The Roundtable: A Nexus Event In Two Parts

‘Tis our time of the month here at the Comics Nexus, which means all-new Roundtable goodness, packed full of our trademark irreverence and patented gusto. Yes, we managed to patent our gusto. Just don’t ask to see the video evidence, otherwise Daron might get in trouble with his missus.

So, anyway, step this way (or scroll down that way, whichever you prefer) and check out our thoughts on a whole host of recent topics, such as…

Spider-Man’s unmasking!

Crisis of the X-Franchise!

Why football does or does not suck!

Why soccer does or does not suck!

Daron hates Starship Troopers!

Manhunter’s non-cancellation!

Judd Winick not giving you AIDS!

And much more!

Your contributors for this lengthy tirade against all things bar no things are, in order of the size of their Lego collections, from largest to smallest, are…

ME! I am also known as Iain Burnside and, yes, the Anti-Nexus reviews will return as soon as I have caught up with last week’s books…

PAUL SEBERT! He is also known as Mister Wisdom and his words are anything but questionable…

MANOLIS VAMVOUNIS! He is also known as Mister Spandex and, given half a chance, he will gladly leave it at your door…

JEFF RITTER! He is also known as Mister Nightmare, which is meant in a far more affectionate way than it reads… but not too affectionate… need more rum to get that way, clearly…

TIM STEVENS! He is also known as Mister Rosenbaum and he could so very easily mop the floor with Kevin Spacey…

COREN! He is also known as Mister Coren to his mother, uncle, boss and travel agent… he also still contributes more than our 2005 end-of-year awards…

JAMIE HATTON! He is also known as Joshua Grutman’s very bestest friend…

ANDY LOGAN! He is also known as Mister Logan, which makes Joe Quesada cry… stain that pillow, Q…

KEVIN MAHONEY! He is also known as Mister Mahoney, but has no prior connection to Steve Guttenberg… at least, not so far as we are currently aware, so please look for updates soon…

EUGENE TIERNEY! He is also known as The New Guy, which was a really crappy movie but had a wonderful scene of Eliza Dushku trying on bikinis and, honestly, there’s no better way to end the introductions than that…

On with the proceedings!

IAIN: Hello one and all. First off, share the kudos for making the previous
Roundtable so darn fruity-juicy delicious. Good job! Figured it was about
time to make a start on the next edition, so here are a few topics to kick
things off…

Virgin Comics. John Woo. Garth Ennis. Seven Brothers.

Yes, please.

PAUL: Ok the names have piqued my curiosity… But I just hope this isn’t a retelling of the 1954 Musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

IAIN: You have probably heard about the new Superman Confidential and Batman Confidential books coming out in September. The former explores Superman’s early days and kicks off with a six-issue arc by Darwyn Cooke and Tim Sale, while the latter starts exploring similar territory for Batman under the guidance of Andy Diggle and Whilce Portacio. Does it strike anybody else as a bit odd that they are naming these things ‘Confidential’ rather than ‘Classified’, which is already the established term for the JLA and JSA books? And that they somehow still haven’t cancelled Legends of the Dark Knight? Hmm. Anyway, the creative teams are excellent. Who’s buying?

PAUL: I’m excited about Superman Confidential. Batman I’m not quite sold on yet.
Sorrry… just not a big fan of Whilce Portacio.

IAIN: From the New Joe Fridays column at Newsarama

NRAMA: To the Marvel Heroes: Cap, Hulk, Daredevil, Iron Man, Thor, etc…what are you doing right?

JQ: Like the Avengers, the core Marvel Heroes, I feel, are having a renaissance of sorts. For as long as I can remember being in comics, the X-Men ruled the Marvel Universe, the core Marvel U is now giving X a run for its money. I’m really happy with the way the core Marvel family of books is reading looking these days. You have Brubaker and Epting on Cap, Bru and Larke on Daredevil, the Knauf’s with Zircher on Iron Man, Pak and Pagulayan on Hulk, Bendis , Deodato and company on Avengers and Ellis on. whoops, almost let that out by mistake.

