I'm Just Sayin'…#10

Heydi-hey, everybody! Greg Manuel here, and it’s time to –

*We interrupt this column to bring you this Really Bad Joke. What did the rabbi say to the barber? Little off the top, please.

We now return to the column, already in progress.*

Whoa…the heck was that all about? Anyhoo – Greg Manuel here, and it’s my tenth column. How ’bout that, huh?

First off, I’d like to give props to those of you who were playing Place That Catchphrase! with me back in Column Number Eight. Ryan Brandt guessed one catchphrase correctly – “What the hell are YOU starin’ at?!” was in fact the signature phrase of Eric Tiberius Duckman, protagonist of the grossly underappreciated USA original series of the 90s, simply titled DUCKMAN. And although it wasn’t part of the game proper, points and a No-Prize go out to a certain someone named “Shane,” who correctly guessed the “Number Eight/Burrrrp” sequence from one of my favorite Simpsons episodes of all time. There are still four catchphrases and a bonus still in play though, and here they are:

“I have a cunning plan…”

“What the hell are YOU starin’ at?!” – DUCKMAN (1994-1997), correctly guessed by Ryan Brandt

“I’ve made a huge mistake.”

“Here’s what happened…”

“I have a bad feeling about this.” (c’mon, now – NO guesses on this one?!)

And once again, for bonus points: “Glass of water for Mr. Grainger…”

Okay, people – Place That Catchphrase!

There’s a coupla things I wanted to bring up this time around – Over at Comics Should Be Good, there’s a great article up about a DC series that lasted only six issues, but is lauded as a cult classic. Check out the article here – Comics You Should Own: THE HECKLER.

Mainly the brainchild of Keith Giffen – who, from the sound of things, probably read a lot of Vonnegut. But then again, shouldn’t everybody? – the article describes THE HECKLER as a series ahead of its time, lasting from September 1992 to February 1993. I have to say, based on what I read, I’m gonna be looking for this one in the back issue bins. It sounds like my kind of funny.

Not only that, but Newsarama.com reports that writer and IDENTITY CRISIS scribe Brad Metzler’s next project is going to be a novel entitled THE BOOK OF LIES. The true mark of a writer is to be able to pull you in with as few words as possible, and if this description is any indication, I will be buying this book:

“The pitch goes like this…In chapter 4 of Genesis, Cain kills Abel. It is arguably the world’s most famous murder, but the Bible is silent about one key detail – the weapon which Cain used to kill his brother. And that weapon is lost to this day.

“In 1932, a man named Mitchell Siegel is shot in the chest and killed. While mourning the death of his father, his young son comes up with the idea for a bulletproof man that he nicknames Superman. The murder weapon from that murder is also lost to this day. So the question is, what do these two murders, thousands of years apart possibly have to do with each other? The answer you will see is in The Book of Lies, which comes out in September.”

Yeah – I’m in.

I’ll tell you, principle is a hard thing to stick to, and I really felt a pang of temptation when I saw this preview of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #559, coming out this week.

Written by Dan Slott and drawn by Marcos Martin (who WOWED me with his work on Doctor Strange: THE OATH), this issue introduces a new villain by the name of Screwball, who I’ve got to admit, has got a pretty neat gimmick…

…Just in this opening sequence, you can find the kind of fun that Spider-fans have been patiently waiting for since “Sins Past,” as Manolis himself has been reviewing regularly for the last coupla weeks. But even still, it begs the question…

…What kept them?

And the question of why this required a single Spider-Man as opposed to a married one still hasn’t been answered. At this point, we already know the answer to that – it didn’t – nevertheless, now the conspiracy theorist in me is lit up like a Roman candle because now I’m wondering…if there really wasn’t any good reason for there to even be a single Spider-Man again, and Marvel was perfectly capable of giving us Spider-Man stories as fun as this one looks at any time…why did we have to endure “Sins Past,” “The Other,” “Spider-Man: Unmasked,” “Back in Black” as well AS “One More Day”? Was it to manufacture an excuse to blame several years of lousy Spider-Man stories on his marital status?

