The iFanboy Letter Column – 07/17/2009

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 time to pack and do laundry and shit for San Diego.

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

 


With the recent DC Green Lantern, Flash, and Batman stories going on; the legacy character has been used a lot. I love this idea. The handing down of a mantle after a sidekick was trained.

Does Marvel have any characters that you feel could use the legacy treatment. (Besides Captain America, who has Bucky and Hawkeye.)

I think Daredevil could. What do you think?

Eric W, (redcracker)

You know Eric, the concept of the legacy character is funny because when it works, it’s a no-brainer, but when it doesn’t work, it feels forced and like a writer is trying too hard. For some reason, DC Comics have positioned their heroes as title holders. Hal Jordan is a Green Lantern, but Green Lantern isn’t Hal Jordan. Same with The Flash and many of the characters in the Justice Society of America. There was a time I would have argued that Batman and Superman are not like that though, that Bruce Wayne is Batman and Batman is Bruce Wayne, but obviously recently that’s been proven wrong (or is in the process of being proven) by Grant Morrison. I still think that Superman holds strong, that his title is not a mantle, rather it’s that specific person, Kal El/Clark Kent. But I’m getting off topic…

So while it works, I think that the concept of the mantle completely doesn’t work in the Marvel Universe, except in some extreme cases like Captain America (where it’s been proven numerous times that while Steve Rogers is the greatest, other men can step into that title) and more recently Doctor Strange (or rather the title of Sorcerer Supreme). But the rest of the Marvel characters are so unique and so specific to their identities, that I can’t imagine there would be another Mr. Fantastic, or Spider-Man or even Daredevil — Daredevil is Matt Murdock and vice versa. Everything that Matt Murdock has been and gone through is what makes Daredevil who he is. I can’t see him handing the horns to a young buck of a lawyer who knows how to use a billy club. And it completely doesn’t work with The X-Men. There is only one Wolverine, Cyclops or Nightcrawler.

That said, I could see perhaps a few roles develop that of legacy. We’ve seen numerous Goliaths, as well as obviously the role of Hawkeye can be handed to whomever wants to wear purple and use a bow, similarly with Ronin. (Oddly enough, it seems as Clint Barton who has been Hawkeye, Giant-Man and Ronin is Mr. Legacy, not being able to pick and stick with an identity). But those characters that lend themselves to the concept of a legacy seem to lack the weight that the characters with the strong identities have.

I’ve pounded my brain to think of an obscure character that I could nominate for a legacy, but I’m afraid I’m at a loss. It’s that lack of legacy, the sense of lasting only as long as the person is alive that is the distinction for Marvel from DC. I don’t think one is particularly better than the other, but they’re reasons why both universes are so much fun to play in.

Oh, wait a minute. As much as I love Rich Rider, there could totally be a “new” Nova. But I sure wouldn’t be happy about it… just as long as Rich Rider doesn’t become Ronin.

Ron Richards


I’ve recently started getting into some of Chuck Dixon’s older Batman stuff. I just read both Robin: Year One and Batgirl: Year One and loved both and was wondering if you could recommend some specific storylines or trades from that Chuck Dixon’s Batman work that you’d recommend.

Aniz A.

Man, those two minis you just read — Robin: Year One and Batgirl: Year One — are great aren’t they? I just re-read Batgirl: Year One and it’s so, so good (art by Marcos Martin!) and made me totally fall in love with Barbara aga– uh, I mean… you can’t… she’s a fictional character… she couldn’t… we… I… moving on!

Chuck Dixon is indeed one of The Men when it comes to Batman. He singlehandedly shaped so much of what we know to be the modern world of Batman and the people and the relationships in it.

Because DC’s trade program sucks so bad when it comes to the super hero side of things, it’s hard to give a comprehensive list when it comes to his Batman work, so I’ll focus on the kids.

Chuck Dixon’s run on Robin (1993-2002) was absolutely epic and shaped Tim Drake into the character everyone knows and loves today and there aren’t that many trade out there. But there is the first one! Robin: Flying Solo collects Robin #1-6 plus Showcase ’94 #5-6. After that you’re pretty much out of luck. The only other Chuck Dixon trade from Robin collects his most recent work. And that’s a goddamn crime!

