comics

Marvelette Missives – Kickin’ It Old School

I recently went to an old school comic con. If you’re lucky, you know what I’m talking about – a bunch of dealers crammed into a hall, maybe a couple of artists selling original sketches, but no celebrities or photo ops in sight. Sure, a few people showed up in costume (I think there was an actual costume contest at some point, though I didn’t stay for it), but it was primarily a crowd of comic book lovers looking for deals. I would say about 80% of the space was long boxes and most of what was on offer was golden, silver and bronze age issues with some current releases thrown in (especially ones with variant covers). More

Marvelette Missives – Another Civil War Begins

Like many Marvel fans, I’m reading Civil War II. There are two issues out so far and considering it’s a limited series, it seems a good time to give some impressions on it. More

Marvelette Missives – Getting Serious

I am not usually into “serious” superhero comics. Don’t get me wrong, I do read comics that would not be considered “fun” (like Outcast), but when it comes to heroes, I prefer things a little less serious (Deadpool is my favorite character, after all). But there are a couple of books on my pull list that qualify, especially The Ultimates.

Those who know me might be a bit surprised that I enjoy this title enough to buy it by the issue (I read a lot of trades). The Ultimates is a group of science-focused heroes spending the majority of their time in space, who address the “ultimate” problems of the universe. It’s a serious group with a serious mandate. So why do I like it?

First, the characters. When the revamped title was announced last year it caught my eye because Captain Marvel is on the team and she’s in my top five faves. The other members are Black Panther, Ms. America, Spectrum and Blue Marvel. It’s an interesting mix of intellect, powers and personalities.

Second, the problems. Yes, the purpose of the team really is to solve huge problems. The first one they deal with is Galactus and his habit of devouring worlds. Seriously… HUGE problems.

Third, the plot. Al Ewing is a really engaging writer and I like the direction he’s taking the plot. It’s not just a matter of the team solving a problem – he addresses the consequences and repercussions of their actions within the team itself and from the outside.

The Ultimates may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and I’ll admit that it helps to be a Marvel fan who has read some classic storylines and knows the characters. But if the big issue, more serious side of things is what you’re looking for in comics, I would recommend the current run.

Marvelette Missives – Buy Me a Mockingbird

Thanks to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I’ve become interested in the character Mockingbird (Bobbi Morse). As sad as it was to see her and Hunter leave the show (yes, there was weepiness), I’m really looking forward to their spin-off now. She’s actually been around in the comics since 1977, showing up in other hero’s books or as part of a team. Only recently did Marvel give her a title all her own. So, of course, I’m reading it. More

Marvelette Missives – Making Frenemies

What is one thing that is just about guaranteed to bring enemies together? Love. (I didn’t say it was the only thing – we all know that it’s more likely to be money, but I digress.) No, I’m not talking about the enemies falling in love (that cliché outlived its welcome years ago). I’m talking about two people who are both in love with a third person who just happens to be in a bit of trouble. More

Marvelette Missives – Do Ratings Matter?

On Geek Watch One this week, we briefly touch on the now-defunct Comics Code and the MPAA and the seemingly arbitrary manner in which comics and movies are rated. Yes, this stems from a discussion of Deadpool and R-rated comic book movies. But obviously it’s larger than that. It did, however, get me thinking about whether these ratings or designations really matter at all anymore. More

Marvelette Missives – Digging Up the Past

I believe that if you are truly a fan of something, you should gather as much knowledge about it as you can (and, as a fan, you’re going to want to know everything anyway). This is particularly true of comic books characters, especially those with a long history. Sure, you can get origin stories and details on wiki sites or, sometimes, through a publisher’s website. But whenever possible, reading the actual stories is the best way to immerse yourself in the character. More

Marvelette Missives – Let It Be

One of the stories I spotted this week was that Frank Miller is not happy that Elektra is going to be in season 2 of Daredevil. Anyone who has followed comics even a little would know that it’s not surprising Miller would react negatively to someone treating one of his characters differently than he would have (he did kill her off, after all). Thankfully, the showrunners on Daredevil have a good deal of sense and really don’t give a damn what Miller thinks – she’s a great character and a huge part of Matt Murdock’s story, plus the fans have wanted her ever since we saw the fantastic job done on season 1.

But this brings up a bigger issue: creator control over a creation. Now there are some things, like a medical device or piece of industrial equipment, that require tweaks, repairs, upgrades through the span of their lives. Makes sense so things operate correctly, efficiently, etc. When you think about the world of art, however, there comes a point when the artist needs to let it be.

An author will write a draft of a novel, put it through proofing and editing and beta reading and, hopefully, have it published. That’s it… it’s out there for the world to enjoy (or not). Whether he has regrets or not, the author isn’t going to go back to that work and tweak it, then re-release version 2.0. The same goes for visual arts. Sure, there may be multiple versions of a drawing or painting, but each is it’s own thing and there will often be one that an artist looks at and decides “this is it, this is the ultimate expression” and that’s the one that goes to the gallery.

And it’s the same with movies, whether live action or animated. Of course, the exception to this rule is George Lucas, who couldn’t keep his damn hands off his Star Wars movies until they were ripped from him in the sale to Disney. (Seriously, that man needs to learn that just because you think you can “improve” a film after it’s been released, it doesn’t mean you should do it! Stop it… STOP!)

So back to Miller, and all the other creators who let their babes out into the world, sell the rights, “complete” the creation. It’s out of your hands what is done with it or how people will perceive it, so suck it up and move on. You may get asked what you think of how a character is used or about the reboot of or sequel for your franchise, but don’t be bitter. If you want to criticize, make it constructive and not a little tantrum that makes you look bad. Your creation is out in the world being appreciated by hundreds or thousands or millions of people – be happy about that, celebrate the enjoyment you’ve brought to others. (And don’t forget about those dollars in your bank account as well.)

Marvelette Missives – Absolutely Marvel-ous

Over the past year I’ve become a fan of the current incarnation of Captain Marvel. Why would I phrase it that way? Well, most people would guess I’m a Marvel fan (don’t look so shocked), so I’m obviously not talking about the DC hero. But the Marvel version has had a half dozen or so folks carrying the mantel. It’s not to say I’m not interested in the earlier Captains, but thus far it’s Carol Danvers who has me hooked. More

Marvelette Missives – Hero or Heroine?

I recently finished reading volume 1 of Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye (My Life As a Weapon). Outside of reading up on things related to the movies, I’ve never been very into any of the Avengers comics. But I’ve heard such good things about this particular run of Hawkeye since it debuted a couple years ago that I wanted to give it a shot (I have no idea if I intended that pun). More