The Week Gone By . . .

Two major stories that broke this week in comics. One is mildly interesting, but still big news; the other is not really big news, but really became the talk of the messageboards for most of the week.

The former (which was the later breaking story) was the casting of Robert Downey, Jr. in the role of Tony Stark for Jon Favreau's Iron Man movie, coming from Marvel Films sometime in 2008. This is a nice piece of casting. Downey is one of his generations most adept and versatile actors, and can easily pull off the sometimes smarmy, often belligerant, and always smarter-than-the-average-bear Stark. If the rumors hold, and Terrence Howard has been cast as Jim Rhodes, this movie will have two powerhouse actors to push it through. Looking better and better.

The latter story, which broke on Thursday - the day after the week's comics came out, - should have been a fairly obscure piece of news, with little or no reaction. At least, that's how the news would have been received about 10 years ago. But in the day and age of the messageboard and instant news-feedback, the story of DC Editor Steven Wacker - the lead editor on DC's ambitious weekly comic, 52 - leaving the company for Marvel only a little more than halfway through the yearly series, hit the intraweb like wildfire. Mere minutes after the posting of the story on Newsarama.com, the messageboard was buzzing with fans' comments. Most of which were maligning Wacker, calling him un-professional and in some cases just cussing at him.

Unlike most books' editors, Wacker has been more visible with this series because of the Herculean production task of this undertaking and his weekly recap/question and answer period on Newsarama.com with their editor, Matt Brady. But even still, ten years ago, most fans wouldn't even know who the editor was on a given book, never mind care so much about one leaving.

That's not to say that I (or many other fans) aren't critical of or supportive of other editors now or in the past - I for one credit Stan Lee, Archie Goodwin and Denny O'Neil with giving me some of the best comics I ever read - but I don't think the amount of vitriol that was hurled at Wacker was in any way comparable to the reaction that fans may have had to some of the crazier things Jim Shooter did at Marvel in the 70s, for example.

A little over 3 hours after Newsarama posted the story, there were 12 - that's right 12 - pages of messageboard posts. Even the writers behind the series got involved and eventually Wacker had to post a sort of explanation/mea culpa for why he was leaving the Distinguished Competition for the Marvelous Men downtown. Pretty much unheard of.

Personally, I don't know the reasons for Wacker leaving, but I am sure they are both financial, creative and personal in other ways I can't even imagine. A creator (and let's face it, as much as they are often maligned, editors are creators) has every right to move on to new and different things. He was not the writer of this comic and he was not by any means (not to lessen his mammoth contribution) the only one holding this book together and getting it on the stands. Honestly, before 52 who even knew who Steve Wacker was? Not me.

He's done a great job with getting 52 to the market on time and in great shape. I beleive that the book will eventually go down as one of the finest examples of comic output - top notch writers, amazing collaboration and redefining 70 year old characters in a non-jarring and simply entertaining manner - but it is the product of many hands and visions, not just editorial, and especially no just one editor.

I hope Wacker does great things at Marvel and the competition between the two companies keeps up. The more these two are competing for us and our dollars, the more great product will be out there.

The big thing about this story that strikes me as wild, is the state that fandom is in. So much is the fan involved directly with the creators of the books we love, that the feelings of personal hurt are hard to put aside. While a lot of people out there are calling the negative commentors immature and idiotic (which, of course, some of them are), I think the main thing is that we all love this medium so much and we are so dedicated to it, that these so-called "creator betrayals" do hurt fans personally. And while some might see that as a bad thing, I see it as a positive force for a medium that is one of only a few truly American artforms and one that I love dearly.

It's good to be passionate about something. Let's just remember that it's not all about us and the books all the time, and a man's personal decisions are his own to make. Try not to aim your anger at someone who is doing what is right and best for him, his family and maybe in the long run the books he is involved with. We have a unique medium where the creators of the things we love actually listen to us sometimes and for the most part respect our opinions. Let's not destroy that.