Moving over to the big brother, Chuck Dixon’s run on Nightwing (1996-2002) was still my favorite run of stories for Dick Grayson. This run was actually heavily collected in trade — there are eight volumes — but a lot of them are now out of print, so they tend to be hard to find and expensive. The first is Nightwing, Vol. 1: A Knight in Bludhaven. It’s out of print.

And finally the ladies. Chuck Dixon was the man responsible for bringing us Birds of Prey (1999-2002), one of the few all-female superhero team books that has ever found any kind of extended success. And get this, sports fans — there are NO trades of this run at all. Awesome, right? There are two trades that collect the Birds of Prey minis and one-shots that pre-dated the regular series, one called Birds of Prey, and the other called Birds of Prey: Old Friends, New Enemies. I know you’re going to be surprised to hear this, but they are no longer in print.

It’s times like this that I wish DC had an Omnibus program akin to what Marvel does. I’d kill for these runs to be collected in a few really super thick volumes.

Conor Kilpatrick


THREE DAYS AGO:
I am reading my comic books. They keep putting in shifts in time, which do nothing to enhance the story and lead only to confusion.

NOW:
I am writing a nonsensical letter to iFanboy, hoping that the feel my pain. I feel I will instead be mocked by Josh.

ONE WEEK AGO:
I ask my wife if I can name our child “Spider-Man Ferrigno.” Somehow, she does not divorce me. (Yes, I was joking.)

NOW:I am looking at Red Robin #2. I do not know when exactly Tim sees Spoiler, nor do I know which country he is supposed to be in. I wonder why they are using this device.

TWO MONTHS AGO:
Daniel Way is using pointless time shifts in Deadpool. Alan Moore made this technique look easy in Watchmen. Way makes it look like a way to hide a mediocre plot in Deadpool.

NOW:
I am reading Batman. Time is shifting again. I am noticing a trend.

TWO YEARS FROM NOW:
Daniel Way confronts me at the new York Comic Con. He doesn’t like my calling his Deadpool plots “mediocre.” I point behind him and say “Hey! Isn’t that Ron Richards?” Way screams “At last!” and runs off to get his revenge. I hide down the street at Ray’s Pizza. it claims to be the original, but I know better.

EIGHT YEARS AGO:
My water heater springs a leak, destroying thousands of comic books, including my beloved Iron Man collection. I am despondent and vow to give up buying issues. This lasts three weeks.

NOW:
I watch the iFanboy Mini were Conor professes his love of Aquaman. I feel his pain, as I have a soft spot in my heart for the Fabulous Frog-Man.

TWO YEARS FROM NOW:
I have read Secret invasion twenty seven times and STILL don’t know what happened to The Wasp.

ONE YEAR FROM NOW:
I pitch a Fabulous Frog-Man mini-series to Joe Quesada. He punches me in the face, vowing I will never work in the comics business.

TWO DAYS AGO:
I realize the last two issues of Ambush Bug: Year None have never come out. I wonder if I am the only one who notices.

THREE YEARS FROM NOW:
Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Lark do a Fabulous Frog-Man mini. It cracks Diamonds Top Ten and wins both men an Eisner. I weep.

TWENTY SEVEN YEARS AGO:
I receive my first comic book, at the age of three. A life long love affair begins.

ONE YEAR AGO:
I find the iFanboy podcast on iTunes. Unlike other podcasts, I actually enjoy it.

NOW:
I realize you guys probably got as tired of reading this e-mail as I have gotten of reading the technique used in comics these days and hit “send.”

John Ferrigno from Connecticut

I have nothing to add. I just thought this was too good not to share. Well played.

Josh Flanagan

 

Comments

  1. Nice one Ferrigno!

    I think Iron Man could could be a legacy character.  I mean, not that many people in the Marvel U are as smart as Tony, but they could certainly learn to pilot the armor and make it their own; Iron Patriot is proof of that.  And in a competant writer’s hands, like Fraction, I could totally see someone eventually taking over the roll.

