Celebrating the Unpopular Arts

Flippin’ through ‘Previews’ – May 2022

I’m still kind of in a funk, so I was waiting to see if Travis would start this, but he’s busy, I guess (working? beard-grooming? assassinating America’s enemies world-wide? dehydrating fruit? the mind reels!), so I was actually considering not doing this post this month, which would break a string of something like 14-15 years of me doing these posts (I started in 2007, I think, but it might have been 2008). Then Travis mentioned that he was going to start doing it, so I figured I’d chime in when he had something even though I’ll probably be bitter about it. A few days passed, and he’s still busy, so I figured I’d get off my stupid ass and start doing it (although, ironically, in order to start this post, I’d need to get on my stupid ass because I don’t have one of those fancy futuristic workstations where you stand to type). So here you go. I can’t promise too much. I will switch to gloomy blue for the post, while Travis is in regular black. Let’s go!

At least some of those guesses are true!  But I’m here now!

I mean, that’s an awfully big bull, so …


Lo, the solicits!

So, there are multiple billionaires in Gotham?  They must have really good tax shelter laws! (Page 1)

I saw that, and it cracked me up. DC has spent so long telling us that Gotham is a hellhole, so why would anyone with any means live there? They can’t all be home-grown! Also: I hope that once Bats figures out someone is killing billionaires, he says, “Good. We could use fewer of those fuckers anyway.” I can dream, can’t I?

Ram V and Rafael Albuquerque are a good team on Detective Comics #1062 (page 4), but how can turn Gotham City “into a tragic yet beautiful gothic opera” when it’s been that forfuckingever? Asking for a friend.

Yeah, even the storyline called “Gothic” wasn’t all that out of line with what usually happens in Batman comics!

Brilliant cover, though

Yes, Dark Crisis, obviously with the Justice League dead, the DCU has NO MORE heroes to step up and police the world.  Ay yi yi!  (Page 8)

“Wherever will we find superheroes?” they cried, swinging a dead cat and hitting twelve of them.

I will say that as dumb as Dark Crisis sounds, I’m going to find it hard not to pick up this Superman special that Chris Burnham is doing the art on (page 10).

That is tempting.

Superman: Space Age by Mark Russell and Mike Allred has been getting me excited since I first heard about it, because Allred on Supes is cool and Russell does some great stuff.  Should be fun (page 18).

I agree, but for some reason, I’m not that excited about this. Maybe it’s because of the general funk I’m in, but I saw this and thought, “Yeah, okay.” But nothing much more.

He looks like he could use a nap

Stokoe alert!!!  He’s doing a variant cover for DC vs. Vampires: All-Out War #1 on page 24.

And of course it’s better than the “regular” cover.

You know, I don’t care much about these YA graphic novels DC is doing, because I’m not the target audience and if they’re even attempting to get young people to read comics I’m all for it, but man, Pretty John Constantine (page 26) is just something I can’t abide. That guy is in a punk band? I don’t think so.

Yeah, it’s too weird.  Didn’t the original Hellblazer run not even touch on the Mucous Membrane stuff until later on in the series, and now it seems like every Constantine series keeps going on about it.  It’s too bad, because Kami Garcia and Isaac Goodhart did good with the Teen Titans YA stuff they’ve done.

I’m pretty sure Delano brought the band up very early, but I think you’re right in that nobody really explored it too much until later.

Sorry, no

Hey, at least Naomi got a second season in comics! (Page 40)

I’m not big on poster books, but the DC Poster Portfolio: Brian Bolland on page 43 might actually be worth it.

No, no it wouldn’t.

You no like Bolland, or you think it’s still not worth the price?

I love Bolland, but that’s not worth the price.

Fair enough.  Probably easier to just buy the back issues, slab them, and hang them on your wall, especially without knowing what images they’re using for the poster book.

Was the Harley Quinn 30th Anniversary special solicited recently and I just forgot?  There are two collections that say they feature stories from it, but I don’t remember it at all.

