Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Wash: 12/09/09

I haven't done any link-blogging in a while, have I?

I rather like what Heidi, Sean T. Collins or Tom Spurgeon are doing at their blogs, and it seems a better, less restricted way of getting some initial thoughts out there than, say, Twitter.

Don't get me wrong: I like Twitter, but I'm frequently undermining the 140-character thing, anyway, by stretching sentences over multiple "tweets," so let's try something else.

It worked back in 2004, after all. (Don't bother clicking the link—nothing there anymore.)

o The next artist drawing Batman and Robin after Cameron Stewart is someone named Andy Clarke.

Maybe he's perfectly good, I don't know—but, as Kevin Melrose points out, this probably means that we won't see arcs drawn by Frazer Irving or Frank Quitely, as initially announced.

Which is disappointing.

o In addition to Batman and Robin, Grant Morrison also will be doing more Batman in something called The Return of Bruce Wayne in 2010. The artists mentioned include Chris Sprouse and Frazer Irving, with Andy Kubert doing concept designs. It's a six-issue mini, between 30 and 40 pages each.

Not surprising, I suppose, but it's nice to have it confirmed.

o In May 2010, DC's War of the Supermen will be out. In April 2010, Marvel's "War of the Iron Men" will be out.

You couldn't make this crap up if you tried.

(And, while we're at it, guess which of the two ties in with a high-profile, potentially critically acclaimed Hollywood film starring Robert Downey Jr.)

o Speaking of which, the news on the free War of the Supermen #0 reminds me of Superman: The 10-Cent Adventure #1. It was 10 cents, came out almost exactly six years ago, sold a shipload of copies and did absolutely nothing to increase sales on the Superman books beyond some small short-term spikes.

But, who knows, maybe it'll work this time.

o The money quote in the J. Michael Straczynski interview at Ain't It Cool News: "I've said it before, and it's true: most of my morality I learned from Superman."

I don't know what to say about that. Superman as a role model for morality? Seriously?

The other thing Straczynski says that screams wrong to me:

If there's anything that is signified by trade-waiting, it's that we need to write better stories. If a reader can wait until it's all done to buy it, then we're not doing our jobs right. We should be writing stories that the reader can't wait to buy as soon as the next installment hits the stands, and then at the end, wants to gather together for ease of re-reading. If a reader can wait it out, then we as creators need to re-evaluate our work. Seriously.

That's about as far removed from my idea of good fiction as it gets. Seriously!

o Oh, and dear DC: Please do yourself a favor and just call the new books Superman and Batman. Nobody among the audience you should be addressing with them knows what an "Earth One" is. I don't know what an "Earth One" is.

o From the "read later" file: Back in November, longtime Marvel writer Chris Claremont spoke frankly to Comic Book Resources' George A. Tramountanas about his present arrangement with Marvel. On his current series X-Men Forever, Claremont says:

There's an ongoing discussion with myself and (editor) Mark Paniccia on how the book should be treated. He is fundamentally committed to a minimalist and focused approach to the series […]. From his perspective, we have eight core characters. […] That's the editorial mandate and, at present, there's really no room for discussion or alternative, it seems. This isn't an ideal situation for either party, but Mark has his responsibilities to the company […], whereas I have mine to my own vision […].

It's not the first time Claremont addresses his relationship with Marvel openly. Back in October, according to Caleb Goellner's report of a Claremont panel in Baltimore, an audience member asked Claremont why he keeps coming back to the X-Men.

"I'm under contract," Claremont replies. "I have to produce work, they [Marvel] have to give me work."

Indeed, since 2000, Claremont had a brief, quickly aborted initial return to Uncanny X-Men and X-Men, a longer run on the newly created X-Treme X-Men, another return to Uncanny X-Men, as well as stints writing Excalibur, New Excalibur, Exiles and New Exiles, plus numerous miniseries and one-shots, before launching X-Men Forever.

Few of those set the sales charts on fire, and it seems Marvel have been unusually patient through the last decade in trying to find the right project for Claremont. That's not to say they shouldn't be—after all, the company owes much of the persisting success of its X-Men line to Claremont.

But the above statement implies that Claremont has a special contract with the publisher that basically requires Marvel to find work for the writer. I dimly recall reading something similar about former Marvel editor-in-chief Tom DeFalco, who's also kept producing a steady stream of low-profile work for Marvel ever since he was replaced by Bob Harras in 1996.

Which, if true, raises the question what, if any, Marvel's criteria are for these kinds of contracts.

o On another note entirely, where's blogger and critic Dick Hyacinth? And what happened to the (German-language) Checklist Comicast?

It's been ages.


Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you on the titles of the new Superman/Batman books. Calling them "Earth-One" is going to scare off the exact audience DC is supposedly trying to reach. I would think the immediate question a new reader would ask are how many other Earths are there and what makes "Earth-One" different from them? At which point they would most likely skip to the manga section.

Michael Rawdon said...

I saw Andy Clarke's pencils for the first time when I picked up R.E.B.E.L.S. as part of the Blackest Night ring tie-in. Pretty nice, actually. His art reminded me of Steve Dillon's, which I think is stylistically in the same general arena as Frank Quitely.

Duncan said...

It's in one of the two interviews from yesterday, but there are due to be at least another 12 issues of B&R - so, I remain optimistic at the prospect of a Quitely Joker.

Marc-Oliver said...


You're right, I missed that part. Good to know.

Anonymous said...

As far as Checklist Comicast is concerned - We're back. Well not entirely, since Hobie still does not have a functioning internet connection. But everyone elese is back, and hopefully you'll join us for new episode on comic sales in 2010.

I'm already scripting the interview...

Lamond: Is the comics industry doomed yet?
Marc: No
Lamond: And now?
Marc: No
Lamond: What about now?
Marc: Ahhhm...yep, as of right now it's doomed.
Lamond: Damn! I knew it.

Marc-Oliver said...

I don't know, talking about sales always gets me into trouble. How about we talk about our favorite comics of the year/decade, or something like that. It would be a very positive and uncontroversial conversation.

Glad you're back (half of the team, anyway), und Guten Rutsch!