  2. Jason Aaron made Ghost Rider a legacy character of sorts and it worked quite well.

  3. The reason the legacy characters in the DC Universe work is because they’ve been that way for so long. I don’t think anyone expects Bruce Wayne to never be Batman again and for Dick to remain A Batman forever.  I and I assume most others expect the status quo to return once this story is over.  Superman is Clark Kent and Batman is Bruce Wayne. Dick Grayson can wear the Cowl for a while but DC will never make him the true Batman.

  4. Ferrigno’s letter is hilarious. I know those of us who haven’t repressd the bad memory remember how Loeb employed timeshifts in Ultimates 3 #2 (or was it issue 3?) where everything led up to two seconds before Wolverine’s conventional, totally expected entrance at the end of the page. Like–huh?!–WHY??

  5. There don’t seem to be many sidekicks in the Marvel Universe, either.  Not that sidekicks are inherent to a legacy, but they probably help.

  6. *a round of applause for John Ferrigno*  Way to go!

    Iron Fist is an example of Marvel working with a Legacy character, though that one’s kind of a cheat since the legacy was retconned in, and I don’t expect to see Danny Rand pass his title on to anyone else — though it’s been set up where that could happen, certainly.

    The X-Men have occasionally tried to make Phoenix a legacy, and I wish it would stick. 

    I feel like the nature of the DCU, the way earth-1 and earth-2 characters were made to co-exist from pretty early on, lends itself to legacy.  It’s a nice way to make different generations of characters fit together, even if some of the attempts are better than others.

  7. Ant-Man?  That was sort-of passed on from Hank Pym to Scott Lang, and now to Amadeus Cho.  You can also argue that Hawkeye has become legacy, going from Clint to the Young Avengers Hawkeye.  Black Panther is a legacy character, and maybe I could see Falcon be one.  

    Oh, and Ben Reily was a legacy adoptee for Spider-Man (finds a wall to duck behind and puts on suit of invulnerability…) 

  8. *slow clap* Fantastic peice of writing there John. (Although I was fine with the arc you mentioned on Deadpool :P)

    Abnett and Lanning brought back the Nova corps and had Rider stripped away of the powers. That didnt work out to well and 4 issues later he became Nova again.

     

  9. @TNC

    I actually enjoyed that Deadpool arc, too. I just think it’s funny that one day, Ron will have to meet Daniel Way, and it will be awwwwwkward.

    Ghost Rider is kind of a legacy character. Jim Rhodes had a long stint as Iron Man. Happy Hogan and Clayton Wilson also had very brief tenures as Iron Man.  

    Ant-Man has had a few different men inside the silly helmet, as mentioned above.

    Thor is almost a "kinda sorta" legacy character, as there ahs been Thor, Beta Ray Bill, Thunderstrike, and anyone else "worthy enough" to lift the hammer and gain the powers.

    Leap Frog’s son became the Fabulous Frog-Man! 

  10. great points about Ghost Rider and Iron Fist -those are good examples of recent use of legacies in characters – too bad they’re not A-List characters – heh

  11. @Ron-How dare you dis the Iron Fist!

  12. There’s a lot of legacies for Marvel characters.

    Except for the mutants….who will just get revamped by Claremont and get corrected by a better writer.

  13. @nmoline:  I don’t know any kinda facts and I’m only guessing here, but I think Dick Grayson’s reign as Batman will PROBABLY happen around the same time as Superman comes back to Earth after taking care of business on New Krypton.  I just have that feeling for some reason.

    They kind of both left their immediate roles around the same time, something tells me that they’ll be back around the same time.

  14. Wow.  That letter from John Ferrigno is brilliant.  *slow clap*

  15. I would say Iron Man is already a legacy character. Jim Rhodes and now Pepper have both fulfilled the role, either directly by wearing the IM suit, or having their own suits. Not to mention the handful of minor character who’ve worn the suit for an issue or two. Plus, any time Tony puts on an old suit, you can feel a real sense of history there, which is really what legacy is about.

    Cap is the same way.

  16. Eric O’Grady is Ant-Man.  And as long as his appearances in Avengers The Initiative stay up to par, that’s one that definitely sticks.  Scott Lang had a healthy life as Ant-Man before him too.

