Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I get it now!
When it became obvious at Marvel that Chris Claremont was out of touch and would have been taken out back and shot in a more straightforward era, what was their solution for caging the 800-pound gorilla that kept sitting on all of their stuff? Give him a bunch of out-of-continuity shit to write, like GeNext, X-Men: The End and New Exiles.
What do the biggest writers in comics today do anyway? Just like Claremont, they (Millar, Morrison, Bendis, Johns, etc.) try to write as if what they do is the only work that matters and that plot points created by other writers shouldn't contradict what they want to say with their work.
What is the solution to continuity?


Let Bendis turn Marvel into the Daredevil, Spider-Man and Iron Man show, guest-starring Wolverine! Let Millar turn the FF, the X-Men and every other team into a pale reflection of whatever TV show is hot at the moment! Let Geoff Johns write about four different descendants of the original Amazing Man while Grant Morrison sends Batman into outer space to save the Flash from the Brown Acid, and never the twain shall meet!

Simply put-- comic book continuity should no longer depend solely on the characters and the publisher.
It should depend on the creators. Let each writer and artist map out their own version of Marvel or DC. Then, if they really shake things up, they aren't hurting anyone else, and when they're done, they put their toys (the characters, copyrights, settings etc.) back in the box and let someone else play!
Kurt Busiek's campy, classic Avengers and Bendis's dark, troubled Avengers can sit on the shelf at the same time without bothering anybody, because while they share a common history, a common concept, and a common release date, they appeal to different readers, so they shouldn't have to contradict each other by being part of the same series!
Frank Miller's DCU, Gail Simone's DCU and Grant Morrison's DCU don't have a lot in common except that they all sell very, very well. So why try to cut and paste all of their stuff together into a shoddy, poorly-organized tapestry when each could stand on its own?
DC and Marvel, due to their histories, can never really be creator-owned companies, but maybe they could be... creator-leased companies. Like a record label providing a band with all the instruments, studio equipment and drugs they need, with the understanding that once the album's done and the contract's up, the drummer can't drag that awesome gong set out the front door.
Keep the editors to make sure that once Brubaker's done writing Captain America, some other asshole doesn't show up and write the same story with different art, and so on. But otherwise, let the creators run wild.
It'll never happen.
But isn't it a great idea?
Or am I making less sense as I sober up?
Let me know. I'll be here, crying onto my copy of Marvel Previews.

-- The Editor

Breaking News on CNN: Bendis to be nominated Secretary of WTF


Now that the election's over and America has decided to go for four years of surrender, baby-killing, Islamofascist appeasement, gay marriage, socialism and atheism, we can all relax. But during the election, did you ever feel like, if you just focused on McCain, or Obama, or even Hillary or Ron Paul or Bob Barr or Ralph Nader... if you focused on one of them, and read about them and all the things they want to do for the country, you'd get a good feeling about them. But when you looked at every side of each issue and try to weigh the pros and cons and you started really comparing the candidates and putting them under the microscope, you started to think something like "all of these people are assholes! If I were stuck on a bombed-out Pacific atoll with one of them, a canteen of water and a gun with two bullets, I'd shoot them in the head, shoot a hole in the canteen, lay down and die laughing."
Maybe that's just me.
The point I'm trying to make is, DC and Marvel have always been flawed, are horribly flawed now, and will always be some degree of flawed, even if my Satanic ritual works and I unify both publishers under my throne made from the flayed bones of Chris Claremont and Dan DiDio.
As it stands, Secret Invasion and Final Crisis have both been horribly mismanaged. What to do about it? Act like some asshole who thinks he could've done better, of course.