So does this mean Warren Ellis is writing the new Thor book?

PAUL: No… obviously Joe’s teasing the release of a new Werewolf By Night series by Warren Ellis.

Or at least he should be.

I mean he’s a guy who becomes a WEREWOLF… IN GREEN PANTS… BY NIGHT!

MANOLIS: Warren Ellis has written the only 4 issues of Thor that I ever enjoyed: the World Engine. He injected a strong dose of Norse mythology, and also a brutal realism into the book. It was also the first time Mike Deodato Jr showed his true promise as an artist. I’d love to see the two reunited on the title. It would also mean Deodato getting off New Avengers before things get worse.

IAIN: Regarding the dude with the big hammer… I’ve never read any Thor books. Ever. Couldn’t give a toss, frankly. Ultimate Thor works for me but I just never could get into the regular version. Ellis has been on a roll lately though (buy Fell! eat Nextwave!) so I might check out the first issue if and when it arrives.

JEFF: Aye, verily and forsooth, as a lifelong Thorite, I’d be thrice thrilled to the triumphant return of yon wielder of the mystic Uru hammer from whence he came, provided Mike the Avon Guy and Bendis the Needlessly Verbose aren’t getting their besoiled Stygian fingers upon the coveted parchments.

Ellis would be acceptable – I’m not as stoked on Nextwave as I had hoped to be. I guess I’m not that big of a fan of the irreverent jokey style unless it comes from Peter David or Dan Slott. And even those guys are semi-reverent whilst being jokey. On Nextwave, I blame Immonen’s art style for my displeasure. I have always enjoyed his more realistic approach, as when he handled the duties on Thor about three years ago. There’s a host of people who can do the toony semi-manga style, seems like a waste of Stu’s talents. I’d rather see his realistic approach gracing the pages of Thunderbolts or the upcoming Heroes For Hire.

I hope Ellis invokes some of the magic of the Walt Simonson days. And bring back Skurge the Executioner! I always enjoyed stories that featred him or Malekith the Accursed.

PAUL: You know… up until a couple of years ago I used to absolutely hate Thor. Really I despised the character?

Because it seemed throughout the 90s and early 00s Marvel was perpetually trying to relaunch the character. First we got the bearded guy who became Thunderstrike, then we had a storyline where Thor went mad, then we had Thor, somewhere along the way we had a book called Thor Corps (don’t ask) and we later had Dan Jurgans doing Thor as some kind of odd political allegory. And all this time in my fan boy head I couldn’t figure out why Marvel was spending all of this time and energy in revitalizing one of the few Silver Age Marvel characters that I couldn’t for the life of me understand the appeal of when they could be re-launching… hell I dunno ClanDestine or some other high quality, but over looked book.

Then one week while I was still doing the News & Views column during our 411 days, I decided to pick up Akira Yoshida’s “Thor Son of Asgard” mini-series And like BOOM… I suddenly love Thor. I pick up Avon Oeming’s Disassembled arc of Thor and am loving every page of it. Then I find out that Thor’s been canceled.

*sighs*

So I guess I’m curious to see if Ellis’s run can make me care about the character, or if my brief affection for Thor was just a passing phase.

IAIN: In the same column, Quesada bangs on for a good long while about Spider-Man being married and about how the character should have remained timeless enough to not get dragged into something as terribly grown-up as marriage, less it make him unappealing to future young readers. He’s been talking about this for quite some time. He has also promised a major development in Civil War #2 involving Spidey, which makes me dread to think what might happen. Honestly, is it just me or is Quesada completely blowing this whole “married Spidey” thing out of proportion? I’m certain that most kids interested in reading Spider-Man stories couldn’t care less if he happens to be married, or happens to be going out with some redhead, or even some blonde chick, or whatever. They just want to read good stories and therein lies the problem – the good stories being shot to shit by misguided writers and editors. Really, did anybody read Amazing Spider-Man #532? What does it say about Marvel’s flagship hero that a bunch of schoolkids just got blown up and he’s still using it as an excuse to self-harm with angst over how it affects him and his life? And let’s not even mention the part about him being naive enough to think the superhero registration act means unmasking in public rather than just to the government, who probably already know his identity anyway thanks to SHIELD… Bah. Sorry, went off on a little Spidey-Rant there. Ben Reilly, Clone Saga, Sins Past, spider-totems, new costume, Mark Millar, Gwen Stacey, Baby May. There. Ahem. Anybody else exasperated by the way Marvel is handling the franchise?