  17. John Ferrigno’s letter is brilliant. *applauds*

    But I also need to point out how much I love Chuck Dixon’s Bat comics. The Nightwing run especially has some of my favorite Dick Grayson tales ever. (I want an omnibus of it very badly.) The Robin and Birds of Prey runs are also amazing. Great stuff.

    (I also love legacy characters, but I really do think that they work better in DC than in Marvel. Even if I love Kate Bishop as Hawkeye.)

  18. Chuck Dixon’s bat family stuff gets my big thumbs up too.  Great stuff!

  19. Just adding to the chorus.  Loved that Ferrigno letter.

  20. John’s got to be feeling pretty good about himself today.  We’ve been VFerrignoed on 2 posts, completely coincidentally.

  21. Young Avengers proves Marvel can do legacies if they want to.

    It would be interesting, IMO, to try to a superhero comic in real-time and actually have mantles pass on to new characters. 

     

  22. A new captain britain?

    I found Nightwing: Big Guns TP for cheap used. It has some interesting ideas but it’s not solid gold so I don’t see a reason for it being expensive. Maybe the rest are…

     

  23. LOL – the last leter from Ferringo was laugh out loud funny people in the office at work are asking me what was funny and i ignored them to write this!!!

  24. I’d just like to second Conor’s (and others’) bemoaning of DC’s trade program. Not only have they not reissued a lot of classic runs, they also publish more recent arcs in razor-thin hardcovers for $25 and then wait a year before putting out the TPB (e.g., Superman and the Legion of Superheroes). I know DiDio has gone on record as saying this is intentional to drive up sales of the single issues, but it’s still annoying, especially when Marvel, Vertigo, Image, Dark Horse, etc. are much better at putting out the trades within a few months after the issues.

  25. @Josh

    I was actually have a pretty crummy day. But double shot of iFanboy love has made it much better.  

  26. Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

    I have to agree that the ROBIN: FLYING SOLO trade is a keeper.  Glad to hear that at least that trade is still in print.  I’ve loved Tom Grummett’s art and it stems from his work on this title and in the Superman line (both ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN and SUPERBOY).  Maybe they never collected anything else the early ROBIN stuff because right after the issues in this first trade, it spent over a half year with the Knightsend story and then Prodigal, both of which have been collected.  But, of course, that Prodigal trade is also out of print.

    And let me just add my admiration to Ferrrigno’s pile.  Well done, sir.

  27. Thanks everybody!

  28. I suddenly have the urge to watch Memento.

  29. Ha, best letter ever sent into iFanboy.

  30. I agree.  Best letter ever.

  31. I really like Black Canary’s outfit there. Just me or…?

  32. @Nate

    I like Canary’s outfit too. But am I sexist prick if i say I miss the fishnets?  

  33. What about legacy VILLAINS? Theres quite a few in Marvel but I cant seem to think of many in the DC except Reverse Flash

  34. Marvel – Captain Marvel – Noh-varr, New (dark/conflicted) Captain Marvel

  35. Union Jack’s a legacy.  And oddly enough, the biggest "legacy" in the Marvel Universe is probably the Green Goblin.

  36. Legacy villains in DC – Trickster, Captain Boomerang, Scandal Savage.  In Marvel, Sin.  And captain cold is basically just the silver age version of the icicle, right?

  37. @DarkKnightDetective- Captain Boomerang from DC.  Lex Luthor (sort of).  Red Hood.  Dr. Light (though one was good and one was bad).  Killer Frost.  Do Ra’s Al Ghul and Vandal Savage count as their own legacies? 

    @Tork- lots of the Marvel legacy villains are in Spider-Man’s rogues’ gallery.  Kraven, Doc Ock, Vulture, Mysterio,Venom, Black Tarantula (based on Spider-Girl version of mythos).   

  38. @JohnVFerrigno, Nope, It just means you like variety.

  39. I wish DC actually did a legacy thing, and actually kept with it.

    As much as I love Hal and Barry and even Bruce, I’d much rather see Bart get the Costume, and Nightwing take the place of Batman, but refuse the name, like it should have been done. 

