The iFanboy Letter Column – 08.26.2011

Friday means many things to many people. For some, Friday is all about the start of days of home repair. For others, lots of aimless wandering. For others still, let the mf’er burn.

At iFanboy, Friday means it’s letter column time.

You write. We answer. Very simple.

As always, if you want to have your e-mail read on the any of our shows or answered here, keep them coming – contact@ifanboy.com



Just a quick question. After seeing Chris Claremont’s work on X-Men Forever, I was wondering if there are any other writers who left a book that you would be interested to see return to a character they spent a long time working on. This could either be in the “pick up where I left off” style of X-Men Forever, or just a standard return to writing duties. It seems that some writers still have ideas left before they leave a title for whatever reason, and I was wondering who, if anyone, would pique your interests.

Dan A.

You can’t go home again. At least, that’s what Thomas Wolfe called his novel.

That’s the dilemma, right? We all have fond memories of our favorite confluence of character(s) and creators(s) and in many ways we are constantly chasing that high, trying to replicate that good feeling that Claremont and Byrne gave us when they were on Uncanny X-Men (if we were Ron). Sometimes we get our wish and Giffen, DeMatteis and Maguire are dragged back to do the Justice League, one more time. Or Mark Waid comes back to try to save Wally West before he disappears into the ether of comic book history. But that’s not always a good thing. Sometimes too much time has passed and styles have changed. Or sometimes the magic just isn’t there anymore between creator and character. And how depressing is that when that happens?

It’s risky, is what I’m saying.

So who would I like to see come back to write more stories with the characters that they previously worked on?

Just yesterday I was talking with some people about how Grant Morrison’s JLA was way more important than it gets credit for, and it gets a lot, for bringing people back to comics. Morrison’s shadow has loomed large over that book for almost 15 years now and it hasn’t really been very good in that time frame. Theoretically, I would love to see how Morrison would handle the Justice League again. But then I think about it for more than a few minutes and I think that it would probably end up being very different than what I would want it to be.

I would love to see Greg Rucka or Ed Brubaker return to Gotham City. I would love for them to bring Chuck Dixon along with them. I would love to see Mark Waid get another shot at Captain America and bring that magic with him that he’s currently sprinkling on Daredevil.

But mostly I just want to recapture the magic I felt when I first read those great runs by those great creators. And that’s probably impossible. But I’ll keep trying.

Actually, now that I think about it, I am reading one book that features the classic creator having returned to the property that he is best known for and picking the story up from where he left off. And that book is G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, and that creator is writer Larry Hama. We never talk about that book, but it’s a lot of fun.

Conor Kilpatrick



Lately I’ve started getting a feeling I have not had for a long time. In fact the last time I think I had it was in 1993 and within a year I was completely out of comics. I would not read a superhero comic again until 2001 with Grant Morrison’s New X-Men. I do know I am done with these unimaginative ultra-realistic comics that are saturating the market. What’s wrong with big abstract fun ideas that are fresh & different? After reading Morrison’s Supergods I feel we need a new age & direction for the superhero. It’s time for the psychedelic fun of the 70′s & 80′s to make a revival. Superheroes & their creators need to tune in, turn on, & come up with new stories & new ways to tell them. Instead of trying to find the next Alan Moore to save comics we should be trying to find the next Grant Morrison. Or maybe I’m just crazy. What do you guys think? Thanks for reading this rant.

Andy from Cincinnati

Where to begin, Andy?

First, I shall relate. I know the feeling. I have experienced the feeling. The feeling is not a good one. That creeping disinterest can make you feel like you’re wasting your time and money. It can drive you from the comic shops, and throw down your Fear Itself issues in (more) anger. Why, you could just start renting DVDs or reading prose novels, for goodness sake.

However…

This happens. This ebbs and flows. Sometimes mainstream comics will be in an upswing, and sometimes they’ll be flailing, and trying to catch a flame they just can’t. Right now, there’s a bit of flailing, I would say. That doesn’t mean there aren’t good comics. We have no idea what sort of comics are going to come out of DC in a matter of weeks.

But then…

Why must it be superhero comics? If you’re aching for change and for something new, then go. try. something. new.

Between Image, Dark Horse, IDW, BOOM!, Oni, Fantagraphics, Top Shelf, and countless other publishers, there are so many comics, and kinds of comics. You want that big crazy imagination and fun? Chew from Image is one of the best things out there. No, it’s not superheroes, but why oh God why do people fixate on one genre in comics? I wouldn’t watch only police procedural TV shows, or only romantic comedies at the movies. I get that the most talented folks in comics tend to work at Marvel and DC because that’s the only place they can make a living, but man, there is so much out there it’s absurd. And most of them sell for shit. Other comics is how I recharge my batteries. If it wasn’t for DC’s Vertigo comics imprint, I wouldn’t be here right now. You’re not going to like everything, but if you’ve had enough of how things are being done, stop looking in the same damn place.

Make the comics market how you want it to be. Don’t buy stuff you don’t like, and by all means, sample the wares.

