Comics 101 Is in Session
Matt L. writes: Just a comment on something I just read in the latest MAILBAG...
Pete E. wrote in about "Sins Past" and JMS' run, and asked if Sarah and Gabriel/the Gray Goblin had returned at all, to which you replied in the negative.
They actually did show up in a follow-up story-arc in SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN (Vol. 2) back in mid-2005 called "Sins Remembered," not too long after the conclusion of the original arc. The story was written by Samm Barnes (who I understand is a protege to JMS) and featured Peter traveling to Paris in order to save Sarah. It was about as ridiculous as "Sins Past" and about half as well-written.
Tipton: True. That followed up SINS PAST pretty quickly. Since then? Nothin'.
Matt L. responds: Thankfully. I think that alone qualifies as some sort of evidence for a higher power or deity, myself.
Scott M. writes: did you see this? seems like it would be right up
Tipton: I'm not that big on the Marvel Zombies, but this is indeed some damn fine work.
Michael W. writes: Nice bit on the Losers, had no idea Kirby had done something with them.
Interesting to contrast that with his Sgt. Fury and Howling Commandos work (STILL waiting for Marvel to do an Essential collection on that). Ironic that on the same day I read this, Wizard has a new issue with a big spotlight on the 1980's/early '90's "Suicide Squad" title, great interviews with its creators on their fave characters and moments and making the villians the stars of a title. Favorite bit is when Ostrander admits he went too far with Boomerang's Aussie slang, with one Austrailian friend criticizing it and when Ostrander said that they were all authentic expressions, he was told "Yeah, but we don't use them in every single sentence!" Loved that book, can't wait for the new edition and any chance you might do a spotlight on them soon? Can't wait for more.
Tipton: I was bummed to hear DC cancelled the SHOWCASE Suicide Squad collection.
Tony S. writes: i want to ask, how many comicons do you go to every year ?
do you get the chance to go ?
here in Australia we only have one a year,
and who is the comic creator you were honoured to meet as well ?
and have you met Mack ?
Tipton: There's a small one every month or so here in L.A.that I try to get to just to look for stuff I might have missed. Wizard has had a show here for the last couple of years, and I always hit San Diego without fail.
I'm glad I got to meet Jack Kirby and Will Eisner.
Never met Mack.
Tom P. writes: The Losers column was great. My only exposure to them was the 1985 "Losers Special" published right around the time they were killed in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Have you ever thought of taking a thorough look at war comics in general? I know that DC published "GI Combat" and "Sgt. Rock" well into the 1980s. Plus, there was Marvel's "The 'Nam" series, which I recall as being pretty decent (though my memory might be clouded) and several issues of the 1980s "G.I. Joe" series (specifically, #26 & 27 and #61-66. Great stuff) were less about selling toys and more about decent war stories.
Anyway, just a thought. Great work as always!
Tipton: Yeah, DC especially has a pretty deep roster of WW II characters that bear closer examination. I 'll have to see what I can dig up.
Darren B. writes: Thanks for all your great work writing and teaching about comics. I just finished reading the complete Bone to my 3-year old daughter as a bedtime story over a couple months. Before that we read Castle Waiting. (it sure beats reading Goodnight Moon a billion times!) Do you have any other suggestion for other good, long, epic comics that have limited violence? Sure, Bone has violent scenes, but it is not any worse than the fight with Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty or other Disney battle scenes.
Tipton: Maybe Don Rosa's THE LIFE AND TIMES OF SCROOGE MCDUCK, or Mike Wieringo's TELLOS.
Dan R. writes: I just wanted to thank you for your column. Your enthusiasm and discernment along with your crisp clear writing style has been a huge help to me. I am a 50-year old baby boomer that had a passing fancy with comics back in my youth - all mainstream stuff and never as a serious collector. I have found myself wanting to get back into reading some of the best story arcs. Your work has been a tremendous asset in that. I can read your descriptions to see if I would be interested and then invest in the graphic novel versions if I am. I have delved into many comic runs including Starman (superb as you indicated), Morrison’s JLA run among others. Again, just wanted to say thanks.
Tipton: Awesome. Mail like this is why I keep doing it. Thanks for reading.
Eric D. writes: I must take an opposing view of the Big Three for Marvel. In part because we have to be sure what is meant by the term.
Within the DCU it’s clear that the 3 most iconic members are Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman. To the General public that may be the case as well. However, the reality may be somewhat different. The Flash and Green Lantern both have had more successful series than Wonder Woman ever had and within the DCU, it appears that Flash has been far more beloved (either Jay, Barry, or Wally) than Wonder Woman has been. In fact, it seems Princess Diana is viewed with more distance and fear than admiration, especially based upon her characterization within the last decade or so.