I think so? Like, last month, maybe? I dunno, but it seems like you are right. Try to control your amazement.

Page 45 (no, not the UK comics shop) has The Joker Presents: A Puzzlebox in HC, which sounded like a cool comic, with the Joker being the only evidence for the GCPD on a serial killer case, and many great artists worked on this, but the HC is a bit spendy for me.

Waiting for the softcover!

I thought Kirby was on Kamandi longer than just 20 issues, so I assume that’s why this is volume 1 collecting that series on page 46.  I thought he did the first 40 issues, so there should be another volume.  I have a little bit of this series, and it’s a cool concept.


Solicits, ho!

Okay, as much as I dig Kieron Gillen, this A.X.E.: Judgment Day thing (page 2) is annoying me. Gillen himself has always been interested in gods and the way people worship, and he’s pretty good at it, but Marvel should know better. “The X-Men claim they’re the planets’ new gods.” First of all, I guess they’re talking about Earth and Mars? Or every planet everywhere? Whatever, the placement of an apostrophe isn’t what annoys me. Marvel has been trying to push these “god” stories on us for years, and it rarely works. The Eternals remain inert, Thor’s god shit works in small doses, and it’s frustrating that they keep trying to turn everyone into a god. We know the X-Men will be brought low, and we know what’s interesting about god stuff in comics – the nature of worship and who worships – will be ignored. So what the flying fuck, Marvel?

I have to believe James Stokoe didn’t want to accept Marvel’s offer to let him do whatever the hell he wanted, because Marvel doesn’t seem averse to letting Peach Momoko do whatever the hell she wants (page 12). But that’s cool. Weird, but cool.

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law!!!!!

Yet another reboot of Shang-Chi with the same writer (page 14). It must be selling, but Marvel is really taking this “Only #1 issues sell!” thing really far.

Doesn’t X-Terminators on page 27 have all the characters you love, with Jubilee and Dazzler and Boom-Boom?

I saw that, and I must resist! Maybe I’ll get the trade.

The temptation is real!

I assume The Best Marvel Stories by Stan Lee on page 56 is to celebrate the centennial of Stan’s birth, but how can they call it the best without including Ravage 2099?  (Shoutout to Bill Reed!)

That seems a massive oversight.

When I read a few issues of Gwenpool, it was surprisingly decent, so I’d say the Omnibus on page 59, which also includes the whole West Coast Avengers run that Kelly Thompson wrote as well as a bunch of other comics the character appeared in, might be worth getting sometime.  At a reduced price, ideally!

That’s a bit too much money for a book with Humberto Ramos art in it, but that brief West Coast Avengers run is pretty cool.

In a case of “creator I really like doing character or book I really don’t”, the trade of Carnage on page 67 has a story apparently written and drawn by Ty Templeton.  I’m glad he’s healthier, as he announced a serious cancer diagnosis last year (or the year before, it all blends together any more), but man, Carnage does not interest me.

Are we sure it’s not just a short two-page strip or something like that? In that case, it should be easier to resist.

It probably is, and that just makes me want companies to do big compendiums of every story a particular writer or artist has done for them. Of course, with Ty the Guy, I’m not sure they could reprint the Mad-Dog run he did, because I’m not sure if that was something Marvel owned or if Bob Newhart owns the trademark.  Luckily I have the single, amazing, issues!

I was interested in the How to Read Comics the Marvel Way book back when it was going to be single issues, and now that it’s a trade with some extras on page 74, I’m still interested.  I mostly want to see how the other comics they reprint “follow the rules” that this book lays down.

I was waiting for the trade anyway, so I’m glad that they’re actually printing this instead of just straight-up canceling the book. That’s an odd group of books to “fill out” the collection, though.


Behold, solicits!

Rogues’ Gallery on page 40 sounds like a more interesting take than some about superheroes and the real world.  A woman plays a superhero on TV and is sick of the character, but has to deal with it when a bunch of loons cosplaying (redundant?) as her character’s nemeses (oh, didn’t finish the thought) are stalking her.