PAUL: To be honest while I don’t agree with Quesada… I’m kind of sick over argueing over the whole marriage issue.

JEFF: I can’t talk long at the moment, but wanted to suggest that the Spidey being married thing is actually something very positive. I come from a broken home, as does about half of the United States if the statistics are accurate. And that’s just the ones who come from a family that ends in divorce, not the ones who never had both parents to begin with. I think if a guy like Pete, who’s had EVERYTHING thrown at him, can STILL make a marriage work, then Joe Q needs to go pout in the corner and shut the Hell up. Mary Jane is one of the more interesting supporting characters in comics. And besides, it took Pete like 25 years to get out of high school, another 20 to finish college, the LEAST they could do is let the nerd get the girl.

‘NUFF SAID!

TIM: Really? Spidey unmasked? Jeez, I just don’t…I just don’t know. It seems antithetical to the character to me. But, we’ll see I guess.

COREN: Well apparently Mark Millar or JMS or someone at Marvel thinks it means unmasking to the public as well, since he does it at a fricken press conference (as seen in the most recent issue of Thunderbolts)

PAUL: *SPIT-TAKES!*

$5 still says there’s going to be a way they manage to work their way out of this one.

Meanwhile in the Daily Bugal Newsroom…

J. Jonah Jameson: Blast it! First you trick me into believing my son is Spider-Man, and then you trick my photographer Peter into thinking HE is Spider-Man! Ooooh… I’ll get you yet web-menace!

Robbie Robertson: *sighs and shakes head*

MANOLIS: They went ahead with it. Spidey has been unmasked to the public. This is of course a major development and the most significant blow to Spidey’s status quo since the Clone Saga! Like back then, I foresee a great negative backlash, and Marvel struggling to find the reset button in less than 2 years time.

JAMIE: Let the wars begin. I went and looked at some of the other news sites and rumor boards – and it is true, the world is aflame. Why? WHY WHY WHY.. is the world aflame? It’s an interesting turn for the character to take. It’s a neat idea. If it doesn’t work, this is the medium of comic books and it will go away.

Do I agree that Peter would have done such a thing in the face of what he said in FRONT LINES? Would he realistically side with TONY STARK? Umm.. sure why not? See that’s what’s interesting about what happened in Amazing Spidey that a lot of people are ignoring (Not you fine Roundtable folks – but all over the internet bloggyscape) Mary Jane and Aunt May said ‘DO IT’. Peter did it. Morally he was torn though! It’s possible to think one way and do something else because you think it’s the best thing to do at the time. It’s concievable and people should just SHADDUP about it already.

Sadly, the ending of the relationship of MJ & Spidey is inevitably coming. It also disgusts me a little bit how Joey Q said it. Stuck to it. Was argued against, and his points were debunked, yet still he just has his fingers in his ears going BLAH BLAH BLAH. One could argue that I just think this because I disagree with the move to break them up – but I rarely get on a hobbyhorse about a topic, so there you go.

IAIN: Two years? Hell, they’ll probably have it retconned before Civil War ends. Just say the guy in the red-and-blue costume was an imposter because the real Spidey was still in the red-and-yellow outfit. Easy. Lame but easy.

I love how Quesada will go ahead with character progression like this but get all riled up about character progression that involves Spidey being married. And if his real problem is not the actual marriage but the rushed way in which it was treated in the comics back in the day then all he needs to do is get a limited retcon series to explore the proposal, engagement, wedding and honeymoon in a more satisfying manner. I’m sure it would sell well enough if a decent creative team was on board.

