Friday, June 30, 2006

It's That Time Again

Huh, you know what I forgot to make a big deal out of yesterday? It was my 200th post. Oh well, I'll be more impressed if I'm still here after a year. Tomorrow morning, I'm leaving town for a few days, going back to Columbia to see my dad and my buddie Alex, with a brief stop in St. Loo to see my former roomies' house and get fitted for a tux. Why couldn't their wedding be informal dress? I hate tuxes. And what's up with all the bloggers going all over the place. Diamondrock, Kalinara, me, we're on the move. Oh right, Fourth of July. Or is it? Perhaps, as Alex would say, 'In the darkness, we are gathering'. Of course, all the Roman candles might make it hard to stay hidden, but I've badly digressed. So, with me not making any new blog posts between now and next Thursday (when I'll review my pull for the week), I wanted to leave you with something larger to discuss, as is my style. So here it is, because I just love hypotheticals, don't you know?

You are placed in charge of Marvel Comics for five minutes. I suppose I could make this any comics company, but I'd say the general consensus among people who read Marvel is, there need to be changes - badly. But, if you'd rather put this in action for DC or IDW or somebody, run with it. To continue: You have precisely enough time to issue one - and only one - edict, but it will be followed for the remainder of the company's days. And no, they can't simply shut down the company and restart it under a new name to get out from under your commandment. None of that "Buffy was clinically dead for three minutes, so a new Slayer got called, and this is how we have two Vampire Slayers" stuff. You can make a decision regarding anything, large of small. It can pertain to liscencing, whether movies, games, toys, cartoons. It can involve firing a certain person of the last name that begins with "Que". It can be putting a specific writer on a book (someone must be able to write Dr. Strange well), or taking a writer off a book (or books, if you want the person gone entirely). It can be to dictate storytelling policy because, in short, you have the Reality Gem, because here at Marvel, we don't need no stinking Whiny Brat Superboy to change the way things are! So what do you do?

I'm torn. I'd love to kick Bendis off New Avengers, and give it to Tony Bedard. Or simply state that everything from the beginning of Disassembled forward is out of continuity, and to be ignored, except Annihilation, which is good. But here's what I'm going to decree:

Two book maximum for all characters within the 616 universe. I know Marvel doesn't have the stable of characters that DC does, but damnit, there's people there who can be used (even more assuming one of you retcons out House of M and we get assloads of mutants back)! So, no character may have a prominent role in more than two books. I will count against them out-of universe exceptions, such as the MC2, Marvel Adventures, and Ultimates lines, though those have their own limits as well (just in case). I will allow a character a maximum of three guest spots per year (that's for all titles they aren't already in, not per title). Basically, I'm tired of over-exposure, and if the books are written well enough, and accessibly enough, I think people will buy them, whether or not "SUPER KEWL SPIDER-MAN AND WOLVERINE ARE IN THE BOOK!". Maybe I'm overestimating our intelligence as comics' fans. So be it.

For example, you want Spider-Man to stay in New Avengers? Then he loses two of his solo titles (I'd say we keep Amazing just because I'm loathe to dump that comic title, with the history of it). He's not going to be in New Avengers? OK, then he can have Friendly or Sensational back, and you give his spot to someone like Nova or Chamber (suggestions made by Spencer Carnage and Kelvin Green back in the early days of this blog), or Speedball, since Nova's in space right now. Same deal with Wolverine. This way, some of the lesser known characters get used for something other than simply cannon fodder in the Next Big Event (damn you Quesada! I loved The New Warriors! Why, you bastard, WHY!!). Who knows, maybe you find a writer that really makes them great, and they become more than a character with a small cult following? Maybe the public at large would grow to understand the awesomeness that is Moon Knight? Or The Shroud? Or. . . or, The Sentry? Just kidding, I wanted to see if you had given up on reading and gone straight to commenting. You are going to make an edict and place it in the comments, right?