The art’s neat. But doesn’t the writer’s name sound like a stripper name?

Possibly in an old-timey Gypsy Rose Lee kinda way, but even that’s a stretch, sir!

I don’t know, it just rolls off the tongue like a stripper name. So sue me.

Handy that the blood flows into a logo like that

Liam Sharpe has Starhenge on page 44, and boy howdy, is this an elevator pitch: “A future Merlin travels to 5th-century Britain to prevent monstrous time-traveling killer robots from robbing the universe of magic.” Well, damn.

Sounds good.  Also, for the Aqua Teen fans, “it is a FARhenge!”.

Andi Watson and Simon Gane reunite for Sunburn on page 48, and as they did Paris together, which is quite good, I’ll probably get this.

I wondered why they were reprinting Paris.  Yeah, this sounds good.

I mean, you could try wearing a hat …

Above Snakes on page 52 calls Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou a “rock-star letterer.” I mean, he’s quite good, but that seems a bit excessive.

Or is it?  No, I don’t know.  I know I’ve seen his name but I doubt I’ve actually read anything he’s done yet.

He’s been working a lot recently – he’s done some of Ram V’s Image stuff and stuff for Vault, and I’m sure a lot of other stuff, too, but I’m not sure he’s a rock star yet. Cool opening act for a bigger band, maybe?

I think I got The Hollows (page 57) back when IDW put it out, but I don’t quite remember.  Yeah, it looks familiar.  I’m guessing this reprints the 4 issue mini?

I assume.

First there was the facsimile edition, now there’s a “remastered” version of Liefeld’s Prophet 1 (page 62), with guys like Piskor and Rugg and Scioli doing new pages for it.  Wha—?

What’s puzzling? It’s not like Marvel hasn’t done this more than once. Or are you just confused by the choice of Prophet #1? A lot of people liked that back in the day, you know!

Who?  Name names, sir!  The take on the series from (holy crap, it’s been 10 years?!) 2012 spearheaded by Brandon Graham was really cool, but the original was some weird semi-religious superhero stuff.  I think the only think that made it of interest was when Stephen Platt was hot for a few weeks back in the ‘90s.  Ah, SPLATT, where are you now?

Page 63 has Skybound X #25, an homage to the Images of Tomorrow books that were done in the late ‘90s, which I have an unholy affection for.  Damn you, Kirkman!

This looks cool as fuck, though.

Ryan Ottley digs the ultra-violence!

The trade of Bolero on page 65 sounds cool, with a way for a woman to try to change her circumstances through a mysterious device that allows her to change time or hop dimensions, whatever.

I guess you didn’t find anything interesting from Boom!, either?

Nope. Moving on!

Dark Horse:

Ecce! Solicits!

Matt Kindt brings back Mind Mgmt as part of his new imprint with Dark Horse (page 124), and I’m not happy with this trend of telling a complete story but then deciding to return to it later. Kindt is good enough and Farel Dalrymple is an excellent artist, but man, I don’t like this trend.

Yeah, that’s the annoying bit, when the creators are actually good but the story ended perfectly cromulently.  I suspect it has to do with media tie-ins, as I think I heard Mind MGMT is getting adapted.  Same thing happened when Lemire redid Sweet Tooth (although I thought the Netflix show was actually an improvement, so far, on the original series, and I don’t know how much of that adaptation was kept for the new version of the comic).

On page 132 is the third Madman Library HC, and this one reprints the run of The Atomics and Red Rocket 7.  I wonder how the latter will look, since I believe the original comics of RR7 were record sleeve sized, aka square.

Wow, bold of Dark Horse to reprint a Daredevil GN on page 135.  Oh, wait, that’s Love and War, a comic about a … tug-of-war team?!  Sure, why not, and it also deals with queer love and choosing between potential boyfriends, so that’s neat enough.  There are going to be real obvious metaphors, though, aren’t there?

But of course!

Wiper on page 149 sounds cool, with PIs that promise discretion because they get their memories wiped after each case, but one thinks the current client looks familiar.  I dig that kind of stuff.

