The iFanboy Letter Column – 03.23.2012

This is Coach Eric Taylor. You may know me as the coach of the state championship football programs of Dillon High School or East Dillon High School.

Gentlemen, for many of you, Friday is the time when you will prove who you are; your character. You’ll find out if you’re the man you want to be. You’re going to find that in your heart, and you must make the decision to push yourself. Do you only want it a little? Or do you want to be a winner. Not just at football. You want to look back and tell yourself you did everything you could, and that you never surrendered an inch. Not a single solitary inch. You owned the world you were in. That’s what we’re talking about here, gentlemen. This is your time. You just need to prove it. To yourselves.

Now, I ain’t got time for this foolishness. You got questions abou’cher comics, just ask ’em.

You write. They answer. Very simple.

Clear eyes, full hearts.

As always, if you want to have your e-mail read on the any of iFanboy’s shows or answered here, in the letter’s column keep them coming to contact@ifanboy.com


I’ve always thought that one of the most important elements in a superhero comics series is the supporting cast. Series that focus on just one character don’t really do it for me, with a few notable exceptions (Jonah Hex).

I was wondering if you guys had any thoughts on what makes a good supporting cast, and if you have any favourite supporting characters. Some of mine include: Alfred, Commissioner Gordon, The Warriors Three, Perry White, and those two cops from Wally West’s time as The Flash… Chyre and Morillo (had to look up their names there).

JDC from Scotland, UK

To me, a story is only as strong as its cast, and the better that cast is, and the better those characters intermingle with each other in interesting ways, the better the comic book will be. My favorite comics aren’t about a single character, but groups of characters. Take Preacher for example. The most bland character out of the bunch is Jesse Custer. He’s surrounded by confederates and enemies, each one more interesting than the last. The dynamics of Custer’s relationships with Tulip and Cassidy are what make that book good. Touches of brilliance are added by Arseface and Herr Starr and the mad sausage-o-pheliac. It works with my favorite TV shows as well, looking at the Wire and West Wing, where you have lots of interesting characters working in lots of interesting scenarios.

Batman probably has the supporting cast with the most potential, when used correctly. They have to be strong because he’s such a massive character in his own right. Dick and Tim and Damian are what make great Batman stories when I think of it. In terms of characters, Clint Barton is one of my favorite characters easily, but it’s very clear that he is a supporting character and he can’t be the main character. Hawkeye has never been able to be the main character for more than a couple stories, and I think that’s okay. He’s more interesting when he’s interacting with others. The same can be said of many characters who can’t quite sustain their own books, like Hank Pym, Martian Manhunter, Black Widow, and hundreds of others.

Anyway, ensemble casts really make stories bloom into something special and relatable for me, which makes it somewhat disappointing that comics are largely sold on the strength of a single character. Gotham Central, Gotham City Sirens, and a bunch of other Gotham books didn’t get to stick around, but no matter what crap was in the pages of the titular Batman, people bought. So when it’s good, and you can find it, enjoy it!

Josh Flanagan


Some quick hits from Jon from Forked River, NJ.

If I were casting the Fables movie, I would get Zooey Deschanel as Snow.

Okay, I haven’t read a lot of Fables, and what I have read as like four or five years ago, but I feel like this is all wrong. Isn’t Snow all tough in Fables? Zooey Deschanel can’t play a convincing tough. That’s just not her type.

Why is Colossus bald now?

All I know is that it happened in Fear Itself when Colossus became the new Juggernaut. Why he’s bald doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but then neither did a lot of things about Fear Itself.

Quentin Quire is in Wolverine and the X-Men. I thought he died at the end of Grant Morrison’s run on New X-Men.

Come on now! No one in comics ever stays dead.

I regret a little buying the Avengers: The Children’s Crusade in monthly form cause the trade looks sweet and all that Jimmy Cheung art in one shot is awesome. Have you guys ever regretted buying a monthly book instead of the trade? I like trades sometimes better than single issues cause it’s one big beefy package of good art and writing.