The marvel comparison is much more difficult. Within the Marvel Universe, the Big 3 , as in the most respected 3 heroes, appears to be Captain America, Iron Man, and Spider-Man or possibly Reed Richards. Arguably the Big 3 is not 3 individual heroes but the 3 instead Captain America, The Avengers, and the Fantastic Four.
To the general public, the Marvel Big Three are arguably the 3 with the most public exposure: Spider-Man (by a wide margin), The Fantastic Four, and either the X-men or The Hulk.
Tipton: A good question. Is it publicity or significance?
Spidey and Hulk definitely seem like 1 and 2 by any standpoint. It's that third spot that's tricky.
Eric D. responds: I think that spot goes to the fantastic 4. Historically both in terms of the real world and in terms of the fictional MU, the fantastic four are icons.
Tipton: Well reasoned, but I find it hard to leave out Captain America.
Eric D. responds again: In the fictional MU, is Spidey bigger than Cap outside of New York? I think not. Inside that fictional world, certain Avengers are bigger to the national or international public.
Tipton: I think within the MU, it'd be Cap, Iron Man and the FF. It's the real world that's tougher.
Christopher E. writes: I wanted to get your personal opinion on the new writer that will be taking over She-Hulk after issue 21. Is Peter David a good enough writer until Dan Slott comes back, or will he be there for "the long haul" (or until Marvel screws it up and cancels the series AGAIN)? I have heard that he had a very good run on the Incredible Hulk (something about Mr. Fixit and other personalities) but have not read it and don't know if there is a convienent way to find the whole story arc. (Budgetary issues). Do you have any clue what the plans are with the series since it is about the only Marvel comic I am reading now (too much cross over stuff and not liking the fade-to-black look of everything with the X-Men and other mutants being hunted and Spider-Man a fugitive) and will Dan Slott be making a return anytime soon?
Tipton: I have no idea what David is planning with the book, if it'll be humorous or more serious, or what. His HULK run was maybe the best in the history of the character, but sometimes when he goes for humor he overreaches. It'll definitely be worth trying out at least. I don't think we'll see Slott come back, especially if his SPIDER-MAN run does well.
I think there are so far 3 or 4 collections of David's HULK run, by the way.
Kirk F. writes: I was at my school's library and I saw the two Supreme trades written by Alan Moore. Being a lover of comics I picked them up, read them, and loved them. But my question is why did they it cancelled? It seems like Moore had so many extra stories to tell and BAM! the the trade is over. Was it simply poor sales or something more sinister? Thanks for listening.
P.s. I loved the Jack Kirby posthumous "cameo."
Tipton: I don't know of any reason ever stated besides Moore being done with his story. Although I may have missed it.
Kevin writes: I'm sorry that this is so overdue, but you might just remember that when you started your STARMAN coverage I wrote you a letter telling you how excited I was that you were finally, after all of these years, covering STARMAN, and kinda-sorta begging you not to mess it up.
You didn't. You did a series that makes me smile like the village idiot every time I think of it incredibly proud. I love STARMAN the way that you do -- Jack is a part of me, and a part of me is Jack. Those of us who were STARMAN fans recognize each other. You can just tell.
Thank you for doing my favorite 80 issues and change proud, sir. It means the world, in a way that I can't really explain. It isn't my work -- I had nothing to do with the run of STARMAN other than a few email and message board exchanges with James and/or Tony back in the day -- but in a strange way, it feels like a part of me all the same.
Thanks again, Scott. I'll see you at ANP and RTM.
Tipton: Glad you enjoyed it, sir.
Jason C. writes: Hey, big fan, long-time reader, yadda yadda yadda ;)
I figure you’ve probably seen/heard about this already, but just in case, saw this comment in a letter to CBR:
“Run, don't walk, to your nearest DVD supplier and purchase the Special Edition of the Fantastic Four movie, regardless of whether or not you enjoyed that movie. On the special features disk is an awesome documentary about Jack Kirby entitled "Jack Kirby Storyteller" which contains interviews with a slew of creators talking about Kirby, including guys like Jeph Loeb, Walt Simonson, Mark Evanier, John Romita, Marv Wolfman, Len Wein, Bruce Timm, Jim Lee, and many more. They each explain why they appreciate Kirby while showing examples.”
I still don’t think it’s going to get me to buy this movie, though. Maybe I can convince one of my friends that it’s worth it, then borrow his features disk.
Tipton: Actually, I broke down and bought the DVD for this very reason, and you know what? They're right. The documentary is awesome, well worth it.
Just do what I do and use the first disc as a coaster.
Picture of the Week
Some more holiday cheer...
See you next week.