I'm Just Sayin'…#4

imjustsayin-copy.jpgWhy do we eat Twizzlers?

I was just sitting here thinking about that. (As I was admittedly munching on what’s got to be my tenth one – I’m just sayin’…) I remember when I first heard about them as a kid, and saw the commercials playing up this candy that was supposed to be like unto a veritable explosion of juicy, strawberry goodness and I thought to myself: Self, you are getting you some of this!

Man, what a scam. The inventors of candy corn wish they were this crafty…

Greg Manuel here, bringing you another installment of I’m Just Sayin’ – the only column on the Pulse that comes with its own sponsors. And this fourth column is brought to you by Moishe’s Moving & Storage. Considered “the Rolls-Royce of interstate moving companies,” Moishe’s has amassed an incredible list of clients, serving in the Tri-State area since 1983.

Moishe’s: Always with the schlepping.

Okay, now that we’ve paid some bills – and got that joke in there – I wanted to point you to something that I thought was just all kinds of awesome.

Over at the the Comic Book Resources section Comics Should Be Good, a comics blog that I probably check at least ten times a day at minimum, writer Brian Cronin did something insanely cool for the entire second week of March, called “The I’ds of March.” Basically, he talks about stuff he’d have done for this storyline or that; “minor tweaks and nudges,” he calls them. And I’ll tell ya, I kinda wish I thought of it. Betcha Wizard wishes they’d thought of it too. (You know, I interviewed for a job at Wizard Magazine once. They didn’t even bother to call or write to tell me that I didn’t get the job. Even after I gave them the awesome-est “Last Man Standing” match-up ever: Yoda vs. King Kai!)

Anyway, Brian let the readers chime in with some “I’ds” of their own – and you’ll find more than a few that’ll make you light up and go, “totally!” when you check it out at this link – and I hope you’ll forgive me for posting mine here. I realize quite a few of these are due greatly to the magic and wonder of hindsight, but whatever. I’m just sayin’, is all…

These are the I’ds of Greg Manuel

Some of them are Davids, but most of them are Daves…uhp – sorry, the song just kinda popped into my head for a second there. If you know where it’s from, holla at your boy – you can never have too many best friends…

I’d have kept Genis Vell as Captain Marvel. Given the way he was taken off the game board in THUNDERBOLTS #100, I have a pretty good idea on how to do this…I hope I’ll get the chance someday.

I’d have never tried to sell Ben Reilly as the original Peter Parker. Did you ever notice that J. Michael Straczynski never once tried to claim that Spider-Man got his powers from a mystical source? Sure, he puts the question out there but he never tries to say that is what the case had been all those years. That is because he knew that fans wouldn’t buy such a huge retcon. Granted that doesn’t quite explain Sins Past, but still…

I know...I know.

Yessir…got a plan for this, too.

Anyway, instead of claiming that Ben Reilly was the real Peter Parker (incidentally, when I was a teenager, when I read that issue I practically flipped out. Imagine that; Mary Jane pregnant? Awesome. The Peter Parker I’d been reading about since I’d been able to read, a fake? Not so much!), I’d have Peter decide that he could truly “retire” as Spider-Man, now that Ben was around. He gives Ben the reins to New York, and THEN he and Mary Jane move to Portland to start their new life. So begins “The Return of Spider-Man” storyline, and we are treated ever so briefly to one of the finest costume re-imaginings of all time:

Mmm! Alex Ross wishes he thought of this one!

As far as who was real and who was the clone, I’d have them destroy the results and drop the question altogether; Peter would say to Ben: “You are my brother, and that is all that matters.” That one thing would’ve taken the stink RIGHT off of the “Clone Saga.”