I pretty much regret reading every book monthly instead of getting them in trades. I hate single issues. I love trades. But if you’re looking for specific examples — actually, you know what? I don’t really regret reading things in single issue rather than trade, at least not in the way that you describe. When I’m reading something that I think would read better all collected I just stop buying issues and switch to trade. Or, if a series or mini-series is over and I think it would have read better collected, or if I want to reread it, I’ll just go back and pick up the trade. I’ve stopped buying Rachel Rising and The Sixth Gun in issues and switched to trades. I guess if you want to call it a regret, I regret not having Scalped all in trades. But then I’ll probably just go back and pick them all up when the series ends.

That’s all I got. Asking you guys this shit is funner than going on Wikipedia.

I hope so!

Conor Kilpatrick

Comments

  1. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    CLEAR EYES! FULL HEARTS!

  2. Also, Jon should know that about 95% of Grant Morrison’s run on X-Men is largely forgotten by the company.

    • While at the same time Rick Remender, Johnathan Hickman, Jason Aaron, etc are all obsessed with GM’s run:)

    • I don’t think it’s forgotten as much as writers take what they want from that run and leave what they don’t. Even Whedon made reference to it in his Astonishing X-Men run. And the fact that Marvel keeps reprinting Morrison’s run over and over (ie. the digest size trades they just put out and the newly solicited reprint of the omnibus), I’d say they haven’t exactly discarded it as much as some think.

    • @CGPO

      Never let actual facts get in the way of internet snark 🙂

      I totally agree with you. Marvel actually seems to really like what grant Morrison did with the X-men.

  3. Hm. I’d like to see Zooey Deschanel play tough.

  4. CAN’T LOSE!

  5. Is it me or Colossus doesn’t turn back to normal anymore?

  6. Forked River?! That’s my stomping ground. You patron Steve’s or Conquest?

  7. I think Daredevil has one of the best supporting casts. Powerman,Iron Fist, Black widow?, Elektra, Foggy( a great wingman) Punisher, Bullseye?, the Hand, and finally NYC’s Hells Kitchen!

    • I did mean to specify in my question that I meant “civilians” i.e. no supervillains or fellow superheroes. You are still right about Daredevil though.

  8. I just wants bring up that I keep waiting foe Cap and Agent 13 to get married.
    Or at least engaged!
    Imagine how awesome that Arc would be!
    “THE WEDING OF CAPTAIN AMERICA!”

    • I don’t think wedding issues sell anymore. Besides, Marvel’s far more interested in pissing off their fan base with supernatural divorces. Sorry but Brand New Day is such an easy and fun target to poke at.

    • Your right, Im not a big fan of spidey so I didn’t get upset, I read the One More Day mini though and enjoyed it. It was really cool how peter met different versions of himself.
      But I Gota say if they did that to Cap, or the Avengers, I would most likely have not of been happy.

  9. Thanks for answering my question. I like what you said about some characters are always destined to be in a supporting role. Completely agree.

  10. Snow white is Carla Gugino minus 10-15 years.

    • Excellent choice.

    • Given the eternal nature of the Fables, and how amazing Carla Gugino looks despite being “old” by Hollywood standards, I’d say give it to her anyway. All the Fables could be played by older actors, underscoring the idea that they’ve been in our world for quite a long time. Jon Hamm definitely has a Prince Charming in there.

  11. Black Widow is better solo, in fact, she always seems like a poor fit for the Avengers

    • What are the definitive Black Widow solo series? Because she’s never been able to maintain one from a sales standpoint at the very least. Mini-series are the best that character has ever achieved.

    • Sales numbers and canceled series doesn’t make what Urthona says any less true. I really enjoyed last years failed ongoing of Black Widow. But, while i agree she doesn’t work super well in an Avengers setting. I like her on the pages of Captain America, especially in the recent Bucky Cap years.

    • @ed209AF: The point being: If she indeed works better solo, where’s the evidence? What are, as Josh said, the definitive Black Widow solo series/stories?

  12. no i understand what you guys are saying. I’ve only read the recent Widow stuff (which like i admitted, failed) but i really enjoyed her solo run and as a main supporting character in Captain America. While most comic fans may not want to read and support her she hasn’t had a chance to get a great run under her feet. But she’s a spy, and spy stories don’t usually involve a huge team. But if the right writer approached her i could see a solo doing very well, but this is all just my opinion.