If you think I wasn’t expecting a backlash to my “Marvel Monsoon vs. DC Drought” article, then, well, I wish I had your optimism. I was, and I received it. I expected to just read it and chuckle. I did this too.
Then someone sent me a personal message over it. I won’t name this person. However, the fact that this person actually just copied and pasted a bleeding essay that they already wrote in the comments’ section and sent it to me in a direct message may out themselves as I respond to this message.
The message itself was cute. It was more funny than anything else. By the way, if you’re trying to engage someone in intelligent conversation, including the phrase “get your head out of your ass” because of their opinions about the modern funny books is questionable.
Don’t get me wrong, I take comic books seriously too. But taking that to the degree of sending lengthy angry emails to a writer is just silly.
Before we start with this specific article, I do actually want to respond to the most common response to my “Kurt Busiek Fixes Superman and Batman article.”
I’ll admit it, I haven’t read Peter J. Tomasi’s Supersons. I’m sure it’s pretty good; Tomasi is a good writer. However, the fact that I have to read a book about Big Blue and the Dark Knight’s sons to see them not act like passive aggressive dicks towards one another does not invalidate my point. Especially since that book includes the insufferable Damian Wayne, who is by far the worst Robin (oof, I am just fanning those flames aren’t I?). One would assume you could get this cordial relationship out of something like Justice League or Trinity. You don’t really though, do you?
Also, I’m surprised no one cited the Wonder Woman Annual from this year. The first story in that actually gave me what I wanted here.
Anyway, back to “Marvel Monsoon vs. DC Drought.” I’m going to be responding to a few points made in that freaking book which was sent to me and the comments that smatter the area below my article.
We’ll start with accusations that I’m being paid off by Marvel.
Sweet! Can you ask them when my check will be coming in. I’m pretty freaking broke right now.
In all seriousness, can we please, as a collective, stop accussing people of being paid off by a corporation because they say that they think this corporation is doing something better than their competitor? I think that Marvel is doing a lot of things worse than DC.
Their price points, for example, are very anti-consumer. I think that they have the gall to adopt DC’s twice-a-month tactic from Rebirth for their X-titles without kicking down the price is really shitty. It stinks of arrogance, and I hate it.
Also, Marvel won’t commit to bringing back Jim Zub and Jon Malin’s Thunderbolts title with the Winter Soldier, and that pisses me off. That book was amazing. It should come back. Neither the Thunderbolts nor the Winter Soldier have been revealed for a return in Legacy yet, and that both frustrates me and makes me incredibly sad.
Back to the point though, I love DC Comics and their catalogue of characters. The Flash, Hawkman, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Cyborg, Hawk, Firestorm, Shazam, Nightwing, and Mister Terrific are among my favorite heroes. In fact, boom, that was a top ten right there. I don’t have some bias against DC Comics. I just think, given that I absolutely love their catalogue of characters, it really sucks that they won’t use more of them.
Next, yes I’m aware that The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom and The Death of Hawkman were published recently. I read all of the latter, and I plan to buy the former in trade when it comes out. That doesn’t counter my point though. DC has shown no intent of making these guys the part of any regular book.
The fact that there is apparently a Legion of Superheroes sup-plot in Batman does just as little for me as Johnny Thunder’s appearance in DC Universe: Rebirth, or Lady Blackhawk, Hawkman, Mister Terrific, Plastic Man, and Mister Miracle being in Dark Days: The Forge. It’s all teasing, hinting, slipping things in to get fans excited.
Give me some announcements, actual books. DC loves teasing. It’s been their thing since the New 52. Hell, it’s been their thing since at least that time the Guardians of the Universe started shouting “52!” over and over again way back when. It does nothing for me.
That’s one of the reasons I hated Dark Days: The Forge. It was all teasing. Yes, yes, it’s leading to a longer story, but it did nothing to get me interested in that story. It was just fluff and teasing. I couldn’t care any less about their contrived mysteries for the origins of the metal that makes Aquaman’s Trident, Fate’s Mask, Wonder Woman’s Bracelets, or Rocket Red’s Codpiece.
Yes, I read comics by the way. That accusation may be just as silly as accusing me of being paid off by Marvel. Just because we disagree doesn’t mean that my life’s biggest hobby isn’t actually my life’s biggest hobby.
Claiming that I don’t love B-list characters, which is something else the message in question did, when I know I do was kinda weird too. It’s very odd being told that you don’t hold the opinions and feelings that you hold.