In other words, don't shit where you eat.

Good Luck, Mr. Wacker. And good night . . .

read about Iron Man here.

read the original story reporting Wacker leaving and the acommpanying messageboards here.

read Wacker's Goodbye here.


Make Mine Retractable

Just a quick post before the weekend and tons of upgrading (ie yard work) here at Terror Central (my suburban ranch)

Credit to Boing Boing and Make Zine for this!

Snikt, bub!


Comic Cover Crazy (vol. I, no. 2)

Silver Age Flash comics from DC Comics had some of the best and craziest cover's of all. Under the watchful eye of Julius Schwartz, stories sometimes were spawned simply from a cover sketch that he created.

Here's a classic, and one of my all time favorites: from Flash #177, "the Big Head Flash!"


Superboy and the Legion! Re-dux!

That's right, Superboy and the Legion are back! Maybe not in the comics, or with Giffen and Levitz and Shooter at the helm, but The Legion of Super-heroes is back in animated form! Debuting tomorrow morning (saturday.sept.23.2006) on KidsWB . . . uh . . . I mean . . . uh KidsCW (the CW), a whole new series of 30th century adventures begin. Featuring the Boy of Steel himself, Lightning Lad, Bouncing Boy, Brainiac 5, and more, this looks like it is really going to do wonders for the classic Legion.

Now if they just have an episode with Karate Kid! That would be killer . . .


New Season Sneak Peek

Remember when you were a kid, and about a week into the new school year, all of the networks would have a TV Special that previewed all of the new cartoons for the Saturday Morning line-ups? You'd get previews of things like Thundarr the Barbarian and Challenge of the Super Friends and be so excited that you could hardly wait to be in front of the tv with a bowl of Coco Puffs and a Crazy straw to drink the transformed-into-chocolate-milk while you watched Ookla the Mok lay a beatdown on some mutant freak!

Well, this is sort of like that. Yahoo has an exclusive look at the pilot episode of Heroes - the new NBC show that has been getting great press, both in and out of the comic/geek world. They are streaming the whole episode prior to it premiering during primetime in its regular time slot, next Monday (9/25) at 8 PM.

Me? Well, I loved the previews, but I have grown to love the anticipation of a new show too. It will be tough to avoid all the spoilers that are going to come out this week, but I'm going to try and just watch in my living room on Monday.

Maybe with a bowl of Coco Puffs.

See it yourself here.


Comic Cover Crazy

New weekly feature: Comic Cover Crazy - a look at a different far-out cover each week!

Week 1, let's start with the book that introduced the super-hero to the world, Action Comics. This is #386 from March of 1970 featuring the lead story: "The Home for Old Super-heroes!" If I had to guess (and I do), I would say it is most likely a Curt Swan cover. Ginchy!



Thought this was worth reprinting today. By comics writer/film director Frank Miller. For the actual article follow this link. Part of a series of NPR This I Believe essays.

That Old Piece of Cloth by Frank Miller:

I was just a boy in the 1960s. My adolescence wasn't infused with the civil rights struggle or the sexual revolution or the Vietnam War, but with their aftermath.

My high school teachers were ex-hippies and Vietnam vets. People who protested the war and people who served as soldiers. I was taught more about John Lennon than I was about Thomas Jefferson.

Both of my parents were World War II veterans. FDR-era patriots. And I was exactly the age to rebel against them.

It all fit together rather neatly. I could never stomach the flower-child twaddle of the '60s crowd and I was ready to believe that our flag was just an old piece of cloth and that patriotism was just some quaint relic, best left behind us.

It was all about the ideas. I schooled myself in the writings of Madison and Franklin and Adams and Jefferson. I came to love those noble, indestructible ideas. They were ideas, to my young mind, of rebellion and independence, not of idolatry.

But not that piece of old cloth. To me, that stood for unthinking patriotism. It meant about as much to me as that insipid peace sign that was everywhere I looked: just another symbol of a generation's sentimentality, of its narcissistic worship of its own past glories.