I’d have centered a storyline around Jean Grey actively trying to help Cyclops recover from his merging with Apocalypse. One of the things I didn’t like about Grant Morrison’s run on NEW X-MEN – well, besides the fact that it really was little more than a re-tread of Claremont’s work twenty years prior – was that he messed with Cyclops and Jean’s marriage. The two were so close that they had a psychic bond, for cripes’ sake! Jean would’ve had to have some kind of inkling that her husband must’ve needed some kind of help in getting over the fact that he was possessed by insensate evil. I guess that’s just how the cookie crumbles, though – here would be my second choice…

I’d have left Jean Grey dead after the Dark Phoenix Saga. Quite a few people said this one. One person going by the handle of “Alastair” even suggested that Madeline Pryor actually should’ve been the reincarnated Jean Grey (#44), which I think could’ve been pretty damn neat. I would’ve taken it a bit further and have the resurfaced Jean Grey of X-FACTOR #1 turn out to be the clone, created by Mr. Sinister to screw with Scott’s mind. However, I still would’ve eventually killed Maddy off. Next, I would’ve kept him relatively single until Emma came along in NEW X-MEN. Think of how much more power the climax of “Messiah CompleX” would’ve had, especially with the implications of the new mutant birth:

X-Men #207 - Important Scene No. 1X-Men #207 - Important Scene No. 2

And we would’ve been spared the destruction of the greatest marriage in all of mutantdom.

I’d have kept Archangel’s skin blue, and if at all possible, his glowing “truth wings” from the Apocalype: The Twelve storyline from a few years back. (That reminds me: whatever happened to Cadre K?)

I’d have left Scott Lobdell finish his run on HEROES RETURN: FANTASTIC FOUR, just so he could finish his plans with the Crucible character.

I’d have taken the re-imagined origins of the Fantastic Four and Iron Man from “Heroes Reborn” and found a way to integrate them into the proper Marvel canon. They were really quite good: linking the cosmic storm that gave the FF their powers to the coming of Galactus was a master stroke. And linking the Hulk’s origin to Iron Man’s was also quite well done. They were timeless enough that they would not have needed another re-write…as we’ve seen with Iron Man quite a few times over the last few years…

I’d institute a 3:10 ratio of Marvel time progression (3 years’ Marvel time to every 10 years’ real time), and let the characters age. More than any other group of comic book characters, At least up until recently, the Marvel Universe has always been about moving forward, and I firmly believe Marvel’s characters were meant to age. And with this ratio in place (as it has unofficially been the case already – Peter Parker, for example, has aged some 12 to 15 years over 40 years of real time), it would take a good long time, too. Nothing would guarantee new stories and concepts like letting the characters actually get older. Imagine the FF trying to deal with the Mole Man’s latest scheme, while Reed is agonizingly distracted by the fact that Valeria insists on dating Kristoff Vernard.

I’d have kept Baby May and let new, interesting stories spring from the fact that Peter Parker is now a father, embarking on the Next Great Step of Life. See above. Marvel, be warned – someday I will write for you. And I will write Spider-Man. And when you approach me about writing Spider-Man, this will be the first thing out of my mouth:

“So, Greg…what kinds of ideas do you – ” “Baby May. She’s coming back.”

“Ok, what else – ” “Baby May.”

“Um…but -” “Baby May, Baby May, Bay-bee-May…yee.” I’ve got the how already worked out. I also know who tried to use Doctor Octopus to kill Norman Osborn during Mark Millar’s “Down Among the Dead Men.” Just sayin’.

Boy, I’ll tell ya – if anybody deserves a Nobel Prize in Quantum Physics, it’s Mark Waid. Why? He proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the lead character of a mainstream superhero comic book can have a child, and the world won’t blow up.

This next one is in agreement with a reader going by the handle of “Thenodrin,” who suggested that Marvel create an imprint called “Marvel Legacy.” (#13) Incidentally, you’re going to notice that I’m a stickler for giving credit to where it’s due. It’s the comedian in me – I can’t abide by thieves. Denis Leary, that means you. You too, Carlos.

Anyway, I’d keep Tom DeFalco’s MC2 imprint alive, and bring an end to the Ultimate imprint. If there are so many “celebrity” writers who want to write comics, let them make a true contribution to the tapestry. Collaborate on all-new characters in a vast, rich universe instead of a pointless retread of old ones.

I’d have found a way to keep the Milestone imprint alive.

hardware-walt-simonson_3

Static. Icon. Hardware. C’mon, now.

I’d have kept Priest on BLACK PANTHER. What’s that? No argument? Didn’t think so.

