Because I always feel that San Diego is so very far away and that I will never attend the Comic-Con, I don’t talk about the many, many, many items that come out of there each year (for full details, look at the index at CBR). Anyway, it’s not as if this blog is read for up-to-the-minute, biting and witty analysis of current comic book news.
Instead, I wanted to link to some interesting reading on the web that I encountered recently, both as a pointer and a reminder.
Tom Brevoort now blogs, in an official capacity, for Marvel about his experiences as an editor on their books. Tom always comes across as smart and passionate about his work, so it was even more fascinating when he recently discussed aspects [EDIT: blog no longer on Marvel.com] of Marvel’s powerhouse crossover, Civil War. It makes for fascinating reading, watching parts of the process from the beginning (Mark Millar’s original idea changes during the process) and the collaborations and movement. A wonderful look behind the scenes.
Mike Sterling, one of the deservedly well-known comic bloggers, provides some intriguing insight behind the ’90s crash of the comic book industry. Having worked in a comic shop for many years, and being an entertaining and thoughtful commentator on all things comic booky, he is perfectly placed to answer questions (which he asked for in this post) about that strange time in recent history.
I have to confess to not being completely aware of what exactly was going on at the time – not only did I not read many magazines about the industry, I didn’t care about the companies that were starting up (Valiant, Malibu, etc.) that were worst affected, and my finances weren’t so good (I was on a very small grant doing postgraduate work at the time) so I was not buying that many comics anyway. So, thanks Mike for being an archive of knowledge.
Inspired by Mike’s discussions of the ’90s crash, Tim O’Neill discusses how the character of the Punisher was almost completely destroyed by what happened during that time in these three posts. Tim is a smart and discerning chap, so I was amazed he had even read some of the comics in the first place. However, he clearly explains the manner in which the then-successful Punisher franchise, hosting three continuing series, was totally destroyed through incompetence and forced to lay fallow until the masterful resurrection by Garth Ennis. Fascinating reading that also manages to show why I never read any Punisher comic of the time.
Paul O’Brien, one of the best reviewers of comic books around, talks at some length about Wolverine #55.
I believe that Paul works in the field of law, so an eye for detail is probably important in his job. He uses that ability on the X-Men comic books, and then to an even greater degree on this issue (and the storyline as a whole, written by Jeph Loeb).
There are some who think that buying comics you don’t like is wrong and is killing comics. This is bollocks, by the way, but that’s beside the point. Paul is not only doing an important job of keeping track of the books, he is also doing an excellent job of writing about them. He eviscerates the issue, and its role as resolution to the arc, for the complete and utter tosh it is (apart from the pretty pictures from Simone Bianchi).
I have yet to read something written by Loeb that I liked, and Paul nails the reasons why in this wonderfully entertaining review. Loeb has created a ludicrous concept (Logan and Sabretooth being archetypes of wolf-men throughout the ages because of their black and blonde hair respectively) and a boring-sounding villain in a story that is nothing more than flimsy justification for introducing his villain and stating that we should take notice because Loeb says so. And Paul shows him how wrong he is at every turn. Delightful reading for anyone. Thank you, Paul, for doing what you do so well.
EDIT: I forgot to include this bit, which fits into the post.
On his blog (now calling itself ‘Dick May or May Not Read Your Blog’ rather than its previous name of ‘Dick Hates Your Blog’), Dick Hyacinth provides a trip down memory lane as he talks about his personal experiences of being a reader/collector of comics in the 1990s. With some warm and honest writing, it is an enjoyable and nostalgia-sparking recollection of a different time. It is also fascinating to see the differences in comic book reading, and the maturation of taste in someone who enjoys the medium so much.