The iFanboy Letter Column – 01/23/2009!

Friday means many things to many people. For some, Friday means you have to spend the next 48 or so hours with your horrible horrible family, begging to go back to the sweet mind numbing sanctum of the corporate office. For others, Friday is the day you attend a possibly awkward group dinner.

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 –


I was wondering what you guys thought about comic reveals. For example, Red Hulk who is he? We still don’t know. On the other hand, in Dark Avengers Bendis reveals who the team is right away and moves on with the story. Do you guys love/hate the long drawn out reveals? Do you like reveals that don’t linger or do you have some middle ground? How does this influence your comic purchasing?

Jesse a.k.a JesTr

I think people make too big a deal out of these “who’s behind the mask?” reveals, and it sure feels like we’ve had a lot of them lately.  And it seems like if every reveal isn’t earth shattering most people are disappointed.

Story wise I don’t think they are always meant to be a big deal. Sometimes they are and sometimes they aren’t. It all depends on what serves the story that is being told. Occasionally these “who’s behind the mask?” mysteries exist just to introduce a new character or to bring back an old one. And sometimes these reveals happen to shake everyone to their core and change everything. But that’s not always the case. The two most recent reveals that I can think of were Iron Patriot being revealed to be Norman Osborn in the pages of Dark Avengers and Red Robin being revealed to be Ulysses Hadrian Armstrong in Robin. I don’t believe either reveal was meant to rock me to my core, I think they were just story telling devices. Hell, there was really no mystery at all to Iron Patriot, his identity was revealed right away. We were meant to be left in the dark until the writer wants us informed. Writing is sometimes about withholding information as much as it is giving it.

The problem usually comes when the companies seize upon the mystery because from a marketing standpoint nothing gets the tongues wagging like a good mystery and that creates buzz around a book which hopefully leads to higher sales.

These “who’s behind the mask?” devices don’t really affect my purchasing either way. I do like a good mystery, and I might seek them out if the book or characters interest me, but there are usually bigger factors at play deciding what I buy.

Conor Kilpatrick


Kevin Smith once said that comics are hard to write because they are all act two. I just finished New Krypton, a crossover that I genuinely enjoyed start to finish, and realized something. Geoff Johns is one of, if not the, best writers in the business, but this ending felt rushed. It wasn’t bad, and it came to it’s natural conclusion, but still felt anti-climactic and too short somehow. Then I thought back to all of the recent events from both Marvel and DC, and realized that I had this same feeling for most of those as well. Am I crazy, or is it that comic book writers aren’t that great at writing third acts because they so rarely have to do it.

Ryan from The OC

First of all, don’t call it that. Second of all, Kevin Smith doesn’t know a thing about finishing a comic, so I don’t know why anyone would take that advice. Okay, I’m kidding a bit, but he set himself up for it. To be more specific, he means mainstream superhero comics, not comics, because a comic is just a certain kind of story. Smith is referring to the idea that comics from DC and Marvel mostly have to keep the status quo going, and at the end of the story, you can’t kill Batman (which may not be true so much anymore).

But enough flippancy. You’re not wrong about Geoff Johns. There is no one working in classic ongoing superhero comic books who is better, certainly no one at DC Comics. In fact, it’s odd since we often hear so many other creators can’t wait to get away from the confines of those kinds of comics, but Johns seems to fit in that mold so well. It’s as if it’s what he was born to do.

I suppose that you could say, however, that the ending to New Krypton felt rushed, but I think that’s a bit of a misnomer. The “ending” I mean. The very nature of ongoing comic books is just that, they go on. Therefore, and ending will never really satisfy. Lately it does seem to be de rigeur to have one major storyline lead directly into another storyline, and so on, and on, and that can get tiring. But that’s just sort of the way it feels reading superhero comics. Luckily there are other kinds of books we can read, like mini-series, Elseworlds, maxi-series, and Vertigo books with long term, but finite stories. But if you’re looking for a big satisfying ending from a Geoff Johns book, I think you’ll be waiting for a long time, because the guy keeps thinking of new things to do, and one leads into the other, and it goes on, just like the lives of the characters in the story. It’s interesting that we expect these endings, as the ongoing nature of the books is more closely related to how our real lives are than stories with actual endings.

