Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Collection of Random Thoughts, Vol 10

For the 10th installment of A Collection of Random Thoughts, I shall be discussing Top Cow's Pilot Season, whether or not Dark Reign can be classified as an event, various thoughts on comic creators, more on the Ultimate imprint from Marvel, Jersey Gods and even a new Reader Question. All this and more after the jump.


Top Cow's Pilot Season

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.


Really DC?!

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.


Jersey Gods


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?

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.
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?


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?


Related Posts


27 comments:

Wierddemon said...

DC:

Batman and Robin
Batman
Detective Comics
Red Robin
Green Lantern
Green Lantern Corps
Action Comics
Wednesday Comics
Superman
Batman: Streets of Gotham

Wierddemon said...

Oh... reasons:

For pushing the envolope / originality:
Wednesday Comics
Batman and Robin
Detective Comics

For consistently good reads:
Green Lantern
Batman
Green Lantern Corps
Action Comics

Mixed, but overall good:
Red Robin
Superman
Batman: Streets of Gotham

Médard said...

Marvel always said that in the Ultimate universe no one would age. Peter Parker would always stay a high school student, for exemple.
So this quote tells nothing new.

I don't buy much DC comics in singles, except for Batman & Robin and Justice Society of America.
While I'm waiting for the new creative team for JSA, I can't say anything about it, but Batman & Robin is one of the best (mainstream) comics out there right now.
Also their Ex Machina is a great book.

As for Marvel, I'd pick Daredevil and X-Factor as their top books. A couple of months ago I would've said Captain America too, but the last couple of issues haven't been very strong.
To a lesser extent Dark Avengers and Invinceble Iron Man are also pretty good.

Anonymous said...

Marvel: ongoing titles only, no particular order

Captain America
Daredevil
Guardians of the Galaxy
Amazing Spider-Man
F.F.
Iron Man
X-Men Legacy
Thor
Incredible Hercules
Dark Avengers

Anonymous said...

Agree totally on the inorganic nature of Secret Invasion's ending. If you look back at all the books between the end of "Civil War" and the start of "Secret Invasion", only the Knauf's "Iron Man: Director of SHIELD" title demonstrated actual antagonism between Tony Stark & Norman Osborn. If they'd played up that angle more, then the whole "Dark Reign" status quo would have been more plausible.

To me, "Dark Reign" feels like Marvel's version of DC's own "banner event", "One Year Later". The general premise was the same; disregard established continuity and completely eff up the status quo. The only difference is that "One Year Later" was a screaming mess. I gave up quick on OYL when multiple versions of characters were running around like crazy. (Supergirl is either in Kandor or the 31st century. Power Girl is either in the JSA or Kandor. Jay Garrick is either in the JSA or a super-assassin in "Titans". Pick one characterization and stick with it!) While Marvel has avoided the same fate, they nearly fell into the trap when they practically killed the Hood in "New Avengers", and then some editor remembered that he's still alive in "Punisher", Avengers Initiative", "Marvel Zombies 4", and his own freaking mini-series! His last-minute rescue by Loki felt like it was thrown in at the last minute by an editor who'd realized his mistake days before going to press.

Sebastian said...

Shoot, I can cut it down to two: Air and Secret Six. Air has me on the edge of my seat in between months. The art is gorgeous and the writing very human. Secret Six is vulgar and disgusting and Simone writes the hell out of those characters. I don't think I've ever enjoyed a book as much as those two series. Nothing else really comes close right now.

As much as I'd like someone else to do a Great Ten book, Bedard is doing pretty competent and entertaining work over in Rebels.

Anonymous said...

Marvel's 10: If we're treating this as though I'm the new Marvel CEO & I don't want Marvel to revisit bankruptcy, then I couldn't really make a top 10 Marvel list without reciting mostly legacy titles. (Fantastic Four, Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man, New Avengers, Wolverine). I'd limit X-Men & Spidey to one title, though Spidey could stay weekly.) "Dark Avengers" would stay. "Thor" would be flushed. I'd cancel Nova, fold him into "Guardians of the Galaxy" and concentrate on Annihilation-style stories.