Josh Flanagan

Comments

  1. I would love to see Doug Moench and Kelley Jones come back to Batman ala ‘X-Men Forever’.

    Partly because Jones art is the real deal but also because it would be crazy. I re-read my collection a couple of days ago and boy, Moench sure is insane. Maybe even more insane than Claremont? (If you can believe it)

  2. I think i’m in a similar place as Andy. I love superhero comics, but i’m really getting tired of all the “emotional gut punches” and dark and serious themes, and soap opera in a lot of the titles i’m reading these days. Life is stressful, and the world is f%cked up. I get that, i just don’t want my comics to remind me. I just want to escape, crack a smile and have some fun.

    I’m sure the stuff i want is out there..like Chew..it’ll just be a bit tougher to find and they might not be the familiar characters i grew up with.

    • I’m with you. “Dark and gritty” has become something that comics are striving for, because people have this misconception that if something is “dark” then it must be good. This is just not the case. Yes, there have been FANTASTIC books that have been very dark. But they weren’t good because they were dark, they were good because they were good and they just happened to be dark. The two are not joined at the hip.

      I completely miss FUN comics. Sure, I love a good dark story that will rip my heart out just like everyone else. but i also love reading stuff that just has crazy ideas and makes me smile and is meant to be a good time.

      Do you know what the comics world needs right now? We need a book like the old Defenders title from the 70s and 80s. That book was FANTASTIC. It had wacky ideas, crazy characters, lots of action, and a terrific cast. It had some of comics best writers and the art was always solid. I miss the Hell out of that book and there really isn’t anything like it on the market right now.

      Heroes For hire was scratching that itch for me for a little while, but now they are going the “dark” route with the Villains for Hire thing coming up, and I just don’t want that. When Moon Knight fought the Veliceraptor? YES! that is what I was missing! Sure, it’s silly and absurd. it is never going to win an Eisner. but i had a blast reading it.

      I just want a FUN super hero book. Is that so much to ask for?

    • Moon Knight fought a Velociraptor? Damn i need to find that…now.

      A prime example for me of the unfun comics, was Snyder’s recent Detective Comics run. I knew it was really good when i was reading it, but it was not really fun or very enjoyable for me. It was just too dark and serious. Honestly after seeing all the praise against my takeway from it, i was thinking, “maybe contemporary Batman is too grown up for me”

      i was looking at some old comic covers…Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen. Damn some of those situations are completely stupid, but look so damn fun. haha

      I really enjoyed some stuff like recent Superboy, and Spiderman Big Time. I don’t really care if they fit in continuity and they are not changing the world of comics or innovating, but they were pretty damn fun. Also catching up on Ultimate Spiderman….for me that had the perfect tone for a fun, non childish superhero book.

      Been hearing that Atomic Robo is good..sounds like something along the same lines.

      A fun superhero book shouldn’t be too much to ask for.

    • greendart greendart says:

      Atomic Robo is always a fun read. Definitely worth a look

  3. MadMartigan MadMartigan says:

    Josh hit it right on the head. This reminds me of the Episode 250 podcast where someone was feeling similar and was thinking about getting out of comics. I remember this question because I was feeling the same way. Long story short, I took the guys advice and starting reading books like Chew, Sweet Tooth, Scalped, Locke and Key, and suddenly felt a new found love of the medium. You might actually say it saved me from leaving. Its normal to get tired of the same old Marvel/DC stuff. Just try one those books and you’ll find your excitement will come back. P.S. Fear Itself will not help.

  4. froggulper says:

    Re: The Morrisonian argument that we “need” a return to ___ age of fun comics.

    It seems to me that for over a decade now we’ve been living in a comics era in which all previous aspects of past eras are already existing simultaneously.

    People speak as if the “grim ‘n’ gritty” era was an 80s-90s thing. But it really wasn’t. There were still tons of grim realistic comics all throughout the ’00s.

    People speak as if we need a return to the Silver Age-y style of “fun” and “wonder”. But there have been a ton of comics in that style over the past decade. Too many to list.

    People speak as if we need more “forward-looking” or political superhero comics. Again, we already have these. We’ve had them for a decade now.

    Nostalgia for past ages of comics are all around us. Everything from the noir genre to the pulpish adventure genre to the sci-fi ’60s genre to the horror genre. It’s all here. It’s all here again already. I don’t understand the complaints.

    I agree with Morrison on a lot of stuff but whenever he tries to draw lines in the sand and declare that this or that mini-age of comics starts and stops here or there . . . the whole argument comes off as forced. Final Crisis did not end or begin in any “age” of comics. Neither did Civil War. Neither did Identity Crisis. What he’s planning to do with Action Comics may be good, but it isn’t anything that hasn’t shown up in various Superman comics of the past decade. Only now Grant Morrison’s on it so he can force the issues.

    • MadMartigan MadMartigan says:

      I partially agree with the 90′s comments. Everyone talks about the 90′s like it truly was the lowest point of comics, but there are so many great books that I was reading in the 90′s. Being in my late 20′s, that’s when I started reading so many of my fondest memories of reading as a kid come from all those “bad” 90′s books.