If this means that even the creator of Civil War doesn’t understand the plot of the story then, well, I just have one more thing to add to the Why Millar Sucks list.

If this means that Tony Stark is just deliberately manipulating Peter Parker into a public unmasking so that more reluctant heroes will join the cause, and that this will come back to bite Stark on the ass, then that’s fair enough. There have been rumours of a ‘permanent’ Stark heel-turn after this, which would be kinda neat if it actually lasts for more than a year or
so.

JEFF: So would that mean Iron Man goes to the Dark Side as well, or would Jim Rhodes or somebody new perhaps take over the role as the Gold-Plated Avenger?

If it were up to me, I’d bring back the Scarlet Centurion armor The Red and Silver. Always liked that one.

LOGAN: Giving Tony Stark a permanent (at least, as permanent as it gets in comics) “heel turn” is a fantastic idea. For once, in my humble opinion, Marvel has got it (if it happens) exactly right, building up to it in many subtle – and not so subtle – ways. The ground work has steadily been laid within the pages of the on-going Iron Man series as well as Iron Man: The Inevitable mini in recent months, and even before the events of Civil War, his relationship with Captain America was becoming increasingly strained as their ideologies seemed to move ever further apart.

I think it’s a bold and interesting move, and if Marvel have the guts to really go for it and make it stick, then I’m all for it. We’ve been told “blood will be shed” during Civil War, and what better way for Stark to go completely over to the “dark side” as it were, by either accidentally – or deliberately – offing somebody, or, through omission of action, allowing somebody to die just to prove his point. Hell, he’s already paid long-time nemesis Titanium Man to help him out – maybe the villain community will get involved because Stark pays them, or manipulates them, to commit just the sort of atrocity that furthers his cause? That’s assuming, of course, he has had a deeper and darker agenda all along.

The recent upgrade in Iron Man’s powers now means he can access computer’s the World over, and if all of the heroes data and information is stored on computer when they’re registered then, in theory, it makes him one very powerful, very knowledgeable kahuna. Imagine being able, simply by the power of your mind, to access any and all information about any hero you want to, at any time. You could find out their family information, their home addresses, their identity. Stark is very, very powerful after the events of Extremis – and we all know what power does to you, not to mention absolute power…

Is he using Spidey? I think he is, yeah. We all know Peter is a sucker for emotional blackmail – if you can convince him he has to “do the right thing”, you’ve got him exactly where you want him. It’s simply a case of making him think that what YOU think is the right thing is also what HE thinks is the right thing, and that’s what Stark has been doing for months – slowly but steadily chipping away at Peter, making him feel more and more grateful to Stark, and more and more in his debt. So, when Stark needed Peter’s support, poor ol’ Spidey felt compelled to give it to him, even at massive cost to himself.

Plus, what better way for Peter to turn his back on Stark and join the side fighting against the Registration than for somebody to die either directly or indirectly at Iron Man’s hands? It would open Peter’s eyes and make him see just how deep he’s got into something that, when he puts aside his guilt and the sense that he somehow “owes” Stark big time, he simply doesn’t really believe in. It gives you the chance to put Spidey back into his old costume and also gives him a credible, believable reason to change sides. Maybe, even, Uncle Ben is going to be our sacrificial lamb – has he been bought into the 616 universe simply to act as deus ex machina for Spidey’s change of heart?

There is a history within Marvel of villain’s trying to reform (even if it never sticks – hey, there’s a question – has there ever been a hero or villain turn that HAS stood the test of time? Maybe Sandman, or is he a rogue again now?) – Magneto is the name that springs to mind first and foremost as somebody who has flip-flopped between light and dark on numerous occasions. There isn’t, as far as I’m aware, any history of hero’s turning to villainy. I suppose Vision might count, but that was only temporary.

Or, maybe, just maybe, I’m reading faaaaaaaaar too much into all of this, am giving Marvel far too much credit for tight plotting and forward planning, and I just need to calm down…. meh – you be the judge.

I have too much time on my hands, work is really slow…..

