues of the Heroes Reborn Fantastic Four solidified my opinion. His Ben Grimm is perfect and is very comparable to Jim Lee's, who has the definitive look for the character imo. His line work is very 90s minus the pouches which lends itself to the dynamic scope of the book. And, his storytelling is above average. He is dynamic enough that what he draws catches your attention. He's detailed enough with backgrounds that you don't lose track of where you're at. And he doesn't do the unnecessary lines on the uniforms or face area that makes people look too old or uniforms look wrinkled. I think pairing him up with Ellis could make for a fun book that's easy on the eyes and would definitely attract new readers.
That's my take on things, what do you think?
Why isn't the Fantastic Four more popular? Out of all the comics in the industry it seems that Fantastic Four should be among the most popular. It has several things going for it that only a handful of franchises can match. If you analyze it in depth Fantastic Four has the tools to rival even Batman in popularity.
1. Rich Tradition: The fantastic four series has been written by the best of the best and has memorable runs that should be included amongst the very best in the history of the industry. The initial run by Lee/Kirby started off the series with a bang that is considered by many to be the best in history. Introducing Marvel mainstays such as Dr. Doom, Galactus, Silver Surfer, Skrulls, Red Ghost, Molecule Man, Mole Man, etc...Following Lee we have had runs by Roy Thomas, Marv Wolfman, John Byrne, Walter Simonson, Steve Englehart, Mark Waid, and Carlos Pacheco with recent acclaimed runs by Jonathan Hickman and Matt Fraction.
2. Rogues Gallery: The rogue's gallery of the FF is easily top 5 in all of comics. Not only do you have the most awesome villain ever created; Doctor Doom but you also have a bevy of supernatural villains (Diablo, Mephisto, etc) cosmic foes (Skrulls, Kree, Negative Zone, microverse, etc), seemingly omnipotent beings (Galactus, Abraxas, Celestials, Molecule Man, etc) and mad scientists (Red Ghost, Mad Thinker, etc). In fact; if you simply name your top 10 villains in the Marvel Universe then it's a safe bet that at least one started as a Fantastic Four villain and I'm probably underselling it vastly.
3. Advancement in Comic Science: Between Reed Richards and Doctor Doom the series has advanced the science of comics more than any other book ever. We've had "unstable molecules", microverses, multiverses, omniverses, etc... The "comic science" of the book is extraordinary. The book is most fun when it suspends our disbelief and we wonder what's possible and what's not in comics. The Lee/Kirby run was at the time rivaled only by Challengers of the Unknown in terms of science fiction. Early on the only other place to get these kinds of stories was some of the Sci-Fi serials being published.
4. Family: Fantastic Four is in itself a book full of supporting characters. The book is about a family in which each character can be considered the lead character of the book. We have two characters with the two most popular catchphrases in comics and have each supported their own ongoing series for different time periods. We have the smartest man in comics who could possibly support his own ongoing series if afforded one. There's also the matriarch of the family who is the most powerful member physically of the group. Of the group, Sue Richards is probably least likely to be afforded her own ongoing series, but that doesn't mean she couldn't support several limited series or shouldn't be considered for one. All that and we haven't even mentioned Franklin and Valeria who are the Bart and Lisa of the Marvel Universe and have over the years been fleshed out remarkably into powerful characters on their own and were the pillars of the FF book for a while.
Conclusion: Of every book on the market; the Fantastic Four is perhaps the most underrated franchise in comics. The history and possibilities of the book are so deep and rich that it should be rivaling Batman and X-Men in terms of sales and popularity however for some reason it's relegated to the second tier of the Marvel Universe.
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