That does sound neat, but those are some poorly-named characters. “Klute”? “Glark”? Is this a 1950s sci-fi movie? (Or, you know, a dull movie starring Donald Sutherland and Jane Fonda?)

Not the greatest cover, but whattayagonnado?


I wouldn’t think it would be all that interesting, but since it’s written by Sholly Fisch, it just might work.  On page 165 is Madballs vs. Garbage Pail Kids, the ‘80s gross out fest that no one asked for!

It’s the back of the book!

Ablaze has some neat stuff, showing us that them Europeans make cool comics.  Animal Castle is collected in HC on page 214, and it sounded like an interesting take on Orwell (although not an adaptation).  Page 218 has Promethee 13:13, a prequel to a Christophe Bec GN series done by Andy Diggle (where’s he been?) and Shawn Martinbrough.  And The Voices of Water appears on page 222, about a weird city where it always rains and a dude hears voices.  (And that dude … Kurt Cobain, because it’s Seattle, see, and … oh, never mind …)

Not only Diggle, but Martinbrough as well. And I like the artist for The Voices of Water: “One of the most important Italian comics artists of the last decade,” Werther Dell’Edera. How is that distinction determined, I want to know.

Aardvark-Vanaheim has a new Cerebus in Hell? special on page 223.  Yeah.  I don’t even know, but I do know I’m going to be getting it sometime.  In other news, the Form and Void volume of the original Cerebus series has been remastered (for the wallet-busting price of $70, but I’m sure Sean Robinson did his usual A+ job on the remastering), and I’d like to shoutout my buddy Matt Dow, who currently runs A Moment of Cerebus, for getting me a copy from the recent Kickstarter of this when I didn’t have the cash right then.  Now I just have to remember to pay him for it …

Why do you do this to yourself, sir? You can’t want to give money for that Cerebus in Hell? thing, can you?

Some people can’t stop rubbernecking car crashes, I buy whatever Dave Sim/Cerebus related stuff that gets put out!

Also on 223 is Pulp Power: The Shadow, Doc Savage, and the Art of the Street and Smith Universe, which is a bit lofty for what the pulps were, but this looks like a pretty cool collection of pulp covers and commentary by contemporary creators.

Alex Ross’s Fantastic Four book is on page 226 from Abrams Comicarts, and yeah, I’ll be getting this (yes, it’s $40 for 64 pages, but I don’t care). I could try to find out why Marvel isn’t publishing this, but I don’t really give that much of a shit.

I mean, come on!

They’ve come to some sort of agreement with them, and I assume Abrams is an offshoot of Random House, which now handles the Marvel distribution.  I think.  But yes, this looks very tasty.  The Abrams Books for Young Readers on the same page has the Marvel Big Book of Fun and Games, which isn’t something I’d spend good money on, but it looks like nostalgic fun.  And nostalgic fun is the name of the game with the Uncanny X-Men Trading Cards Complete Series, reprinting the artwork from Jim Lee’s X-Men trading card set, which helped me get super into the comics.  Also, I want to shout out our old friend Nick Marino, who was delighted at the old place when he found out from a comment of mine that there was a 3-issue miniseries that reprinted this artwork … jeez, maybe 20 years ago or so?  Nick, I did read that email you sent me, like, a year and a half ago, but I never got around to doing more with it!  I’m so sorry!  I’ll have to get in touch and apologize profusely!

Do you think Nick is going to read this? I mean, it would be great if he did, but it’s a strange forum on which to apologize.

He might.  I don’t know.  I’m manifesting his forgiveness, ok?

Also on the same page from Abrams ComicArts is Joseph Smith and the Mormons, by Noah Van Sciver, who it says was raised Mormon.  As, presumably, was his brother Ethan.  Make of that what you will.

When I was in Salt Lake City in 1993, we stopped by the history museum they have there, and I asked the tour guide what happened to the golden tablets that Joseph Smith used to create the sect. I figured, sure, we don’t have the Old and New Testaments because they’re thousands of years old and things disintegrate, but this happened less than two hundred years ago and they were gold, which lasts a bit longer. She said once Smith was done, God took the tablets back to heaven. Seems kind of convenient to me.