    • MaxPower MaxPower says:

      Great points. There are “fun” comics out there, and there has been for quite some time. The larger problem is that they don’t sell very well. Like Dan Slott’s Thing or She-Hulk books. Hell, Rocket Racoon is back right now as well. Various incarnations of the Metal Men have come and gone. What about Runaways or All-Star Superman (yes, these did sell well and rightly so)? There is still such a stigma around comics from the non-comics reading majority that these funny books are kid stuff, so in a knee-jerk reaction comic companies and comic buyers seem to gravitate towards the darker subject matter as if to pre-emptively defend themselves by saying, “no, look, this is very serious stuff!”

    • I find that the ultra violent dark serious sexually violent stuff (for Superheros at least) is often the least mature.

      Rise of Arsenal anyone?

  5. Jesse1125 Jesse1125 says:

    Re: Andy’s letter, this same feeling is a reason I tried out some of Deadpools comics. His inner dialogue is just hilarous.
    Chew is also a rolicking good time.

  6. Pumatastic Pumatastic says:

    Just put the gun down Josh.

    Step. Away. From the gun.

    Good stuff.

    • Pumatastic Pumatastic says:

      Better yet, if you’re having trouble finding something new and exciting out there, check out the quarter bins. There is some seriously crazy and nutty things that were published not too long ago that fell through the cracks. Seriously. Crazy (and sometimes great) stuff.

      And not always from publishers you’ve ever heard of.

  7. edward says:

    I know exactly how Andy feels. I’ve only brought Criminal and the new League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in that last couple of months.

    Sometimes you just understand it’s the right time to stop, you just get a vibe that these things are going to be shitty for a while

    and on another note, you really have to stop falling back on Chew as the answer to every comic related question. It’s not like the book’s ally mcbeal quirky bullshit tone is for everyone

  8. s1lentslayer s1lentslayer says:

    Let me just say that you guys are pumping out so much good original content that I can hardly keep up nowadays! Way to go everyone!

  9. wangman31888 wangman31888 says:

    I miss Chuck Dixon, that Nightwing run was fantastic!

  10. icn1983 icn1983 says:

    My suggestion for an imaginative and fun comic book would be “Axe Cop: Bad Guy Earth.” I don’t think I’ve had that much fun reading a comic since “Milk and Cheese.”

  11. zombox zombox says:

    Morrison’s JLA was the book that got me to take DC seriously. He hooked me with whatever magic (hyuk hyuk) he used there. I have continued to read DC to some extent or another since.

  12. Matrix Matrix says:

    Aaron Sorkin on The West Wing season 5. Oh wait, Geoff Johns back on JSA, Manapul back on superboy/adventure. Tom Defalco back on fantastic four, and with maybe Jim Lee or Mike Wieringo. jim cheung on some more young avengers.

    Just buy what you want when you want. Don’t feel compelled to buy everything if you don’t enjoy it. And keep listening to the podcasts for things that strike your fancy!

  13. Kodaiji Kodaiji says:

    I’d love to see Peter David finish out what he had planned for his Hulk run. And I wouldn’t mind if he brought Gary Frank back with him as well.

  14. keith7198 keith7198 says:

    Conor, ditto on Larry Hama! I’ve recently been going back through my G.I. Joe collection. Almost forgot how great Larry’s run was. It was one of those books that I HAD to have every month.

  15. ZacGoyette ZacGoyette says:

    I think the thing that is missing from some superhero comics now is that there is nothing Super about them. Some of these characters are suppose to inspire and people are supposed to be in awe of them and the amazing things they do. For example, the last time I thought Superman was actually Super was in Allstar Superman. Same with Invincible Iron Man. I liked the tone of the book a lot more in the beginning than I do now. I like some of the real world heavy consequence stories, but I think that the balance is too far one way. I think Mark Waid is getting it right in Daredevil. Although Bendis’ run is one of my favorites on any character, it’s nice to let these characters breath once in a while. It was a great move by Marvel to do what they are doing with DD. Being heroic shouldn’t necessarily be this heavy cross to bear. I’m hoping DC gets it right with the relaunch.

  16. ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

    “Don’t buy stuff you don’t like”

    I had a coversation about this years ago at my fav local comic shop with my fav comic shop employee. I wasn’t happy reading a particular book and she set me straight. If it sucks, don’t buy it. My argument back then was, “But it’s the Justice League! By Byrne and Claremont!” I’m not sure why the idea never occured to me before.

    No one should be blindly buying the same title just because. If you do, the company will keep the same creators on the book and it will continue to suck.

    As much as these companies listen to fan opinion at the Cons and on the net, etc., at the end of the day, the dollars and cents are what does the real talking. If no one is buying a title, it will be cancelled. If there is a big enough dip in readership on a legacy title (talking your Batmans, Supermans, Amazing Spideys, Uncanny X-Men, etc.) it will force them to re-evaluate the direction of a title and determine why its not working. It will unltimately make for better books.