The New Year's Resolution Column (12/31/03)
Ah, so it is the last day of 2003, and with that many of my colleagues here at Comixtreme are taking an opportunity to look back at the past 365 days and how they changed the world of comics. Well, to heck with that. Here at Everything But Imaginary Global Headquarters, we’re looking ahead to the next 365. We’re talking about what can be done, will be done and should be done next year to make the world of comics a bigger, better place. This week, we’re handing out New Year’s Resolutions.
Now I’ve made resolutions of my own, of course, and I’m not telling you what they are because if I did then you could make fun of me next year for failing at all of them except the one involving Lord of the Rings star Miranda Otto, which you’ll all agree I probably could have achieved if it weren’t for that pesky restraining order. But anyway, overall I think 2003 was a pretty good year for comics, and I want to see that trend continue into 2004. And here’s how it should be done:
Resolutions for Marvel Comics
• To stop attempting to fire people writing brilliant runs on assorted comic books, i.e. Mark Waid and Peter David.
• To give up on trying to cancel Spider-Girl, because it clearly has the most dedicated, devoted fan base in comics, several of whom apparently have naked pictures of Joe Quesada with a llama.
• To introduce a female character in Uncanny X-Men that serves some purpose other than to pine over and/or throw herself at all of the male characters. This resolution also applies to Northstar.
• To place a brass plaque on the wall of every editor’s office reading “20 issues a year is meaningless if 19 of them suck.” Similarly, the offending editors should stop pretending they don’t know what we’re talking about.
• To re-think the policy that is going to create four Spider-Man titles, three Fantastic Four titles and four titles that just have X-Men in the name, let alone count all related titles. Can anyone else say “overexposure”?
• To stop doing crappy specials and miniseries starring villains who are going to be in major motion pictures six months after the miniseries is scheduled to be completed.
Resolutions for DC Comics
• To make sure, the next time they shuffle around the Superman creative teams, they get writers who actually understand and respect the character working on the title, and to stop doing whatever it is they’re doing to drive them away.
• To get Neil Gaiman and Jim Lee as the new creative team on Wonder Woman, just to see if anything can make that comic book sell better. If that still fails to increase sales, trade her to Nestle for the Qwik Bunny.
• To do whatever it takes, up to and including elective surgery, to get Kurt Busiek signed up as the regular writer for JLA. If that doesn’t work, get Geoff Johns. In fact, make them take turns like Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker do on Gotham Central -- Busiek could tell stories with the “Magnificent Seven” and Johns could do arcs reinvigorating the second-tier heroes, allowing both of them to do what they’re most brilliant at.
• To hold several Warner Brothers executives captive until they agree to stop screwing up every live-action adaptation of a DC comic except for Smallville. While you’re at it, tell them to hold off on making any more Superman movies until Tom Welling is ready for the part. And if anybody mentions The Rock, slap them in the face with a codfish.
General Resolutions For the Comic Book Industry
• To produce some comic books that will draw in new readers that are actually affordable for, and accesibile to, new readers. No matter how good Uncle Scrooge is, it’s not generating any new readers sitting on comic shop shelves with a seven-dollar price tag.
• To get Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley jobs endorsing Energizer batteries. These two simply do not stop.
• To give it a rest with the “decompressed storytelling.” Twenty-page fight sequences with three lines of dialogue doesn’t make a comic book “cinematic.” It makes it tedious. And while you’re at it, stop trying to make “widescreen” comics too. You are not making movies. You’re making comic books, so stop acting like you’re ashamed of it and make great ones.
• To send someone over to Dave Sim’s house to make sure he didn’t collapse right after the last issue of Cerebus was finished the way Charles Schulz did when Peanuts wrapped up.
• To start giving major writing contracts to semi-popular internet columnists.
Well, I think that’s enough to get things started, don’t you? Take my advice to heart, gang, have a safe and happy New Year, and be back here in seven days for the biggest “Everything But Imaginary” yet!
FAVORITE OF THE WEEK: December 24, 2003
Even if Avengers #76 weren’t Geoff Johns’s final issue, it would still be one of his best. After playing around with two of the real B-list characters, Jack of Hearts and Ant-Man, for his entire run, Johns sends one of them out with a bang this issue, and makes the other seem more real, more human than he ever has. With this book come and gone, I’ve got nothing to look forward to in this corner of the Marvel Universe until the Avengers Vs. the Thunderbolts miniseries in a few months...
Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People's Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginner and the novel-in-progress Lost in Silver at Evertime Realms. He’s also the co-host, with good buddy Chase Bouzigard and Not-On-the-Internet Mike Bellamy, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcasts. E-mail him at Blake@comixtreme.com and visit him on the web at Evertime Realms. Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page.