The Lost Ten Commandments of Comics

MosesSonia saw the world of comics, and she saw that it was good. Then people began worshiping a big golden idol because you know, they’d been wandering lost in the desert a lot and they really needed an excuse for a party. But Sonia was unforgiving and kind of rigid, so she handed down these commandments. Then Charlton Heston came down from a mountain to read them to you all, and he had a really big, grey beard, so you know he means business.

1) Thou shalt not be more than 3 months late with a monthly title.
While organizing my comics in my new apartment this week, I have discovered 3 copies of the latest issue of Planetary, and 3 copies of Whedon’s penultimate issue of Astonishing X-Men. This is because they are/were so bloody late with the final issue, that I kept buying the second-to-last one, thinking that maybe it was new. Ridiculous. This has happened to me a lot (especially when they start mucking about with variant cover bollocks), and it drives me nuts. Maybe I’d be happier if I just waited for the trades, but why not just make the comic on time?

2) Thou shalt not stop publishing a title when there is but one issue to go on the story arc.
Desolation Jones, anyone? What the hell happened there? I really liked that character. You can’t just give birth to this entirely perfect reality (Los Angeles is a prison for fuckups and misfits and mutants — of course it is!) and then just abandon it. We care about these fictitious characters, leaving the stories up in the air is like leaving them in limbo. Even worse than delaying the last issue forever, is just giving up on it.

3) Thou shalt not employ an American to write British dialogue.
It never quite works. Not quite. While I applaud my fellow Americans (I am, after all, half American), they’re always going to misuse some essential piece of colloquial English. Those kind of mistakes sort of scream “this is a work of fiction, these people aren’t real”, and suddenly the spell is broken.

4) Thou shalt not kill practically everyone on a team.
I liked The New Avengers a lot, but come on! Couldn’t you just have made a new team and called them, I dunno, the West Coast Avengers? Oh wait no, you couldn’t, because you already did that and messed it up… *sigh*. I’m sorry to be cranky about it, I know it was a contentious move, but I actually really enjoyed The New Avengers and chance to meet a really different group of heroes. I just hated the way it happened.

Raven5) Thou shalt not create new characters just to spice up an old series.
Is anyone here old enough to remember when Kitty Pryde first emerged? Yes, she’s all kickass and reinvented as a womanly source of vital power now (thank you Mr. Whedon), but when she first arrived on the scene it seemed a lot like she’d been introduced simply to deal with the fact that the X-Men were turning into young adults, and the audience was still jonesing for some of that more relatable kid/mutie action. Maybe this only bothered me. Maybe I’m being cruel, but it was the first time I noticed it, and it felt a lot like when all the little kids on The Cosby Show turned 40 and so they randomly brought on a new one.

6) Thou shalt not employ foreign artists who don’t understand the story they’re illustrating.
Have you been reading Astonishing X-Men lately? The writing is fun (okay, obviously Ellis has some kind of very strange issues with Emma, but that’s his own business and I don’t really want to know why he writes her with such a big stick up her ass), and Simone Bianchi is obviously having a ton of fun creating some incredibly dramatic and flowing lines. One thing though, he’s very very dramatic. Like, all the time. In fact, everyone looks so dramatic and important, that even when they’re talking about socks, they kind of look like they’re announcing the end of the world… Which leads me to believe that he doesn’t quite understand what he’s illustrating here. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but that’s how it looks. I’m still going to buy this title, it looks nice and it’s fun to read, but it’s utter nonsense at this point.

7) Thou shalt not bring characters back from the dead more than twice.
Jean Grey. Obviously I’m talking about Jean Grey. We could talk about Elektra, but right now I’d rather talk about Jean Grey. Or maybe we could talk about Rachel Summers, or Maddie, or… whatever. This whole creepy, necrophiliac red-head thing has got to end. It’s sick and wrong and it’s messing with my head. You’re either dead or you’re not. I’m all for talking to spirits (yes, if it makes you happy, you go right ahead), but once you cross over, you do not keep coming back. It’s weird and wrong.

Astonishing Melodrama8) Thou shalt not create emotionally crippled heroes, who endlessly dissect their psyches.
When I was a kid, I laughed my ass off at the tedious long tirades of the Ghost Rider, as he slouched in his graveyard and bemoaned his fate. “Who am I? Why am I? How could this happen? Why is my head on fire? How do I feel about this?” etc. God it was so very self-obsessed, so obviously influenced by the therapy-happy 1970’s. But at least it made sense within the context of its time. Doing it again with The Sentry seemed really strange. Nowadays people do not have the patience to go nuts, they take drugs and cheer up. We live in a brave new world, one were tv ads ask you if you feel like your medication is working or if you need a better drug to improve your mood and personality. This is not the time to introduce a man who is painfully self-unaware. We just don’t want to look at ourselves that deeply, and we certainly are not in a position to observe and support a comic book character doing so.

9) Thou shalt respect and revere those who went before thee.
Yes indeed, you give it up to the greats of comics. There’ll be no cussing out of Wonder Woman because she’s frumpy or dull or old. No way. She might be a remnant of a time when a man really wanted an excuse to think about being tied up by a scantily-clad strong-woman with sparkly ropes, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that she was the torch-bearer of a new level of feminine power. She brought the female warrior to the fore in the comic world, and while she may be an under-utilized character these days (and for fans, I’m sorry, but I don’t give a toss about her damn relationship with her mother and all of the boring conversations they can have), she’s always going to be the first lady of superheroes to me.

10) Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors super powers.
I can see it now, some writer is at home, wishing he were writing Superman, but he’s not, he’s writing The Flash. So instead of asking what The Flash would do in a given situation, he just bends the rules a little, and has The Flash doing some super stuff (super vibrations which mean he can breathe in space — wha?). We’ve all seen it happen, heroes using their powers in ways which helps them to simulate the powers of others. It’s annoying is what it is. Just make up your mind about what is possible, and go with it. If you wish you wrote another character, well then go do that. But don’t muddy the waters by changing what familiar characters are capable of.


Sonia Harris is an opinionated Londoner/San Franciscan comic-reading, graphic designer. She isn’t actually a deity. You can email her


  1. I’d be thrilled to see more of Desolation Jones.  

  2. This article rocks my socks.

  3. If Captain Boomerang insists on shooting the Flash into space he needs to figure out some way to breathe.

  4. you had me at bollocks.

  5. Sonia is our resident Gordan Ramsay 🙂

  6. The solution to "creepy necrophiliac redhead situation" is to not kill good characters for stupid reasons. 

  7. @ohcaroline Thank you! It’s so sick, it’s like they know she can come back, so writers just kill her off whenever they feel like doing something mildly emo. It’s disgusting.

  8. Notable execption to commandmant #5: Poochie the rapping dog. He’s half Joe Camel and a third Fonzerelli.

  9. "3. Thou shalt not employ an American to write British dialogue."

    That’s incredibly myopic, bordering on rude, even as good-natured fun.  

    This is a problem of a nationality ratio lending itself to frequency of errors, rather than capability based on birthplace.  More American writers in mainstream (and slightly sub-mainstream) comics simply lends itself to a higher frequency of noticeable dialectic mistakes on the parts of Americans. You’re basically using the same sort of backward logic that leads people to assume Asians are all great at math, and girls are all bad at it.  

    Nobody absolutely nails it every time, even after years of practice.  The Northwestern European rock stars (Ennis, Ellis, Diggle, Morrison, Millar, Robinson), have each made, and still occasionally make, some pretty ludicrous gaffes over the years, especially when they over-reach and go for regional dialects within the U.S.  But they’re always working on it.  Everything I’ve ever read about how writers grow is the shame of seeing their mistakes in print.  

    A commandment of any kind feels hilariously nerdy and inflexible, but maybe for the uncaring or the unrepentent recidivists we could say "Thou shall not employ lazy, inept writers to work outside their own native dialect."  

    Otherwise an entertaining article, thanks for writing it! 

  10. @Andrew,

    Poochie is the Nazz. He is one of the few things that the Simpsons writers still use brilliantly.

  11. So am I the only one who likes the Sentry (I’ve only read the first 14 issues of New Avengers so).

  12. @AMuldowney – Thank you for eloquently stating exactly what I was thinking.

  13. I think that I will quite happily stop buying X-Books for good if they bring Jean Grey back from the dead one. More. Time.

  14. I love this article Sonia!

    @AMuldowney-All Asians ARE great at math.  Everyone knows that 😛  Good point though.  Even though this is all in good fun, glad you brought that up.  

  15. I bought a duplicate copy of a book not even three weeks ago and I can’t remember what it was to save my life.  Hell, no wonder I can’t remember who the Rubik cube guy in Final Crisis is.

    At last!  Other humans who actually read and enjoyed Desolation Jones!  Let us mingle… 

    Planetary’s legacy has been tarnished by its lateness.  I think it’s one of the all-time greats.  That first Absolute edition is just gorgeous.

  16. great article. and you know what i completely agree with you we need more Desolation Jones.

  17. @AMuldowney– I think Millar’s the worst at it.   I grew up in the San Joaquin Valley an hour from Sacramento… nobody calls anybody "pa" or "ma" there.  I can forgive a little since it’s in the future but still…  Also, I might be remembering it wrong, but I do believe there was a moment or two in a handful of his books, Ultimates in particular, where an American would slip into using British colloquials for no real reason.  I could be wrong, but I think there was one time Tony Stark used the phrase "sodding" and was at no point referring to landscaping.

  18. This was a great article! 

    With all kinds of TV series getting carried over into comics in order to finish telling the stories after premature cancellation, it’s ironic that comics are liable to that same pitfall.

  19. I live in Sacramento and was shocked to see it in the future.  Apparently I should invested in a farm in order to succeed.

    I would love more Desolation Jones but I doubt there will be anymore.

  20. @AMuldowney How about "If thou are foreign and a writer, thou shalt employ a native editor to triple check all dialogue"?

    Obviously (to most people) this list is a joke, but if you wanna crawl up my arse about it, that’s the rule I’d request.

    @IroncladMerc I like the Sentry. I just want him to stop with the self-reflection.

  21. Also, you know what’s funnier than non-Southerners in America giving their take on the South?  Non-Americans giving their take on the South if the end of Millar’s run on The Authority is any indication.

  22. This brought a tear to me eye.

  23. Sonia, you rock!

    …and thank you, thank you, thank you for saying that about Wonder Woman 🙂

  24. To all non-Southerners who may some day write comics about Southerners:  in the South "y’all" is the plural of "you", it’s never used in reference to a single person.