    (mumble mumble, killing off nightwing… grumble grumble)

  40. They should break the fourth wall and kill a creator, and have the characters try to make sense of the direction he was taking.

  41. I’m late on this, but well done Mr Ferringno.  That’s some clever, funny writing.

  42. Well done John.

    It’s kinda sad that I was a marvel guy during Dixon’s long runs on everything.  Hopefully DC once again gets off their asses and fixes their trade program.  I have friends who constantly ask me, "What order do I read these Green Lantern trades in?" Is it so hard to put a damn number on the side DC?  Is it? 

  43. What is Chuck Dixon doing lately? I haven’t heard of his name mentioned since he left in a huff last year

  44. In last week’s podcast, we talked about his new western book from Dynamite The Good The Bad and The Ugly.

  45. @TNC

    I believe Chuck Dixon is writing The Good, The Bad and the Ugly monthly right now.

    @jstump

    When looking at DC trades, i am forced to go to the little tiny words in the first page that say which issues they are reprinting, and then figure out which one is next in line. not a perfect system, but at least it gives you SOMETHING to work with.  

  46. Unless they skip an issue, and you need to back issue hunt 🙂

  47. So, we can say that Marvel has tons of legacy characters that Ron overlooked like Iron Man, Ghostrider, Iron Fist, Ant-Man,  Captain Marvel, Quasar, Union Jack, Phoenix , Thor, Captain Britain, Vision, Ms. Marvel, Wolverine (Ron sais he isn’t, but Marvel is trying with Daken), Spider-woman, Human Torch, Black Panther, White Tiger, Black Widow, Night Thrasher…

  48. I forgot/remembered some: Hulk, Spider-Man (Ben Reilly), Scarlet Spider, Vindicator/Guardian, Puck, Maverick, Thunderbird (eventhough he renamed to Warpath), Banshee (if you consider Siryn), Sunfire (if you consider Sunpyre), Bucky, and Darkwawk (how could  Ron forget his recent revamp).

     

  49. @Fett

    You forget Leap-Frog/Frog-Man 

  50. Someone mentioned Quasar as a legacy, and I assume they meant from Wendell Vaughn to the chick who currently has the quantum bands, but I believe the original Quasar got the bands from Project Pegasus after they bad been used by a classic character (maybe called Marvel Boy?) prior to Quasars use. When you also factor in the Guardians of the Galaxy future reality, where the Silver Surfer wears the bands as the protector of the Universe, that’s quite a legacy.

  51. … Also, Hellcat should count. Tigra wore the outfit first, as “The Cat”, before actually turning “feline.” Patsy Walker donned the costume, believing it gave her powers, so she is sort of a legacy of The Cat / Tigra.

  52. Plus, Hellcat is another character i love for no real reason, so any mention of her is always welcome. 

  53. @JohnVFerrigno – I knew I was forgetting someone. When I made the list I was thinking "I know someone said somebody that I can’t remember." which is surprisng considering the letter.

     So I’m adding Leap-Frog/Frog-Man and The Cat/Hellcat/Tigra to the list.

    By the way, I’m not trying to prove Ron wrong by making the list as I was just trying to group everyone’s ideas together and add my own (as ridiculous as some are).

    By the way, you could say Daredevil does have a legacy with Danny Rand being Daredevil, Nightcrawler has a legacy with Nocturne, Frankiln could be the next MR. Fantastic, and Cable/Ruby all have Cyclops-esque characteristics that might make them furutere Cyclops. =)

     

     

  54. Just want to also throw out the love for John Ferrigno’s letter! Spectacular, I laughed out loud.

  55. I’m surprised no one has mentioned Wolverine / X-23 / Daken

  56. Those aren’t real characters!

  57. Who is this Daken you speak off? I’m sure he’s a badass version of Wolverine.

    But not a wuss that is an exact, carbon copy of Logan but with retarded placement for claws. Oh and tattoo’s everywhere just for the sake of it.