I’d have allowed Mark Waid and Ron Garney to stay on CAPTAIN AMERICA much, much longer.

I’d have kept Iron Man’s S.K.I.N. armor just a little while longer. I just liked that design.

skinarmor02sml

It makes me think of the Nissan Murano – big and imposing, but still looks pretty smooth.

I’d find more use for Tiberius Stone in the IRON MAN comics. He was written as the anti-Stark, whose origin was apparently good enough for Jeph Loeb to rip off and use for Hush. There’s a lot of potential for the character, and he’s not technically dead, so here’s hoping we see him again.

I’d BEG BKV to keep writing DOCTOR STRANGE. As Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction did with Iron Fist, Brian K. Vaughn gave us a rendition of Stephen Strange that toed the line between Strange’s roots as a doctor and his role as Sorcerer Supreme, and gave the character and his world a flavor that could sustain publication for a good long time.

If you haven’t read this miniseries, go out to your local comic book store or bookstore and do so now. Then write Marvel and tell them you don’t want a Doctor Strange written by Bendis. You want this Doctor Strange. It’s okay – I’ll wait.

I’d have never restored Hal Jordan as THE Green Lantern. Again, this was more someone else’s, that I happen to agree with. (Todd Lawrence, #19) But mainly because it seems to me that DC has missed a great way of marking each new era in their universe. What if it became an unspoken tradition that, every twenty years, we got a new Flash and a new Green Lantern? Think about it – The Golden Age had Jay Garrick and Alan Scott. The Silver Age gave us Barry Allen and Hal Jordan. The Modern Age was Wally West and Kyle Rayner. We could’ve had – oh, I dunno – let’s say Bart Allen and Sodam Yat. Maybe we still could. Who knows…

If there HAD to be a Marvel Civil War, I’d have re-drawn the lines of opposition. When it comes down to it, what would the SHRA really have changed for guys like the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, who already work within structured governments to do their job? So maybe it should’ve been “Established” heroes (Avengers, FF, etc.) vs. “New Generation” heroes (New Warriors, Young Avengers, etc.) vs. “Street Level” heroes (Spider-Man, Daredevil, Heroes for Hire, etc.) with Captain America and a small band of followers frantically trying to find a way to keep it all together. Spider-Man does NOT unmask, Cap’s assassination gets a little added meaning, and in the middle of it all, I’d have Bullseye throw Sally Floyd off the top of the Daily Bugle building.

It's not enough to ruin Paul Jenkins' contribution to the Marvel Universe...but it was CLOSE!

Seriously, where’s the 800 number I have to call to get rid of this dimwit?

I’d have released “The Essential Spider-Ham” YESTERDAY. And I’d have had a Captain Carrot/Spider-Ham crossover just for fun on top of that!

Courtesy of Dreek Owen, a.k.a. Dreekzilla. You’d buy this and you know it.

I’d like to write an Elseworlds Looney Tunes murder mystery where Bugs Bunny is the victim, Daffy Duck is the prime suspect/protagonist, and Porky Pig is the murderer. I have the scene in my head where Porky comes clean and confesses to Daffy…it’s pouring rain, they’re standing over Bugs’ grave, and Porky has a gun trained on Daffy. As he tells the story of years of anger and resentment over being the original Looney Tunes superstar, passed over for the zany antics of his sidekick and then some smartass rabbit from the Lower East Side, he completely drops the stutter. Chilling.

I’d let Darwyn Cooke do whatever the hell he pleases with THE SPIRIT. You were reading issues 1 through 12, weren’t you?

I’d put Geoff Johns and Ed McGuiness together on THE AVENGERS. They seem like they’d work well together. But it couldn’t be New Avengers or Mighty Avengers. I’m talking The Avengers – the version that’ll eventually return.

I’d like to see a “Gotham by Gaslight” type re-imagining of the rest of the DC Universe. I’m just a huge fan of the Victorian period, and would love to see that take on Superman, the Flash, Robin, etc. Would be fun, you know?

WOW, this was lengthy, but I hope you dug it all the same. And go check out the original thread, post a few of your own. Til next time, this is Greg Manuel and I’m just sayin’…

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