  25. @ultimatehoratio – You should probably tell that to all the southern people I kow pesonally (including most of my family) because they use it in the singular.

  26. I’m with ultimatehoratio.  My mom’s side is mostly Southern and it’s used in plural usually, not singular.

  27. @Tork – The moral of the story being that people are different and use language differently, especially in different regions.

  28. I’ve lived in the north east all my life and hear people use "y’all" often. I think its more of a hick thing then a southern thing.

  29. @conor –  I’ve never heard anyone use y’all in the singular.  Actually, I don’t hear "y’all" as much as I hear "you all".  "Y’all" is deep deep South.

  30. I understand that, Conor.  I’m just saying what I’ve seen. 

    I also now live around LA and hear "gangstas" use "y’all" often as well.  So it’s more a "we don’t have an English word for second person plural" thing, I’m thinking.  More an informal American thing, I think.

  31. @ultimatehoratio – My family’s all from Texas and they use "y’all" in both the singular and plural.  I have some family and some friends in Louisana, and they have used "y’all" for both.  My friends in Georgia use it all the time, although I think I’ve only heard "y’all" used in Georgia in the plural.

  32. @conor – I can see that.  Texas is a unique entity all its own.  I think for the most part "you all" has replaced "y’all" at least in the KY/TN/GA area.  Are there words that you see NY characters using in media that make you cringe or that you see being used incorrectly?

  33. Sonia Råcks!

  34. On Commandment 3:

    The only American writer I know for sure, who does a great job at writing Brits, would be Greg Rucka. The whol time I’m reading Queen & Country, I always hear a brittish accent but he never uses an insane amount of Enlish slang.

    But in the case of Garth Ennis, sometimes it feels like he uses too much. Which is ironic ’cause he’s Irish, but maybe being Irish means that he still might not be as good at writing the English.

    In any case, I love both writers, and I’m pretty sure I love Sonia Harris now.


  35. I’m from Virginia.  "Y’all" is plural.  But we don’t expect those of y’all from lesser states like Texas and Georgia to understand that. 

    @ash  I agreed with Bendis’s comments on the Jean Grey situation on the most recent marathon Word Balloon interview.  If they’re going to use the character again they need to figure out how to write her in a different way, and break out of the cycle of telling the same story over and over again.  What I find frustrating is that Morrison’s run seemed to be going in that direction, looking at her power as positive and not just destructive.  Then when Morrison’s relationship with Marvel went sour, the book fell into the groove of the same kind of stories they’d done a million times (something I know Ron has written about here) — ie, kill her so everybody can be sad and they don’t actually have to write the character like she’s a human being.  And everything they’ve done with Rachel and Madelyne has just been more variations on the same thing.  The reason I don’t mind the idea of seeing these characters come back is that I would like to see the stories done right.  

    I used to have a writing teacher who said, "There’s only one rule: don’t be boring."  I think if I had one rule for comics, it would be, "Don’t tell bad stories."

  36. I still don’t like how they crapped on Maddie.  She didn’t start out as a villain and once it became editorial mandate for Jean to come back Maddie was pretty much doomed.

  37. Fun article, however I do have an exception to

    "3. Thou shalt not employ an American to write British dialogue."

    Greg Rucka’s Queen and Country is a fantastic, british set comic, and as a life long native of Britain I have not found any of the dialogue wrong. But you are right, when it is done badly, it is terrible (like a comic book equivalent Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins).

    My own personal commandment would be "Thou shalt not ret-con, or ‘magic away’ away years of stories on an editorial whim". 

  38. The little known eleventh Commandement: Take your events and shove ’em!

  39. As a Kentucky boy who now lives in Georgia, I can say without a doubt that y’all is intended to be plural.  However, I can also say that it is used in the singular from time to time.  (Watch Paula Dean on Food Network for a good example of the worst language skills the south has to offer.  It is like watching a very old, very saggy, very horny monkey attempting to cook, flirt, and speak, all at the same time.)

    @winthewonderboy – I don’t think it is necessarily a "hick" thing.  Having heard a number of college professors (including, but not limited to English faculty) use the term repeatedly, I think I can safely say it transcends social class and/or education level.

  40. I could write British characters as well as Irish characters.  I know I’d get some stuff wrong, but it wouldn’t matter, because it would be so awesome, you wouldn’t notice.

  41. Heh.  Every Scottish character would just go "It’s ggggreat!" over and over.

  42. No, that’s just Mark Millar.

  43. My mistake.

  44. @Tork-I lived in Stockton for a while!!  Went to college there too.  I agree, no "Pa" or "Ma".

    I haven’t read all of his stuff, but it seems to me that Alan Moore is pretty good about writing American characters.  Feel free to correct me though.

  45. Wooo… I grew up in Manteca… freaky.

  46. I think one thing though about Moore is Moore hardly uses colloquialisms at all which is where a lot of people slip up.  I think that’s the key for some.  If you’re writing outside your local area, be linguistically neutral when in doubt.  Otherwise, somebody migt call somebody else a "super-fellar" and that’s just not right.

  47. @Sonia: Who was up your ass?  I didn’t say it wasn’t a joke,  I enjoyed the article overall, I was just voicing an objection.  Isn’t feedback what the comment page is for?  Calm yourself, we’re all friends here.   