OK, clearly I've run out of steam, so let me close by phrasing this suggestion in a way the fellows currently running the show at the House of Ideas can understand: If you make your lesser known and used characters more beloved, by a greater number of people, then it will have a much greater impact when you . . . get around to killing them for the Next Big Event. Does it make sense to you now, you pea-brained little minnows?

Peace out! I heading for the West Side! Even though Alex lives on the East Side! And my dad lives on the North Side! So where the hell am I going!?


Unknown said...

Two old-school Spider titles in mainstream Marvel Universe: "Amazing" written by Dan Slott and "Spectacular" by Robert Kirkman.

LEN! said...

Quick note: I love the idea of Tony Bedard writing an Avengers book; it could easily be one of the most ass-kicking books on the market.

My edict:

Cyclops (Scott Summers) and Phoenix (Jean Grey) are to renew their wedding vows and hold to them, just as they were always meant too.

Yes, I know it's sappy.

Brandon Bragg said...

The Thing is no longer cancled and is an ongoing, with Slott forever doomed to script it's pages.

Evan Waters said...

Moira McTaggert lives.

Anonymous said...

Damn, I hate these kinds of questions. Dozens of possibilities spring to mind and you want me to pick ONE? So I'm gonna cheat and do two, both for Marvel.

EDICT #1: Universe-wide reboot back to 1991.

I find it sort of odd that the stand-alone, self-contained, iconic-style universe has complete-overhaul reboots every ten years, while the continuity-driven universe reboots character-specific in order to please the flavor-of-the-week creator.

Anyway, the Marvel Universe is broken, and the only way I see of fixing it is to rewind. Unlike the DCU, the MU doesn't take too kindly to post-Crisis-style "assume it's not in continuity until we say otherwise" corrections; Spider-Man and the X-Men (to name the prominent examples) operate on the "we are our mistakes" principle, which falls apart if the reader has no real idea of what exactly the history of their lives is.

So I say turn back the clock. I picked 1991 mainly because at least that's late enough to preserve Claremont's X-work, but not so late as to include Peter Parker's resurrected parents, the Crossing, or Infinity Crusade. It was a time where the MU was still a coherent whole, the characters weren't overdrama-ed, and major plotlines hadn't been botched.

Okay, so I'd lose some good stuff. Busiek's Avengers, Bendis's DD and Alias, Morrison's New X-Men (though that really isn't in continuity anyway), Milligan's X-Statix (ditto), and Waid's FF. Sorry, but sacrifices must be made. Hell, most of these could be Superboy-punched into continuity pretty easily. In fact, just say that at the end of X-Men #3, there's a OYL thing where all the good post-91 stories happened in some fashion or another, and just move forward from there.

EDICT #2: Writers on the major titles (X-Men/Uncanny, Amazing/Spider-Man, Avengers, and FF) must stay on for five years, have rough five-year plans approved by all the other major-title writers, and can exercise creative control over any character within their spinoff titles.

The great Marvel runs are 3 things: 1) long, 2) flexible within greater continuity of the rest of the ongoing MU, and 3) full of many well-controlled characters. Claremont, Simonson, Byrne, Stern, Englehart, Thomas, etc. turned out great works without messing each other up, ditching titles after seven issues, or fubaring the stories Stan and Jack told. They played the game under the rules their predecessors played.

frank said...

every book has a letters column

Anonymous said...

EDICT #1: Ladies and gentlemen, Marvel's New E-I-C: Mark Waid.
EDICT #2: Four X-Books ONLY. No more mutants stays and no one is allowed to create a new mutant character for two years.
EDICT #3: Evan Waters's and Frank's Edicts RULE.
EDIT #4: Company-wide continuity shift. We find out that from the moment Wanda became unhinged, we've been actually dealing with Maximus the Mad using her as a conduit for a nefarious and evil plan. Black Bolt goes down to the basement where they keep that mo'fo', tells him to cut it out, and Wanda wakes up with the only problem in her life being how to reconcile her love for Wonder Man and the Vision. Everything else? GONE.
Give me a little more time. I might have to go up the mountain and return with some tablets.

Anonymous said...

More Awesome stuff, No lame stuff.