Personally, "Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth" would just miss the final cut, thanks to Bong Dazo, who obviously went to the Mitch Byrd School of Cheesecake Art :)

Matt Ampersand said...

Medard, Bendis had said that he had planed to age Ult. Spidey every hundred issues. I don't know about the other creators.

But if something is bound to "age" a character, outside of being married and have a kid, having a bunch of dead teammates and having survived a tragedy this big certainly does the trick.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

Ten titles, wouldn't that have fanboys in a tizzy. Yeah, tizzy, cos fanboys aren't man enough to get mad, aha, discuss.
Ten titles: varied choices..
Marvel: Dardevil (because I love it, but because it is interesting, I think, as well)
Iron Fist (ditto)
Criminal/Incognito (do I even need to explain why?)
Wednesday Comics (because it's like a face melting solo, but in large print)
Captain America (it seems to have everything going for it...doesn't it?)
Secret Warriors (because I'm all for new talent getting a chance)

Shit, think I'm out, and I only read four of those choices weekly. I like other companies a lot, The Boys, Viking, Casanova, Godland.

Oh, Vertigo, Scalped and Northlanders, for sure. Ex Machina.

If BKV ever wants to publish his shopping list I'd love to know how he butters his bread, no sexual connotation meant, or hopefully even implied...

Bill said...

If Vertigo/Wildstorm/Icon count, narrowing it down to 10 would be a hell of a task. But let's say it doesn't:

Batman
Batman and Robin
Cap
Daredevil
Detective
New Avengers
Red Robin
Secret Six
Secret Warriors
Wolverine: Weapon X or whatever the Jason Aaron
one is

That really wasn't hard, I could drop New Avengers and Red Robin and not really care, ditch Cap if Brubaker leaves, and only pick up Batman/Detective when it's good (as Detective is now, and Batman seems not to be). Turns out I read more Vertigo/Wildstorm/Icon than I do regular universe stuff, plus tons of Image and whatever Warren Ellis does.

Andrenn said...

I myself am excited for the new Pilot Season.

I agree that creator owned work is best.

I'm surprised you didn't like the first issue of Jersey Gods. I enjoyed it but then again that's me. I still highly recommend the first TPB which is coming out soon.

Batman: Streets of Gotham
Batman and Robin
Detective Comics
Mighty Avengers
Ultimate Comics Spider-man
Wolverine: Weapon X
Captain America

I can only get about 7 from the books that I'm reading. Sorry.

mrpeepants said...

man wtf on the ultimate line. wtf

mrpeepants said...

@Médard - ah didn't know that. It seems like they should have went with proper aging instead.

kilmoonie said...

Man, NOT counting Vertigo/Wildstorm/Icon. Also, based on quality not necessarily keeping around ICONS such as Spidey and Supes.

DC:

Batman and Robin
Detective Comics feat. Batwoman
Wonder Woman
Green Lantern
Green Lantern Corps
Wednesday Comics
Power Girl
Secret Six
Streets of Gotham
Superman: World of New Krypton (because it's the only book with Superman actually in it)

Marvel:

Captain America
Daredevil
Thor
X-Factor
Uncanny X-Men
Agents of Atlas
Invincible Iron Man
New Avengers
Secret Warriors
Wolverine: Weapon X (maaaybe)

JR

The Dangster said...

Batman and Robin
Detective Comics
Street of Gotham
Green Lantern
Green Lantern Corps
Jonah Hex
Secret Six
Action Comics
Wednesday Comics

That's 9.... damn

altonralston said...

daredevil
incognito
iron fist
uncanny
amazing spidey
frank castle punisher
fantastic four
northlanders
detective
batman and robin

non-big 2:
irredeemable
invincible
walking dead
bad dog
flash gordon
buck rogers
lone ranger
olympus
rapture

Flythe said...

