I'm Just Sayin'…#78
by Greg Manuel on February 19, 2010

Sigh.

It seems like this is turning into a bit of a trend here, with…

As personal events, writer’s block and day job chaos pull me away from this fun little column of mine, I keep coming back to my keyboard, intent on discussing things that intrigue me, like DC’s EARTH ONE plans

superman_leveledlores

batman_fnl3

…the point of which seems to be that it isn’t so much the fact that Superman and Batman are having their stories retold, but rather the format in which their stories are being retold. And is it just me, or do their redesigns remind you of anything?

 ult-super

ult-bat

…nah, probably just me.

I want to discuss things that excite me, like the announcement of the North American release of MEGA MAN MEGAMIX…

MM_Megamix01_pg1

MM_Megamix01_pg2

MM_Megamix01_pg3

…when I learned of that bit of news, I let out a squeal of glee that I think to this day is why my cats won’t look me in the eye anymore.

I want to share with you things that amuse me – like this…

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 …or this…

…or this…

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…man, those guys are on FIRE, right now!

But time and again, what seems to grab my focus like nothing else are things that piss me off – and these days, I really don’t have to look further than Marvel.

Last week, Marvel Comics made the news due to a controversy involving CAPTAIN AMERICA #602, and the new storyline therein entitled “Two Americas.” Concisely summarized by the good people at ROBOT 6, everything in comics came to a screeching halt because of this one panel:

…an image inspired by one from real life…

…which someone from the so-called Tea Party Nation raised a stink over, and worse still…Marvel APOLOGIZED for.

“Nice going Marvel Comics,” wrote blogger Warner Todd Huston. “Thanks for making patriotic Americans into your newest super villains.” I wish I could muster up a response that would put this hyper-reactionary asshole in his place any better than the one that can be found here, courtesy of Canadian blogger MightyGodKing – to paraphrase Carly Simon, nobody does it better and I really hope that the two or three readers I still have click and give it a look –  but what got under my skin is the one point that I disagree with MGK over, and that’s how Marvel decided to handle this.

“Let’s be honest,” says the Mighty One. “it makes sense for Marvel to apologize because it’s not worth the hassle of Sean Hannity crusading against them. It likewise makes sense for Ed Brubaker to apologize, because regardless of his personal beliefs he’s got a family to feed and there are more important things to go to bat over than a page out of a licensed character comic book that got some cretins’ undies up in a twist.”

He’s absolutely right that Marvel doesn’t need idiots like Sean Hannity wasting air time coming after them. And he’s right that Ed Brubaker should have his priorities in the right place, and it isn’t worth it to throw down over a character that doesn’t belong to him. He’s even right that Warner Todd Huston is a cretin. But here’s the thing…Marvel didn’t owe Huston or the Tea Party the dignity of a response, let alone an apology. 

If Marvel had anything to say, it should’ve been, “We’re sorry you feel that way.” Period. Because Marvel has the very same rights under the United States Constitution that the Tea Party uses to justify their eight-years-too-late, America-has-lost-its-way rhetoric. If Ed Brubaker had anything to say, he could’ve made the point that the Tea Party isn’t even the villain of the piece – BuckyCap and Falcon only happen upon one of their rallies while en route to the last reported location of Crazy 50’s Cap. And even he isn’t the villain of the story. To anybody with sense, it is clear that the Watchdogs are the villains of this story.

 The Watchdogs, anti-government Cap-tagonists created by Mark Gruenwald in 1987, who are set to capitalize on not only the growing unrest in the country, but the fact that they now have their very own Captain America to use to sway people to their cause.

So let’s recap, comic book heads…

…the reason that BuckyCap and the Falcon are in the great state of Idaho, is because a highly susceptible, deranged man who remade himself in the image of Steve Rogers and shot himself up with an unstable version of the Super-Soldier Serum had recently escaped from the clutches of the Red Skull, Arnim Zola and the late Aleksandr Lukin and has now crossed paths with the Watchdogs…

…essentially going from a dangerous weapon in the hands of a fascist madman, to a dangerous weapon in the hands of a high tech militia of home-grown conservative zealots…

…and the fact that he even said anything in the first place probably says more about people like Huston than it does about the panel that allegedly offended him so much. Nonetheless, what really pissed me off about this, hasn’t a thing to do with politics. Hasn’t a thing to do with conservatism, liberalism, Republicans, Democrats, none of that.

Quesada’s choice in handling this manufactured controversy only served to remind me of a few things…like seven years of blatant disrespect for continuity and the fundamentals of story execution. AVENGERS: DISASSEMBLED and the seven-year Bendisification of the Marvel Universe. Mark Millar’s CIVIL WAR. Mark Millar’s FANTASTIC FOUR. Mark Millar basically being allowed near anything in the mainstream Marvel Universe. The stubborn adherence to NO GOOD REASON, in spite of nosediving sales numbers. Skyrocketing cover prices. Year after year after year of empty, asinine hucksterism. Make no mistake – Joe Quesada owes somebody an apology, and it damn sure ain’t a man who, by his own admission, HASN’T READ A COMIC BOOK SINCE NINETEEN EIGHTY SIX!

I have been a casual comic book fan for as long as I can remember, but I’ve been an avid reader specifically since 1990, when those trading cards pulled me in DEEP. I have wanted to be a cartoonist or a comic book writer or somehow involved with the medium since I could read. I realize I may only be speaking for myself when I say this, but it’s difficult watching something that meant so much to me, jump the shark and become a parody of its former self. It’s almost enough to kill one’s passion for this great medium…

…wait, there’s an ATOMIC ROBO coming out this week? What was I mad about again?

AND NOW, JUST CUZ I FEEL LIKE IT…

UPDATE: Thanks to Mr. Q for linking me to this strip in the comments section below. Seems I accidentally hit “Submit” instead of “Save,” and wound up publishing this entry before I’d finish my thought. Anyway, thanks for that and here’s hoping I’ll be able to come back much sooner next time with more commentary, news and snark – til then, I’m Greg Manuel and I’m just sayin’, is all…



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