Because *I* say so.

667New Storyimage6540356 Full§ We’re not entirely up to speed on this Civil War thing, but it seems Speedball, a lovably goofy Marvel hero, has been turned into Penance, whose name recalls ideas of religious absolution through physical pain prevalent in the Middle Ages — and also a character from the most popular novel of modern times. Like a Christian Saint, Penance apparently tortures himself via spikes inserted into his normal garb. Unlike a saint, he is fighting for the Marvel U. Anyway, Matt Maxwell takes this opportunity to say that grim and gritty is a one way street for comics.

This is funny, funny stuff. Of course, it’s kinda laugh until you cry in despair funny, but funny nonetheless. Penance will not sell more comic books to people who don’t read comics. CIVIL WAR will not sell more comic books to people who don’t read comics. 52 won’t, either. DC: THE NEW FRONTIER in a hundred dollar hardcover? I love the story to pieces, but no (a single-volume at a reasonable price point paperback would be a whole lot more sensible.)

But I’m getting off track here.

You can darken superheroes only so far before they break. And it’s funny that they even can break, but it’s true. I mean, these guys can fly through suns (pre-CRISIS, at least), shatter dimensions and lift diesel locomotives with jagged lines emanating from their foreheads. But they can’t survive really stupid stuff like, oh, say, punching someone’s head off or putting themselves in black leather and spikes and declaring how much they like the pain.

§ Meanwhile, at CBR’s The Year That Was: Part 1, movers and shakers like Paul Levitz and David Gabriel weigh in on trends and issues. Dirk has a lot of funs with quotes like this:

David Gabriel, Marvel : Besides just restating the obvious, I’d have to say the unmasking of Spider-Man within the pages of “Civil War” had the biggest impact on the entire industry. When you boil it down, the excitement and mainstream press that came about from that one incident as more than anything we have seen in a very long time and it spoke volumes in terms of sales for retailers and for Marvel.

but you should probably read the whole thing and judge for yourself.

§ Ticket sales for the IFL, a MMA fight league co-owned by Gareb Shamus, are sluggish in Texas, at least:

Houston mixed martial arts fans aren’t exactly beating down the doors to buy tickets for the International Fight League’s Feb. 2 show at Reliant Arena.

As of yesterday, a mere 500 tickets had been sold for the event, which is bringing big-time, professional mixed martial arts to H-town for the first time. The number strikes me as very low (less than 8% of capacity), with the show less than a month out. Tickets went on sale Nov. 29.
An IFL spokesman says the promotion has yet to launch advertising in the market and other than the pub we’ve given the show in the Chronicle and on Brawl Sports, there’s been little exposure … and zero buzz. Seems like it’s time for the IFL to beat the drum a bit louder to ensure the turnstiles are moving come February.

Ticket prices shouldn’t be a concern. You can get in the door for only $30. The most expensive seat, which gets you within spitting distance of the ring, goes for $150 – more than reasonable for a professional sporting event in a major market.


  1. I’m pissed about Penance because Speedball was a nice lovable character with fun powers. A character in short supply around Marvel. (He wasn’t a religious fanatic, so why the big penance thing?)

    However, Civil War is bringing in new readers, contrary to what the person you quoted said. They’ve been promoting it to death in non-traditional media for a long time (hell, even the Colbert Report). I’d have to assume this has had an effect to some degree, of bringing in new readers. I have one friend who hasn’t read a book in years decide to pick it up, so there’s at least one new reader.

    I’m not the biggest fan of events like Civil War, but this one’s being done well, and I like it. Still disagree about what they did to Speedball though…

  2. I don’t know. I’m just not connecting with this “Civil War” thing. I remember when the heroes used to get along and fight the bad guys. I also remember when comics used to be fun. Reading “Civil War” is like tuning in to a car wreck just to see what the damage is afterwards.