Then again, I wonder if it’s the nature of what the publishers find attractive in their writers today. I mean, what sells books? It’s the idea, the concept, the pitch. Put something together that sounds good in a solicit, and make it a relatively exciting set of covers, and the series is sold, even if the ending is less than thrilling. There’s no shortage of big idea guys who get by on that. Fortunately, I don’t think Johns is close to the worst offender with folks like Mark Millar, Grant Morrison (who has gotten better on the endings to be honest), and Jeph Loeb out there setting up big stories, and moving on to the next idea before completing he play on the first story. But then, that’s the nature of the game, and as a wise man once suggested, I do not hate the players, but in fact, the game.

Josh Flanagan


Every month when Marvel’s new solicitations come out, the first thing I check is to see if there is any sign that the Young Avengers series is coming back. Now, it looks like Stature and Vision are going to be featured in The Mighty Avengers. After an my initial excitement, I thought, “The Young Avengers are never going to have their own series again.” Am I being too doom-and-gloom or is this a sign that Marvel doesn’t have any plans to revive the franchise? Every time I see a Grey’s Anatomy commercial I say a quick prayer that the show will get canceled and Heinberg will come back to comics. I’ve heard rumors for years now about the series being revived, but are the fightin’ fanboys ever really going to come back?

Kirk from Austin, TX

Kirk, you and me both! You may have seen a post I made a few months ago bemoaning the stall on Young Avengers and I haven’t changed my tune at all. The fact that Marvel has banished these characters to just being in the crowd during big events and the like is a travesty. It was great to see Vision and Stature in The Mighty Avengers, but the skeptic in me doesn’t think they’re going to be permanent cast members there. That story has a temporary feel to it, to me at least.

A few years ago, Marvel had two of the most exciting team books featuring younger heroes, with Runaways and Young Avengers. It was so easy to recommend both titles to anyone who wanted something new and fresh from Marvel and/or for younger readers. I gave Josh the Young Avengers hardcover for Christmas and as I predicted, he loved it and like me and you and everyone else, he wanted more. The difference between Young Avengers and Runaways though, is that they’ve stalled on giving us more Young Avengers, whereas with Runaways, after Brian K. Vaughan left, they continued giving us stories, first from Joss Whedon and currently from Terry Moore. Nothing against Terry Moore’s run (which has been okay, not great but okay) but Runaways suffered after BKV left. It’s amazing how everyone is ignoring the fact that Whedon pretty much killed that book with the combination of a boring/convoluted story and immense and massive delays. So while I moan and groan about wanting more Young Avengers, I look at Runaways and wonder if maybe Marvel is making the right decision here.

Ultimately it’s a lose/lose proposition with them and the Young Avengers. I suppose there’s some agreement to only allow Allan Heinberg to write the next Young Avengers story, which sucks because it means that we have to wait until he feels like it (or until they cancel Grey’s Anatomy). But let’s say they handed the characters and the book to another writer, and it sucks. What then? Look at the sub-par Runaways/Young Avengers crossovers from Civil War and Secret Invasion. It’s possible that the return of the Young Avengers might not be what we want it to be.  It’s an interesting quandary.

On a side note, my love of Young Avengers applies to that first story arc. The second story arc? Not nearly as good. It was still good, but not the genius that was that first story arc.

Ron Richards



  1. lol…


    Super Patriot.

  2. w00t! smooth Arrested Development refrence Josh!

  3. Great point, Conor.  I think people sometimes respond to misleading marketing rather than to what’s actually in the book.

  4. The reason nobody blames Whedon is because he’s too awesome, and a mistake by him cannot be processed by the average nerd brain.

  5. @muddi900 I also think it’s unfair to say he killed the book because I think it would just have been cancelled at Vaughan’s departure otherwise.  Also, the trade seems to be selling really well (it’s at least being marketed in a high-profile way) and I can’t imagine that will hurt it in the long term/ future trade sales, etc.  Ironically, I think the book *should have* been cancelled when Vaughan left, and the characters allowed to fade away, because they were so very much BKV’s creations.  Young Avengers, on the other hand, seem designed as legacy characters that would be easy to hand off to new writers but Marvel decided to wait on Heinberg. 