  48. In Watchmen Rorschach talks about wishing the scum of the world had one throat and he had his hands "about" it.  Other than that, I haven’t noticed anything off in Moore’s handing of American characters.

  49. Yeah, I think moore is good with americans too.

  50. @ all of y’all: I was actually thinking about Rucka. He was flawless in Queen and Country and it blew me away, but there was one instance if him using a phrase in a completely inappropriate context and it ruined the whole suspension of disbelief for me. I’m just saying, those odd moments can really jar a reader out of their little mental immersion and it’s bloody irritating.

    @AMuldowney: I know I know, just giving you a really hard time for your terribly serious take on an extremely silly subject.

  51. Take note, people, of the correct usage of the phrase "all of y’all".  I means every-damn-body.

  52. What about the more modern "all y’all’s muh-fuckahs up in hyeah?" Or is that different?

  53. How many times has Jean Grey died? There was the original death on the moon in 1980. That was undone in 1986 with her return in X-Factor, where it was revealed that she never died at all and that Phoenix was actually a seperate entity. Then drug addled loser Magneto killed her near the end of Morrison’s run.

     Were there other deaths in the 20 years or so between those 2 events?


    If not then technically Jean has died once and never returned.

  54. @josh –  Please don’t do that again.  No wait, DO do that again, but do it on the audio podcast.  I eagerly await your response.

  55. I’m not promising anything.

  56. I wanted to love Queen and Country but the spell was broken in the first couple of issues, when you hear English characters say things like: you can pick up a rocket launcher in any corner store. I know this is supposed to be an exaggeration but firearms are normally bought illegally with contacts through pubs or through street gangs; you can’t buy any kind of firearm or even dagger in a store. But more importantly it’s a ‘shop’ not a ‘store’  and they shouldn’t be referring to a ‘janitor’ but ‘caretaker’. It’s a shame that I can’t help nitpicking but this stopped me reading it (sorry Chris Neesman, if you’re out there). 

    I’m sure British writers make similar mistakes with US characters. But the difference is that the British, from infancy, are constantly bombarded with US shows on TV and in the cinema. So I imagine they get a lot right. Please feel free to correct me if you’re American; maybe kids are all talking like Harry Potter in the US? 

  57. Writers need to drop more "hellas" into their writing.  Are none of them up to date with thier Northern Californa speak??!?!

  58. My brother lives in the Bay Area and that’s by far his favorite adverb.

  59. Do it do it! And it  must be done in some sort of over the top ghetto fabulous accent, although I don’t think there is any other way to say it….


    Brilliant article Sonia, I’ve very much with you on the regional dialogue thing. Everytime I ready bad Scottish dialogue I start to twitch and the veil falls to reveal that I AM in fact still sitting on my couch. It’s a bloody travesty. 

  60. I think if there are enough requests for Josh to say "all y’all’s muh-fuckahs up in hyeah?" he might do it.  That would also look spiffy on the back of the iFanboy t-shirts, I must say.

  61. @Josh- I will buy your picks of the week and donate them to charity if you do it on the next video podcast!

  62. you don’t have to be ghetto to say hella…although it does help.  I’m surprised Ron hasn’t done it all that often, seeing as how he is here in my neck of the woods. (Bay Area)

    What is really weird are the crazy people that say "hecka"…I don’t associate with them.

  63. @drakedangerz – Ron knows that if he says "hella" he will be fired.  It’s in the by-laws.

  64. Y’all are nuts! I’ve been in San Francisco for over 12 years and I’ve never said "Hella", and very seldom hear it. Are you sure yer not talking about some _southern_ californian thing?

    I do however use "dude", "like", "totally" and "way". It started out as ironic sarcasm, but somehow it became part of my language. I sound like an idiot, and when I go back to the UK everyone makes fun of me 🙁

  65. I often use "Heavens to murgatroyd", "goodness grapefruits" , "swanksville" , "cripes" , "that’s so Raven" and "dope"

    I also write the best english dialogue this side of the Thames, wot!  No, seriously, I think every script I’ve ever written has at least 4 British characters.  I can’t help it.   


  66. everyone says hella!!!  Its all that smugness from SF, you refuse to be a part of the rest of Nor Cal.  😛

    I have friends from So Cal and they laughed the first time they heard hella.  They said no ones says it down around those parts.  Go figure dudes and dudettes 😛

  67. You know what, don’t hate me for this but I sure as hell wouldn’t mind at all if Marvel brought back Jean Grey. Jus’ sayin’.

  68. More irritating: Americans writing the English, or English actors trying to speak like Americans?

    ("Been" gets ’em every time.)

  69. @Paul – Now wait.  Are you old enough to be familiar with the "Heavens to Murgatroyd" reference?  Is Boomerang(tm) to blame for this?  I have to say I’m impressed.

    Some of my faves are "faves", "23 skiddoo", and various forms of the word "smurf".

    @Sonia – My brother had lived in SF for maybe 15 years before relocating to SJ last year.  He started using "hella" maybe 10 years ago and still does.  He’s probably just being really really unhip.

  70. I’m french.

  71. I grew up in Sacramento. I have, I am ashamed to admit, used "hella." It wasn’t native to me, but others were using it, and I picked it up. I was also 17.