Marvel:

Spider-Man
Avengers
Incredible Hercules
Thor
X-Men
Nova
Guardians of the Galaxy
Daredevil
Captain America
Fantastic Four

DC:

Batman & Robin
Superman
Green Lantern
Flash
Secret Six
Booster Gold
JSA
Titans
JLA
Green Arrow

Kelson said...

Well...I don't read as many as 10 books from each company, and I don't really feel qualified to make declarations about books I'm not reading. I'd keep Wednesday Comics and a Flash book, and leave the remaining 8 at DC for someone else to decide.

Eric Rupe said...

Medard - As Matt, Ult. Spidey was originally intended to age. The main point is that Marvel has constantly done stuff to make the Ult. Line more like their MU stuff and this is another step in that direction.

Sebastian - I don't think Bedard is a bad writer but if you are going to take over two years to launch a book then you really need to have a top notch creative team behind it.

Andrenn - I didn't think it was bad and if I didn't have too much other stuff to get I would have probably tried it out.

Flip The Page said...

DC:

Detective Comics
-Best comic about at the moment!
Green Lantern
-Never faltered for me
Green Lantern Corps.
-Strangely enough this has never gone wrong either... Are the green lanterns just that cool?
Power Girl
-My guilty pleasure. Pure undiluted fun.
Batman & Robin
-This is more a sales thing than anything else... Really I'm not sure if i'll keep going past issue 3 with how incomplete the issues feel.
Booster Gold
-Booster and Blue Beetle in one package? IT'S GENIUS
Superman/Batman
-Surprises me, and makes both Batman and Superman likable. This is essential for DC naysayers in that respect.
JSA
-Eh, you need a justice book and this has the better line up and less torture for the writers involved.
Superman: World of New Krypton
-A good superman book... I KNOW!
Red Robin (I suppose)
-eh.... couldn't think of another. Could go places.

Marvel:
Agents of Atlas
-No Duh! Best ongoing to come out of Dark Reign
Amazing Spider-Man
-I like this Brand New Day rejig, mainly for Mr. Negative, Anti-Venom and American Son.
Mighty Avengers
-Been the best Avengers series ever since Dan Slott took over. EARTH'S Mightiest finally realise that EARTH isn't America. As such, superior.
New Mutants
-I love me some cannonball. Okay I realise I'm not thinking logically but choosing only the series with the best quality is a sound plan.
X-Men Legacy
-It's just stepped up as one of the best X-Books about, and I don't expect that to change any time soon
X-Factor
-It rules, and has only faltered once. In secret invasion. REALLY BADLY
All New Savage She-Hulk
-C'mon it deserves to be an ongoing and not just a limited series... then a backup. it deserves more!
Dark Wolverine
-Daken is the man. As long as it's about him this is a series that deserves to sell well and stay amongst these ten.
Incredible Hercules
-Another case of being the best. In a market of ten Marvel titles this would shine the brightest... perhaps.
Son of Hulk
-Skaar is a good character... My reasons are weak...


Moving on from that I agree that Dark Reign isn't an event. I've been calling it a Status Quo myself, mainly to sound pretentious

cheetahmaster said...

My top ten for DC would have to include a revival of Legends of the DC Universe, as it could totally fill the gaps for everyone else who wouldn't make the cut (Outsiders, Checkmate, etc.)

Mike-El said...

My buddy owns a comic shop where I can read comics for free, and yet I STILL can't think of ten titles from each publisher that I read, much less buy... I might buy seven or eight comics a month altogether.

A better question would be: if Marvel and DC wanted to get you to buy ten titles from each of them, what creative teams would you want to see on which titles to get you motivated, and KEEP you motivated to buy? Because a title's quality is really dependant on it's creative team for me... I love Batman, but I'm not going to buy all things Batman if I don't like the direction it's going in. Perhaps if quality creators had actual RUNS on good titles, instead of a story arc here and there, comics would be in much better shape.

