The iFanboy Letter Column – 07/10/2009

Friday means many things to many people. For some, Friday means it’s time to really give some thought to how much food you can eat in one 48 hour period without moving. For others, Friday means it’s still time to break out the illegal fireworks.

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

 


Aquaman has been the victim of some severely bad turns of events as of late, and I realize he’s going to be a Black Lantern, but when that’s all out of the way, and there’s a chance to Rebirth him — who do you think would be a good choice to write it, or if not the Rebirth, an ongoing Aquaman series?

I was at a DC Nation panel either in Seattle or San Francisco, and someone mentioned that a writer with a bit more of a sci-fi background might be a good choice, and I instantly thought of Jim Starlin to sort of create the whole underwater universe that is completely unused in the DCU at this time.

Granted, Geoff Johns is the Master Rebirther, and he would probably be a very good choice to fix up continuity and explain multitudinous things. But I think Starlin is underutilized and he’s doing such a great job with the cosmic goings-on with Mystery In Space, Rann/Thanagar: Holy War, and now using The Omega Men and Captain Comet and Adam Strange in Strange Adventures, I thought it might be an interesting choice.

Robert from Seattle, Washington (PhantomPhrenemy)

Oh, Robert, you are talking about a subject, nay, a man — NAY! — a King, near and dear to my heart!

Aquaman is one of my all-time favorite comic book characters. He’s probably in my top ten of all-time.

When Arthur Curry/Orin died and was replaced by Arthur of Maine who, despite his hilarious podcast cameos, I have no interest in reading about. What happened to him? I have no idea, I dropped the book and stopped paying attention. What I do know, is that Grant Morrison resurrected Arthur Curry in Final Crisis, after which DC promptly said “Uh…. nevermind!” and sent him back to his watery grave, so that he could be used in Geoff Johns’ upcoming Blackest Night, I reckon.

What will happen, if anything, to Arthur Curry after Blackest Night remains to be seen. I really hope that they find a way to bring him back, I feel like the DC Universe is incomplete without him.

How would I bring him back? Well, there are two choices as far as I can see it. The first is the most unlikely. You do an Aquaman: Rebirth series a la Green Lantern: Rebirth and The Flash: Rebirth. This is probably not going to happen. For one, I don’t think that Aquaman is popular enough to warrant such treatment. For another, I am pretty sure that Geoff Johns said that there were going to be no more Rebirth series. The second choice would be that you just bring him back without a lot of hoopla. You just say that he’s back and move on and not dwell and just tell the best Aquaman stories you can. Perhaps this is what will happen at the end of Blackest Night; I can only hope.

As for who should write the books? Well with a character who is the subject of such lazy ridicule you’ve got to have a bulletproof and popular creative team on the book and as much of a minor comic book deity he is, I don’t think that Jim Starlin is the guy for that job. His current books barely register a blip on the comic book radar. You need a big name to get people to sit up and notice, and I’ve got three names that could do that.

The first is the most obvious and thus the most unlikely: Geoff Johns. I know for a fact that he loves Aquaman and he has said in more than one interview that he’d love to write an Aquaman book. In fact, in one interview he said, “I love Aquaman. I really, really love Aquaman. I’d love to work on Aquaman. I’ll just leave it at that.” But I think his plate is probably too full at the moment. The next guy who could pull it off would be J. Michael Straczynski. His name always seems to come up whenever there is talk of a new Aquaman book. Last year he said he wasn’t interested “… at this time.” But things have changed a lot since that quote and now Straczynski finds himself heading over to DC. The last guy is sort of a pie-in-the-sky choice that represents nothing more than wishful thinking, but I’d love a Grant Morrison penned Aquaman book. Not only because he was one of the last writers to portray a really super badass Aquaman (during his run on JLA), but you can tell that Morrison has a lot of respect for the character and what he represents in the DC Universe, and I bet he’d come up with a lot of innovative ideas for Aquaman’s powers and for life under the sea.

So those are my three choices to write a new Aquaman book. I hope something happens soon, but I guess we’ll have to see what happens with Arthur Curry when Blackest Night ends.

