Comic-Conomicon

The-- what? Why? Are they--?

Do you hear that?

That low, approaching rumble? Boom. Boom. Boom.

You feel the couch shaking? See the ever-growing tremors in your water glass, there?

It’s coming.

San Diego.

At its busiest, Comic-Con sees roughly 130,000 visitors, which means roughly .04% of the U.S. will be in attendance, or approximately 1.88553502 × 10-5 of the world. Keep this in mind when it’s Saturday afternoon and you’ve been jostled by your eleventh Lady Lobo and can smell 4700 locker rooms at the same time: in a global sense, hardly anybody is there.

You wouldn’t know that from looking at the sites we visit, though, to say nothing of the sites we work for. From where I’m sitting, Comic-Con is less like Nerd Prom and more like Press Release Hanukkah. This is when everyone you know and care about reveals all the things they want you to know and care about for the next six to twelve months. Rumors abound: maybe they’ll show Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man test footage! Maybe they’ll finally announce an I, Vampire movie! (Seriously, if not now, when? Those Twilight people will be looking to rebound.) Maybe they’ll reveal who’s playing Rocket Raccoon!

Probably none of those things, of course. To paraphrase Grandpa, SDCC tends to be an awful lot of sizzle and not a ton of steak. Even the stuff they tease is often bewildering. It was two years ago now that Marvel briefly dragged the Infinity Gauntlet onto the con floor, and in hindsight it seems like not even they knew exactly why. At the time, iFanboy’s Paul Montgomery asked, “WHY IS THERE AN INFINITY GAUNTLET MOVIE PROP [in the Year of Our Lord 2010]?!?!” and two years later I still don’t have a great answer for him. (It is fun to revisit the iFanbase’s speculation, though. “Could this be the link to the Avengers movie?!” You’re not wrong, Nostradamus!) I was on the convention floor three years ago when people started buzzing that Comic Book Publishing’s lawyers’ Vietnam, Marvelman, was now an actual Marvel property, and since then, well… I’m sure it has come up again somewhere. “Fans are in for something special,” said Dan Buckley in 2009. Sounds amazing! Those classic Alan Moore volumes everyone speaks in hushed tones about will finally see print again, allegedly, at some point further in the future than three years. Perhaps my preschool children will enjoy them as college graduation gifts. I hear they’re great.

In the meantime, the web has been muttering ever louder about a possible Marvel relaunch in the next several months. Not any “New 52” shenanigans, of course– “been there, done that,” says the comics marketplace along with everyone else whose prime was in the nineties— but more of a reorganization, with lots of the requisite new #1s. Apparently, after Avengers vs. X-Men is over, Everything You Know Is Different. Up is left; north is sandwich; potato is giraffe. All the rules would go out the window, except now window is leprechaun. It will be very different.

Just... whenever you're ready.

I’m not sure you or I can buy that, of course. We’ve danced to this particular tune a time or two in our day. Everything is so different so often, different is the new same. As I hear people buzzing about the creative changes at Marvel in particular, a voice in my head keeps singing, “Let’s do the Time Warp again.” (It’s just a jump to the left. For Marvel’s Architects. Look, ask your parents. There was a movie; transvestites were scandalous once. It was a whole thing. Let’s change the subject.)

Let’s say that, where Marvel is concerned, everything you’ve heard is true and Everything You Know Is Different. Let’s assume that potato is truly, unequivocally giraffe. How much would that shake you at this point? Would you be upset? Thrilled? Confused? Depressed? Anxious? Abdominal pain? Dizziness? Dry mouth?

Personally, it would take a lot to throw me at this point. I have seen my favorite hero sell his marriage to the Devil and said, “Ugh, thank goodness.” I have pondered the notion that Batman’s parents were killed by a cabal in the Gotham Department of Parks and Recreation and concluded, “Eh, let’s see where this goes.” I have reached a point where I trust the writers, I trust the Powers That Be, and I am pliant and ready to be entertained. Everyone involved has the benefit of the doubt.

On the one hand, this keeps me from foaming at the mouth most of the time (unless, like, Howard the Duck becomes a zombie hunter). On the other hand, it also keeps me from having my mind blown by teasers and announcements too often. Without having too many details, I predict I’ll react to most SDCC news with, more or less, “Hey!… That’s somethin’.”

Are you any different at this point in your reading career? Is there anything new under the sun?

I hope so. I hope the pinnacle of con season blows your brain out the back of your head in the most gentle, metaphorical way possible. I hope that on the eighth crazy night of Press Release Hanukkah, I am hopping from foot to foot with giddiness for the coming year. I am trusting everyone involved to knock my socks off. I would follow almost all of my favorite creators into the gates of Hellcat. I look forward to seeing what they have in store for me.

 


Jim Mroczkowski has publicly declared Brian Bendis his favorite writer many, many times.

Comments

  1. There’s never been any reason to think that Marvel would or could publish those Miracleman issues. Every official Marvel announcement at the time carefully avoided the subject directly while, unfairly, leaving open the idea that somehow this could be possible. What Marvel purchased was the character Marvel Man from his (its?) creator. But about a dozen or so issues were ONLY published by Eclipse Comics as “Miracleman”. And obviously Mick Anglo never had the proofs to those issues or the rights to republish those stories. Nor has Todd McFarlane ever really had the *rights*, even though he owns the Eclipse creative “scaffolding” or whatever. Otherwise McFarlane would’ve reprinted this stuff himself long ago. One thing that’s pretty clear is that Alan Moore himself has some stake in the specific issues he wrote — we know this because 10 years ago or whatever Neil Gaiman used to remind McFarlane that he (Gaiman) would have to sign off on any reprint, which he wouldn’t. And it seems totally unlikely that Alan Moore would want to allow Marvel to republish his work. Not that Marvel even could, since Marvel didn’t purchase any of the proofs/galleys/whatevers to the Eclipse issues. Those are the property of McFarlane, but even he would need the creators’ okay to publish them.

    It’s complicated. But three years ago I know that people tried to explain all this to the various comic websites. But we were ineffective in breaking through the totally unjustified blind hype and wishful thinking that Marvel, by purchasing “Marvel Man” from Mick Anglo, somehow had the rights to Alan Moore comics that only came out from Eclipse Comics as “Miracleman”.

    • “We have no word about any reprints or if the acquisition is retroactive. So far as we know, this is all about new material.” – Paul Montgomery for iFanboy, when the news broke in 2009.

  2. “There was a movie; transvestites were scandalous once. It was a whole thing.”

    LOL! I was there!

  3. Phoenix is Miracleman/ Marvelman.