    I lived in the Bay Area through the 90’s. I did not use hella. I still use "dude", though. And "totally." 

    I now live in SoCal. I don’t hear an abundance of any valley girl speak. I think that phase has long since passed. It’s either basic Californese, straight-up gangsta, or, y’know, Spanish.  

    It wasn’t a mistake on Millar’s part to have people saying "ma" and "pa." Areas around Sacto can be VERY red-necky, but not to that point. But: He was writing a western in the friggin’ future!  That’s the ONLY reason for writing characters that way. It wasn’t that he thought folks in Sacramento used those terms NOW. 


  72. Funnily enough, I just this moment picked up Neil Gaiman’s "Anansi Boys" and watched as he took American English out back behind the shed and began bludgeoning it to death.

  73. @horatio – I am familiar with all Hannah Barbara cartoons.  

    "Bing bing BING, Ric-o-chet Rabbit!" 

  74. You are a good man, Paul.  Hanna Barbara helps make people good.

  75. I also call everyone "man".  Everyone.  

    There was a brief period in the early 2000s where I called people "lov." in my faux English accent.  I also wore two watches on one wrist and a black wife beater under button up shirts.  Embarrassing times.  

    I like to call Josh "J-Flo".  I don’t think he likes it.  We should probably all do it.  

  76. Oh, and I’m still laughing about "that’s so Raven," by the way.

  77. "Nowadays people do not have the patience to go nuts, they take drugs and cheer up."                                                                                                                                                                        Great line. Really enjoyable article.

  78. @daccampo – Yeah, "ma" and "pa" were totally used correctly by Millar in WOLVERINE.  I"m kind of bewildered anyone would think otherwise… it’s a western!

  79. daccampo– That’s why I said he kind of saved himself by putting it in the indiscriminate future.  We don’t talk like that here, but it’s fifty years or so in the future so it’s a little forgivable.   Still, Millar did manage to create Seth from the Authority which is by and far the most offensively stereotypical interpretation of a "redneck" I have ever had the displeasure of reading.

  80. This thread is cracking me up.  I think y’all are so funny and clever.  I’d pretty much spoon with all y’all.

  81. One of my roommates in college was from Rochester, NY.  He said "hella" quite a bit.  So did his sister who would come to visit.  I didn’t really mind when she did it, though…

  82. Did anyone’s parents call them "Mistake" as a term of endearment or is that just my house?  I think it’s a scott-irish thing.  

  83. @Paul– Totalliy is.

  84. What is this "hella" anyway? I’m sure we don’t use that in England.

  85. When was the last time any real person said " ‘allo, guvnuh" if ever? 

  86. @Garrett –  It’s an adverb.  People say something is "hella big" or "hella stupid" or "hella hot".  It may have other uses but this is the only way I’ve ever heard it.

  87. Um, I’ve never said "ello, guvnuh" but I do say "awright, soft cock". 

  88. "hella" is the American or "colonies" version of "bleedin’" or "sodding"

  89. Worse than "hella" is "mad".  "Mad" just sounds awful to my ears.  Luckily I live in Queens so I don’t hear it that often….

    @lobo – British writers do it all the time as well.  Early Preacher is fraught with UKisms.  They’re slight, but if you watch for them, you’ll recognize them.  I know I’ve noticed it in Alan Moore work once or twice.  I’d have to say that abandoning Queen & Country for that is rather rash.  Were that the case with everything, i’d never have finished Reservoir Dogs.  Tim Roth, to this day, has the most terrible American accent there is, with the sole exception of Ewan McGregor.

    All told, I always thought Rucka did a very good job, even if he slipped now and then.  The tone from Sandbaggers is spot on.

    I have reason to believe that when Sonia wrote that rule, she was thinking of one, John Constantine and none other.  Therefore, it stands to reason that she’s talking about  Brian Azzarello.  Jason Aaron cleverly snuck out of buggering up John’s accent by making fun of the problems straight away.

    See what I done there?

  90. I think of all the local -isms that get to me, it’s the Southern California College crowd referring to the cafeteria as "the caf."  It’s such a stupid and idiotic phrase.  It enraged me even more when found myself even starting to use it.

  91. Ah, so that’s what "hella" means. I don’t see it catching on over here. 

    Josh, you’re right about Tim Roth – bloody awful American accent. Sometimes, it sounds to me like he’s not even bothering to try. He was meant to be British in "Hulk" wasn’t he? 

  92. "Born in Russia, raised in Britian" or something like that.

  93. Roth was doing something odd in the Hulk movie.  He was a Russian raised in England I think.  But he didn’t really sound like either.

    As bad as Roth is, the worst American accents I’ve ever heard were on UK shows.  Paterson Joseph in Jeckyl was awful, and there was a guy playing the CIA contact in the last couple seasons of Spooks who was the worst ever.

  94. @Tork – Kids in my high school (Philadelphia area) called the cafeteria "the caf" too.  Makes sense to me.  You call a gymnasium a "gym" right?  You go to math class, not mathematics class.  

  95. Yeah, but "caf" just sounds like we will feast within the confines of a baby cow.

  96. That’s "calf."  Pronounced differently.  

    Though, remembering our cafeteria, the smell and humidity level was probably similar to the innards of a live or recently deceased calf.  

  97. @paul: I’m the accident too!