Conor Kilpatrick


I recently started reading the new Vertigo series Unknown Soldier. It is seriously the most amazing thing I have read in comics; giving the amount of research and detail the writer Josh Dysart puts into each issue. Anyway, my question is why is no one talking about it. It’s not just you guys, it’s several other site I visit. No one seems to be picking it up! So have you not come across this title? Or is it just me that thinks it is totally amazing

“Unemployed” from London, England, UK

I hope more letters in the future end with topical nicknames, like a bad radio show, so I thank you for starting a trend.

First of all, it’s not just you who thinks Unknown Soldier is amazing, but it is one of my “guilty books”. This is because I like the idea. I like the writer, Joshua Dysart. I like the art by Alberto Ponticelli. I like Vertigo. I like the intention. And I can see the effort and quality put into the book. Lots of people besides you have written and posted about the book, but in the end, I stopped reading it after 4 issues.

This was for several reasons.  The most prominent reason is that, despite all that stuff, I just wasn’t enjoying it the book. There was no entertainment happening. It was very grim and dire. Since I’m not ignorant that events in Africa are regularly disgusting and abhorrent, the book isn’t really teaching me anything, so I wasn’t getting anything out of it. I certainly don’t need a story to be all rainbows and sunshine, but I have to want to keep reading it, and after 4 issues I found myself reading it just because I thought I should, and that does not make for a rewarding experience. Specifically, I think I didn’t grab on to any of the characters on an emotional level, and the nature of the story, the confusing switch between doctor and killer spirit (or whatever it is) left me a bit confused from time to time. I’m guilty because I should like it, and I want to support it, but at the end of the day, I don’t actually want to read or buy it. That is my cross to bear.

But, do not shed your hope and become light of heart, you poor brave man you! A quick look at our Unknown Soldier page tells me that there are still people reading this book, and discussions to be had. You can try to get some talk going there, and do your bit to promote the work as well. It is interesting though, that the week I stopped buying it, pulls went down by about 20%. So perhaps the best of intentions still left a certain segment of the audience a bit flat. With 8 issues out, it’s about time they release a trade paperback, and that will make or break the title most likely. If our ratings are any indication, it’s not a bad book, so maybe it will find a secondary audience in collection editions, and will keep going for you, at least until you find gainful employment and get off the dole, you lazy, lazy person you!

(That last part was a joke.)

But seriously, get a job.

(Again…)

Josh Flanagan


With this X-Men Forever title coming out, it got me thinking: what series from the past do you guys think really need a “do-over” where they could be picked up by a quality creative team back when they were still good? My vote is for someone (preferably Straczynski) to pick from where Supreme Power #18 left off and before that awful Squadron Supreme series introduced a bunch of terrible characters when the book already had a great core to work with.  What are your votes?

Scott P. from Orlando, Florida

Any excuse for me to talk about X-Men Forever! Thank you very much Scott!  But seriously, the idea of going back and taking a comic title and re-doing it was one that my initial reaction has been to recoil in horror, my instincts saying that it’s horrible idea. Going back and redoing comics is just a vain attempt to re-live past glories. After John Byrne failed miserably with Spider-Man: Chapter One, I never thought someone would successfully be able to pull that off. But then Ultimate Spider-Man proved me wrong. And then more recently Joe Casey’s re-scripting of Youngblood and even more recently X-Men Forever have me singing a different tune.

I can’t say that I agree with you in wanting to see a re-do of Supreme Power, mainly because I don’t enjoy JMS’s work and didn’t read that series, and it’s kind of too recent to even consider. I feel like there needs to be some distance between the work that is getting the re-do before you can even tackle it. These stories are just glorified ongoing “What If…?” scenarios, and I always felt that the best What If… issues were the ones that went way back in history. The recent Marvel What If… issues that focused on recent storylines didn’t work, in my opinion because of this.