  58. I don’t feel like every time someone takes on an identity it’s necessarily a legacy?

    Rhodey filled in for Tony Stark as Iron Man while Tony was having problems; ditto Danny Rand playing Daredevil.  There wasn’t (I don’t think?  I haven’t read much of the Jim Rhodes Iron Man stuff) a sense that the original hero was gone and their name was being carried on.  I think that’s essential to something being a legacy.

  59. I’ve read a lot of the Rhodes Iron Man issues, and I believe that Rhodes was Iron Man for a lengthy period and did significant acts (I remember Rhodes being Iron Man when West Coast Avengers started it’s regular series.) This period was pretty funny, as people kept calling Iron Man “Tony,” to which he’d say “I’m not Tony Stark.” To which people would basically wink and say “ha ha, no use trying to protect your secret identity when we already know who you are.” So, then Rhodes would take off one of his gaunlets and say “um… no, really. I’m a black dude in here.” Although Rhodes claimed that he wasn’t going to be Iron Man for long, I think he qualifies. If nothing else, as War Machine, he continues the armored hero legacy.

  60. Where is Ambush Bug?

    Dan Didio says in every single, god damn interview that issue #6 is on his desk. He’s been saying that for almost 8 months now.

  61. @TNC – he should write a "my stack" article. Get him going.

  62. @ohcaroline

    I think Rhodey ws iron man long enough to count. plus, Tony was actually fine for most of Rhodey’s tenure, but he felt if he put the armor on, he would drink again. He planned on never being iron man again. he had passed the torch. It wasn’t until Rhodey went nuts becuase the helmet wasn’t wired to Rhodey’s brainwaves that Stark had to put on a make-shift suit of armor to stop him. Even then, he becamse iron man again because Rhodey was hurt and couldn’t don the armor to stop Stane. And as it has been said, he was in some signifigant events as IM, including the founding of the WCA and Secret Wars.

    @TNC where is Ambush Bug #5????

    And has anyone else noticed that if you took Ambush bug, stuck him in Deathstroke’s costume, you would get Deadpool? 

  63. I think Marvel fans, as a whole are less likely to embrace new versions of chars while the originals could otherwise be themselves. I think the sidekick point is VERY key to this. A ton of the DC universe tradition comes from the Golden age. DC readers are used to seeing sidekicks. They have grown up with the Robin’s, and the Kid Flash, Speedy, and  the Aqualads. We all know that this was because it was thought books would sell more if the kids had someone they could ID with. THe fact that the "dark times" happened caused the heros to disappear for a long time, only underlined the feeling that perhaps the old guard was getting kind of crusty. Marvel on the other hand introduced the Vast majority of their heroes in the 60’s. I am 45, and I am one of the older generation of Marvel fans, and I am not ready for ‘Spider-Girl’, or this new ‘Wolverine’! I realize that if it was real time, Parker is ready for AARP benefits, but I dont read comics for that. A lot of us read comics based on Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Modern Ages. But I feel sometimes that u almost have to look at it pre and post ban, and then I think we should just take the 90’s and say ‘do-over’ for the vast majority of it. Thats how I think of it in my head. lol.

  64. How about Amadeus Cho as a future Iron Man?

  65. Would Wonderdog excrement be a legacy of Marvin and Wendy?  Heh heh…

  66. @Unoob

    I agree with you. Although marvel has many examples of characters passing the torch or taking up the mantle of another hero, it just isn’t the same as it is in the DCU. The whole "legacy" thing is just a part of the DCU that is ingrained in it’s fabric. It’s actually kind of interesting.  

  67. But you also have Krypto so it balances itself.

  68. I’d hate to spoil Ages of Thunder by Matt Fraction for anyone, but it goes with/into the idea of some characters who don’t seem like a legacy character being written as such rather well.

     I also can’t help but think that Conor intentionally said "Rich" and not "Dick." Hmm.

  69. *Ron intentionally said

  70. John, brilliant post, I kneel before you. I also hate flashing around time for no reason. I can see why TV thrillers do it sometimes, to start with an action scene – eg Alias – but not why it’s now getting done in such things as Brothers and Sisters, from the Alias people. In comics, there’s no excuse. We know we’ll get to the action soon enough, we’re not about to change channels.

     But Josh, what does ‘We’ve been VFerrignoed’ mean?