Thursday, January 17, 2008

By the Hoary @#%$ Hosts!

For a comic that came out in 2006 (and one that I've had the trade of since last summe) this shouldn't be news to anyone. I'm going to say it again anyway. Dr. Strange: The Oath is a hell of a lot of fun.

Rereading it this morning, I was completely taken in by just how much fun this comic is.

If you haven't already, do yourself a favor. Find this book and enjoy the hell out of it. Otherwise, maybe we can't be friends anymore. Nothing personal. Just... you know.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Well, She's Not a Skrull

You can read all about it, and at length, elsewhere. Including here, here, here, here and here. Not to mention, my original complaint. Or "to mention", since I just did.

I also seem to recall the summer of 2006, when Marvel's current Editor-in-Chief promised the public that Spider-Man revealing his secret identity would be a permanent change.

Yeah. Right.

Buying comics is no longer the minor investment it used to be. Forgetting trades, Absolute Editions and the like, let's just look at single issues. The latest issue of Amazing is four bucks. Sorry, "Still Only $3.99!"* While the regular price is 3 bucks, another jump is on the horizon. I'm an adult with a job and $50-$60 a month is a pretty big sized bite. Kids aren't buying comics anymore? Do you know any kids that want to burn their entire allowance on a single comic book, let enough titles to keep up with a shared universe? I don't.

And now I'm an old man complaining about how movies used to cost a nickle and nothing's as good as it used to be.

Veering back towards the topic, how many of the Marvel comics that I've bought no longer "happened"? The first and best** appearance of Venom? Harry Osborn's death in "Spectacular"? Forget about all that... wait, rephrase. Don't consider the ramifactions of all that just now. Think about all the recent Marvel comics effected. Civil War, New Avengers, the bulk of JMS' run on Amazing, that awesome issue of She-HUlk?

The hand-in-hand excuses of "Well, they all still happened, just not in that way." and "You can still go back and read the ones you own. Those books haven't changed." are just weak sauce.

It's impossible to re-read the issues where Aunt May discovers Peter's secret identity and not be constantly thinking about what a huge waste of time it all is. Because it never happened. And these are stories only five or six years old.

How about May and Jarvis makin' the smokey eyes at each other in New Avengers? I suppose I can just x-acto those pages out of the trade paperback edition Marvel's still selling.

Sweeping continuity changes, specifically ones that invalidate books I've spent money on (especially within the last year), are insulting. It tells me, as a reader, that I shouldn't emotionally invest anything in the stories I'm reading. If I shouldn't care about a story, why should I buy it?

In fact, DC's ongoing series of continuity reboots are the reason why the only DC comics I've bought in the last year are Jeff Smith's Shazam! mini and a near complete run of "The Trial of The Flash" out of dollar bins.

Equally depressing is the truth that this editorially mandated continuity patch will be as permanent as Spider-Man's public unmasking. So when Loki reveals the truth to Peter and MJ somewhere around Amazing 575 (600? Will it last that long?), is anyone going to be surprised? Or maybe just bitter that they invested their money and their emotions on "imaginary" stories with an imaginary status quo and now the rug is being pulled out from under the reader yet again?

Sigh. "This has all happened before and will all happen again."

I'm not going to get into some of the other questions that could be asked. What would Uncle Ben think of Peter and MJ's actions? Or Aunt may (because she is going to find out)? Why should I care for a man who would throw away his marriage in a deal with the devil? And what the hell cheap-ass Faustian bargain is it where the devil doesn't throw in a double cross and have Aunt May get hit by a car on her way out of the hospital?

I'm so very tired. And rambling.

I also still think that making Mary-Jane a Skrull would've been a great (and temporary) solution to the manufactured problem. Plus, it would've dovetailed nicely into the coming Skrull-pocalypse (Skrull-vasion?).

*I get the thinking behind this cover blurb. The execution and timing are what I have a problem with. Why point out that the book is a dollar more than usual with phrasing like "still only"?

**Venom in the Parker's apartment, waiting for MJ to come home. Downright creepy. And yet to be topped. Oh, and now maybe never happened at all.


One last point that I find amusing, from a press conference in '06.

QUESTION: Seeing as how the continuity of the X-Men titles doesn't seem to flow properly, would you ever consider just making X-Men a weekly book with multiple different creative teams working on it?

ANSWER: QUESADA: That would be kind of like when Superman had four titles and the creative teams worked together on them ... but it's a real drag on the creative teams and on the editorial staff to do something like that.