    @josh: Roth’s got nothing on Jude Law. But please let’s not throw stones while we’re living in glass houses, there are a lot worse US->UK accents than the other way around. I’m still in awe of James Marsters (Spike). I had no idea that guy was even american at first. His "real" US accent is HORRIBLE.

    @all y’all: I digged this article (dugg it?), so digg deep bitches and click below! (Computers are killing the english language.)

  98. I need to clarify.  My dad explained to me that there is an important distinction between "accident" and "mistake."  He said he was the former and I was, most certainly, the latter.  😉

  99. Don Cheadle was bad enough to cover them all.

    Also Paul, we talked about this…time and place…

  100. We have.  

    Sorry, J-Flo.   

  101. @Paul– Phonetically, "caf" and "calf" are indistinguishable around here. Besides, there are some words worthy to condense and some that are not.  The library is not the "lib", the auditorium is not the "aud", and the cafeteria should not be the "caf."

  102. You don’t call the auditorium the "tory?"

  103. Um… no…

  104. We called it the "cafetorium," but that’s because our school was so small at the time that we had a hybrid cafeteria/auditorium.

  105. Just had a thought; How come everyone is so freaked about language, but no one cares that I’m mocking religion?

    You people have some very strange priorities.

  106. It’s more a reference than a mock.

  107. "where is she mocking religion."  


  108. I don’t get a mocking feel from this article. Like Tork said, reference

  109. Some of us consider the Cosby Show a religion…

  110. Cliff Huxtable is Moses in a funky sweater. Yeah, I said it.

  111. I worship at the altar of Lisa Bonet.  

  112. I dunno if Sonia’s mocking religion, but i do feel as though she’s mocking us now. 😉

  113. @Paul — you ever happen to see Angel Heart…?

  114. Selected scenes.  *cough*

  115. Good. Can I have my DVD back, then? You’ve had it for over a year.

  116. Return my copy of Cool Runnings first.  

    Okay, so..Jean Grey.  They’re kind of damned if they do, damned if they don’t, right?  With the whole Phoenix concept, she’s either alive and destined for death or dead and destined for new life no matter what.  It’s a cycle and there’s no way to get her out of it.  Because no matter how you retcon it, destiny trumps all.  Is it a matter of a writer trying to make sure that it’s done right?  Taking charge now while he or she has the chance rather than see the next writer screw it up?  Cripes, it’s like a curse.   

  117. @Josh-For every "J-Flo" he hits you with return the favor with a "P-Mont".   


    God I hate that trend!


    And I have never said "hella" in my life and I grew up in the Bay Area and now live in Sacramento

  118. @k5blazer – I sign my emails PMoney.  

  119. Technically, shouldn’t it be "J-Fla"?  His last name isn’t Flonagan.

  120. haha, what has this thread turned into!!!?!?!  I got home and it switched from hella to religion to something else.  I love it.

  121. Flizzum flazzum Jello Pudding Pops.

    Clive Owen’s American accent is awful.

    I hate it when Jeff Cannata of TRS says "deets" instead of "details".  Is that a California thing or is it just him?


  122. This has been the greatest thread ever. But back to the main thing.

    Josh has to say "all y’all’s muh-fuckahs up in hyeah!" on the podcast… or we get another Morgan Freeman from Ron. "Shoot that muhtha-fuckah!"

  123. It’s definitely worse in California.  It may have started there, but it’s spread.

  124. I want my ringtone to be Ron saying "Shoot that mutha fucka!"  I cracked a rib when he said that.  (It was an old lady’s.)

  125. That should be the next ifanboy t-shirt with room with the loom of fate saying that line.

  126. ron*

  127. @Paul  — I dunno, I mean. . .everybody dies eventually, so in that sense we’re all in a cycle.  And there are a lot of characters who cause problems because they’re too powerful.  And ultimately, it’s Marvel’s mythology, they can make it do whatever they want.  I always go back to Joss completely reinventing the slayer myth at the end of Buffy season 7 — or, rather, letting Buffy reinvent it.  I guess, to me, Phoenixes and Slayers have fundamental things in common, and there ought to be a way for the story to end that doesn’t just = more dead girls.

    It’d make hella more sense than Parallax being a yellow space bug, y’all.

    (See what I did there?) 

  128. @horatio — I’m a native and lifelong Californian, and I have never even heard anyone use "deets." Gotta be just him. Gotta be.

  129. Yeah, but isn’t the idea that she lives and dies and lives again in an endless cycle?  So long as that’s been established, no matter how they "rewrite it" and say she’s dead for good, somebody can come in and say "destiny finds a way" and return to the cycle of rebirth.  


  130. I don’t mind if they bring her back as long as the story is well thought-out and executed.  As they say, ‘God is in the deets’.

  131. Shit I forgot to add "(See what I did there?)" 

    Totally set up for the comedy comes in threes thing and I screw it up.

  132. @Paul  Oh, right, yeah, I was reading your statement backwards to say that she always has to die.  Yes, they always have a vehicle to say "Phoenix" and make up some mcguffin and have a resurrection.  So anybody who has a good idea might as well use it.  They are, I suspect, suffering from the lack of good ideas on this front (as Bendis pretty much said not that long ago).

