Tagged: Flashpoint

MARC ALAN FISHMAN: What I’m NOT Thankful For

I hope everyone’s Thanksgiving holiday was amazing. I myself hosted festivities for the first time in our new home. It was here, in 2011 where Marc Alan Fishman finally graduated from the kiddie table. Looks like all it took was making a meal for 10 people, in my own home. But with the assistance of my fantastic in-laws, and even more fantastic(ly pregnant) wife… we done pulled off a doosy. After last week’s lov-in, I unbuckled my belt, let my gut out, and took stock in those things that didn’t quite make me a happy camper. Sure, my initial articles covered some of those (The X-Men, Barry Allen, and Hal Jordon to name a few)… but here we are, nearing the end of the year. What exactly happened that cause my beard to stand on end? Let the hatespew begin!

Epic Events of Extremely Excessive Inanity

To be truly fair, I could spend the entirely of this editorial tearing DC and Marvel both for their predilection to create crappy crossover events. But let’s boil it down to the brass tacks, shall we? Simply put, these money-sucking whores create bloated wastes of ink and paper, all based on the idea that “everything you know will change.” This of course, preys on our fan-boy fear of being left behind. And it would seem over the course of the Aughts, such as they were, the Big Two have perfected their scheme:

Create a main book where all the bullet point action takes place. A few not so significant people will die. One or two major ones might kick it too. A great evil rises up. It looks insurmountable. Then a legion of the most marketable heroes get some brilliant form of upgrade, or a lost and forgotten hero comes back from the dead, or some other deus ex machina reveals itself in the nick of time for one last issue of double page Photoshopped explosions. What follows is generally seven to twenty seven epilogues setting up the next six months of editorial mandated character changes.

But it’s never just that one main title now, is it? These mega-loads of mega-suck bleed into the entire continuity of issues. Soon every book you’d normally pick up features the event-du-jour’s nom de plum across its masthead. What follows is generally exposition taken from bullet point A before bullet point B from the main series. Not reading that series? Well, I guess it sucks to be you. I was loving, L-O-V-I-N-G Matt Fraction’s Incredible Iron Man series until Fear Itself. And for four issues straight, all the world building he’d done was cast aside so I could follow Tony into Asgard to get drunk, swear, and make some action-figure-waiting-to-happen weapon variants for random heroes to use. Did I follow Fear Itself? No. Thanks for wasting my time, money, and love of the Iron Man book.

Don’t think for a second DC skates by here either, kiddos. Those cash-craving carnivores did one worse; they let the deus ex machina implode their entire line of comics. Flashpoint, by and large, will sit in my collection next to Countdown to Final Crisis as a testament to everything wrong with comic books today. “But why did you keep buying them, if you hated them so much?” Well… One – I’m a masochist. Two – the series promised to feature at least one or two characters I’d normally not get to read about. Three; – I didn’t want to come out of the other side confused as to why everything changed. Flashpoint even had the nerve to release wave after wave of mini-series to take us around this “Age of Not Quite Apocalypse.” And while Batman: Knight of Vengeance delivered an amazing Elseworlds tale, it was just that… An Elseworlds tale. Slap any title card you wanted on the cover, Dan, Geoff, and Jim. We all knew it should have said “Flash Point Over There and Distract The Fanboys While We Hit The Reset Button.”

4/5ths of the DCNu

And since we’re on the subject… the next thing that ground my gears was the rebooting of the DC Universe itself. I give credit where credit is due. It was a bold move that in fact did raise awareness, sales, and general levels of hope amongst the comic book readers of the world. But by and large, it was all smoke pellets and Mirror Masters.

Let’s face facts. Superman, Wonder Woman, the JLA, and Aquaman all got the reboots needed to make them matter again. Batman and Green Lantern may have gotten shiny new #1s on their books, but didn’t reboot a damned thing. Batgirl got to disappoint the handicapped community (not that the book is bad mind you, but still…), and a plethora of bad ideas were hurled out with hopes any of it would stick. What we’re left with is a mangled mess of a few fantastic books littered amongst total garbage. All the solid character-building moments that gave DC a strong legacy and continuity were thrown out with the bath water in hopes that a #1 and a power-cycle would somehow make comic books appeal to the masses who aren’t reading comic books. Guess what? Sales may have increased, but not by that much. Walk out on the street today, and ask a passer-by who OMAC, Voodoo, or Captain Atom are. Don’t be surprised when they need to Google it.

