For those of you who don't know, Top Cow's Pilot Season program is an annual series of one-shots that are pilots, much like television show pilot episodes, for potential new ongoing series. Top Cow releases six books that fans then vote on to see which ones will get a follow up miniseries, which then may lead to an ongoing if the sales warrant it. It's a great idea, in theory, but the results have been less than stellar. So far, only one winner, out of four, Cyblade, has gone on to get their own miniseries.
Furthermore, each season has had a different theme, for lack of a better description, for the books. The first season consisted of nothing but Top Cow properties that did not currently have a book in publication while the second season consisted of new, creator driven ideas. The third, and upcoming, season of books are all set to be co-created by Robert Kirkman, Marc Silvestri and one other creator, per book, who will act as a co-writer to Kirkman.
As much as I like the idea behind Top Cow's Pilot Season, I can't stand Kirkman's writing, so I've lost all interest the current season. Yes, Kirkman has a lot of fans and supporters, especially when it comes to Invincible, but I find most of his work to be generic and uninspired, typically over relying on gore and shock value killings, so I can't see him coming up with five interesting books, or even one to be honest, but that's just me. Even working with other writers, he is still going to be the driving force on the books, so I doubt the other, lesser known writers will have much influence.
As for Silvestri, he is only doing the designs and covers for each book. That's right, no interior work, which disappoints me. When is the last time he's actually done any interior work for more than one issue at a time? Grant Morrison's New X-Men?
Pilot Season and Joe Casey's "Leaving"
In other Pilot Season news, Newsarama recently had an article with Filip Sablik addressing the fact that only one of the Pilot Season winners has had any follow up (the aforementioned Cyblade). It's basically just a series of excuses, but there was one interesting factoid - Joe Casey was, basically, kicked off of the Velocity book. Editorial and Casey had a disagreement over the direction of the book - Top Cow didn't think Casey's arc/idea represented the character properly as a company owned property and Casey left the series. This is odd for a couple of reasons.
One, it is different from what Casey said. Two, it kind of violates the premise of the Pilot Season idea, which is giving readers the series they voted for, Casey writing Velocity in this case. Three, what the hell could Casey have written that Top Cow found so offensive? I mean, does anyone care about Velocity as character? At all? If Top Cow was being honest with themselves, they would know that Casey is going to be more of a draw to readers than Velocity could ever hope to be, but, then again, I'd never expect a company to admit that any writer is more of a draw than one of their characters either.
Why Haven't The Green Lanterns Overthrown The Guardians Yet?
Given the number of times they have royally screwed things up, not to mention their generally unfriendly, high and mighty attitude, why the heck do the Green Lanterns keep listening to these overgrown smurfs? I mean, as supreme know-it-alls go, they are only one notch above the Jedi Council in terms of screw ups.
Does Jeph Loeb Actually Call Artists Up And Ask Them What They Want to Draw?
It is no secret that Loeb tailors his comic scripts to what the artist he is working with wants to draw. I am curious to know how he knows what they want to draw. Does he literally call them up and ask or is it something that people in the comic business talk about when they are hanging out or something? Anyone know the answer? Just seems odd. His plots for stories are so generic he can simply swap in any random character the artist wants to draw...
DC's All Star Line Is Anti-90s
That's the vibe I get anyway. All Star Superman is obvious about it (or maybe just overly celebrating the anti-thesis of the 90's - the Silver Age) and All Star Batman and Robin, The Boy Wonder reads like an odd mix of Silver Age absurdity mixed with some of the darker aspects of Batman and a dash of modern day Miller insanity, though the absurdity typically wins out. I mean, it's about a Batman who has fun. Batman, having fun! I just found that interesting that I got similar vibes from both books, despite differing executions.
Creator Owned Work Is Better Than Work For Hire
Seems obvious and the only reason why I mention this is that Grant Morrison seems to be the exception to the rule. He, obviously, has a lot of fantastic creator owned stuff but he is the only writer that I can think of where his works from Marvel and DC seem to match his creator owned work. Just an observation.
Some Artists Whose Work I Like But Don't Work On Books I Want To Read
Mike Choi (X-Force), Stuart Immonen (New Avengers) and Pasqual Ferry (Ender's Game, Ultimate Iron Man II).
Is Dark Reign An "Event"?
I see people calling it an event all the time, but I don't think it is. Events typically have a single book whose direction the story or line of books are following, but there is no such book for all of the Dark Reign books. Sure, Dark Avengers is the headlining book, but, outside of New Avengers, no other books are really taking their lead from it. I think calling it something like a "banner event" might work better since the only the books really have in common is the Dark Reign banner on their cover and the fact that Norman Osborn has a tendency to show up in them. It's like an extended Initiative or Manifest Destiny more than a Civil War or Blackest Night.
Speaking Of Dark Reign...
When Joe Quesada was promoting Secret Invasion, one of the things he would usually mention was that the ending was the main reason why he approved Secret Invasion. This strikes me as weird for two reasons. One, Dark Reign is basically The Initiative, only here the villains are in charge instead of everyone acting like the villains are in charge. Two, it is almost a non sequitur to the story that Brian Bendis told.
Yeah, Osborn did show up during the story, but, still, it is not a very organic ending to the story that Bendis had set up. I mean, it would be more organic, and made slightly more sense, if Osborn had taken over after Civil War. And why did you need Skrulls to invade in order to make Osborn king of the world?
I mean, I get that the Initiative under Iron Man failed and that Osborn "saved the day", but, and I guess this is the point I'm meandering to, it had absolutely nothing to do with Secret Invasion as a story, given its Avengers-centric nature. The point of Marvel's events, story telling wise, seems to be a means to an end rather than a proper story. At least have the ending you are working towards flow out the story you are telling.
In case you missed it, DC is finally getting around to launching a Great Ten book, long after everyone stopped caring. I could understand this late move if they had a top notch creative team on it, like with how they handled Batwoman with Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III on Detective Comics, but they are having Tony Bedard and Scott McDaniel launch the title. An utter waste in every sense of the word.
I mentioned earlier that I was interested in this series and Newsarama has the first issue available for free, so I went ahead and had look. I read through it once or twice and I found it average and unimpressive. It does seem very Kirby inspired with faux-Kirby designs and space gods everywhere. The art even has a very Kirby-esque feel to it, but I didn't really like it. Anyway, I'm passing on the series. As always, your mileage may vary.
It's Official - I Don't Care About The Ultimate Line Anymore
Jonah Weiland: When we spoke with you and Bill Jemas about the tenth anniversary of the Ultimate line, one of the things you said was a misstep was that the characters aged too much. Is that something you'll be addressing moving forward?Seriously? The Ultimate line used to be a place where things would actually happen, but, now, it's just going to be frozen in time like the regular Marvel Universe. Is Marvel intentionally trying to kill the line or what?
Joe Quesada: Yeah, it happened here and there. It was unavoidable at the time but moving forward we’re going to try to be a bit more vigilant about keeping the characters as youthful as possible without putting somebody in a machine and de-aging them, which is the kind of a cheat we didn't want to rely on in the Ultimate Universe, as Jeph had mentioned.
Reader Question - The 10 Essentials
If you had to reduce Marvel and DC's current output to just 10 books, which would they be and why?