Enough dodging your question… what series would I like to see get the “Re-do” treatment a la X-Men Forever? I’ve got a couple of ideas. Based on the recent excitement around Green Lantern, I’d love to see Green Lantern “redone” right after the Coast City disaster, perhaps not having Hal turn into Parallax and taking that story in another direction by Ron Marz. Another option would be to go back to Spawn, probably right around issue 20 or so (after Morrison’s run) and avoid the horror angle that it ended up taking and keep it more of a superhero book and focus more on that damn countdown clock that I thought was an awesome device and never really paid off. Of course McFarlane would have to draw it though.  And finally, I think it would be interesting to go back to the Justice League of America, right after the Justice League Detroit stories and just keep that team together, purely for the schadenfreude of that entire time period.

I have to admit, this is a bit of a guilty pleasure. I absolutely love the “What If…” angle of revisiting stories and telling them with a different bent. I’m open to any other suggestions of stories to be redone that I may not of thought of, so give me your titles to be redone in the comments!

Ron Richards

Comments

  1. Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

    After Aquaman died during the OUR WORLDS AT WAR crossover and then was brought back to life in Joe Kelly’s JLA run, I thought that was enough.  And since then he’s died twice more?  I missed that during FINAL CRISIS.  Good grief.  With this kind of background, I agree with Conor.  Just bring him back quietly and then get to the job of telling good stories.

    Three deaths in less than 10 years.  Sheesh.  People really don’t like the guy.

  2. @JeffR: He has only dies twice, as far as I know — in "Our Worlds at War" (then it was revealed that he wasn’t actually dead) and then again in AQUAMAN: SWORD OF ATLANTIS #50.

  3. Conor:  Thanks for writing such a great response to my letter.  I still hope and pray for a Geoff Johns-penned book, simply to make all the mess seem cohesive.  Straczynski is busy doing the Red Circle stuff right now, but might be a good choice when those are ultimately cancelled (or left unfinished due to other projects like The Twelve).  I always thought Morrison’s Aquaman was a bit too Namor-esque angry, and would prefer a fresh take on Aquaman.  I didn’t hate "Sword of Atlantis" too much, but it never really explained (to my satisfaction) who the "new" Aquaman was or why, before it was cancelled.  It really was all over the place.

    Still looking forward to what happens during Blackest Night, and I read "Our Worlds At War" this summer – pee-yoo!  As I’ve written before, thanks to Conor, Ron and Josh for all you do.  iFanboy is the best!

  4. Other What If stories….

    What if Superman would have stayed dead?

    What if Wonder Woman didn’t kill Maxwell Lord?

    What if Jason Todd would have survived?

    What if Joker would have shot Jim Gordon and not Barbara?

    There is a huge untold "What If….". I think that would be an awesome way for maybe some rookie writers (and artists) to tell an interesting story and learn their craft a bit….

  5. Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

    Ah.  I misunderstood your response then, Conor.  I thought you meant that Morrison actually did bring Aquaman back during FINAL CRISIS only to have him be killed again immediately by a mandate from DC editorial.  That did seem odd to me.  Glad that I was simply wrong.

    True, Aquaman wasn’t technically dead that first time, but I would argue that he was at least as dead as Steve Rogers, according to what I understand about the first issue of REBORN.  But, maybe I’m wrong about that too.  🙂

  6. Y’know. I was gonna write my thoughts on all of these topics, when someone twittered me this link and all of my coherent thought processes went out the window.

    http://www.nypost.com/seven/07102009/news/regionalnews/biff__wham__pow__178573.htm

    Maybe I will post relevant comments after I stop laughing/crying.

  7. Weird, I was just thinking about JMS Supreme Power like two days ago when I saw a trade in LCS, everyone seems to love JMS but I havent read any of his work, on the other hand Gary Franks art is exceptional as always. Premise looks cool since(it may just be me) but it felt like a loving tribute to the DCU… even though it was done at Marvel, has anyone read this series and is it worth picking up?

  8. @JeffR: No, Morrison brought Aquaman back in FINAL CRISIS, and DC just ignored it. They didn’t kill him again, they just pretended he wasn’t resurrected.