Then came that sunny September morning when airplanes crashed into towers a very few miles from my home and thousands of my neighbors were ruthlessly incinerated -- reduced to ash. Now, I draw and write comic books. One thing my job involves is making up bad guys. Imagining human villainy in all its forms. Now the real thing had shown up. The real thing murdered my neighbors. In my city. In my country. Breathing in that awful, chalky crap that filled up the lungs of every New Yorker, then coughing it right out, not knowing what I was coughing up.

For the first time in my life, I know how it feels to face an existential menace. They want us to die. All of a sudden I realize what my parents were talking about all those years.

Patriotism, I now believe, isn't some sentimental, old conceit. It's self-preservation. I believe patriotism is central to a nation's survival. Ben Franklin said it: If we don't all hang together, we all hang separately. Just like you have to fight to protect your friends and family, and you count on them to watch your own back.

So you've got to do what you can to help your country survive. That's if you think your country is worth a damn. Warts and all.

So I've gotten rather fond of that old piece of cloth. Now, when I look at it, I see something precious. I see something perishable.


75orless Records NOW AVAILABLE!!

the record label I am a party to and design/art direct for, 75orless Records, now has its entire catalogue available on Interpunk! Of course, you can buy direct from our site, but it is nice to see our work available elsewhere on the intraweb.

Item! The latest release from the aformentioned label, Rome, Italy's Turnpike Glow has a new spaced out cd, rush home. Get it while it's hot!

Item! 75orless Records t-shirts now on sale at the site - in both non- and pocketed-version! White only, great for getting stains!


The King of the Seven Seas, CWB Style!

Finally was able to d/l and watch the Aquaman pilot episode on iTunes this past Labor Day and without having watched it a second time yet -- with a more critical eye -- I was way impressed with it. It had all the emotional punch and modernization that Millar/Gough have brought to Smallville and came off much better than that show's pilot episode.

While Smallville really came into its own in the third season, getting past the villian of the week syndrome, the Aquaman pilot seems to have put the show into the perfect mix of classic DC lore and X-files-esque conspiracy theory with a nice mix of action-adventure thrown in.

Without spoiling too much, the premise follows a twenty-something Arthur Curry, a/k/a AC, a/k/a Aquaman. After losing his mother in a tragic and mysterious accident in the Bermuda Triangle, AC has mostly been a slacker that occasionally dabbles in animal rescue and activism. His Coast Guard stepfather (played by Lou Diamond Philips) is always there to bail his son out of trouble, but is frustrated with the young AC's lack of direction.

When things from the past start showing up to wreak havok in AC's life and mess with his home town, the young hero takes it on himself to discover who he is and where he came from. He's helped along this course by a mysterious figure in the body of Ving Rhames, who turns in a really subtle performance in a role that could have been pure cheese.

The adopted son story of AC searching for his true origin keeps the show from falling into a hokey "origin of" episode and allows the story to play out dramatically instead. Set against the government's interest in the Bermuda Triangle and what lies under the sea, shady G-men roam the landscape of this pilot and set up a future conflict that will have AC caught between his loyalties to his adopted home and that of his true birthright.

Anyone who knows even a little about DC history, knows that Aquaman truly is a King, and that little bit of knowledge -- like the knowledge that Clark Kent and Lex Luthor will one day be mortal enemies -- drives the show with a giddy anticipation.

Too bad the suits at the CW passed on the show. If the fan reaction on iTunes is any indication though (927 Positive Reviews and counting, with an average rating of 4 and 1/2 stars), maybe there is hope for a mid-season pick up or a home at another network.

Someone really needs to adopt this Aquaman!


'Nuff Said

True believers won't want to miss this link to an Earth-Stan version of Moore's and Gibbons's Watchmen remix in the inimitable style of Stan "The Man" Lee. Woah.