Archive for the ‘Nerdrage!’ Category

Opinion – Before Watchmen

Posted by David On February 4, 2012 ADD COMMENTS

That’s right Fight Fans – DC have announced a series of prequel comics focusing on the Watchmen, Alan Moore’s seminal classic from the 80’s, and the interwebs have exploded.

In the blue corner we have DC Comics. the owners of the Watchmen and the creative team behind the new stories:

Rorschach by writer Brian Azzarello and artist Lee Bermejo, Comedian by Azzarello and artist J.G. Jones, Minutemen by writer/artist Darwyn Cooke, Silk Spectre by Cooke and artist Amanda Conner, Nite Owl by writer J. Michael Straczynski and artists Joe and Andy Kubert, Dr. Manhattan by Straczynski and artist Adam Hughes, and Ozymandias by writer and original Watchmen editor Len Wein with art by Jae Lee.

They also have the blessing of Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons.

In the red corner we have the many people who believe that the Watchmen is the greatest comic story of all time and that it is a) almost blasphemous for anyone other than Alan Moore to continue the story in any way, or b) it is perfect the way it is and shouldn’t be continued at all.

This group also have the unofficial backing of Watchmen creator Alan Moore with his statement describing the prequels as “completely shameless.” “I tend to take this latest development as a kind of eager confirmation that they are still apparently dependent on ideas that I had 25 years ago.”

Lets get ready to rumble!

Blue Corner – It is common knowledge in the comic community that DC screwed over Alan Moore with the rights to the Watchmen, and they have been screwing with him for many years after. But, although I am totally on Mr Moore’s side regarding this, the simple fact is that DC would be insane not to consider a project like this. They are a business and a project like this is almost a license to print money. Even the people that are nerdraging over this are going to buy it, if only to have the ammo to continue their assault. And the creative teams are interesting – Darwyn Cooke is a legend and I’m always welcome to some Joe & Andy Kubert, J.G Jones and Adam Hughes art, but Straczynski is average at best (Rising Stars was a cool idea that went nowhere, Superman: Grounded was one of the worst Superman stories ever), and I don’t think Jae Lee is a good choice for Ozymandias. I trust Darwyn Cooke to show this project the respect it deserves.

Red Corner – I agree that it isn’t necessary to have Watchmen spin offs. It is a complete story and doesn’t need to be expanded on. But I don’t see a problem with doing so. Alan Moore himself had plans for spin offs and only stopped due to his falling out with DC. Watchmen is brilliant, but it isn’t sacrosanct. The story is so rich and detailed that ideas for spin offs would almost write themselves.

I’m not afraid to say that I’m looking forward to this project. I love Watchmen, I read it every year, and I’m excited to be able to read more adventures in that world. Would I prefer Alan Moore to be writing it? Of course, but not because of any sense of ‘blasphemy’. I would prefer he be working on it because he is my favourite comic writer of all time, and having him back on his greatest achievement would be too exciting to describe. But, as I said earlier, I trust Darwyn Cooke, he hasn’t let me down yet. And besides, even if they are crap, that doesn’t affect my love for the original story. They are separate entities and can be enjoyed or dismissed as such. This series is one of the most obvious money grabbing exercises I have ever seen (second only to the Star Wars prequels), but so what. The Comic Industry is in trouble and just like Avengers vs X-Men this event is bringing attention to the industry,

And that’s good for comics.

This morning I read a tweet which had a link to an article on CBR‘s Robot 6 called Quote of the Day, which featured a quote from Mr Steve Bennett of Super-Fly Comics and Games, regarding Marvel‘s upcoming Avengers vs X-Men crossover event and their statement that it represented the kind of creativity that will drive the company this year. Here is his quote:

“… After several years of super-serious Marvel events, all of which have had some kind of ‘torn from today’s headlines’ subtext to them, I’m actually kind of in the mood for an old-fashioned super-team slugfest. However as a retailer it’s more than a little disappointing. It’s a business as usual kind of move that shows the shallowness of short-term thinking at work that might help Marvel win the summer and us sell some comics. But in the long-term the survival of the entire industry hinges on a publisher’s willingness to appeal to more than its dwindling base.”