  9. No no no. The original Aquaman was NOT resurrected.

    Morrison, Johns, and even Didio stated that the Aquaman you saw in Final Crisis was from a different Earth. Probably because the Earth’s were ‘bleeding’ into each other and everything was going out of wack. The original Arthur Curry never came back to life and Geoff Johns wrote it specifically in Blackest Night #0 that it was all rumors.

    There ya go.

  10. Yes, that’s how they made sense of it all after the fact.

  11. @conor: But it’s never described in Final Crisis that the original Curry came back to life. A version of his (looking a lot like Superfriends Aquaman) showed up when Earth Prime was on the verge of being destroyed.

    It’s just a bunch of readers making up an excuse to think he came back.

  12. Bam!

    -From Newsarama.com

    In Mega Con 09, Dan Didio explains about Aqauaman in Final Crisis and his future role in Blackest Night

    http://www.newsarama.com/comics/020928-Mega-DC-Nation.html

  13. Right, this is how it was all explained after the fact.

  14. I would actually like a vast, almost cosmic-like universe under da sea… under da see-ea!
    Ahem, sorry. Considering all that has been unexplored underwater, it wouldn’t be so out there (no more than an entire underwater utopia like Atlantis). The artist could make up all kinds of bizarre undersea creatures (they automatically get my money if they use the Life Aquatic’s Jaguar Shark).
    Now, for all I know, this has been consistantly done w/ Aquaman, but I’d never know since I haven’t read anything w/ him other than that briefe Final Crisis bit, to be honest.

  15. OK. Now that I composed myself…

    I would love to see James Robinson take a whack at making Aquaman relevant. But you would have to give him the time for his threads to develop, and I think DC has very little patience with Aquaman at this point. I really liked the way Aquaman was characterized in Kingdom Come. I know he was lobotomized for most of it, but the man he was while he was awake is the one I am interested in seeing more of.

    As far as the "re-doing" scenario, I would like to see how Peter Parker would react if he could not have gotten rid of the symbiote. A series where he would always have to keep it in control during battles as Spidey, and always questioning his life decisions as Peter. "I cant believe I slept with MJ’s cousin" "Was that me breaking Jameson’s nose or was it the symbiote?" You could always have the symbiote whispering in Peter’s ear. Goading him to do bad stuff at the same time it tells him things it thinks Peter wants to hear. "They are too stupid to understand why you are the greatest. They deserve to be screwed over".

     

     

     

  16. @conor: But again, you have no idea if Morrison actually ressurected Curry. It’s never stated in the event and Morrison has said numerous times it wasnt the original Aquaman. So your assuming on something that has no weight to it.

  17. @TNC — it’s widely acknowledged that that’s post event "spin."

    This is snipped from an earlier interview with Morrison:

    "NRAMA: The return of Aquaman…that’s the Aquaman? King Arthur returned in the hour of his people’s greatest need?

    GM: J.G. Jones and I figured it was time to bring back an Aquaman we could all understand, so there he is. Someone else will pick up on that story, I’m sure.

    NRAMA: Got it. Back to some details, time-wise here, how long did the building of the machine take? "

    Link:  http://www.newsarama.com/comics/020904-Grant-FC2.html

  18. Firefox on Mac doesn’t seem to retain the HTML, but it’s worth noting that in the aforementioned snippet, the "the" in the phrase "…that’s THE Aquaman?" is bolded. 

  19. Morrison wrote FINAL CRISIS many years ago and so by the time it came out, much of what he wrote didn’t match up to what was currently happening in the DCU so the stuff that didn’t was either ignored or, as Dave said, spun in a way that made it make sense.

  20. @daccampo: But he’s not stating it’s the true Aquaman!!

    And it’s not post event spin, cause I’ve seen a shit load of interviews when that specific issue came out he stated it wasnt Earth Prime Aquaman. Is it that hard to put this together?:

    An event dealing with multiple Earths + A ‘revived’ superhero= A different Aquaman from a different Earth comes to the original Earth.

    I’m 100% certain it was not post event ‘spin’.

  21. 1st post, huzzah, huzzah.

