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Tuesday, 23 June 2015

It's Tuesday. Not A Rant But More Like A Few Thoughts.

I have to write that I am glad that I lived through The Marvel Age of Comics when story, action and fun were the trademarks of the company alongside originality.
above: The Secret Wars Battleworld map. 20 years ago I might have gone out to get this as a curio.  Oh, and that should be "Battle-World" but I guess one word is easier for merchandising.

There are people -I have watched their video blogs- who really love what Disney are doing with the Marvel Universe, or what used to be the Marvel Universe.  Many who also firmly believe in there having -having- to be continuity in these comics say it is okay -"it all goes back to the regular universe after".  Well, are they deceiving themselves?

You see, Disney -Marvel- and in particular its loathsome King Toad Tom Brevoort (sorry, toads!), have had press conferences, video recorded interviews -in fact, where hasn't Disney been spreading the word? They have said that the more recent Ultimate Universe is gone.  No more.  They are going to cherry-pick the best of that universe to incorporate it into a new one.  You see "The 1963 Marvel Universe as everyone has known it ends.  It's gone forever...."  They say it was old and stale and their new "hot" writers (who have been getting nice pay-cheques for dragging things through mire for a long time now (don't you think they are looking a little tired?) will be able to create a brand new universe (no doubt incorporating Star Wars into it) "more relevant to today" (and if you know Brevoort you'll know he is a nasty piece of work who has no problem trashing Lee, Kirby, Ditko and all those other creators who once made Marvel great and on whose knee-pads he's clutching and brown-nosing for a living.

And where is Joe Quesada?

Disney/Brevoort have made it clear the old Marvel 616 Universe is "gone forever -get on board or jump off now".  

Remember how they stated time-and-again that "The Death Of Wolverine" was "genuinely" the characters end?   For a dead and buried character he seems to make a record number of appearances -he's even in Secret Wars.  All those people who bought into the lie, grabbed those "highly collectible issues" -hey, you got comics that you can't even sell for the price you paid.

It's almost as though P. T. Barnum was in charge.  He may not have been the originator of the quote "one born every minute" (a sucker") but I'm sure he often said "a fool and their money are easily parted" -and proved it time after time.

When on tour with his show, Barnum had what, to other showmen, might have been a killer blow.  His elephant died.  A rival show announced that it had the only living elephant in town.  Barnum announced "I have the only dead elephant in town!"   Guess what?  Everyone flocked to see the dead elephant and Barnum raked in those nickels!

You get what I'm writing here, right?

I tried to write down all the "genuine" statements from Marvel regarding its characters and comics that were really genuine....give me a chance -I've only been looking three days!

We know we are going to see a "mixed race" (what *******  ***** -trying to "pull an ethnic minority for extra customer cash" which says all you need to know) Spider-Man....but Peter Parker?  "Oh, he'll be back when everything goes back to normal" say the ardent, blinkered fans.  Of course he will -Disney is never going to allow the Spider-Man to be....uh...well, we know.  The very fact that they shovel it all on with Morales being a "mixed race" oh, and Bendis has "two kids of colour" -there is your problem America.  "Mixed race" -they mean "this character is NOT white skinned" -but then, only albinistic people are white.  Does that mean I'm mixed race? I got Welsh, German and English in me -?!

How long ago was it that we saw Captain Kirk kissing Uhuru in Star Trek (a scene never censored on UK TV)?  A lot has changed, huh?  Archie gets to date and kiss an "African American" member of Josie and The Pussycats -they never stirred up publicity over....oh. Right. Ahem.

Will Steve Rogers become Captain America again?   I have nothing against the former Falcon, Jim Wilson (I hope I got that right), as a super hero but as Captain America -"He's Black! He Flies! He's Captain America!"  No. Everything Disney/Marvel/Brevoort scream about "an African -American Captain America is a sign of the times" is so false and so wrong. 

Captain America is a symbol of America just as Uncle Sam is.  Try a poster campaign in the United States with Uncle Sam as an "African-American" and see how it makes the reaction to drawing Mohammed look tame!  With a "black" Captain America it just screams desperation to be hip, cool, trendy and seem right on. FFS we are talking about Disney here.  Captain America will get more press because of the movies and the character's history.  That is why this happened.

With Black Tower I did what editors at UK comics were not, still are not, really willing to do: have characters that come from all sorts of "ethnic" backgrounds.  "Ethnicity" to keep a language or culture alive that will make that within the UK brighter -we seem to have forgotten all our old myths, legends and tales as well as traditions- is no problem.  Fair enough.  To make sure that a certain "minority" is catered for adequately -no problem.  Your heritage is your heritage.  However, as far as I am concerned and as far as UK law is concerned it does not matter what your religion or skin colour is: if you are a UK citizen you ARE a UK citizen first and foremost.