  133. I hope nobody ever says "God is in the deets."

  134. I’m pretty happy with Emma and Scott right now so I hope they leave them alone for awhile.

  135. Scott’s already got one dead ex-wife hanging around.  It’s only a matter of time ;).

  136. Yeah, and if you think living ex-wives are bad…

  137. @Josh

    All right mate, you’ve shamed me into going back and reading Queen and Country.

  138. I don’t say deets.  No one says deets here.  Never even heard of it before.  I am positive its just that guy that says it.  Trust me, I’m a true Californian.  My credentials?  California born and raised,  I can sing every single part of "California Love", I’ve never left the state for more than a month, have been to Disneyland more time already than most people will go in their entire lives, I say hella, and I know the difference between Northern California and Southern California peeps.  😛

  139. Yeah, this thread is the first time I’ve heard of "deets."

  140. "Deets" sounds like the work of a loser trying to create a catchphrase.

  141. Jesus.  He’s saying it ironically.  

  142. The first I encountered this in southern california was the use of "late" at the end of phone calls.  This drove me nuts.  Is the "er" that challenging or time consuming?! 

    Conversely, I was very confused by the repetition of bye, bye, bye, byee in descending volume at the end of phone calls with British girls, until I realized  (realised for those of you in the UK) that many people do it.  Still…

  143. I have had an influx of people I have met (notice I didn’t call them friends at all) who say "ciao" instead of just "bye"  It bugs me to no end.  More often than not, these people wear oversized aviator glasses and wear way too much cologne/perfume

  144. I’ve never heard of this "bye" thing.  What?

  145. "late"?  Seriously?  I’ve NEVER heard that… and I live in Southern California!  That’s… stupid…

  146.  Go to 6:45 in this clip from Shaun of the Dead.

    I’ve heard others do it, but when I watched this movie, I realized it wasn’t just them.


  147. @drake – Like my glasses?  (see user pic)

  148. @Paul-No no no…bigger!  Plus you need an iced coffee in you hands

  149. Actually, the devil is in the deets. 🙂

    People who say "hella" should be publically flogged, no matter where they come from.

    As for the redheads, leave Rachel and Maddie out of it. Pryor is on her first resurrection as far as I know and Rachel was technically retrieved from the future by Cable, so technically she never died. 🙂 I do agree that Jean Grey should stay dead, but that doesn’t make Grant Morrison any less of an ass for killing her. 🙂

  150. Oh the stories I can tell you for bad pronounciations and weird words living in Philadelphia.

    I’ve lived in Jersey for the last 12 years and I still say water as ‘wather’. You can instantly tell where my family is from by just saying water.

    Oh and when is Mark Millar, ‘Tony the Tiger’? It’s Grrrreat! 🙂

  151. Life-long Texan, been to a lot of the other Southern States, can’t remember a single instance of "ya’ll" as singular. *scratches head* Maybe I ignored it as being mispoken though. I’ve also said "hella" and (maybe) "deets" but only when it the same way I would sip Starbucks in curdory pants, fake thick-framed glasses, and a "Trix" t-shirt.

  152. @Tork — ah, you’re so out of the loop, man. Yeah, I’ve got friends who have been saying "late" for years.Didn’t hear it until I moved to SoCal, and then it was first from an Boston-to-LA transplant punk (founder of BlankTV for anyone into that scene). I still hear it from time to time, but I think it’s kinda faded a bit (or I just hang with a different crowd now 😉 ).

  153. @Josh — the way I look at it, even "later" is a shortened form of "see you later" or "talk to you later" so, really, dropping one MORE syllable is really par for the course, y’know?

  154. I do IT support for the UK, and it’s taken me time to not instinctively raise my coffee cup in salute at the end of a phone call when the caller exclaims "Cheers!".

    I’m still chicken to return with the same, because I just sound so lame saying it.

  155. Please add Ron not being able to say "Hell’s Yeah!" without being fired to the bylaws. I am embarassed for him each time he says it.

  156. No ‘ in Hells, sorry for the bad grammar

  157. Well, I just moved to Boston after growing up in the south (Alabama), living in Missouri, Texas, and Metro DC so I find my vocabulary/accent all mixed up–ya’ll, you guys, and am now trying to work ‘wicked’ into the mix. Also, I have travelled in the UK quite a bit so I tried to dropping ‘cheers, mate’, ‘shattered’, and ‘bugger’ on a regular basis thinkng I was being cool. Then, some of my Kiwi friends informed me what bugger actually meant.  That proved embarassing considering my job and some of the contexts I had used it in.

    Anyway, I don’t object to anything but #4 and #9: Disassembled/New Avengers saved the Avengers from total "what/who cares" status, so any other people Bendis wants to kill of I am fine with.  Also, Wonder Woman is just boring, and I have really tried to like her, but give her a real costume, cuss her out, do whatever you can to make her readable.

  158. I’ve come across people in Pittsburgh say "y’ins" instead of "y’all," which is short for "you ‘ins," which is short for…I’m not sure. Make no mistake, that sounds very weird in a Texan’s ears.

    This thread has been quite educating. I thought "hella" was a New England term, but I must have just assumed that since the most annoying regional term, "wicked," is used there, that all the annoying terms come from around Boston.