    I thought a few years ago that Kurt Busiek would be a good choice to revamp Aquaman.  That didn’t really work out.  Now, I might even like to see him portrayed as he is on Brave & Bold.  If he is already a "punchline", why not make it a humor book?  Maybe even with Keith Giffen writing?

     

  22. And there’s nothing wrong with any of that. Serialized publishing on a company-wide scale sometimes forces things to change. But I do think that Morrison intended to use this to bring back Arthur, and then when it didn’t work out, they just decided to spin it a little.

  23. @daccampo: Plus what does bolding the word ‘THE’ prove? It’s the interviewer that states it might be the original Aquaman. Then when Morrison answered the question he said ‘AN’ Aquaman.

    So what does that link accomplished? Nothing

  24. @daccampo: Exactly, it was clearly meant to be Arthur Curry in the book irtself, and Morrison stated it was him, and the entire way that DC had to handle all the inconsitencies that came out of FINAL CRISIS also make it clear that was what was meant.

  25. @ conor, about Grant Morrison writing it years ago: Thats not entirely true, Grant stated he used some parts of a different story he was working on. Its not like he had FC in the can all along.

  26. @TNC- that snippet’s pretty clear. He’s saying "an aquaman we could all understand." He means as opposed to Arthur Curry of Maine, etc. He’s not denying the interviewer’s claim that it’s "the" Aquaman.

    You can try to ascribe whatever mean you want to it, but I think most people understand that this is what he meant. As Conor mentioned, Final Crisis was written well before it was released and it’s been stated that there were some changes and things that didn’t line up as a result. 

    I think that it’s much more likely that he brought back Aquaman and then DC decided it didn’t quite work so they "no-prized" an explanation, rather than Morrison always intended to bring an "alternate earth" Aquaman to our Earth to give us an Aquaman we could all understand better.

  27. @reconyoda: He did write it well before. I’ve talked to people about it.

  28. I think the only way we’ll really know who is right if we see the original scripts of Morrison when he first wrote this.

    Cause if this was suppose to be the original Aquaman then the panel showing him probably would’ve been different then what eventually got printed. I’m sorry, if Morrison wanted to bring one of the original Justice League members back from the dead….then he would’ve had a much bigger role then just a one panel cameo. (fyi, if I am missing another panel he appeared in then I’m still saying he should have a bigger role then be a background character)

  29. @TNC: It was a background event, it wasn’t important to the main plot.

  30. I’d love a good Aquaman book. I don’t know if I’ve ever read one, but God help me, I love the character.

    I heard Marvel is trying another "do-over" book starting in a month or so… Spider-Man’s Clone Saga. Seriously.

  31. @conor: Well then it must be a "great" background event cause he only wrote for one panel from the damn guy.

    That amazes me, we are essentially arguing over one panel this "Aquaman" was brought back

  32. I read it as not being the "real" Aquaman either.  I assumed he was from another Earth, like all the Supermen.  Then again, it would not be the first thing I assumed wrong in Final Crisis.

  33. Even if you assume that it was an alternate earth Aquaman, then Morrison’s interview still doesn’t really make sense. When asked about Aquaman, it was something Morrison thought he was "bringing back" Aquaman. He said it was "time" and that someone else would run with the story. DC said, "oh he’s just helping out from another Earth." Morrison’s statement emphasizes that it’s the START of something, that it’s a big deal. DC’s statement minimalizes it as a guest spot that’s over and done with. 

    Bottom line: there are enough inconsistencies for me to easily believe that things simply changed from writing to publishing. As I said above — those things happen. It’s not the end of the world. It’s probably smarter for DC to wait until the right moment and the right pitch to try another Aquaman series.

  34. @daccampo: Well he could mean that the alternate Aquaman would become the new hero for Earth Prime. Hey it’s Morrison….he could turn Green Arrow into a ferret and it would mean something.

    Okay that’s a bad counter argument….Fine, it might be the real Arthur Curry and it’s all event spin afterwards. But Morrison wrote it in a way where it could be either the original or a different Aquaman.

  35. Or it could just be that DC realized that they gave Grant WAY too much freedom with Final Crisis, and made an editorial decision to revise what happened to suit the current landscape fo the DCU. 