SECRET INVASION: An Eighteen-Month Prologue to Dark Reign or an Eighteen-Month Epilogue to Civil War?
So apparently since Norman Osborne scored the headshot on the Skrulls' Queen, he gets to be protector of the free world now and everyone else gets jack, or jacked. Or brought back to life. Whatever. Typical Bush-era cronyism. Tony Stark's a fugitive (guh?), there are now three groups of Avengers not including the Young Avengers, one of whom may or may not be just plain villains... Hawkeye and Mockingbird are both alive... okay, wait a second.
Bendis brought back Mockingbird because apparently the rationale was the Skrulls needed their hosts alive to take genetic material from them. WHY THE FUCK WAS THERE A PHOENIX SKRULL? OR A GALACTUS SKRULL, OR A CAPTAIN AMERICA SKRULL?
Who's dumber-- Bendis, Leinil Yu, or their editor? Does Bendis even have an editor? I'D HAVE NEVER FUCKING GUESSED, FROM READING HIS SHITTY, LACKLUSTER DIALOGUE!

Seriously. When Nick Fury and the Secret Warriors show up at the end of issue 2 or 3 to save the day, he says something to the effect of "Okay, Commandos! Time to turn this thing around!" Cool, right? Wrong. In any self-respecting action-oriented comic book, that dialogue would be a) IN ALL CAPS, because that indicates yelling instead of speaking softly, without exclamation points, b) red, to further emphasize that he's a war hero and he's shouting an order very loudly to his troops, and


So. Anyway. In addition to this. So now after the final fight, everybody's just back to normal except that Osborne, Doom, Namor and Emma Frost run the world? How do we know there aren't more Skrulls lurking somewhere? Did Reed Richards use his Skrull-identifying gun on everyone on the planet just to make sure? It seems convenient that every Skrull on Earth showed up at the final, fateful battle in NYC. Then again, convenience is the name of the game when it comes to plot threads in comics. We're lucky the Scarlet Witch didn't just show up and say "No More Skrulls" at the end. That may sound like a joke. It's not. We as comics fans should really and truly give thanks to whichever gods each of us worship that Bendis did not resort to that.
So now there's "Dark Reign." Osborne's dark version of the Marvel Illuminati (Osborne, Namor, Dr. Doom, the Hood, Emma Frost and Loki) are going to run things now. I'm a mean, cynical bastard, but it's just really hard to see the last pages of Secret Invasion #8 and think that Bendis saw this same work and thought, "there it is. Here's what I've worked towards for so long, finally realized. Yessir... after three long years, finally, superheroes are fighting supervillains again. Truly I have done something new and different in the medium of sequential art."
Great. To quote Wayne's World, thanks a lot there, Chet. I'm not even going to get into all the Secret Invasion miniseries and tie-ins we all had to decide to buy or not buy in the last eight months, because by now it's pretty much S.O.P. for "events" like this. I'm just hoping that after Dark Reign is over, maybe these people with the superpowers could maybe try to work on fighting actual crime maybe a little bit maybe.

FINAL CRISIS? Or Final Proof That All Reality is Subjective?
Poor Grant Morrison. Every time he has a good idea for an in-continuity story, someone makes him change it because it might actually change the status quo in some way, and everyone else at DC knows you can't do that unless you're Geoff Johns (excuse me, Geoff Fucking Johns, Sir, is how you actually pronounce it) and you're only changing things by creating more characters that Warner Bros. can eventually option for terrible movies.
In Final Crisis, it's yet another ultimate battle between superheroes and Evil Gods from another dimension, only this time their very existence is tearing the fabric of time and space to shreds. Pretty trippy, by which I mean, pretty standard for Grant Morrison. If all you've ever read from DC is stuff Morrison's written, you're fine. Otherwise you may be in trouble. Because except for the Final Crisis miniseries like Submit/Resist, Rogues' Revenge, Legion of 3 Worlds and Revelations, fuckin' nothin' is going on in the DCU that acknowledges what's going on at all. It's as if what Morrison writes is in its own little...
...oh my God.*
Marvel. They knew. They know!

*Hermes, Athena, Apollo or the Muses...whoever's listening out of those, really

A Season or Two at the Movies

Welcome back, people.

Proving once again how ahead of the curve we are here at B&C, we shut down between the months of April and December in response to the financial crisis that hadn't finished happening yet. And, in anticipation of the unanticipated post-Christmas Dow rally, we're back to catch up on...