There is an ingenious bit of sleight of hand at work right now when it comes to Spider-Man, which J.R. Fettinger (a.k.a. MadGoblin) over at SPIDEY KICKS BUTT illustrates beautifully in his article entitled “BLAND NEW DAY.” The following quote is in reference to Tom Brevoort’s “Manifesto” printed in the back of the “Swing Shift” edition of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #546. I’ll just let him do the talking here; I’ve emboldened what I consider to be the main points:

“I’ve always reserved some respect for Tom Breevort because he refused to allow Mary Jane to miscarry at the end of The Final Adventure during the Clone Saga, but here he’s just giving us the party line. I don’t want to spend a lot of time knocking the manifesto, which was printed at the end of “Swing Shift,” because it’s an informal memo and probably not something that was originally written with publication in mind. That said – there are still some things that really stand out that I can’t believe he’s saying. First of all, I just love how Marvel collectively, and Joe Quesada specifically always likes to talk about how Spidey got off track over the last few years – but – weren’t you there, Joe? Tom? What was it about J. Michael Stracyznski’s run on the title that now you say took Spidey off track, all the while it was happening shilling and praising it to the skies? Who o.k.’d the whole Ezekiel- Shathra- Morlun- totem- mystic spider crap? Who let Brian Bendis make him an Avenger? Who let Paul Jenkins give him organic webbing? Were you silent because sales were good, because JMS had more than doubled Mackie’s sales and New Avengers was often a #1 seller, largely because of Spidey and Wolverine being members?

Who fed us a line of bullshit during Civil War talking about all of the story possibilities represented by the unmasking, while considering that Breevort’s manifesto is dated 9-18-2006, the stage had already been set for reversing it? It’d be one thing if a new management was coming in and making these statements, but these are the guys that have been at Marvel for years claiming that Spidey is broke – when they themselves had all this time to fix him! Maybe if he was really selling that well (and I do realize that the “other” titles did not sell that well – but 3 times a month Amazing could have been done at any time) then maybe not that much was wrong, at least not enough to trigger a ‘magic reboot.'”

Man. I feel like I’m in the middle of THE PRESTIGE, and Alfred Borden is staring me dead in the eye: “are you watching closely?” If anybody who happens to be reading this is planning to attend any conventions, specifically any Marvel panels…please ask them about this. I would be very interested to see if they could answer without trying to sidestep with a bad joke. (By the by – if you haven’t seen this movie yet, please do so. Christian Bale vs. Hugh Jackman, with David Bowie as Nikola Tesla. If there were an award for “Bitchin’est Entrance in a Movie,” Bowie would’ve gotten it hands down.)

Now, I realize I think too much – after my first day of pre-Kindergarten, my mom asked me what color my teacher was, and I answered “I dunno…beige?” – but let’s take a step back from all this and think about it for a second. You’re Joe Quesada. You really want to take a character in a direction that he hasn’t been in for years. But it won’t work if you just throw it out there, or try and make it happen in the context of the present continuity…it’s been tried twice already, and fans rejected it outright. Why? Because it makes no damn sense. And would you look at that: your current writer is not only working admirably within that present continuity, he has written one of the best reunions ever.

So maybe the answer is to intentionally inundate the readership with crap…drive up the demand for “classic” Spidey scenarios. That way, after four years of stories like this…

That ain't Gwen, people.

…and this…

That's right - Peter had his EYE ripped out.

…and this…

…and this…

…and then there’s – look, after AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #400, it’s a wonder they had the balls to even go here:

…anyway, the point is, after some three to four years of all of that, can you imagine how ready you’d be for three straight weeks of stuff like…

this?

Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if part of the reason THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN has moved to a tri-monthly schedule if only so that Marvel can put as much of a distance between the new status quo and “One More Day” as possible. Cut and run, my friends – it’s not just a military strategy, anymore!

I think I may be on to something, y’all. It’s a little frightening. I’m pretty sure some of you probably think I’m being absurd, but you can’t tell me that stranger things haven’t happened in recent memory. Matter of fact – if you went back in time, found my high school counterpart and told him that both Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg would appear in family friendly movies before he reached his thirtieth birthday? He’d look you square in the eye and tell you we’d see a monkey in the White House first.

…waitaminnit…

Okay – now, before I go, I want to remind y’all – Book Three of BREAKFAST OF THE GODS has kicked off, and I fully expect each and every one of you to check it out…the first two pages are already up, and the denouement, she is building, people!

BOOK THREE: APOCALYPSE YUM. It’s here – don’t miss it!

I’m Greg Manuel, and for the tenth time: I’m just sayin’, is all…

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