It’s still too early to say exactly what impact this reboot is going to make. Suffice to say, I hardly believe I’ll be telling my son “Oh yeah, in 2011, it all changed. DC created the new paradigm by which all comic books were created.” More likely? “Oh yeah, in 2011 DC rebooted everything, because they figured they’d move more issues if they had #1 on them. Superman turned out really good. I kind of forgot everything else.”

The Fallacy of Death in Comics

If 2011 has taught us nothing else, then we should all learn this: Death is meaningless in comic books. In the long-long ago, in a time and place far far away from here… dying meant dying. No mysterious body swaps. No time-bullets. No psuedo-science backtracking. Dead meant dead. In 2011, Marvel iced the Human Torch, Bucky Barnes (again…), and Thor (again, again). Human Torch didn’t even stay chilled long enough to be missed. With Fantastic Four #600, his mighty resurrection (as predicted by just about everyone) came to pass. In Fear Itself, Bucky and Thor each bit the dust. Who here is man enough to say they’ll stay that way for 365 days? With The Avengers movie hitting megaplexes next summer, I doubt Mr. Odinson will be resting for even a fortnight. Oh, and it looks like the Phoenix force is coming back too. As it stands, I can’t even tell you for sure who is alive and who isn’t. Only Ultimate Peter Parker seems to be the most likely candidate for a spot next to Gwen Stacy of the 616 in the land of the “neva’ coming back.” And thanks largely to Flashpoint, DC was able to kill off whole portions of their catalog, with the promise to thaw them out the second sales dip. Did someone say JSA?

Goodbye 2011. May 2012 boast less deaths and less events. See you next week, when my column resets back to #1.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

Superman: The Wedding Album

Happy 15th Anniversary, Clark & Lois Kent!

Not a dream! Not a hoax! Not an imaginary tale! It was this week in 1996 that Superman: The Wedding AlbumClark Kent and Lois Lane got married, an event comics fans had been anticipating for 60 years.

Superman: The Wedding Album was published during the week of October 6, 1996, coinciding with an episode of the television series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman that also featured the wedding of the two characters. Nearly every major comic artist who’d ever worked on Superman contributed to the book.

Of course, nowadays, Clark and Lois are no longer married, as post-Flashpoint they have been exposed to the Anti-Marriage Equation (only slightly less expensive than a Vegas divorce) and they aren’t even dating. It seems to be contagious, as Barry Allen and Iris West have also been exposed to it as well.

But we’ll be able to buy a new wedding issue in… 45 years. Of course, by then comics won’t be printed on paper anymore, but it’s the thought that counts.

MARC ALAN FISHMAN: In Memoriam

Ladies and gentlemen… We gather here today to mourn the loss of a cherished friend. DeeCee was many things to many people. Entertainer. Educator. Detective. Optimist. Friend. Let us take this time to recount those times that touched us, before DeeCee passed on into the ethereal void of blackness.

DeeCee, above all else, seemed impervious to the mortality we all must face. Since his birth in 1934 (back when we call just called him Nate Alypub) DeeCee has been one to cite the changing times as his own catalyst for reinvention. The world went to war, and with it, so did DeeCee. When our world became fixated on the cosmos above, did he not put on his space suit and power ring? Against his better judgment, DeeCee proudly sported a mighty and magnificent mullet in the late 80s. He was never afraid to put on a pair of cowboy boots. Let us never forget when we all thought he was dead, back in 1992. Even from those bleak times, he rose once again, stronger than ever. When the world grew grim and gritty, DeeCee broke his back in that tragic accident. But did he not pick himself up and reclaim his mantle without pause?

