The iFanboy Letter Column – 03/21/2008

Friday means many things to many people. For some, Friday means it’s the last work day before a well deserved weekend. For others, Friday means it’s the day you wonder where the hell the guy who normally does this is. And for others still, Friday means it’s time to call a really good friend who will help you hide a body.

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 show or answered here, keep them coming –

One of my favorite series from the last year was Darwyn Cooke’s The Spirit. Naturally I picked up this month’s issue to see if the team of Aragones, Evanier, and Ploog could capture the same feeling and excitement that Cooke had created with his run. I am sorry to say that though I am a fan of Mike Ploog’s art, the story does not hold up next to the near perfect series that Cooke had created. The whole story felt obvious and the characters were overblown and lost their wit. So my question is: If a character like The Spirit is brought back and a writer/artist really knocks it out of the park with a first run should the series continue or should a comic company leave a perfect series be?

P.S. I almost had to stop reading this comic during the retirement home scene.

Brad from Kentucky

It’s a tough question you’re asking. And really, there are two ways to answer it — from a fan perspective and from a company perspective.

From a fan perspective, no they probably shouldn’t have continued on with the series. Darwyn Cooke created such a perfect, self-contained world and it was because of his writing and his art. Trying to build off of that was probably a mistake. In fact, The Spirit #14 didn’t feel like it existed in the same universe as the one Cooke created. The characters didn’t feel the same at all. It wasn’t bad, per se — okay, some of it was — but it paled in comparison to the work that Darwyn Cooke did. In this case, they probably should have just started over with a new #1.

I say that they probably should have started over with a new #1 instead of ending the series because there was no way that DC wasn’t going to at least try to continue on with the series. They are a business and that’s what they do — try to sell books. A comic book company is (in most cases) never going to let a perfect series be if there is more money to be made. Marvel is doing the same thing by continuing with Astonishing X-Men after Joss Whedon and John Cassaday leave.

Should they? Probably not. Will they? Usually, yes.

Conor Kilpatrick

I enjoyed the most recent episode, but you guys were a bit quick to pour scorn on Ambush Bug fans, given that you’ve not actually read any comics he’s been in. I don’t know how well the original comics would stand up were I to re-read them today, but when they came out they were wonderfully iconoclastic, funny treats. I won’t be at all surprised if Giffen and Fleming don’t catch lightning in a bottle again, come July.

Get thee to a back issue shop and try an early appearance, then you can back up the bile with some actual knowledge!

This is the first page listing his appearances — the first, in DCCP, is pretty straight but by the time he’s back, and in the 30th century, the wackiness really begins…

Martin from Edinburgh, Scotland

Martin, I’ve got to say, you’re not wrong, and whenever someone calls us out, I guess we should cop to it.

I don’t know anything about Ambush Bug. All I do know is that at the last couple DC panels I’ve been to at conventions, they kept mentioning him over and over and over and over, and it just got on my nerves. He’s like the punchline to a joke I’ve never heard. I’m sure that, like every obscure character, he has his fans out there, and in some cases, there are as many as 9 or 10, but I just feel like I’m supposed to know or care who the character is, and I don’t. Why not do some one shots, or have him appear in another title, and make that interesting to new readers? If he is that great of a character, I’m sure it will resonate, and I’ll either read it, or hear about it. And maybe that’s what will happen. But there’s this thing that happens among comic readers sometimes where people just mention an old, obscure characters, and that’s supposed to represent cleverness. Having a deep and abiding knowledge of Paste Pot Pete isn’t witty or clever as far as I’m concerned. The same thing happens at Marvel panels, where members of the audience stand up and ask a question about some non-character like the Whizzer, and they think it’ll make the audience crack up, but it ends up in an eye roll.

However, it does sound like there might be something to this Ambush Bug guy, and if there is, I’ll be up there to sing his praises.

Finally, let me just say, “Wow! Was that the crankiest response ever?” Thanks, Martin!

Josh Flanagan


  1. He’s like the punchline to a joke I’ve never heard.

    I understand exactly what you mean and I freaking hate when that happens. It’s just annoying.


  2. I think all of this AMBUSH BUG!!!!!!!! noise is going to spoil your expectations.  I have all of the Ambush Bug comics and I would count myself as one of his fans but these are not the greatest unread comics of all time.  Its kind of hard to explain but I will try.  Liking Ambush Bug is so uncool that its cool.  It was a like the Geffin Justice League on crack.  Wacky may describe it (or it may do it an injustice).  I think I have caught enough of Josh’s musical taste that I may make an example that is easier to understand.  Everyone who is into underground (punk, alternative, college rock, Lo-fi, etc) has met that guy who is into a good (but not great) band because no one else has heard of them and they are REALLY different than anyone else (e.g. Butthole Surfers [in the 80’s], Bongwater, early Ween, Jesus Lizard, etc.).  Ambush Bug is the comic version of this.  I am not saying that all Ambusg Bug fans are like this but i do suspect quite a few are.  Oh well, I’ve had a few beers this good friday and am not sure if I’m making any sense or not.  Did I confuse the matter any or make you less likely to check out old Ambush Bug comics?  One last point, if you dont like the broader humor in Geffin’s Justice League, I think it best to stay away.



    Please excuse any spelling mistakes.  I blame Red Hook Long Hammer IPA!

  3. I’m not sure if it made any sense, but it was AWESOME post.  Clearly.

  4. Finally, let me just say, "Wow! Was that the crankiest response ever?"


    Yes, and in my mind you were delivering it in a thick Scottish accent which made it all the more edgey!