Also, just telling me that I should be fired and that what I’m talking about isn’t real is a weird rhetorical tactic. Unless there is a Hawkman, JSA, Captain Atom, Booster Gold, Legion, or Firestorm ongoing series that I don’t know about, what I’m talking about is very real.
A particularly confusing point that was made in the message was something about DC having a history of creating new characters and then casting them aside. That’s provably wrong, as they are a serialized comic book company who uses characters from as far back as 1938. That was a weird point to try to make.
One thing that the message mentioned that I had considered but didn’t mention in my article was the Young Animals line of DC titles. I’ll admit, I should have copped to those. It made it look like I was avoiding that element and did put a major weakness in my argument.
Yes, Shade, the Doom Patrol, Bug, and Cave Carson all have titles as part of the Young Animals line.
That doesn’t really do to counter my argument though. These are only four characters (more if you count the Doom Patrol members). The two that aren’t the Doom Patrol and Bug/Forager fly so low on the DC radar that even hardened fans are probably only passingly aware of them. Their books are far removed from the super hero fare. These are Vertigo-esque titles that will drive away anyone who is expecting anything like the other DC titles will find it incredibly alienating. I read Doom Patrol myself, the one I was most excited for, and found it intolerable. Even if it weren’t being presented as a continuation to a classic and underappreciated DC group, it would still have given me frigging migraine.
Mother Panic actually seems kind of cool though. I will probably try a trade of that at some point.
Also, the marketing of these books (the little that they actually receive) paints them as cringingly pigeon-holed into the crowd of people who are aged 13-25 who like quirky things and think they’re way too cool for super hero books. I’m not saying that means they don’t have a right to exist, but it does paint a picture of a book that is not going to garner the interest of a super hero fan, myself included. They’re not for me, and just because they have some C and under list heroes, that doesn’t mean that it’s tailored for the crowd that is cloying for the return of the Legion, the Society, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Captain Atom, Firestorm, Metamorpho, the Outsiders, Booster Gold, Fire, Ice, Rocket Red, Hawk, Dove, Omac, Demon, Swamp Thing, Animal Man, Zatanna, Orion, Barda, Mister Miracle, Jonah Hex, Deadman, Mister Terrific, Huntress, Power Girl, Stargirl, (you people called my comic book authenticity into question, and I’m doing this shit free hand, by the way) the Freedom Fighters, Shining Knight, classic Vigilante, August General In Iron, Captain Comet, Atomic Knight, Adam Strange, Blue Devil, Black Lightning, Manhunter, Ray Palmer, Vibe (the New 52 version was actually awesome), Gypsy, Red Tornado, Warlord, R.E.B.E.L.S, et cetera, et cetera.
I mean, the tagline was “Comics for dangerous humans,” and the full title to the Cave Carson book is Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye. Damn is that trying to convince me that these comics are soooo quirky and unique.
I will admit to the subjectivity of this point, i.e. “Yes these are C- list heroes, but they’re not the ones that I want.” However, when you’re throwing so small a bone, and one that tastes of Hot Topic at that, you’re not really opening yourself to that wide an audience.
The current Justice League of America title gave me something I actually wanted. I dig that book quite a bit. Again though, this is just one small bone when they could be giving us a full skeleton (admittedly pained metaphor).
Green Lanterns is actually my favorite DC title at the moment, and I will admit that most people wouldn’t know who Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz are. They also wouldn’t know who Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Guy Gardner, or Kyle Rayner are either though. They would probably know who Green Lantern is though. I struggle to call anyone wearing that ring and that logo anything less than an A-minus list character. Yeah, this is semantics, and I do love this title. But we keep getting back to the point here that DC is still barely tapping into its vast catalogue of characters that it could be using.
That’s my main point here. Marvel is using so many of its characters right now and DC is just barely scratching the surface of theirs. It’s frustrating. The fact that they keep teasing at these characters without actually bringing them back for longer than a five-issue run of some miniseries makes it more frustrating.
I wouldn’t write an article like this or its predecessor if I didn’t have a great love for DC Comics and their characters. That’s a big point that a lot of commenters missed. I love DC’s super heroes, that’s why I want more of them. How that translates to some bias against DC or hatred of their comics is beyond me.
I don’t hate their comics. I love a lot of them.
Plus, where the hell are Martian Manhunter and Shazam? Those are some damn A-list characters who I love too, and they’ve just dropped off the face of the frigging Earth. That’s frustrating too.