We haven’t linked to the John Byrne forum lately because…well, are you surprised when a snapping turtle turns out to snap? But a recent thread where Steve Sadowski, Andy Smith and Dusty Abell try to get Byrne to try Robert Kirkman’s INVINCIBLE — even offering to send it to him for FREE, leads to further bouts of curmudgeonliness:

I always cringe when I read or hear that statement. Illustrative example of why? I set out to do “old fashioned comic book fun” and did BATMAN & CAPTAIN AMERICA and GENERATIONS. Frank Miller set out to do “old fashioned comic book fun” and did DK2.

The term simply has too wide an interpretation to have any meaning any more.

and then this sad, sad statement:

Take a look at the Commissions Gallery.

What do you THINK “inspires” me?

More if you can bear it.


  1. I didn’t read too far, but I do kind of understand Mr. Byrne’s statement here:

    “What’s been lost is the GRANDEUR. Superhero comics used to be bigger than life. Today, and for the last decade, the trend has been to bring everything down to “street level”. It’s like the comment Roy Thomas made about the New
    Universe — today’s comics read more like TV movies.”

    “Civil War” is like that. “Fantastic Four” and “Amazing Spider-Man” under JMS has been like that (of course, JMS is a TV writer).

    The trouble with pushing a new book series on a curmudgeon in a public forum like this is that he could dig in his heels even harder. I think an easier tactic might be to quietly send some free copies with a polite letter and a request for a kind endorsement if he likes what he sees. At least that’s how it used to be done in the old pre-Internet days…

  2. If Mr. Byrne is so unhappy, why doesn’t he ventured into self-publishing and/or creator-owned comics? He’s more than fast enough to handle an extra book here or there and then he could do things his own way. I for one would be interested as the last time it seemed his work was inspired was in his all too brief stay at Dark Horse many years ago.

    Not to be rude, but if you are in the position and have the name power to make a difference? Put up or shut up.


  3. An old friend of mine turned me on to Invincible and I’ll never be able to thank him enough because he died a year later. So whenever I read a new issue I think how much he would have enjoyed it. The first issue I read was, I think, #11 in which we found that everything we thought we knew was wrong and a very powerful 1960s Marvel style battle ensued, and everything that changed there remained changed and never returned to its previous status quo. In describing it to people I say that it reads in some respects like 1960s Spider-Man without being imitative of that.

  4. Perception: “What we don’t get, except very rarely, is the kind of over-the-top stuff that used to be the cornerstone of superhero comics,” says John Byrne. “We don’t get Superman smashing thru walls, we get him sitting on clouds.”

    Reality: He’s referring to the cover of the first issue of All-Star Superman, the comic in which Superman FLIES INTO THE SUN TO SAVE A TEAM OF ASTRONAUTS FROM A GENETICALLY MODIFIED HUMAN SUICIDE BOMB VOICE-CONTROLLED FROM AFAR BY LEX LUTHOR.

    I can’t bear it.


    How pedestrian, couldn’t they have made it more spectacular?


  6. If John Byrne doesn’t want to read Robert Kirkman’s INVINCIBLE, what’s the big deal? I love the book myself, but the problem isn’t that John Byrne isn’t reading it. The problem is that people that love superhero books aren’t reading INVINCIBLE. CIVIL WAR #5 sold twenty times the copies of INVINCIBLE #36 that same month. That’s embarrassing. I just don’t understand how someone can enjoy reading a superhero book, yet not even try something as great as INVINCIBLE. It’s sad.

    Offering to give INVINCIBLE to John Byrne for free seems kind of silly. Please. As though the only thing stopping John Byrne from reading INVINCIBLE is that he lacks the economic ability to purchase the comic for himself. Byrne makes more then enough money just from the sale of commission sketches to his adoring forum members to buy any comic he wants to.

    If John Byrne isn’t reading a comic it’s because he doesn’t want to. He’s probably too busy reading about himself over on Wikipedia.

  7. It’s reports like these that make me wonder how it is that Byrne even owns a computer, much less has his own discussion forum. I’d think he’d prefer the dignity and grandeur of handwritten snarks delivered via passenger pigeon, between which he can slurp at spoonfuls of gruel and shake his fist at the sun.

    To answer Brandon’s question, Byrne HAS ventured into creator-owned turf, though those were on, for the most part, pretty familiar terrain (NEXT MEN, anyone?). Unfortunately for JB, he’s screwed himself into a pretty tight corner of diminishing niche marketability, which he’s completely at liberty to get out of should he decide he’d like to, but he seems not to have it in him. I’d say it’s too bad, but really, so what? More worthy than him have profited or lost by fickle fortune alone; by no one’s hand more than his own he’s pissed away almost all the goodwill he ever earned in the past decade-plus. So, y’know, fuck ‘im.


  8. The above knocks on DC and Marvel are valid ones, although I prefer the type of storytelling that JMS does. What do I think is killing Marvel and DC?

    – A lack of aging for the characters
    – Too much past continuity for characters so young
    – Death is apparently meaningless
    – Endless crossover events
    – Variant covers

    In the end, I have decided that I will no longer support books featuring Marvel or DC corporate owned characters. I now only buy creator owned books, and I don’t regret it.