With Black Tower main characters come from all backgrounds but I have never shouted out "Oh, him. He's an "Afro-Carribean" you know" because that matters -why?

The Falcon was a crap "black" character?  He did his share of butt-kicking before being a partner (NOT side-kick) to Captain America, during that time and after.  I recall he even floored the Red Skull at one time. But, no, Marvel couldn't put the effort into pushing and developing the character -far better (publicity) if he "stepped into a white man's boots".

I'm sat here typing this and realising even more how utterly ridiculous all this "ethnic" phraseology is -including "ethnic"!

Will Jim Wilson stay as Captain America?  Hmm.  Think of the merchandise -Black Widow is pushed out of the way "cuz guys are more into comics and action figures" (that IS being out of touch!).  Right, no real guy wants a Black Widow action figure -right?  And, I do seriously apologise for writing this, but who has all the majority of money to buy merchandise?  Yes, those "off shade albino" types. The companies do the research and tell you WHAT fans will and will not buy. But here is a thing: back in the 1960s the UK had its own version of GI Joe dolls called Tommy Gun...

But the figure I wanted and eventually got was Tom Stone.

Why?  Go figure (or read that very long interview with me somewhere..

So, a "mixed race" Spider-man will no doubt exist alongside Peter Parker's Spider-Man (go with the money and franchise).  But the Falcon remaining Captain America?

According to Disney/Marvel/Brevoort "Everything changes and it's permanent!" (I think I wet myself with laughter when I heard that line).

So, you bought your Battleword map?  Bought ALL the series you really -REALLY- need to get the Secret Wars experience and see how Marvel Comics will change forever?


The merchandising ought to be interesting.  I'm guessing a Iron Man? Maybe a Hulk? Captain America?  Oh, you know -the usual.

You need to understand.  I was there. I lived back then.  Marvel Comics had a series titled Secret Wars that was meant to pull younger readers into their comics and promote a toy-line.  It was very successful so there was a more character/story driven follow up titled....Secret Wars II.   This brought in money and DC Comics tried to go one better with and also "sort out long time continuity problems" (bwahahahaha.  That is SO funny) with Crisis On Infinite Earths. 

Believe me, at that time this was hitting fans hard -like finding out Errol Flynn was a Japanese spy during World War 2 (he was NOT -that's just an example, okay?).

Flash died.  Supergirl died.  I lost count of how many times I used the "F" word (not "feck" -the OTHER "F" word. The really bad "F" word) in exclamation at events.

It made big money.

As Howard Chaykin said "F**** continuity!" This was M O N E Y.

We had so many crises after that and it makes Crisis on Infinite Earths mean nothing.

Busiek and Pacheco produced Avengers Forever -a great series that once and for all sorted out Avengers continuity problems.  Busiek and Perez then brought back a real, fun Avengers series.  Marvel said "F*** this!" and kicked out all the work of Busiek, Pacheco and Perez for a turgid, "darker" and meaningless Avengers run that has continued ever since -even throwing things out to create a more Sci fi Marvel universe more to Disney tastes.....and Star Wars....well, we'll see.

"Great art" I keep hearing (with a few exceptions) "story ain't so hot.  Quite lame" is usually added. Here is the thing.  Yes, comics are a visual medium but you have -HAVE- to have a story because, as Stan, Jack and all those other greats said, "Your readers ain't dumb!"
Practical example.  Animated TV series Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes (AEMH)-having seen a previous feckin awful Avengers animated series I will NOT dignify by naming- I thought "No. Gonna be crap"  I watched it and it was THE best Marvel comic based series I'd seen (and I've been around a while).  Series 2 gave us sub-plots and promises of mega stories to come.  The movie Avengers Assemble came out and was a success.   Series 3 of AEMH never appeared.  Without any notice it was replaced by the most awful, turgid Disney style animated series with poor story and even worse dialogue and three episodes and I was struggling to stop my screaming.  Yeah, I wonder why Avengers Assemble was chosen for the animated series?

