I’m Just Sayin’…#67

Far be it from me to use my space here at…


…as a platform or anything (snicker! yeah, I couldn’t get through that with a straight face! :-P), but I wanted to mention a coupla things: first I would like to announce that I’m performing once again at the EastVille Comedy Club on Saturday, July 25th @ 7pm call 212 260 2445 to make a reservation; tell’em you’re coming to see me! – and second, I would like to implore anyone who hasn’t bought these three comics…


…go out and get them NOW. This is literally the summer crossover to end all summer crossovers. That is, if like me, you’re tired of summer crossovers.

Here was a bit of news that I thought was kind of interesting: apparently Rob Liefeld had a little problem with this recent development out of X-FACTOR:


Saying, quote: “As the guy that created, designed and wrote his first dozen appearances, Shatterstar is not gay. Sorry. Can’t wait to someday undo this. Seems totally contrived.”

Now, I’m of two minds on this – on the one hand, it’s always a little refreshing to hear a comic book creator taking exception with a direction that had been taken with a character he created, or put a lot of work into. I mean, for the life of me I don’t understand how J.M. DeMatteis didn’t have a stroke after the key event of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #400 was negated. Shoot, if I were Marc, I’d be mad about it to this day.

And on the other hand…isn’t it cute that Rob Liefeld thinks he’s in Peter David’s league?

Maybe that was a little mean, but hey – if YOU can think of 40 of PAD’s worst stories, let alone a website devoted to the topic, feel free to send it on. If anything, I’m willing to wager they’re most likely spaced pretty far apart.  Just sayin’, is all…

Random thought: how cool would it have been if this scene made it into BATMAN BEGINS? Oooh, hey – if DC needs an idea for a straight-to-video animated trilogy that would rake in some SERIOUS dollar, how about BATMAN: YEAR ONE…




…and then cap it all off with BATMAN: DARK VICTORY?


Eh? Eh? How ’bout it?

In his recentmost edition of THE GOLD STANDARD, Grey discussed a topic in his first half, that has been with me for a few years: the question of whether or not characters age…I would expand that to include the subquestion of whether or not they should age. I’m glad he did, because I actually wanted to expand upon my answer to Ryan Frank’s question from last time, with regards to the differences I percieve between Marvel and DC. Because in my opinion, whether or not a comic book character should age is tangentially linked into the continuity question Greg Burgas noted in his July 1 thoughts on BATMAN & ROBIN #2 – that is to say, it depends on what universe we’re talking about, and what the rules of that universe allow. And when it comes to DC? I don’t think aging is part of their design.

Despite what comic book creators may want to tell you, even to this day, there is a fundamental difference between the DC Universe and the Marvel Universe that I think have a subliminal influence on how well-received a given comic or storyline or event may be. As I said last week, DC’s comics don’t focus so much on the “details” of any given story, and the reason for that is because DC Comics focuses on the RIGHT NOW. You’re not expected to think about what happened with any given character last year or the year before or ten years ago, unless it has to do with what they’re doing RIGHT NOW. That’s why they play so fast and loose with continuity…because for the most part I don’t think people over there worry so much about the true nature of the Speed Force, or Connor Kent’s true lineage, or whether or not Dick Grayson’s been Batman before, even though WE know that he has…


…or the larger example Dick Grayson represents: why THIS sidekick grew into adulthood, and why THAT one’s still a teenager. Case in point, this interview from Eric Wallace about his upcoming run on TITANS:

CBR.com: Where do you feel the Titans fit in the DCU as a team? They’re not quite ready for prime time with the Justice League and yet there’ll all grown and no longer “teens.”

WALLACE: Well, like I mentioned earlier Roy was a member of the JLA, so he’s already taken his game to a new level. As for the rest of the Titans, I think they’re definitely ready to graduate to the big league. Maybe it’s time they gave the JLA a run for their money.

Umm…how long have these characters been around? Even if they weren’t ever members of the Justice League, weren’t they well past “ready for prime time” by now?

I mentioned THE LONG HALLOWEEN and DARK VICTORY earlier – they are considered more or less as sequels to BATMAN: YEAR ONE, but wait…



…what about these? When it comes to the DC Universe, the answer to that question is simply…what about them? Or perhaps even…which one do you like more?

Either way you slice it, because (A) their characters are more iconic in nature, and (B) to expect DC to care about that kind of detail is to apply a Marvel rule to a DC comic, I give DC a little leeway here. Like Alan Moore wrote in the first page of “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?”:This is an Imaginary Story… Aren’t they all?

So if you were to ask me if Bruce Wayne should age, I would say no, not necessarily…he could be 30-something into perpetuity because in the DC universe, you can get away with that. You could age him, because it’s easier to apply Marvel rules to the DC universe than vice versa, but it would be a rough fit – because now you have the question of how old was he when he first took Dick Grayson as his ward, how old was Dick, how long where they partnered before Dick decided to become Nightwing, how old was Jason Todd, how old was Tim Drake, when did Batman first meet Hawkman, which Hawkman was it, and so on, and so forth, and my head hurts, doesn’t yours?

So to recap: DC Comics is about the RIGHT NOW. But on the flipside, Marvel Comics is about using the RIGHT NOW, founded upon WHAT CAME BEFORE, to propel the reader into WHAT COMES NEXT. That is why continuity is so important to the Marvel Universe; because, by establishing such milestones as the birth of Franklin Richards, or Peter Parker’s graduation from high school and by doing so when the universe was still young, Marvel had created a subliminal expectation from its most passionate fans that each individual story, and the details therein, have the inherent potential to matter later on. So if you ask me if Peter Parker should age, I would say absolutely – he’s meant to. But as Marvel has done, you can freeze him at a certain point, but once you cross a threshold you can’t go back, because…well, I’ve said plenty there already.

That’s also why I maintain that the Eric Wallace quote, while kinda silly, is slightly more acceptable when talking about DC characters – but if some writer were to claim that Namor and the Hulk were barely “big league” players in the Marvel Universe based on the fact that neither of them were ever Avengers for longer than twenty minutes? Well, my response to that – please put on your helmet for for an asteroid-sized dollop of sarcasm…wait for it…NOW! – would be that it’s a good thing WORLD WAR HULK finally came along so that ol’ Green Genes could finally get elevated to his rightful place after all these years, hmmmm?*


(*Not necessarily a knock on WORLD WAR HULK, per se.)

And y’know, I’m starting to wonder if this is in part why Mr. Imperius Rex is involved with this DARK REIGN business. Wouldn’t surprise me in the least, when you think about it…




…after all, Joe Quesada has developed an established pattern of applying DC moves to Marvel characters…

So once again, we summarize: DC Comics = RIGHT NOW. Marvel Comics = RIGHT NOW, founded upon WHAT CAME BEFORE, leading into WHAT COMES NEXT. That’s why there are Spider-Man fans, myself included, who continue to wait for Baby May to return. That’s why the concept of the Illuminati seemed like such an ill fit. That’s why I thought the premise behind “The Murdock Papers” was flimsy and contrived. That’s why Mr. Q has a disguise, a false driver’s license and a crossbow packed away in a nondescript post office box across the Canadian border, along with maps to the homes of Mark Millar, Brian Michael Bendis and Joe Quesada…



Click here for the recentmost installment of "The Rack"

Click here for the recentmost installment of "The Rack"

Til next time, everybody – I’m Greg Manuel, and I’m just sayin’, is all…

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