Oh, and one more thing – is anyone watching the World Cup? Your thoughts so far? I thought Brazil sucked tonight, and it’s official – Ronaldo really IS a lazy fat b*stard. Czech Republic looked awesome and are my tip to win the Tournament, and England were superb in the first half, awful in the second.

PAUL: For the record I’m against a Tony Stark “Heel Turn” in any shape or form because well… I assume I’m not the only one who remembers how badly that played out in “Avengers: The Crossing?”

Though I suppose Terry Kavanaugh might like to give Iron Teen another try.

JEFF: Logan, at the risk of sounding incredibly American, I only watch the World Cup highlights while waiting to see what happened in Baseball so I can adjust my fantasy team correctly. I need to know who got hurt, who isn’t hitting, who just got suspended for sticking chemicals in their asses, you know, important stuff. And at the risk of sounding like a complete jerk, I never understood the appeal of a game that won’t let you use your hands for anything. It’s the perfect game if you don’t HAVE any arms. “Whaddya mean ‘Handball’?!? I ain’t got any hands! Red Card this, you blind penguin!” But I’m not a complete New World Yankee – I dig Rugby! 😉

Back on topic:

Manhunter gets a 5 issue reprive! Tell your friends! Buy enough for the whole class! Drag bums in off the street – you’ll be providing them with some much needed pop culture and putting their panhandled change to better use. After all, even Wolverine: Origin is better than cirrhosis of the liver, and Manhunter is SOO much better than that!

Now, a reprive isn’t a full on EIC Pardon. How do you keep Kate around? I’ve a couple of ideas:

1) I hate to be a sellout bitch, but Manhunter seems to have largely avoided a lot of interaction with the mainstream DCU. Maybe she could crossover with Birds of Prey? Or maybe she joins the new JLA (I ain’t spelling it all out). Maybe she works a case with Hal Jordan, another West Coast DCer. Bottom line, we gotta get people who aren’t reading her book to do so, and the best way to get them into it in a brief window is either doing a full frontal nudity photo cover or crossing her over with some established high-sellers.

2) Avoid Cameron Chase like Adam West avoids the Noid. I personally like Cam, but she seems to be the kiss of death for any book she shows up in. I think in another universe pre-Crisis she was the Black Racer of New Genesis. The next time Marvel and DC crossover, Thanos is going to be sooooo in love with her. Her own book? Cancelled with the quickness. She shows up in Manhunter? Dan the Man starts sharpening his axe. I’m telling you, she’s the Black Plague of the DCU. Oooh…we should put her on Blue Beetle! I’m ready to pull the plug on that crapfest already.

PAUL: Chase is one of those odd mid-to-late 90s books that I look back at and wonder at how ahead of it’s time it truely was.

Then I realize we actually haven’t really caught up to it. *sighs*

Oh and I’m warming up to the new Blue Beetle. Sorry the more I see of his armor the more I love the design, it has a really nice Tokusatsu feel to it.

TIM: Jeff, I’m right on board with the guest star thing, especially re: Birds of Prey. Gail Simone loves the Manhunter book and the Kate character (she talks about it all the time) so why not? Plus, it would be a nice dichotomy with the semi-reformed Huntress (not so big on killing anymore) and Kate who has no issue with it. JLA appearances would also be cool, but membership probably would be a poor fit (although that could be a good story in and of itself).

However, I gotta say that ditching Chase is wrong. I know she is like the Ted McGinley of comic books, but I want Manhunter to succeed or fail as its own book. Ditching Chase (or any other aspect that makes the book what it is) for more readers would ruin things for me and thus, why would I want it to survive.

And yes, I totally get that your Chase recommendation was a joke. I still wanted to make that point and you gave me a platform too.

LOGAN: That’s cool Jeff, I know football doesn’t travel well to the States…why is that? I was told once that “soccer” (I hate that word, but when in Rome) is really popular in school and college, but when graduation and drafts happen, the sports players tend to pick drop it and pick other sports like basketball, American football, etc.