Basically, Marvel was increasingly Disneyfied.  Disney wanted things they were happy with -sci-fi and kid audiences....oh, and money.  Wikipedia states, re. AEMH:

A new Avengers show premiered in 2013 called Avengers Assemble. On Saturday, July 14, 2012 at the 2012 Marvel Television Presents panel at San Diego Comic-Con, Jeph Loeb, Head of Marvel Television, said of the relationship between the two shows:
"We're not in any way saying Earth's Mightiest Heroes never happened. You will see an epic conclusion. And then you'll say, 'Oh, what's next?'"
The specific meaning of this has not been revealed at this time; initially chose to report it as meaning that Assemble would be a continuation of Earth's Mightiest Heroes!, but later, while interviewing Joe Kelly and Steven T. Seagle, asked for clarification over the confusion the statement had caused, and received only a non-committal response.
Only Hulk's voice actor Fred Tatasciore reprised the role for Avengers Assemble, while the other members of the team share their voices with their counterparts in the separate Ultimate Spider-Man series.

Kelly and Seagle are getting Disney cheques.  They speak the words Disney want them to.  All those plots and excitement (and a VERY rushed looking and written finale to the series) of AEMH were simply dumped because Disney want "dumbed down children's TV" -it is what they know and can exploit for the most dollars.

This is the same with Secret Wars.  The original Marvel Universe "is gone forever. Its a new future"....but is that not a 100% out-and-out lie if all the series return as normal after Secret Wars with just a few characters taken from the Ultimate Universe that could have been achieved in a simpler (but less money-making ) way?

All the "fine crafting and writing of the Avengers and 'Everything Dies' has led up to this!"

My response: bollocks.

Secret Wars is just a mish-mash of "imaginary tales" dumped under one title.  There is no indication that this was the aimed at final outcome.  It seems more like "He's written this and, basically, we're fecked. We can't think of a "get out" so....HEY! I got an idea. Remember Secret Wars......"

THAT is what this all looks like.

And here is another thing that comic bloggers and comic news blogs will not mention because they are so far up Disney's arse or scared of repercussions for their coverage of Marvel comics.  Why will none of these industry reporters follow up on the strong -very strong- rumours of unhappy writers/artists and creators generally at Disney's Marvel and threats of legal repercussions and enforcing of contractural non-disclosure agreements?  Why? Do we have to wait a few more decades until another book like Sean Howe's Marvel Comics -The Untold Story reveals what is going on NOW? 

I do like the theory that Disney wanted to end the comic line and just process the cash from movies or movie related books/comics.  Conspiracy theories....or are they?

But let's put it this way: Disney/Marvel are either going to be proven to be lying sacks of camel dung or they are going to really start everything from scratch as they promised.

sniff sniff  Smell that?

Either way it will not make a difference to many out there who will still go on buying Marvel Comics and letting the company (Disney) rip them off.  And so bigger and bigger mounds of comics build up and the more comics there are the less they are worth.

Who wins here?

Not comic readers.  Unless they do see comics as disposable pieces of entertainment -we end up, in that case, with comics like TV and movies: no real originality any more.  It's just for the initial dollar and feck it.


  1. Well, the last time I bought any Marvel titles on a regular basis was the final part of the 'Bloodties Avengers - XMen crossover. I totally lost interest. I only bought the Ultron Avengers - when Ultron took over Janet Van Dyne - because I was sold by Frank Cho's artwork. As far as I'm concerned, I never forgave Disney for buying up Ladybird and scrapping their factual early reading books. I thought they were valuable as an early starter and still have them in my bookshelves over fifty years later. They were fantastic little books. What was that I heard regarding the lead singer of a pop group in trouble with Disney for wearing 'Mickey Mouse' ears? Disney were 'concerned' that the viewing public would be 'confused' ? (!)

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  3. Well, thanks for revealing the "shock revellation"! Though it made sense you threw that at me from behind a shield of deceit! :-P I will NOT trade off on a character because of any (yeugh) "ethnic" angle. The stories and characterisation are what counts not skin colour (which still makes no sense to me..,But comic on....maybe.

  4. And, no. Not a rant. If I rant I rant but it has to be over something I care about.

  5. OOOPS. Took down my previous comment. Should have written spoiler alert on my last - sorry about that. Still, Silvermaigne is a pretty good read - and I do love the new cover.Take it easy.

  6. You still get docked 2 "Creator Points" which means something. No idea what but it does. Still not done any art work in about a month so twiddling my thumbs and decorating. Not in any rush at all to get back to comics.

  7. 2 creator points ? Oh no ! Like some character in an RPGame I can feel myself dwindling away !
    Comics are fun ( if your doing it for yourself and having a blast ) so I hope you do get back inot the swing of it - how about a break and doing a BLUE SAVIOUR ? It's on my mind.... and I have powers...

  8. Well, at the moment I really cannot see myself working on or finishing anything. Unless there is a businessman with money willing to back a comic line then its all dead to me. You can only kid yourself for so long.