I want to take some time now too, to acknowledge DeeCee’s extended family. We were all crushed by the tragic end of his cousins Tan Gent and Elle Swirlds. DeeCee was always so proud of their accomplishments! I’m touched to see in attendance today DeeCee’s brothers, Vern Tigo and Wiley Storm. Vern, DeeCee was always quick to note how you were the sobering realist and macabre dreamer to his starry-eyed optimist. And Wiley… How could we ever forget when DeeCee adopted you, and kept you afloat during your more troublesome past?

DeeCee was rich in family, but even richer in friends. I see gathered here today a veritable pantheon of personalities, in support of the loss of our friend. Marv-El… we all know how you and DeeCee butted heads throughout your friendship. Before you moved out to Hollywood, you and DeeCee could always be seen sitting in the park, debating this and that. And who among us didn’t beam ear to ear when you two ended a years-long feud and amalgamated your friendship! Also among us are some of DeeCee’s friends from later in life… Val, Imogene, “Boom-Boom” Burt, Ava Tarr… so nice to see you all.

It may very well be the elephant in the room today, friends. DeeCee’s untimely demise was something so many of us saw coming. Who here didn’t scoff just a little this past spring, when he told us all about his trip to Flushing? “Everything will be different after this!” he told us. And we just let him go. He’s had these flights of fancy time and time again. Crisis after Crisis, did we not keep supporting him? He’s always bounced back stronger, we told ourselves. And sure, this trip didn’t sound like anything we hadn’t heard him rant about before. Time travel? Alternate futures? It’s all old-hat for DeeCee. Who would guess though that in a single splash, he would be forever lost to us all. Who among us today thought his last words were anything more than the usual hyperbole DeeCee was known for using?

But I digress. Today’s service isn’t meant to wallow in the demise of our cherished friend. DeeCee would want us to look to the future, as he always had. Most importantly, he would want us to acknowledge his biggest legacy, his son, DeeCee Jr.

Junior is just a week old, and it will be a challenge for him to live, thrive, and survive in these tough times. DeeCee’s legacy will live on in Junior. Though his first steps seem to have stumbled, let us all here in attendance support him here in his infancy. He has the world at his fingertips, and his potential is limitless. May he be inspired by the past, but now wallow in it. May he grow into his own man over time. Let the world adopt him with new eyes and old hearts. For within his gleaming eyes are infinite worlds of infinite possibilities.

Let us now rise, as DeeCee’s charred, limp, decimated body is lowered into the ground. Amen.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

MARTHA THOMASES: Bill & Ted’s Excellent Flashpoint — Not!

This is the week when everything is supposed to change. The first of the New 52 comics is on the stands. Since better  folks than me are weighing in on the new stuff, I want to talk about what went right before.

Specifically, Flashpoint.

While I like team-up stories, I’m not a big fan of “After today, nothing will ever be the same again” hype. Not because I’m against change, but rather because change is constant. After every day, nothing is ever the same. In reality, this hype usually means a bunch of characters will be killed. Death is the substitute for drama in modern comics.

I didn’t like Supergirl’s death in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Kara has always been one of my favorite characters, even though she was rarely written well.  Her love interest was named Dick Malvern, for crying out loud, which I always understood to mean Bad Green Penis. I thought her death was a symbolic admission that the men who wrote comics at the time didn’t understand girls.

Ever since, there have been company-wide, month long crossovers where nothing will ever be the same. This year, the promise was backed up by 52 Number One issues that will be published the month after the crossover ends.

So what happened in Flashpoint? Damned if I know. As near as I can tell, it was a five-issue Bill & Ted adventure, except that instead of Bill and Ted remembering to travel back in time to leave themselves a note telling themselves what to do in the past, there was Flash, a Cosmic Treadmill, and no George Carlin. And a lot more carnage.

Why is this necessary? I mean, I actually enjoyed the Flashpoint mini-series, but they would have been just as satisfying as Elseworlds, and that would have allowed the creators to let loose even more. Is it really this complicated to jump through these hoops to wipe a slate clean?

Why can’t we just agree that the old continuity is gone, and get on with telling stories? And if, for whatever reason, some of these stories aren’t successful, why can’t we let a new creative team come in and start from scratch again?