That’s a great question, and of course it’s convenient, it’s religion, but I don’t know a lot about it — did people actually see the tablets, or did Smith just tell people about them?  And if they were real, where did they actually end up?  Is this how the Romneys got their wealth?  The other thing about this book is I believe Mike Allred also did a comic about Mormonism and the Golden Plates, as the series was called.  It’s not one he gets asked to reprint much, I think.

I’m not too up on my Mormon history (although the LDS presence in Arizona is fairly significant), so I don’t know who else saw the tablets. And you don’t have to believe that Allred did that book – there’s proof!

But I believe in it!

Aconyte has a couple of Marvel choose your adventure type books on page 228, which sound kinda fun.

Aftershock’s new books look neat, with The Brother of All Men on page 230 being a neat hardboiled tale based on a weird cult between the World Wars, and There’s Something Wrong with Patrick Todd on 232 about a psychic kid making bad people commit crimes for him to help his sick mom and the serial killer after him.  Kinda reminds me of what Valiant was doing with Harbinger when they started back up about 10 years ago.

The first one is by Zac Thompson and the second by Ed Brisson, so they’ll both probably be good.

On page 248, American Mythology brings us Florida Man, a series by Mike Baron of Nexus and Badger fame.  I don’t think I need to say more, do I?

You could sigh loudly.

AWA has a new Milligan book on page 270, Absolution, which sounds like the Running Man meets that one step of AA, while on page 273, the trade of Primos appears, written by cool comedian Al Madrigal (he opened for Mitch Hedberg, y’know), with an interesting premise of two Mayan brothers who return to Earth from their long space voyage taking different views on what they think the planet should be like, and one brother calling on their descendants to help him out.  I got the first issue for FCBD but haven’t gotten to read it yet.  Maybe this will be the year I finally review the FCBD books!

I wanted to shout out No’Madd on page 274 from Battle Quest Comics. I met Andrew Kafoury probably ten years ago at Emerald City (I think; he lives in Portland, and I know I saw in at the Rose City Con, but I think I met him in Seattle), and he’s been doing this comic for at least that long, and he’s amassed a good amount of material, and he finally got into Previews. I have the first trade of his epic, and it’s pretty good, and I need to catch up. Give it a try and see what’s what!

That’s a cool sounding one, with aliens battling dudes in a fantasy setting, if I’m reading it right.

Behemoth has a couple neat ones on page 279, with the trade of Nobody’s Child, about how albino rhinos are the cure for what ails ya, if ye be a human, and how the last existing one gets protected by a boy who’s got his own trauma; and the trade of Victor Santos’s Until My Knuckles Bleed, an homage to ‘90s EXTREME comics, apparently.

Kill it!!!!!

Massive has something called Alpha Betas on page 281, but I can’t find it listed on the website, so I assume it’s been cancelled or at least delayed.

Berserker has Cosmic 70: The Art of Paul Davidson on page 282, for which there’s also a Kickstarter going on right now.

Also on 282, I wonder if the Black Caravan series Behemoth was offered to the publisher Behemoth?

Too … much … synchronicity …

Bliss on Tap collects Weed Magic on page 284, about some stoners who find some weed that gives them magic powers.  Whoa, man!

I don’t think that’s really happening …

Also on page 284, the Blood Moon Comics book The 9 Circles has art by someone named Kool as Heck.  I’m going to hope that it’s Marvel artist Don Heck’s grandchild!

Two things: That’s probably not true. Second: “Based on the award-winning television screenplay”? Fuck the heck is that all about?

I think there are contests where TV screenplays and such get read, even if they aren’t produced.  I know there’s an annual Hollywood thing where there’s an award for the best unproduced screenplay, which often leads to said screenplay getting produced, I think.