  5. I think you need to be careful which Ambush Bug story you read! The best (IMHO) is the (second) DC Comics Presents appearance. It teamed Superman with the Legion of Substitue Superheroes. Ambush Bug goes wacky in the Superman museum, and the substitute heroes are so funny: infectious lass, etc. Spoiler: half the time they are trying to figure out how to get stone boy (?) unstuck…it is funnier than it sounds. On the other hand, Ambush Bugs solo mini series were more satirical and made fun of a lot of DC history, etc. I don’t think those stories hold up so well. Check out the DCCP issue though, it is still fantastic!

  6. Ambush Bug kinda rules. One of the reasons fans mention Ambush Bugat those panels is to let DC know there is interest in the character, love for the character and they should bring him back. It’s just fanbiy stuff.

  7. I think a series should continue past a great run because you never know when someone will come along that will knock it out of the park again.  Sure it might never happen, but they certainly have to try.  No sense stopping until it’s irrelevant.

    That being said, I worry about the next run of Astonishing, Warren Ellis has always been hit or miss for me.

  8. I was kinda of the impression that Ambush Bug was the "Deadpool" of the DCU…. minus the killing…. kinda like a character who would CONSTANTLY break the 4th wall and all the other characters he’s around would look at him and think he’s crazy…



    But think of it this way…. if YOU were able to see the people writing everyones dialogue and giving invisible instructions, listen in on their plans for the stories your world is partaking in and then see each and ever single person’s face who reads about your exploits, wouldn’t everyone think YOUR a little crazy when you start trying to explain it and make some sense of it in your primitive "3-D" World (or 2-D in Ambush Bugs case)…….. um…… how to explain clearly…… imaging looking at Mr. Mxyzptlk’s dimension, then try explaining everything you saw/ heard/ felt clearly to everyone else as if it were completely normal…. that work? crazy-talk. Don’t know how Deadpool stays as sane as he does 😉

  9. Don’t know how Deadpool stays as sane as he does.


    Oops, dunno where the caps-lock came from ;).  As someone who knew nothing about Ambush Bug prior to this conversation, I’m now imagining that Fabian Nicieza will make the full jump to DC, and write a series pairing him up with an exceedingly unlikely partner.  I don’t know who the DCU equivalent of Cable is.  Lobo?  I’d totally buy "Lobo & Ambush Bug" if Fabian wrote it.  But that’s probably just me.  In fact, I think I can say that pretty safely.

  10. I thought Ambush Bug’s appearence on Fifty Two was a great cameo. Don’t know anything else from the character but I just read on one of those DC columns that there is going to be a limited series soon.

  11. I can honestly say that when Ambush Bug showed up in 52 it sealed the deal to me that I never want to read about that character again.  Sorry to those fans out there.  I do not know if it was a good portrayal of the character, but I found him annoying and stupid.  I eventually would gloss over when he would talk on the page.

    I do not however do that with Deadpool.  I’ve not picked up the Cable and Deadpool series because I had falshbacks to the 90s.  I know ohcaroline has raved about it, but I can’t see myself getting an issue anytime soon.  Is that book still being published?  I know they had issue 50 that seemed like it wasn’t too long ago.

    I would possibly buy a Lobo series… 

  12. Thanks for the response, Josh. Cranky? Nah, adorable, like a big fuzzy pink teddy bear.

    I can see how you could be tired of Ambush Bug as a punchline; I just wish enough cons were thrown in the UK that a body could get bored with such things.

    Anyway, looks like the con nagging worked, so maybe it’ll die down. Instead, perhaps everyone could do me a favour and start shouting out ‘Put the Enchantress back in her go-go checks mini-skirt, with pointy hat’?

    I’ve never read Deadpool – just the name was enough to put me off. The Cable connection, whatever that may be, doesn’t help.

  13. "You’re not wrong…"


    I’d always heard this phrase used as a backhanded compliment, as in "Bill, you’re not wrong, but we are going to go in another direction."  However, the ifanboys seem to use it all the time instead of saying "I agree" or "You’re correct."  I’m not criticizing, I am just curious if this is common outside of comic podcasting. Is this a regional thing since you guys are from the northeast and I am from Texas, whar we talks funny soundin’ anyhow? 

  14. I remember being severly annoyed in the 80s by Ambush Bug and his too frequent guest appearances in every DC book that came out.  DC was trying to force everyone to like him.  Ambush Bug was The Sentry of the 80s.  Eck.

  15. I think the new Marvel version of Ambush Bug around conventions is The Hypno Hustler.

    Aw yeah… 🙂


  16. …Anyway, looks like the con nagging worked, so maybe it’ll die down. Instead, perhaps everyone could do me a favour and start shouting out ‘Put the Enchantress back in her go-go checks mini-skirt, with pointy hat’?

     I’ll second that vote! Although Shadowpact is not long for this world….

  17. @jstump — I’ve raved about "Cable & Deadpool" because it was really freaking good!  Or, well, at its best, it could be.  And always funny.

    I read "52" but have no recollection of an Ambush Bug cameo, though it couldn’t have been worse than Lobo and his psychic dolphin.

  18. Having bought the original Ambush Bug and Son of Ambush Bug series off the rack all those years ago I can say that at the time, the concept was totally original and lots of fun to read – however because of the nature of the character, he definitely works much better in a self-contained book than as a cameo in someone else’s book.