What I'm REALLY tired of is seeing amateur creators on flagship titles, just because corporate thinks that a flagship title will sell based on it's name alone. Superman/Batman, for instance, COULD be THE go-to place for new readers given the popularity of the two characters and the self-contained nature of it. You would think it would read like an "Ultimate" title every month, and yet it doesn't. But its quality is so hit and miss, it isn't.

Daryll B said...

DC - Secret Six, Fables, Green Lantern / Green Lantern Corps, Batman, Superman, JSA, Booster Gold, JLA, All ages Teen Titans

MARVEL - Amazing Spidey, Mighty Avengers, Uncanny X-Men, FF, Thunderbolts, Secret Warriors / S.H.I.E.L.D, Thor, Captain America, Captain Britain, All ages Franklin Richards/Minimarvels

INDIES - Invincible, Powers, G-Man, Astro City, Savage Dragon, Authority, Echo, Dynamo 5 / Noble Causes, Hellboy

oakleyses said...

replica watches, oakley sunglasses, nike air max, michael kors outlet online, jordan shoes, chanel handbags, nike air max, oakley sunglasses, burberry outlet, nike outlet, christian louboutin shoes, christian louboutin, oakley sunglasses wholesale, burberry handbags, prada handbags, michael kors outlet online, christian louboutin uk, coach purses, polo outlet, michael kors outlet, longchamp outlet, gucci handbags, michael kors outlet online, nike free, true religion outlet, tory burch outlet, coach outlet store online, christian louboutin outlet, tiffany and co, longchamp outlet, michael kors outlet, prada outlet, coach outlet, michael kors outlet store, coach outlet, ray ban sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, polo ralph lauren outlet online, tiffany jewelry, kate spade outlet, longchamp outlet, kate spade

oakleyses said...

sac hermes, converse pas cher, timberland pas cher, jordan pas cher, mulberry uk, michael kors outlet, true religion outlet, north face uk, new balance, nike air force, michael kors pas cher, sac longchamp pas cher, vans pas cher, north face, ray ban uk, louboutin pas cher, hollister uk, guess pas cher, abercrombie and fitch uk, nike air max uk, air max, true religion jeans, nike free uk, ray ban pas cher, nike air max uk, nike free run, true religion outlet, polo lacoste, hogan outlet, michael kors, nike blazer pas cher, longchamp pas cher, nike air max, burberry pas cher, sac vanessa bruno, nike tn, oakley pas cher, polo ralph lauren, nike roshe, ralph lauren uk, hollister pas cher, lululemon canada

oakleyses said...

chi flat iron, hollister clothing, north face outlet, ferragamo shoes, mont blanc pens, nike roshe run, jimmy choo outlet, mac cosmetics, nfl jerseys, asics running shoes, baseball bats, hermes belt, new balance shoes, wedding dresses, nike trainers uk, mcm handbags, beats by dre, valentino shoes, babyliss, p90x workout, lululemon, bottega veneta, oakley, hollister, herve leger, nike roshe run uk, insanity workout, vans outlet, ghd hair, soccer jerseys, north face outlet, giuseppe zanotti outlet, timberland boots, abercrombie and fitch, longchamp uk, soccer shoes, nike air max, iphone 6 cases, nike huaraches, reebok outlet, instyler, celine handbags

oakleyses said...

swarovski, coach outlet, ugg uk, vans, replica watches, uggs outlet, uggs outlet, hollister, links of london, pandora uk, ralph lauren, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, marc jacobs, ray ban, toms shoes, uggs on sale, supra shoes, pandora jewelry, lancel, wedding dresses, thomas sabo, converse outlet, louboutin, hollister, ugg pas cher, pandora charms, ugg boots, montre pas cher, swarovski crystal, ugg, juicy couture outlet, juicy couture outlet, karen millen uk, nike air max, converse, gucci, ugg boots

Post a Comment

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Crisis - Comic Book Review Blog. Comments are always appreciated. You can sign in and comment with any Google, Wordpress, Live Journal, AIM, OpenID or TypePad account.