  159. i’ve started saying BRILLIANT! a lot due to Dr. Who saying it constantly…i also shout TIT’S MCGEE!! when something is annoying…and SHIT THE BED! when something amazes me…i have said ELLO GUVNAH on a number of occasions…and i have a cup of tea in a CAF…

    Don Cheadle makes me smile

  160. @Diabhol  Maddie’s psionic ghost who showed up in "X-Man" and "Cable" counts, right?  The one who kind of hooked up with Nate Grey despite, on some arguable level, being his biological mother?

    Y’all are just trying to get me to admit I know this shit, aren’t you?

  161. I don’t really have anything constructive to add to this thread, but I want the comment count to keep going up because with each successive post, I imagine Paul Montgomery writhing in agony like Venom in a Belltower, racking his brain for a new column concept that can get a comment count this high.

    Yes, I am a very bad friend.

  162. I could post a story about Alan Moore saying something about how From Hell was terrible and get a higher comment count than anything Paul could ever write.


  163. The first I encountered this in southern california was the use of "late" at the end of phone calls.  This drove me nuts.  Is the "er" that challenging or time consuming?! 

    @Josh-Sign of the times my firend.  The trend is to shorten things as much as possible, "Vaca"= Vacation,  "WaMu" = Wasninton Mutual, "BevfMo" = Beverages and More.  And that is only a sample. It makes me sick everytime someone does it.

  164. @ Josh — this is true. We have witnessed it firsthand.

    Also: someone please shoot me for making a friggin’ Venom reference. Yeesh.

  165. @daccampo, j-flan – The comments don’t have to be under MY column.  Just so long as they’re ABOUT me.  

  166. @Andrew: I haven’t been in Boston long enough to get upset or anything, but how can you not like the term ‘wicked’.  My favorite part of Finding Nemo is the lobster saying, "It’s like wicked dark down there…"

  167. Wicked it wicked awesome.  It is my native speech.  I couldn’t understand why people looked at me strangely when I said it when I first got to college.

  168. One of my pet peeves is when people pronounce the "t" in often.

  169. "Wicked" deserves a mushroom-shaped welt on one’s forehead. Avoid it. 🙂


     @ohcaroline Ghosts don’t count, psionic or otherwise. Even the Commandments agree. 🙂


  170. Summoning ghosts is forbidden in the bible and I remember it happening only once. But false idols are also forbidden, so we and the characters are already sinners so why not go all the way.

    I can’t remember if there is something about nacrophilia.


  171. 10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors super powers.

    On one of the first Nightwing issues (#3 to be precise), there´s one of those "simultaneous action" pictures of  Dick climbing down a building by jumping from wall to wall. And even if it looks cool as hell, that´s just spider-man there.

    Great Article Sonia.

  172. That’s parkour actually.  

  173. peter parkour? :P!!!!
    You may be right… But that´s what the spelled to me at the time.

  174. What seemed strange to me that time was that the feats accomplished by a guy with spider powers could be replicated by a guy with no powers. Maybe it was how it was drawn, I should check it again and see if I feel the same.

  175. If he had the powers of a spider he would have been rubbish – no one wants to see Spider-Man descending from walls slowly using his web. He would just sit there with his web waiting for criminals to appear. That’s rubbish…

  176. i was born in a land that once ruled by the british, so i always have the british sense of humor even though my second half of my childhood was in nyc. i can understand some of the frustrations from sonia. i love redheads, but please don’t bring jean grey back. but with what’s going on in dark reign, i’m worried that she might be back. =( if you guys rememberthe show "hanging with mister cooper." the first season was great becuase it was all about high school. but the moment they brought that kid from the cosby show, i couldnt bear to watch it anymore. she ruined 2 tv shows. >_< i’m angry!

  177. @ultimatehoratio – Speaking of regional dialects, nothing makes me wince more than damn near EVERY X-writer’s take on Cannonball’s accent.  Yes, he was born in the Appalachin’s.  No, he does not walk around with a mouthfull of marbles all the time.


  178. Got to agree with Commandment 3. I especially hate how certain publishers out a writer on a book set in Britain, let them do an appalling job at it, but then give him other jobs writing British characters, because ‘He’s done it before!’ I don’t hate Ben Raab, but his Excalibur run in the 90s was awful, and resulted in the book’s cancellation. And yet Marvel goes ‘I know, we’ll give him Union Jack to write!’ Idiots.

    Although there are some exceptions, granted. I’m certainly with all of those who put a vote in for Greg Rucka on Queen & Country. His dialogue was great there, a was the story.

    And yes, when WILL we see the rest of Desolation Jones? That book was brilliant, but volume two started at the very point where Warren Ellis finally reached his limit. The guy puts out like 6-8 titles at the same time. He seemed virtually unstoppable. But then this stopped, Fell stopped, Newuniversal stopped… It’s very frustrating

  179. @pyynk – Cumberland KY is 30 miles from where I live.  THICK accents here, but the way his dialogue has been written has never been particularly accurate.  He’s been in NY so long I’d think all traces of his native accent would be long gone.

  180. @prynk & ultimatehoratio- I’ve been out of Kentucky on the east coast for almost 10 years now and all traces of my accent have just about vanished.  Seems they make Sam sound like he’s either in a western half the time, a borderline savant, or insist on using "y’all" like commas.  

  181. Kids who go to college come back with a totally different accent after just one semester.  There’s no way Sam would still be talking like that.

  182. Here’s something for you:;


  183. Excellent, thanks.