  36. @connor I guess your right, he did write it years ago, it was called "Rock of Ages"….j/k. But there is a interview with Grant floating around that specifically says he has had ideas for this for awhile. But Final Crisis was made from parts of those stories.

  37. @reconyoda: Right, he’s had a lot of these ideas for years now — I believe we talked about this on the FINAL CRISIS show — and it was written well before it was published, much longer than normal.

  38. Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

    Huh.  I didn’t mean to help kick up a hornet’s nest there.

    To Ron’s question, I agree that seeing more JLA: Detroit would be fun.  And hey, maybe telling more stories about that League will cause an uproar of fans clamoring for more Vibe action!  No, no, probably not.

    I doubt there’s enough of a desire amongst fans for such a project, but writing new adventures of Elongated Man and Sue while both were still alive could be nice.  He did always seem to be a bit of an underused character.  While a "do-over" wouldn’t really be needed (as I really did like IDENTITY CRISIS) making some series of "untold tales of Elongated Man" would be nice.

  39. JMS’s first 3-part ‘Supreme Power’ series is a fantastic comic, especially with Gary Frank’s art.  Unfortunately, it really ends on a forward looking note — and then completely fizzled when it left the Max line to become a regular series.   

  40. Shit, I can’t even think of what series I would like to see come back and restarted from a particular place.  A year ago, when I first started reading comics again, I would’ve picked the Superman books in a heartbeat, but now I like half of them.  I don’t want anybody even touching Batman like that, unless they are gonna do a BATMAN MAX type deal.

  41. I’d like to have seen what Jason Aaron would’ve done with Wolverine, but can you imagine Marvel rewinding the clock that far?  Absurd, I know.  

  42. I’d like to see peter David do Untold Tales of Young Justice

  43. Just reading the Final Crisis hardcover from last week…I took it as the original AC Aquaman. Sure, it sort of happens in the background but that does fit Morrison to me. They bring it up twice within the series: once they show Arthur and the second time is earlier on where they discuss help from around the world and note that the new Aquaman is doing his own thing but there’s still Arthur or something to that effect. I remember thinking it was odd because I know no resurgence of Aquaman came from that, but I definitely got the impression it was AC (of course I don’t read too many interviews and such anymore so that adds to my obliviousness). Anyway, I have a guilty pleasure for Aquaman and would love to see a good writer work with…Maybe James Robinson…not sure.

  44. Maybe they should do a Hawkman/Aquaman team book.  It might be so baffling that it ends up being good.

  45. @horatio: One attacks by land, the other by sea.

    (sings) Hawkman and Aquaman!

  46. Arthur from Maine hasn’t been on the podcast in months. BRING BACK ARTHUR FROM MAINE!

    Surely Middle-Management Skull can find him something to do.

     

  47. Glad my letter, and Conor’s response sparked so much debate!  I like the idea of James Robinson writing a new Aquaman series, and I also like my original idea (but understand Conor’s argument against) of Jim Starlin writing it.  Too bad more of you aren’t reading Strange Adventures.  

    captbastrd’s comments were exactly why I thought Starlin would be perfect.

  48. ENOUGH OF THE FLAME WARS!! Geez guys, chill out. I think they should ease Aquaman back into the DCU with a nice 4 issue arc in the Brave and the Bold 🙂

  49. Oops. I screwed up. Not the Aquaman from Kingdom Come(He had like 4 panels). I MEANT the one from Justice. The pissed off "You took my child and you will pay now" Aquaman.

  50. @Simmons: It’s fine, no one is flaming anyone. It’s called a discussion.

  51. No one cares enough about Aquaman to flame.

  52. Untrue.

  53. You know your a comic book fan when you have a passionate discussion about Aquaman

  54. SANTA CLAUS IS DEAD!

  55. That’s what the communists WANT you to think.

  56. What about Tempest?

  57. What about him?

  58. Apotheosize 

     Tempest will return in Titans #15 Vol. 2 and The Blackest Night #1

     http://blog.newsarama.com/2009/07/03/the-return-of-tempest/