When I first started writing comics, an editor (sorry, I forget who) told me that no one wanted to read comics written by someone’s mom. In this case, though, I think comics could certainly use someone who simply said, “Because I said so.”

Dominoed Dare-Doll Martha Thomases thinks there should be more George Carlin in comics, and everywhere else. Read her political stuff at michaeldavisworld.com every Saturday.

MARC ALAN FISHMAN: Flash Fact – Barry Allen Sucks!

Flash (Barry Allen)

Image via Wikipedia

Hello all you crazy-awesome ComicMix fans. For those who don’t know me (and when you share a space with guys like Mike Gold, John Ostrander, Martha Thomases, Michael Davis, Denny O’Neil, and Mindy Newell? I don’t blame you!) allow me to introduce myself by way of witty, snarky banter. I figured if I am to come out of the gate anew with a comic focused op-ed piece, I might as well start by swinging for the fences. So, let me point to the rafters over center field, and take the biggest swing I can.

Simply put: DC’s Flashpoint is a ten-pound turd in a five gallon bowl.

I use this nasty language, mind you, because I “covered” the event for a podcast I do from time to time… and have spent my hard earned dollars on this bloated excuse to sell toys, and piss off fans.

In June, DC boldly told the world they are “star-wiping” their universe to engage the next era of fans, by removing that pesky continuity. So, while those new and shiny number ones are getting printed, why not release yet-another-epic-that-will-change-the-universe-as-we-know-it™ event? “Flashpoint” was to turn the DCU on its ears. It chortles in every issue with its logo emblazoned on the title card, that it gives us a world where “everything you know has changed in a flash…” My ass. What they’ve done instead, is created an unnecessary mega-crisis for no better reason than “going out with a bang”. So for all us fans who don’t mind a little history to go with our comics… we’re treated to DC choosing to end their current universe’s life on yet-another-Crisis.

In a nutshell, Flashpoint is DC’s attempt at taking an obvious Elseworlds story and shoehorning it into continuity. I honestly don’t care how many well-produced interviews they have Dan DiDio do celebrating the ‘ground breaking’ idea. I don’t care how many Newsarama, Comic Book Resources, or Bleeding Cool articles are written kissing the ass of all the creators involved (and yes, all three have since reviewed many of the series’ minis very poorly). To tell the fans that this event will matter, is akin to the DCU toking up a massive joint, and blowing the Funion fumes right in our face in hopes we’ll get the munchies. I’ve not seen better hype for a dumber product since The Phantom Menace.

On DCU’s “The Source” blog, they asked some hard hitting questions to this effect:

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POLL: Which New DC Comics #1’s Will You Buy?

POLL: Which New DC Comics #1’s Will You Buy?

All of the DC Comics post-Flashpoint titles and creative teams have been announced. But now the real question is: which ones are people actually going to buy?

A lot rides on the answer to that question. Nobody knows how all of these new titles are going to perform, particularly with DC releasing all these comics day-and-date online as well. Retailers are going to be ordering blindly for a while, even though they’ll be returnable for the first few months. So they need your help.

Please take a minute to answer this poll– the comic book shop you save could be your own. And please, just check off the ones you expect to be buying in paper– nothing against digital editions, lord knows, but this is to try and gauge reader interest in the stores.

[poll id=”82″]

ComicMix Six Plus Six: New Changes From The DC Universe Restart

ComicMix Six Plus Six: New Changes From The DC Universe Restart

As we’ve reported, DC is restarting all their titles in August… which makes everybody wonder: how is the DC Universe going to change now?

