Saturday, February 16, 2013

Random notes in the land of the one-eyed head-hunters

This morning Tim Lucas, author and editor of the invaluable Video Watchdog, wrote this post, "GOD! this MARVEL COMICS THE UNTOLD STORY is depressing. Once you get halfway through, from then on it's like reading about how faceless men in ties who never read a comic started bathing in money by finding new ways for men in T-shirts to defile the corpse of the movie star they once adored from afar. I almost feel like I should have a lawyer just to read it."

I must admit, Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe is high on my list of things I need to read. I even took a copy out from the library, but didn't get around to reading it, partly because of the timing, partly because I know I'll be depressed like that reading it.

In mildly related news, Irritated Again by Scott Slemmons, which I got from Max Romero of Great Caesar's Post!, covers most of the thoughts I'd otherwise have on the subjects within.

I'm really not interested at all in the issues surrounding Green Lantern. I'm a big fan of the character, but none of the recent books or events has felt like an interesting or inviting jumping on point for me, so I've just never gotten around to jumping on.

As far as whatever professional douchebag, who may or may not have written a book that people seem fond of but never interested me enough to bother with, does with Superman, I might be inclined to agree with the opinion in I Can Read It By Myself by Ty Templeton. It is a very clever and well executed comic against a boycott's potential affect on innocent comics creators, except I can't imagine a boycott actually going anywhere.

I mean, let's face it, geeks choosing a higher moral value over reading a comic book or watching a movie based on a comic book? I will never, ever happen.

At this point, I honestly believe that if the earnings from The Avengers 2 would fund a Nazi takeover of the United States, it would absolutely not stop geeks from seeing it. The Internet would filled with angry rants about how it's not their responsibility or people were unfair to draw a link, no matter how directly.

Just look how outraged the geeks are because Behind The Boycott Of DragonCon Over Co-Founder Accused Of Child Molestation. Yep, not only are they not considering the possibility that they should stop shoveling cash in the direction of someone who is know to fuck underage boys - although, technically legally innocent until proven guilty, blah, blah, bullshit excuses - the fact that people are suggesting that maybe they should consider it makes them angry.

So I don't even mean that a broad-strokes illustration, I think that is literally true. Despite the prominence of moral issues and the importance of stepping forward and doing the right thing in comic books, I think the vast majority of comics fans and literally and absolutely incapable of making a moral choice that involves sacrificing comics books.

So, DC Comics knows they can stir up the pot, get some free publicity for hiring this evil sack of shit, knowing there is no chance of there being any negative consequences for it.

That said, David Gerrold suggested in this post that DC provide balance by hiring him to write another Superman book.

Dear DC Comics Editors,

I see that you have hired a writer for Superman who has written strongly of his opposition to equal rights for LGBT people. And I see that there is an online petition protesting that move.

Perhaps you could balance that decision by hiring an openly gay writer to draft a Superman story for a future issue.

I hereby volunteer.

I have been a fan of Superman since Bud Collyer played him on the radio. (Before TV was invented.) I can remember Brainiac's first appearance, and Bizarro too. And I cried when George Reeves died.

I do have some small credential as a writer of science fiction and fantasy. I have published a few books and written a few teleplays. (You can look me up on the internet.) I have also written some mangas, and I wrote two issues of the Babylon 5 comic you published ten years ago.

I have some very good ideas that I think would work well for the series. I'd like the opportunity to write for you the very best Superman story ever.

Sincerely yours,

David Gerrold
"The Trouble With Tribbles"
Land Of The Lost
Twilight Zone
The Martian Child
(and a whole bunch of other stuff)
I'll just say, I don't think I've purchased a new comic book story in a decade or more, but I will make the effort to go out of my way to purchase a Superman comic written by Gerrold.

As far as Don Rosa, I'd love to present a larger celebration of the man and his talents, and perhaps I will another day. Today, if you haven't read at least The Life & Times Of Scrooge McDuck, Volume 1 and The Life & Times Of Scrooge McDuck, Volume 2, then I highly recommend you go about fixing that. They are among the most clever, well-crafted and funniest comics I've ever read.

I'm going to revisit them soon myself. I think they're fantastic storytelling and any writer, despite how different my subject matter is from his, should have the skills he brings in their arsenal.

I've already - tangentially - been revisiting DuckTales after reading the excellent article DuckTales invented a new animated wonderland—that quickly disappeared by Todd VanDerWerff, so it seems like a good time.

It will be a more bittersweet revisiting after reading The Epilogue, Rosa's explanation for the ending of his career as the only essential successor to the great Carl Barks. Disney prevented this epilogue from being included with a limited edition Don Rosa collection. This has caused it to go viral on comic book websites, so I guess we can be thankful to Disney that the rest of us were able to read this poignant tale.

Finally, I might be pushing my luck in squeezing this into what has turned into kind of a comic book post, but Reimagining Escape from the Planet of the Apes as a Warner Brothers gangster picture by Richard Harland Smith.

As a young, naïve fan, I had always thought of Escape From the Planet of the Apes as the Star Trek: The Voyage Home of the Apes series. I was surprised to find public opinion veered a long way from my expectations. I suppose it's that ending that prevents it from that kind of popularity.

Either way, it's one of my favorites, and that examination/reimagining brilliantly positions it in a tradition that might make it more sensible to some of its doubters... and even some of us fans.

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