Is that true? If it is, why is that? Nothing to do with comics, just curious and figured I might as well pick y’all’s big, big brains… ;o)

JEFF: I’ve attended both public and private schools and I can tell you that in the Christian private schools soccer is HUGE. And since I didn’t care for soccer I was a pariah in my class. So I got the hell out of that wrestched hive of soccer snobs and alter boy rape faster than ten fast things. In the public schools where I attended high school and college soccer had it’s supporters. I actually didn’t mind the girls soccer program so much – you know, nice legs, tight calves. Mmmm… The guys who played tended to be a lot like the private school kids – jackoffs. My particular college didn’t have a lot of big sports. We had hoops and baseball, the Mizzou campus (don’t ask me to explain how University of Missouri – Columbia equates to the word “Mizzou” cuz I ain’t figured that out yet myself) had all the big sports including American Football and the big Soccer school in my state is St. Louis University.

For me, I appreciate the athleticism it takes to run at full tilt for over an hour and the beating their legs take. I imagine there are the occassional errant headers that result in broken noses, black eyes and mild concussions. But if there’s no possibility of cute girls yanking their tops off, it’s just not for me. I’d watch Curling if Brandi Chastain’s doing it. I have been watching the heck out of ESPN’s coverage of the Women’s College Softball World Series. The purist assholes on the radio keep whining about it. “Oh who cares about a bunch of girls hitting dinky little pop-ups with their aluminum bats?” These idiots don’t bemoan the fact that their same network(s) show bass fishing, billiards and freakin’ DARTS on a semi-regular basis. Who in the world every thought Pub games like Dars deserved an hor block of airtime? And since when is Poker an actual sport? The only athleticism involved is the ocassional rocking from side to side in the seat so a player’s ass cheeks don’t fall asleep. Give me girls in baseball caps and eye-black ANY day. And give me a bunch of armless football players too, anything’s better than goddamn golf, NASCAR (the official sport of inbred hillbillies), Tour De France bicycle racing (athletic but as much fun to watch as open scrotum surgery) or the 4th Annual Tavern Games, presented by Guiness and Old Spice.

In this country, American Football is probably number one. For me Baseball, despite the steroids, is just ahead of it. I actually would rather watch your football – soccer – than Basketball. God what a craptacular sport that’s become. Shaq is considered one of the 50 All Time Greatest Players ever and *I* have a higher free throw percentage than he does. Hockey lost my interest well before they lost their season a year ago. Baseball, Football, any kind of Wrestling (oooh yeah, DIG IT!) or martial art, and then Hockey, Rugby, and Soccer ties for fourth in my interest level. It’s really cool that so much of the world DOES enjoy soccer. I’m amazed to see a team from Iran out there, and they’ll probably get further into the tourney than the Americans. Maybe we should start settling out differences on the pitch. “Tonight, the finals of the Israel and Palestine rivalry! This on the heels of the exciting India – Pakistan match that went into overtime two nights ago. And remember folks, coming a week from tomorrow Quebec will try to succeed from Canada with the help of their recently acquired hired gun, or foot as it were, David Beckham!” It’s cheaper, it’s cleaner, and President Bush can’t possibly screw it up. I think. Well, we’ll wait and institute this after the next election. I don’t know where you’re from, Logan, but if you’re a Brit and you’re tired of Tony Blair, send him our way. After the events of 9/11, Blair came off a 1000 times better than Bush did.

OK, let me think, I want to try to work something on topic in here…hmmm…Chuck Dixon is writing a Connor “Green Arrow Junior” Hawke miniseries. Does anyone care? The kid’s OK, but I never really developed any connection to him. If he’d have died in Infinite Crisis, I can’t say I’d have noticed. What say you all? My only thought: at least Winick isn’t writing it to give him AIDS.

TIM: Arrgh!

Jeff, I love you, I really do. (In a purely platonic, manly, “we’re are all brother of the Comics Nexus sort of way”). But come on! First, please don’t threaten Connor with a retroactive IC death. It’s a miracle he made out of that bloodbath alive, but don’t go reminding DC of that. The art for the IC hardcover still isn’t done! They can still change things!