Luckily, we actually received a copy of an internal memo addressed to Dan DiDio about some of the changes (that will help bridge that gap with newer readers looking for more reality and accessibility to the DCU) we’ll be seeing after September. Here are the highlights:

  1. Lois and Clark won’t be married anymore. In the new Superman mythos, Clark Kent ends up with Pete Ross. They live in “Boysville” in the low-rent district in Metropolis. Clark’s newer costume will actually double as his “rave-wear” when he and Pete go clubbing on the weekend.
  2. Lex Luthor will never have been President of the United States of America. He will also sport his red locks once again, as he’s not only the founder of Lexcorp Hair Treatment Centers of America… he’s also a member.
  3. Dick Grayson will be de-aged back to 16, where he’ll once again assume the mantle of Robin… for one day. Jim Gordon figures out that Bruce Wayne, the man seeking to make young Grayson his ward, is in fact Batman… because who the f’ else would traipse around Gotham’s seedy underbelly with a minor in a yellow cape? He quickly arrests Wayne for child endangerment. Grayson is sent to the Gotham orphanage where he’ll befriend a beleaguered Freddy Freeman.
  4. Hal Jordan will continue as Earth Sector 2814’s protector… but the Green Lantern power rings will be prone to weakness against yellow, wood, garlic, and especially plaid.
  5. Green Arrow will now use a sniper rifle, because, face it, a bow and arrow to hunt super villains? LAME. He’ll also sport a Justin Bieber haircut, and ditch the Van Dyke… cause kids these days like a clean cut youtuber to such follicle faux pas.
  6. As part of DC’s new digital strategy, Wonder Woman’s series will be released only on YouTube, as an all “topless” motion comic. It’s been described as “like the Gotham Girls animated shorts, but with a revenue stream.”
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Some Thoughts on DC’s New World Order

In 1986, as the Crisis on Infinite Earths was winding down, Marv Wolfman made the radical suggestion that DC indicate the universe had truly changed by altering the numbering on all the titles and restart everything with a #1. For a number of reasons, it was a great idea but the timing couldn’t allow the move. Years later, Dick Giordano indicated it as one of his greatest editorial regrets. However, he can’t be blamed since the Crisis was wrapping up while DC was still negotiating to relaunch its flagship heroes. At that time, only Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli had been lined up for Batman: Year One while John Byrne was still being wooed for Superman, and very late in the process, Greg Potter and George Perez were circling Wonder Woman.

Had the stars aligned, it could have avoided two decades of constant revisions to the reality.

It now seems DC’s executive team has spent the last year moving the stars around. Today’s bombshell announcement indicates the rebooted line will kick off in September, with Justice League #1 previewing the new order on August 31.

I can only hope that DC has its house in order and can avoid embarrassing fill-ins and radical creative team changes early in a title’s run – problems which have plagued the core titles for the last few years.  The worst example may well be Batman: The Dark Knight, written and drawn by David Finch. After debuting in November, the fifth issue of this monthly series is not coming out until August and only then with a fill-in artist.

That aforementioned new Justice League book is coming from DC’s two busiest executives: Geoff Johns and Jim Lee. Sure, it’ll read well and look great, but will it be a monthly and for how long will the talent remain intact? At minimum, these new titles, all 50 of them, need consistent talent on board for at least the first six issues and fill-ins need to be carefully integrated. (more…)

John Ostrander returns to writing Amanda Waller– online!

John Ostrander returns to writing Amanda Waller– online!

Amanda Waller as depicted in Justice League Un...

Image via Wikipedia

John Ostrander, who created Amanda Waller 25 years ago in Legends and wrote for many years in [[[Suicide Squad]]], has started writing a blog at http://drwaller.net/ detailing her day-to-day life and challenges with her job.

However, a quick read shows that it might not be the Amanda Waller we’re quite familiar with. I mean, the attitude is certainly there, and we do see a couple of names we recognize in the blog, but it seems that she went to the same astrophysics school that recently gave Jane Foster her doctorate in the [[[Thor]]] movie.

So is this yet another part the alternate universe of Flashpoint, or is it part of the Green Lantern movie? Who cares, it’s John Ostrander writing the Wall again! Go read it.

Remembering Flashpoint

I’ve had a very strange feeling the last few months.

I’m not talking about that feeling you get when you think that history isn’t going along the right path and that you’re living in an alternate universe where people you know and love have changed– I’ve had that feeling since December 12, 2000.

No, I’m talking about how everybody in comics is talking about Flashpoint and a changed comics universe. Because twenty-five years ago, that’s what Flashpoint meant to me– and meant to a lot of other comics fans on Long Island.

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