First Iron Man blew away everything Marvel had done before. Who better to play the world's most powerful alcoholic than the Nineties' most famous drug addict? Absolutely nothing was wrong with that movie. Everything was right with it. Although I have been combing the DVD extras and have not yet found outtakes of Obadiah Stane (played by Jeff Bridges, duh) saying "this unchecked aggression will not stand" or "you mean... like, coitus?"

Then Incredible Hulk came out and I forgot that a) "requel" is not a real word and b) Edward Norton and Tim Roth had ever been in any bad movies, ever. I even almost liked Liv Tyler... actually, she was fine in LOTR as far as I'm concerned... and ugh, now that I think of it, can you imagine Jennifer Connelly as Arwen? I'd have strangled myself with one of Aragorn's ridiculous Celtic-knot belts... anyway. Thumbs up for the Hulk, two thumbs up for making the old Hulk TV show's "sad walking away music" into an actual theatrical score that sticks in your head, not unlike Tim Burton's Batman theme or John Williams's Superman march... everything else Marvel's done, including Iron Man unfortunately, has had a soundtrack that sounded like the theme to their old animated Saturday morning cartoons minus the lame electric guitars (not to get off on a tangent, but what the fuck was up with the theme to Enterprise? What was the reasoning behind basically rolling a Michael W. Smith b-side during your opening credits? If anyone has a reason for self-loathing it's Trekkies, but you've gotta get over it and try to pass yourselves off as cool, not... this.)
Then came The Dark Knight.
End of discussion.
Hellboy II, Wall-E, Hancock, blah blah blah. They were all well and good. I will literally not spare an ounce of my saliva for the genitals of Pixar, Dark Horse or Will "Scientologist?" Smith that could be used on Christopher "I'm Crazy" Nolan, Christian "So Crazy I'll Slap My Own Mama" Bale, or Heath "I Acted So Crazy I'm Dead Now" Ledger.
To date, Heath Ledger has been posthumously knighted in thirteen countries, including the USA, who didn't know they could do that 'til now; Christian Bale has been cleared of all wrongdoing by the London police department and given immunity to assault "whomever he wants," Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman have been pre-emptively cleared for canonization by the Vatican and the Academy has designated a "Best Gary Oldman" award to be given to Gary Oldman every year, whether he has appeared in a movie or not that year.
Chris Nolan has been released on his own recognizance without bail.
Because of him, the best movie of the decade teaches us that we can either choose to go around the system in order to bring people to justice, or just say "fuck it" and burn or shoot or stab anyone or anything that stands between us and self-fulfillment.

Billy Crudup's blue dick is coming to a theatre near you! Huzzah! I guess now I'm glad Keanu didn't get the part, as was once the word around the campfire. You've seen the trailers, right?
People were shushing me in the theatre during the previews at the Dark Knight opening. I responded that they were lucky I didn't just whip it out and start jacking it in the theatre.
I don't want to hear a word of negativity from anyone about this. I'm not usually one for superficiality, but all that matters is that it looks perfect. Every costume, every special effect, is as perfect as humanly possible without resorting to full-blow Beowulf-style mo-cap CGI. Short of trying to do Ang Lee's retarded take on comic book panels within a movie screen, this is basically a transforming of a comic book into a film. Even if Zack Snyder has, as reported, fucked up the ending, I don't care. There will be costumes, violence, moral ambiguity and insanely over-detailed sets. Snyder's like an idiot savant for recreating other people's work. I think if you gave him the Torah or the New Testament and told him to turn it into a coherent narrative, you'd have a blockbuster that would expose The Passion for the snuff film it is within eighteen months. Seriously, when I get drunk around other people I start calling for the execution of any and all citizens and subjects who won't bow before the brazen image of the Emperor (I don't know which Emperor, it doesn't matter, don't ask), and I would gladly put down $10 to see Gerard Butler deliver the Ten Commandments (cue a bunch of drunk guys screaming "THIS! IS! ISRAEL!"). I am that passionate about Zack Snyder's weird knack for taking our past and making it look a little bit cooler.
Three months, and then we get to see... the same exact thing I've read twenty times... only on a screen. Uhm. Okay, I guess now I get why people aren't so hot and bothered about Snyder's Watchmen. Or maybe I'm just sobering up. I'm not sure anymore.