Filing Cabinet of the Damned

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

These Are My Words: Five Random Opinions That I Hold About Current "Mainstream" Comics

Recently the dashing sex god BeaucoupKevin put up five random opinions about current mainstream comics, and yea, they were good.

Lo, and Harvey Jerkwater said unto himself, “that looks like a ready-made meme! And I shall pirate it for my own nefarious purposes! Ha ha!”

For I too have five random opinions about current “mainstream” comics.

And thus, These Are My Words: Five Random Opinions That I Hold About Current "Mainstream" Comics

1. Marvel has decided to dabble a bit with the political tensions of our time with their upcoming mega-crossover, “Civil War.” The crossover promises angst, rancor, brain-dead debates over ethics, and loads of photo-realistic violence. Whoopee.

I reserve a soft spot in my heart for an earlier sort of Marvel “political comic.” For example, when the Viper put a mutagenic toxin in the DC water supply, transforming the people of the District into serpent-men. Captain America showed up to save the day and got into fisticuffs with President Ronald Reagan, who was himself a snake-man.

Heh. That’s how mainstream comics should handle politics, I sez.
Overmuscled men in spandex punching each other out does not lend itself to nuanced discourse. I say play to your strengths.

“Eek! Superman, help! The President has become a giant killer robot! Save us! Save us from Klin-Tonn the Terrible!”

“Can even the Justice League of America prevail against the would-be conqueror, the monarchist plant, the deadly Emperor Shrub? From his leafy branches comes danger!”

See, I’d buy those comics.

2. The line-wide jump “one year later” for DC Comics that’s just about to hit is supposed to return light and fun to their comics. At least, that’s what they say in the interviews. That would be a beautiful thing. I miss fun in my comics, goddammit. Newsarama has previews for a mess of the “One Year Later” comics.

They don’t show any lightening. Twenty bucks and a box of donuts says that within a real-world year, the line will be as dull, grumpy, and faux-tough as it is today.

The lamest plot device for the “one year later” comics that I’ve seen thus far: Catwoman retires and has a baby, and a new Catwoman is running around Gotham. Hm. Lemme think.

What's the likelihood of the “replacement Catwoman” getting killed within six months and Selina being forced back into the suit, thus creating a newfangled tension between “I’m a mother of an infant” and “I’m a superhero defending niceness and groovyness against the forces of the naughty!”

You think it's over 95% chance? Yeah, me too.

3. Does anyone remember when The Amazing Spider-Man got laughs out of the whole “mystic spider-god” origin? A few years back, Mary Jane got an acting gig for the movie “Lobster-Man,” and the characters in the comic got a hearty laugh out of one writer’s attempt to make Lobster-Man’s powers the product of “a gift from the Lobster God” rather than an accident.

Yeah, I laughed too. Man, that J. Michael Straczynski’s plan for introducing a “spider totem” into the story seemed like a ridiculous idea, one that badly misinterpreted the character. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed and JMS’s bizarre idea was tossed aside.

Until last year.

Man, what kind of crap is this? I dropped the book out of boredom more than anything. Making Spider-Man the mystic champeen of a Mighty Spider God saps a lot of the charm out of the concept. Then they throw him in with the Avengers, so now he's living in a high-rise on a fat salary.

The Everyman Hero is gone. In his place, we have Just Another Wisecracking Guy in Tights, and yet another friggin' "Chosen One."

Ugh.

(Yes, I'm about a year late on this. I've been behind the times my whole life.)

4. She-Hulk is funny. Yay! Wit!

She-Hulk has cheesecakey covers that have no relation to the art style or content of the book. Boo! Cheesecake!

Yes, boo to cheesecake. When I read a book with a high cheesecake content or a lurid cover, I know full well that any passers-by (and/or the Lovely and Delightful Mrs. Jerkwater) will suspect that I’m reading it for said cheesecake.

Le sigh.

“But it’s a good comic!”

Yeah, yeah, and you read Playboy for the articles.

“Nerd” is a label that can be hung on me with accuracy. “Sad and a little pervy” is a label I’d rather avoid, thanks. To be thought of as a man who purchases comic books to be aroused by cartoon women, well, let's just say that should I add that extra layer of “dorkaloid” to my public image, I may as well change my name to “Hoiven Glaven Jerkwater” and speak only in Klingon.

Boss: “Harvey, did you finish the TPS report?”
Me: “Ketak-CHAH! Enook! FARAAAGH!”
Boss: “Great. Make sure to get it to the FedEx drop by COB today, okay?”
Me: “GRAG!” [drinks fake blood from plastic mug shaped like a skull] “YAAAH!”

Dude, I don’t even like Star Trek.

Thus, my fellow comic fans, I don’t buy She-Hulk. Peer pressure.

And I stand by this decision. Lose the girlie-mag covers, and we'll talk.

5. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: what will save DC Comics? Four words. Just four simple words.

“Sword of Mazing Man.”




These are my words.

5 Comments:

  • Yeah, She Hulk sucks. Despite the cheesecake, I dove in, hoping to have a tasty bit of comedic excellence and was let down when I realized that what most fan boys consider funny and what I consider funny are MILES apart.

    As for Civil War, I see some promise in the same way that Captain America hitting Spider-man hitting Wolverine hitting Iron Man hitting Forbush Man can have some promise. The political overtones are there as a means, but the end slugfest is really what I'm hanging around for. Plus, Ultimates can be quite good from time to time, so I'm interested to see what Millar can do with the 616 heroes and not them other guys.

    And dude, that's not Captain America. That's the USAgent. That guy deserves to be eaten alive by serpent man Reagan, even on a Sunday.

    By Blogger Spencer Carnage, at 6:38 PM  

  • Believe it or not, that is Captain America there. A few issues before, he'd been stripped of his position by the US Gub'mint. The new Cap was John Walker. Steve Rogers became "The Captain" to continue his neverending battle against badness and naughtiness.

    Eventually Steve got the gig back and Walker took "The Captain's" costume to become the USAgent. Who sucks.

    The two men shared the title for about a year and a half. Thems were some good comics. The final blowout between them was in #350, one of the all-time great slugfests in soopa-hero history.

    ...and yeah, I can see getting into "Civil War" for the Big Time Action. Hopefully it'll deliver.

    By Blogger Harvey Jerkwater, at 6:51 PM  

  • What?! Next you're going to tell me that they brought back Bucky!

    By Blogger Spencer Carnage, at 8:21 PM  

  • The best "political statement" in any comic book: Henry Kissinger hanging out with Dr. Doom in the pages of "Super-villain Team-Up."

    By Anonymous Iron Lungfish, at 3:26 PM  

  • “Eek! Superman, help! The President has become a giant killer robot! Save us! Save us from Klin-Tonn the Terrible!”

    Possibly the funniest blogline that I've read so far this year.

    Cheers!

    Mark "Puff" Anderson

    By Blogger Mark "Puff" Anderson, at 2:49 PM  

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