‘Four Color Musing’ - by K. Patrick Glover - Installment the First


Four color Musings

By K. Patrick Glover

Installment the First

I may be the only comic book fan in the world who has no interest in seeing Kick Ass.

I’ve never read the comic, the preview looks awful and Roger Ebert’s review just made me kind of sad. I think I’ll just bury my head in the sand for this one and pretend it doesn’t exist.

Yes, the name of the column has changed. I think I’ve run about as far as I can with the nostalgia thing (although the column won’t be completely devoid of it) and it is time to turn our attention to the wider, four color world that exists in the here and now. We’re not here to report breaking news (Ed handles that quite well in the main section of Hypergeek), instead we’re here to ponder the news, to reflect on it. To opine.

It was announced earlier this week that Joss Whedon has been brought onboard to direct The Avengers movie, as well as re-writing the script to both that film and the Captain America movie. Fan reaction to the announcement has been split, largely down the fandom equivalent of party lines, pro-Whedon VS anti-Whedon. (Full disclosure: I suppose I fall in the pro-Whedon camp, having greatly enjoyed Buffy, Angel and Firefly) [Ed note: I'm Anti-Whedon... Fight!]

There are, however, two pertinent facts that I haven’t seen much (if any) mention of in all the resulting hyperbole from both camps. One: Joss Whedon is one of Hollywood’s go to script doctors. He has a strong reputation for being able to find the heart of a script and tweak it just enough to make it work. That doesn’t mean he Whedonizes it. It means he cleans it up and makes it tighter.

The second, and even more important fact: Whedon has the ability to direct complex action, make it look good, do it on time and under budget. A film like The Avengers could very quickly turn into a money pit. Right off the top, you’ve got Robert Downey Jr., Sam Jackson and possibly Edward Norton in lead roles. That’s expensive, even before you role a frame of film. It is vitally important that you find a director that can control the budget. Whedon can.

This is an opinion. Feel free to disagree. Feel free to tell me about it. If your thoughts are reasonable and worth responding to, respond I shall. But let’s set a ground rule first: no personal insults aimed at whoever we’re discussing. (If it’s me you want to insult, knock yourself out.) We’re here to discuss the work. We are better than monkeys and there will be no flinging of poo.

Here’s a bold statement: The most consistently fun and entertaining comic on the stands today, the book that reminds me on a regular basis why I started reading these things in the first place, the book that makes me think, yes, this is how a super-hero story should be told is The Amazing Spider-Man.

Which is odd, because the whole status quo at Spider-Man spins out of possibly the most universally despised Spider-Man story of all time, ‘One More Day’. Even the most supportive of fans seems to have seriously mixed feelings over that book.

And now, to give fans something else to scream and moan about, Joe Quesada, head honcho at Marvel, has announced a sequel to that story, ‘One Moment In Time‘ (O.M.I.T.) which will soon be gracing three issues of Amazing. A sequel that he promises will answer a lot of the questions that have been annoying readers since the cosmic reset button was hit at the end of One More Day.

Will it be any good? I have no idea. I’m not one to blast work before I see it, I like to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and hope for the best. Admittedly, that leaves me disappointed an awful lot, but I can live with that. I prefer to be optimistic, it makes my day to day life much more enjoyable. At the worst, at least some questions will be answered. At best, it might just wash away some of the bitter taste left behind after ‘One More Day’.

Oddly, I find the thing that concerns me the most about the story isn’t the story itself, but the possibility that Quesada taking over the title for three issues might mess with the wonderful rhythm of storytelling that the spider team has established over the last couple of years. Here’s hoping that doesn’t happen.

I bulk a bit at referring to the spider team without telling you who they are, so here are the names of some of the folks responsible for the wonderful stories of the last couple of years: Dan Slott, Marc Guggenheim, Bob Gale, Zeb Wells, Mark Waid, Joe Kelly, Roger Stern, Fred Van Lente, Steve McNiven, Phil Winslade, Salvador Larroca, Phil Jimenez, Chris Bachalo, Barry Kitson, Marcos Martin, Mike McKone, Paulo Siqueira, John Romita Jr., Paolo Manuel Rivera, Lee Weeks, Todd Nauck, Marco Chechetto, Mario Alberti, Paul Azaceta, Eric Canete, Javier Pulido and Klaus Janson.

Back in the early sixties, when DC first introduced the concept of “legacy” characters, they did so after an extended hiatus for super-heroes. It was an attempt to relaunch a dying genre and it succeeded admirably. I grew up with those legacy heroes without really understanding what had happened. My only exposure to those early versions of the Flash and Green Lantern were in reprints and the occasional JLA / JSA crossover.

To my young mind, there had always been two Flashes, the one didn’t replace the other. Which is why it came as such a shock to me when they killed off Barry Allen and put Wally West in the costume. It was, however, something of a tradition at DC and I came to accept it. As other characters changed I usually just shrugged it off. If it was well told, I enjoyed it, if it wasn’t, well, there were plenty of other books to read.

Marvel didn’t try the legacy thing very often and when they did (like replacing Tony Stark with James Rhodes) you could usually see the endgame coming and knew that the replacement was temporary. Perhaps more important, the lead character usually stuck around in a different role. We got to see Tony work through his problems. He wasn’t dead and gone.

Then Ed Brubaker had the gall to kill Steve Rogers.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Ed’s work. In fact, I think I’ve enjoyed damn near everything the man’s ever written. He handled the death of Captain America beautifully and the stories with Bucky as the new Cap have all been top notch material.

But (and you knew that was coming, didn’t you?) Marvel is not DC and Captain America is not a legacy character. Steve Rogers is Captain America. Bucky is just a guy in the costume.

Why bring this up now? Well, Steve Rogers is alive again, and Bucky’s still wearing the costume. Marvel just announced a new mini series called Steve Rogers: Super Soldier. It’s being written by Brubaker and I’m sure it will be a great read. But I want Steve Rogers back in the costume, dammit. Now, get off my lawn!

K. Patrick Glover

Ancillary matters -

There will be future installments of A History of Comics, but I stress the word future. Those pieces require a lot of research. They’re on the agenda, but they’re going to be sporadic.

The Invisible Skein is closing in on the end of its first issue. Printed copies will be available for order soonish.

Amanda and I will both be attending the Traverse City Comic Con in June. Stop by the table and say hello if you’re in the area.

Related posts:

  1. ‘Four Color Memories’ by K. Patrick Glover - Installment the Third, in Which Questions Arise and Problems Are Solved
  2. ‘Four Color Memories’ by K. Patrick Glover - Installment The First, In Which Parameters Are Set
  3. ‘Four Color Memories’ – by K. Patrick Glover – Installment the Ninth, in Which Who is Most Definitely Not on First
  4. ‘Four Color Memories’ by K. Patrick Glover - Installment the Second, in Which Fear and Loathing is Entirely Appropriate
  5. ‘Four Color Memories’ – by K. Patrick Glover – Installment the Twelfth, In Which We Say Hello to Another Universe

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!