At Comic Book Resources, Marvel editors Axel Alonso and Tom Brevoort talk about the concept of a given writer’s “vision” as it pertains to franchises like the X-Men or Avengers books. Alonso, who oversees the X-Men line, shares what it takes to write his flagship series:
“Whoever’s writing Uncanny X-Men understands when they accept the assignment that they’re writing the main X-Men book. They’re writing the book that, for lack of a better word, ‘counts’ the most. Major revelations and large plot threads always start from or intersect the title, so there’s a certain amount of responsibility—and flexibility—required of the writer.”
Brevoort, who’s been in charge of the Avengers line since 1997, talks about his approach to running the franchise:
“Within any particular franchise, for me, the key thing is making sure that each satellite book or tertiary book has a distinct identity and specific mission statement or reason for being other than just ‘more of this stuff.’”
What those approaches get us, evidently, are titles like the recently launched X-Men, whose “distinct identity” means that it’s, um, the X-Men fighting vampires, and which, presumably, Uncanny X-Men writer Matt Fraction will have to coordinate his own stories with, because he’s so flexible—not that it matters, since he’s already doing that with the 17 other X-Men books that come out every month.
And, of course, it gets us about three different Avengers and X-Men series each, give or take a few minis, that have Wolverine on the roster. Because that’s somehow the best way of ensuring that all those books are distinctively distinct.
In all sincerity: I’d love to read a genuine Matt Fraction X-Men comic, but contrary to what the credits and Mr. Fraction’s paychecks may say, Marvel is not publishing one right now. Which is kind of sad, because 10 years back they managed to publish a Grant Morrison X-Men comic that seems to have been pretty successful for them in a number of ways, and that people still talk about a lot.
So it’s not like it’s impossible to put out X-Men comics that taste like Morrison, or Fraction, or whoever. But it’s not happening right now, and it hasn’t happened for quite some time. Doesn’t this suggest that something’s maybe wrong with the way Marvel is approaching this stuff?
Over at GQ, Robert Kirkman discusses a whole lot of fascinating issues. His take on the current corporate-comics landscape seems particularly noteworthy:
“You make a good living writing Spider-Man and Superman, and you don’t really see how short-term that is. It’s all about—I don’t know, I kind of want to say ‘complacency,’ but that seems kind of insulting. I don’t know. It’s a hard thing to have kids and have a job and go off and do something on your own and break into something that’s independent and is a little more risky. But everybody’s gotta take risks, and that’s kind of how you’re supposed to do it, I think.”
There’s nothing to add to that.
At Techland, Douglas Wolk runs down some comics he’d like to see reprinted.
Aside from the Grant Morrison and Miracleman comics he mentions, some of the books I’d like to see—mainly because I would like to read them but haven’t been able to track them down—include the sum of Steve Gerber’s Superman work (The Phantom Zone #1-4, DC Comics Presents #97, A. Bizarro #1-4, Superman: Last Son of Earth #1-2 and Superman: Last Son of Krypton), as well as Christopher J. Priest and Mark D. Bright’s Quantum & Woody (Dark Horse Comics, I’m looking at you).
Tom Crippen, writing for The Comics Journal, turns out another refreshingly skewed, breathtakingly well-observed review of some North American mainstream comic, in which—the review, not the comic—every other sentence is eminently quotable.
Hey, comics reviewers: Please go and read and try to top that every single time you sit down to write a review, instead of discussing pointless and boring things like plot.
Also, I hear an upcoming correction will clarify that it’s, in fact, not 23”, but rather 2.5’ in diameter, and its inside will have a robust leather strap at the center. (Price may vary.)
Out now: a couple of quirky one-shots with promising creative rosters from Marvel. One is Daredevil Black & White #1, with contributions by Peter Milligan, Rick Spears, Ann Nocenti and David Aja, among others. The other is Deadpool #1000, which has a whopping 70 pages of new material by David Lapham, Peter Bagge, Howard Chaykin, Philip Bond, Michael Kuppermann, Dean Haspiel and a host of other folks, plus extras.
I haven’t read the comics yet, and I’ve only skimmed through the discussion by the Techland crew I’m linking to above, but given who made them, they’re going to be very worthwhile oddities, at least.