  6. I bought Young Avengers and Runaways and was honestly thinking that Marvel was going to usher in a new era of that classic DC legacy characters.  We got Bucky back.  New X-Men was in full swing and I was hearing good things about it–from my X-men nerd friend-only, but it left an impression.  All that was left was for Ricochet to put on a black and white Spider-suit and claim to be Young Spidey or something.

  7. If I were playing pundit (heaven forfend) I would suggest that Runaways did not suffer from the loss of its creator but rather from the loss of its premise. To tie the two questions together, it was a comic that was written to have a beginning, middle, and end, and then kept going. If Terry Moore has not yet found something else as powerful for them to do, I am inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

  8. It’s true, Whedon did kill Runaways. Still, I think his arc probably deserves a re-read, because the first few issues of it (before they went into the past/plot) were *insanely* good.

    And me, I’m willing to wait for Heinberg. Half of the issues of the Young Avengers mini were good, while half of them were pretty bad. No new stories is probably better than new stories that suck.


  9. oh man i need more kate bishop in my life

  10. You know, if Young Avengers ever came back, it would have to be drawn by Cheung….which means it would never come out! 

  11. The Young Avengers is a bad idea whose time is running out.  I am agaianst having younger heroes, but the way this team has been concived and presented just sounds like bad, forced teen agnst.  This line up since it has garnered somewhat of a following should take place in the same universe as Spider-Girl, that way she can have more heroes to play off and it will bring that line and that universe more attention.

  12. This will generate some hate mail I am sure, but superhero comics are like soap operas and ongoing TV series like Lost, Heroes, hell even great shows like Weeds. Until the series comes to an end, you never need a true third act. These mediums for telling stories don’t end after the conflict, usually they just lead onto the next conflict.

  13. @Conor, Isn’t it Iron Patriot?

  14. Yeah, it is.  Good catch.  I had Super Patriot from SAVAGE DRAGON on the brain, apparently.

  15. @MrNoahBdy – Why would that generate hate mail? I’d say that’s pretty accurate.

  16. I agree that its worth waiting for good stories. I could have lived without the Runaways cross-overs and half the Young Avengers Presents. While I would prefer for Heinberg to come back on, I could live with a few creators taking the reigns. Too bad his writing studio buddy Geoff Johns will never come back to Marvel.

    Mostly, I think Marvel desperately needs Runaways and Young Avengers to be well written and on the shelves. DC has done a much better job of generating new generations of heroes and I think both titles have breathed a lot of new life into the Marvel U.

  17. Ongoing comic reveals can be great – if the reveal pays off. I remember back in the day the mystery of the Hobgoblin’s identity was huge, and it went on for years. Then, it turns out to be some nobody and the whole thing goes down the shitter.

    Whedon’s Runaways story was killed more by delays than the actual story itself. I’m not a Whedon apologist – the story itself was subpar at best, but only made worse by the long wait between issues. 

  18. Zomg, I live with Ryan from the OC. Seeing as we are long time listeners, I swiftly gave him a highfive after seeing his question posted. Then preceded to think of a question of worth of my own to submit… so I know what it’s like to be in his shoes right now!

  19. I like big reveals!!  They make comics more fun.

  20. Libra…

  21. @lazyzombie – Don’t call it that.

  22. Conor, I think the Super Patriot slip was a sign you should read the old Savage Dragon books. Every time you guys talk about an under-read book like FEAR Agent that’s a ton of fun I think about how you guys would love the Savage Dragon heyday, specifically issues 25-75. I know Josh said he read some of the early issue of Savage Dragon, but the first 20 or so issues are typical of the first few years of Image, then it seems Erik Larsen realized he really could do what he wanted with his character. I know you and Josh may never get the opportunity to read those issues since there aren’t sequential trades, but maybe some day Ron will lend his issues to you guys and let you experience the magic.

  23. @brianbaer Do you want, as a reader, to be compared to a person who spends all day watching soap operas!


  24. @Andrew: I totally agree. Dragon between issues 25-75 were some great comics. Thuogh, my one complaint is that he seemed to over sex-up the book a bit much. 

  25. @Andrwe: Ron doesn’t need to lend me his issues, I can just go into my longboxes and dig them up.  I bought SAVAGE DRAGON for years.

    @MrNoahBdy: Comparing comic books to soap operas is fairly common.