For those of you who cannot recall the one time I used this feature in News & Views, here is where I confess my deepest, darkest comic-related sins. Make sense? Good. Here we go then.
MY SECRET SHAME
A sad fact of my life (although by no means a secret shame) is how much I enjoy filing and rearranging my back issues. I am similarly afflicted when it comes to CDs, books, and DVDs. There has always been something very calming about that act of organizing to me and I often come away with reminders of items that I own that I really enjoy that either I had not read or watched or listened to in awhile because of the new stuff or items that I just plain forgot I owned.
This past week, I had purchased a couple of new short boxes (yes, I know long boxes are “cooler” but when you move as much as I have the past few years, you appreciate how much easier short boxes are to get around) because my storage was getting rather tight. And in the process of moving things about and occasionally changing the order of things, I came upon a set of miniseries that I had totally forgot even existed nevermind that I owned. For the sake of filing, they were found under “Spider-Man” but they were not, strictly speaking Spider-Man miniseries.
See, during the mid-nineties (1994, I think) Marvel released a bunch of minis, seemingly all at once about Spider-Man characters. Sort of. It was actually more of a series of minis about characters that had appeared in a Spider-Man book in the last 4-5 months. Thus, we got The Shroud (with special guest villain Scorpion and appearances by Spidey), Black Cat (with special guest anti-hero Cardiac and appearances by Spidey), Prowler (with special guest villain Vulture [the youthified one] and appearances by Spidey), and a few others. And if you are wondering, no, Nightwatch does not count. It was released at the same time, he was a Spider-Man related character, but it went on for 12 issues so I think they were aiming for ongoing there.
But owning those isn’t my shame. We all make mistakes and these minis, while not good, were particularly heinous either. In fact, they were so sort of mediocre that I contemplated picking up the Annex miniseries that I know is sitting in one of the fifty cent boxes at my local comic store. (Okay, that bit might be secret shame worthy). No, the secret shame evoked was by one particular character who I cannot justify liking and, yet, I do. I am, of course, referring to this guy…
All right, here it is. I like Solo. Like a bunch. I like to act like a discerning consumer of comics, but so help me, if Marvel released a new Solo maxiseries tomorrow, I’d buy the damn thing. They could have Bruce Jones write it and that guy that drew the Mr. Terrific against the Nazis and Doctor Mid-Nite against the vampire issues of JSA Classified draw it and I’d still buy it. And that is a totally unjustifiable position to take. And I am totally aware of that.
I am totally aware of the fact that Solo is a Punisher carbon copy who fights terrorists rather than all criminals. I am totally aware of the fact that I am not a particularly big fan of the Punisher and therefore should probably not be a fan of copy of him. I am totally aware of the fact that Solo’s how look and attitude is synonymous with 90’s Liefeldian excess (although he was a bit out in front of that craze), that he is an outmoded dinosaur. I am totally aware that there is almost nothing redeeming or interesting about him.
And that just does not stop me.
Maybe it is because he was in the first trade paperback I ever owned, The AssassiNation Plot. It was this big character biweekly jam (the first thing that taught me what biweekly meant, by the way) that I randomly selected off the shelves of a bookstore for my mom to buy me for Christmas. Spider-Man, Captain America, Sabretooth, Red Skull, Paladin (another favorite of mine, although I have no shame when it comes to that), Ultimatum, and I am sure a few others all made appearances. It is not a particularly good book, but it was fun. And Solo was in it, spouting off his “While I live, Terror dies” catchphrase, gritting his teeth, and teleporting in and out of every situation.
It was love, right away.
The thing is, I don’t think you can really do anything with him that makes him viable and interesting. I am a big fan of the idea that there are no bad characters, just bad writers, but Solo really challenges that. Might he work well in Captain America, given that book’s current terrorist themes? Maybe, except that is a realistically (as realistic as superhero books can be) done comic and Solo cannot possibly exist in a realist world. That’s not what he was made for. So, what do you do with him?
Well, I don’t know. But I’m going to re-read this miniseries here to see if I can find out.
You know, for research purposes. Not because I want to, or anything.
Damn, who am I fooling? I love me some Solo.