Second, why oh why must we always rehash the old “Winick gives everyone AIDS” chestnut? For one thing, it’s not even close to accurate. He’s written two characters with AIDS: Mia and Pedro. And Pedro was a real person who really had AIDS so Winick’s hands were kind of tied there. Plus, it just sounds (reads?) awful every time somehow knocks Winick for writing characters with AIDS. I know you don’t mean it that way, but it sounds like the implied message is “AIDS in the funny books?! Well that’s just crazy. And/or wrong.” And sometimes it even sounds like “Think of the children!!!”

Sorry, just a pet peeve of mine.

PAUL: I never got the amount of flack Winnick gets for writing a small handfull of
gay characters, or writing about one character with AIDs. Isn’t the fact he’s written about at least 4 characters with blue/purple/green skin?

Not that blue/purple/green Americans don’t need representation too.

JEFF: On Winick, I was being snide with the AIDS crack, but the truth is I have enjoyed very little of his superhero work. None of his Green Lantern stuff interested me. Outsiders had a ton of potential and has been completely forgettable. I absolutely loved Barry Ween: Boy Genius. He hit it out of the park every single issue. And his Exiles statrted off fairly enjoyable but seemed to sorta run in place. It wasn’t until Tony Bedard’s last couple of arcs that I felt Exiles had a bigger goal than spotlighting past events. But he’s done nothing but foul pitches off at DC. And while I feel sad for people with AIDS, I get a little tired of that being the only disease anyone wants to do anything about. What about giving one of the Flash characters Multiple Sclerosis or Muscular Dystophy? I’d think there’d be some really deep, moving stories there – the fastest man alive trapped in his own body. Or give someone Cystic Fibrosis, or even cancer. The ONLY character I can recall ever having cancer was Captain Mar-Vell. And ironically he’s the ONLY one who happens to stay mostly dead. I know this all sounds very assholic of me to wish disease on people, but I know a few people with difficult diseases other than AIDS and honestly they say the same thing. Unless somebody famous and well-liked such as Michael J. Fox admits to having something like Parkinsons, their ailments slip under the radar of public consciousness. If Brad Pitt suddenly developed MS, or if Tom Cruise’s kid had CF, there’d be telethons and awareness concerts all over the place. AIDS is bad, but it’s not the only one. So I’ll give Winick credit for bringing attention to a real-world issue, but I generally dislike his attempts at superhero stories. And I challenge another writer to shine the spotlight on a disease that doesn’t already have a hundred celebrities and public figures speaking for it.

COREN: While I can’t disagree with you on the subject of Green Arrow and Lantern, I must say that Bedard’s run on Exiles has dragged the book down from what Winnick and, as much as I hate to admit it, Austen took it too.

And I think part of the reason, aside from the publicity factor, that brings AIDS to the forefront, is that anyone could conceivably have it. It’s not like MS or cancer is an STD.

PAUL: For the record, I think the reason AIDS is still subject to a lot of stories is that well unlike say Muscular Dystrophy or Cancer is that there still are a lot of popular, and dangerous misconnections regarding the HIV Virus. There was a scandal a couple of years ago in which the Center for Disease Control sent some fliers with some blatant misinformation regarding the effectiveness of condoms, and how the virus can be spread. Meanwhile there’s a thriving
market for quack cures for the virus, and while these thrive in third world countries they also spring up in the US. These don’t just offer false hope, they lead to people to unwittingly continue spreading the disease. Finally there’s a social stigma surrounding the disease’s victims as if they deserve their fates. So really every little piece of information you put out there helps.

Still it probably would provide some great publicity if Marvel or DC released a comic dealing with Muscular Dystrophy to raise money for the Labor Day telethon.

Oh and if any superhero should catch cancer it’s Wolverine. Cancer by definition occurs when damaged cells multiply at an uncontrolled rate. Wolverine’s healing factor is the ability to multiply cells at an accelerated rate. Put two and two together.

End of Part One! To be continued in the appropriately titled Part Two!