Not exactly an earth shattering comment but after reading this I felt I needed to throw in my opinion.

I actually agree with his first comment. Civil War is a good example of the ‘super-serious Marvel events’ he mentions. It wasn’t very good, but I’m not ashamed to admit that I enjoyed it. It had some aspects that annoyed me greatly, but in the end it was an enjoyable read, a super hero clash with an interesting premise. It reminded me of the classic Secret Wars, which despite its silliness, remains a fondly remembered part of my youth and served as a major contributor to my love of comics. Subsequent Marvel events have been pretty poor to say the least, especially the dreadful Siege and lacklustre Fear Itself. So, I too am eager for a return to the classic slugfest style event that AvX promises to be. I also agree that the business thinking behind AvX is shallow. Almost all of these types of events are. But that doesn’t mean it’s bad. It may not further the cause of comics and their reader’s almost desperate need to be taken seriously, as a serious art form, but it will increase public awareness and increase sales, and surely that is good for comics?

I’m all for attempts to break away from the same old stuff we keep receiving from comic publishers and the trying of new things. I love comics that push the boundaries and use the medium to their advantage. These comics should be applauded and encouraged. But unfortunately they are less likely to draw in the new generation of young readers that this industry desperately needs.

Mr Bennett even mentions that AvX will ‘help Marvel win the summer and us sell some comics‘. Ignoring the Marvel winning comment, how can he be complaining that he will make money out of this event? I have no doubt that dwindling sales would have caused him concern in the past, yet when Marvel then give him an event he complains? I personally know a comic store owner who paid off his mortgage with the income he made from Civil War and the subsequent interest (and increase in customers) that event created. Of course this slumped again for awhile until the DC New 52 and it’s tremendous impact on new readers. I have no doubt that this event will bring in even more new customers. I’m sure he is rubbing his hands together in glee with every new teaser announcement!

Then of course it helps increase awareness of The Avengers. Thanks to the movies and aggressive marketing, it’s pretty safe to say that a huge number of school children would know what you were talking about if you mentioned the X-Men and/or Wolverine, but you would struggle for the same level of awareness with the Avengers. Of course the upcoming movie will change that, but an old school slugfest between these two teams wont hurt, and I guarantee an influx of new customers as a result.

Yes, this industry needs diversity and ‘good’ comics. And although they do already exist, we definitely need more, but we also need an event big enough to bring new readers into the shops. The New 52 did it for DC, Avengers vs X-Men is going to do it for Marvel.

And that is good for comics.

A light has gone out of my life

Posted by David On November 23, 2011 ADD COMMENTS

For those of you following our epic coverage of the DC New 52 (and if you weren’t, shame on you!), you will be aware of my disappointment at some of the revamp choices. I won’t go into details again here, but generally they ranged from boring (JLA costume changes) to WTF (Starfire). Well all of that almost pales in comparison to DC’s latest announcement of a brand new Ray.

I have been a fan of the Ray since I discovered a back issue of his origin mini series. He looked cool, was a great character, struggling to get a grip on his newfound powers and was really nice. I rapidly scoured the Earth for all of his issues and even purchased comics he appeared in. I know, obssesive.

Original Ray
(well, Ray II to be precise)

But now, DC has ruined it all by revealing their new version of The Ray – and I’m not happy. Here is the blurb – ‘Lucien Gates’s life is changed forever when he is struck by a mysterious beam of energy that turns him into a glowing gladiator – and being a human ray of light comes in handy when his city is suddenly under attack from giant, building-sized monsters. Unfortunately, light powers are less than handy in keeping his girlfriend happy.’ Maybe his girlfriend preferred the original Ray too? 🙂

New Ray

Obviously not the level of disgrace that was Starfire, but almost. How does this guy compare to the awesomness of Ray Terril?!

Shame DC, shame.