I'm Just Sayin'…#76

Alright everybody, we are deep in the swing of the holiday season, and we are back with this latest edition of…

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…and before my day job threatens to take any more of my energy, let me just jump right into the pool; I see Marvel has a question for us:

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…to which I’ll answer with a question: any volunteers for someone to tell me when it’s over? I’m glad to see Nate Grey coming out of the Big Marvel Toy Chest for this thing – I did miss the guy – but not so much that I’m willing to lay down money for an event predicated upon a premise I don’t support, even if it means potentially bringing that premise to an end.

There weren’t that many things giant-sized or even final that I could find in the pages of the so-called GIANT-SIZE THOR FINALE…

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Although as far as “final,” I suppose the fate of Oklahoma Bill counts.

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As for “giant-sized,” well…JMS always could count on Volstagg for a good punchline.

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And if you don’t flip through the pages too fast, you’ll even spot Thor!

I guess there’s a lesson to be learned here – at least as it applies to  any Marvel writer not named “Bendis” – watch what you say about the folks signing your checks, because not even an Eisner nomination will save your run from ending with a whimper. Even with the reprint of JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #82, this really could’ve easily been THOR #604. But if the preview for that issue is any indication, at least Kieron Gillen’s definitely going to pick up where J. Michael Straczynski left off.

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Note the speech patterns? More specifically…note that they aren’t being altered? Once again, Gillen could have decided to go back to “thee” and “thou” and all that, but he is showing that he is capable of keeping the poetic, Shakespearean flow that JMS introduced to Asgardian speech, and that is the sort of thing I love to see. I said it last time, and I’ll say it again. Supporting good writers is not enough – we must go back to supporting good ideas. It’s in the handling of those ideas that the good writers in turn reveal themselves.

I maintain my stance on SPIDER-MAN: CLONE SAGA as established two columns ago, but I have to give credit where it’s due, because in the third issue Tom DeFalco did something I agreed with waaaaay back in my fourth column. Check it out:

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And there it is – the one move that could have saved the Clone Saga from the ignonimy that necessitated this pseudo-remix in the first place. However…

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…this looks to be leading to the unmasking of Harry Osborn as the mastermind behind it all. Something I still don’t agree with, because of the events of SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #200, and the “Lifetheft” storyline from THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, both written by J.M. DeMatteis. The way these two stories collide – Harry reconciling with Peter on his deathbed, before he could put a stop to the Robot Parents scheme that sent Peter off the proverbial deep end, is just too good to be messed around with any further. With that in mind, Norman remains the better choice for me.

And I say that even when you consider what’s been done with the guy since.

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…yyyyyeah.

DAREDEVIL #502 revealed exactly what I suspected with regards to Master Izo…

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His scenes with Matt Murdock were in fact a performance for the spies within the Hand, so that our hero could pass their test of committment to the death cult.

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It also seems like their little performance was only a performance insomuch as getting Master Izo off the Hand’s radar without killing him. This page gives the impression that, true to form, Matt is getting ready to do something stupid. Well-intentioned, but stupid. Something like that does tell me  that Andy Diggle knows the characters he’s playing with…just a different artist sure would be nice…

Ever since the Big Honkin’ Announcement was made back in August, it seemed for a while that there wasn’t much else to report on the pending (has it happened yet?) Disney purchase of Marvel. But then I came across two different stories last month – one from the November 19th edition of the WALL STREET JOURNAL, which discusses some of the serious money that some of Marvel’s various officers will make when this deal goes through, and another story out of the Associated Press from November 17th, which reported that Marvel was changing their rules on shareholder eligibility, thus allowing more of their shareholders to vote on this deal.

You know what I find interesting about the former article? When the WSJ writes about the kind of money that Marvel’s top officers stand to make on this deal, they offered the following list:

  • $20.4 million — David Maisel, executive vice president and Chairman of Marvel Studios, the company’s money – making film house
  • $10.1 million – James Halpin, a Marvel director and retired CEO of CompUSA Inc.
  • $8.7 million – James Breyer, a Marvel director and partner of VC firm Accel Partners
  • $8 million – John Turitzun, executive vice president and former general counsel
  • $5.1 million – Kenneth West, Chief Financial Officer
  • $4.8 million – Richard Solar, Marvel director and former consultant to Gerber Childrenswear Inc. and treasurer of Barrington Stage Company Inc. which produces plays and musicals for at – risk students in the Berkshires area of Massachusetts
  • $3.4 million – Sid Gains, Marvel director and president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which awards the Oscars
  • $1.1 million – Alan Fine, executive vice president and former chief marketing officer of Marvel Characters

If that wasn’t enough to tip one’s hand, there’s the latter article from the AP, the basic gist of which can be found in the first two sentences: “shareholders of record as of Nov. 23 will be allowed to vote on The Walt Disney Co.’s offer to acquire the company. The previous record date was Oct. 30.”

Really seems like there are a lot of people who really want to make this deal happen, doesn’t it?

I’ve made no secret about it: I hate that this is happening. I hate this deal because (1) it’s overkill – Disney doesn’t need to own Marvel Entertainment to reach their stated goals, (2) it’s clearly all about being able to use the characters – be it merchandising, television, film…that’s the only reason Disney wants to own Marvel Entertainment.

And the big one for me is the fact that all of this marginalizes the comic books. The fact that Marvel Comics barely reaps any of the benefits of this deal bothers me to no end. For decades, Marvel had been about the comic books first and foremost – because without the comic books, nothing else is possible. Now all of a sudden, it’s as if the whole thing has been inverted; the comic books are taking a backseat to film interests? TV interests? Merchandising interests?

I don’t think so. Or as my boy Ryan once said in the course of correspondence: “I just wish someone would get in charge and tell shareholders, licensors and marketing to butt their damn heads out of the creative end of comics. Shareholders have a little bit more leeway, but the others… hell no. You market what we create, even when we change shit up. You don’t tell us we can’t change Spider-Man’s costume because it hurts the image being used on bath towels.”

I don’t want this deal to happen, and all signs point that it will – I’m not so naive that I don’t recognize the way things work in the world of business. But in the interest of purging my distaste for this deal and moving on, I want to use the power vested in me as one single customer, one single reader…and ask – no, demand that Disney be sure to do one thing at all times: RESPECT THE COMICS.

Don’t ever get it twisted, Disney – comic books are an artform all their own, and the Marvel Universe was not conceived to reach some precious “demographic.” It wasn’t conceived to generate movie ideas, or fill a TV programming block, or sell a few pieces of plastic kitsch. For all the reasons you have for wanting to outright OWN one of the richest, most unique literary tapestries of modern times,  I hope you realize and always remember: none of them would be possible without the comics. You don’t get this…

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…without this.

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This…

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…doesn’t happen without this.

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Nobody would be vibrating in their seats in anticipation for this…

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…if it weren’t for this.

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And you damn sure wouldn’t have this…

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…or this…

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…or this…

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…or even this…

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…without this.

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RESPECT THE COMICS, and I’ll be alright with this deal.

Maybe.

AND NOW, JUST CUZ I FEEL LIKE IT…

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I’m Greg Manuel, and I’m just sayin’ is all…

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