On page 285, Blue Juice Comics has Knights of the Fifth Dimension, about a comics creator who’s been keeping our dimension safe from some evilness for years, and how he needs help from another creator who used to assist him but dropped out of society.  It’s drawn by Kevin Smith’s surprisingly talented artist friend Walter Flanagan.

I probably should get The Complete Eightball from Fantagraphics on page 303, shouldn’t I?

Eh?  Probably, and this edition is probably the best one (a reasonably priced SC for the amount of stuff reprinted), but I’m a little cold on Clowes.  If I was spending money on Fanta, I’d get some of those Los Bros volumes myself.

IDW is in the back, and on page 326, Dark Spaces: Wildfire is a mini by Scott Snyder and Hayden Sherman about California inmates working at putting out forest fires, when one of them realizes they are close to her old associate’s place, so they can loot it.  Sounds like an interesting take on a heist book, and I’m glad IDW is working on more creator owned stuff.  The same page also has the Gil Kane Amazing Spider-Man Artisan Edition, which has the drug story, six armed Spidey/Morbius story, and the death of Gwen Stacy. Damn!

Keenspot has a fun looking one on page 334, Kid Slapshot, a bit of Deadpool for kids mashed up with the Silver Surfer’s origin.  There’s a poster by Chris Giarrusso, who went to the same college I did and apparently worked at one of the local comic shops, which is always a fun fact to share!

Legendary has Three Little Wishes on page 335, by Paul Cornell and Steve Yeowell, about a woman who’s normally very overthinking doing something spontaneous and stumbles upon Oberon wanting to grant her three wishes.

This guy?

On page 341 Magnetic Press has Darryl Openworld, about a journalist who can travel between worlds, and the conspiracy he uncovers about someone trying to exploit magic.

Oni has Blink on page 346, yet another book drawn by Hayden Sherman, about a woman who can’t remember her early life until she sees CCTV footage of a strange place that awakens memories.  Creepy!  Also, on page 348, there’s a 25th Anniversary facsimile of Whiteout #1, for 10 friggin’ dollars!  Damn!  I just saw that apparently the movie version is getting plenty of views on wherever it’s streaming.

That can’t be pleasant

Red 5 has the trade of The Box on page 358, about a dude that can pull stuff out of his special box.  It’s got art by Raymond Estrada, who does a neat looking book that’s on Kickstarter called Cult Heroes.

I don’t know if Cult of Ikarus on page 359 from Scout is any good (it sounds fun, but who knows), but it’s drawn by Karl Slominski, and he’s excellent, so it will look great!

I’m waiting on the Kickstarter of Lady Mayhem, by this same creative team, and it too sounds balls out crazy fun.  I had pledged for, and undoubtedly I’ve gotten, the GN he did via KS just prior to these books, and whose name escapes me.  But I think it was more all-ages than this stuff.

Also from Scout is Bush Leaguers, a preview of a trade coming out about a baseball team at the end of the 19th century and how they’re a bunch of screwups, and on page 360 is She Bites, about an old vampire stuck in a 9 year old’s body and the teenager she hires to do stuff for her.

On page 388, the University Press of Mississippi has Contagious Imagination: The Work and Art of Lynda Barry, who’s been a favorite of mine for many years, and who does lovable and surprisingly deep comics about her characters.

Valiant has a collection of the original Archer and Armstrong on page 392, which was a surprisingly good book, but then, it was done by Barry Windsor-Smith for the most part.

Kodansha on page 439 has Go, Go, Loser Ranger!, about a Power Rangers type group that subjugated the alien invaders years ago but force the aliens to act out their defeat weekly in order to keep Earth wondering if the aliens might win in the end.  Sounds fun.  On 441, they have Parasyte in color, where humans get infected by parasites and only one teenager knows what they’re up to; and PTSD Radio, an anthology of horror.

That’s all for this month. I hope I will be out of this funk soon, and let’s hope Travis’s beard doesn’t need quite as much attending next month and that all of America’s enemies have been neutralized. Thanks for reading, and we hope you find something interesting in the pages of Previews!


  1. I assume they’re saving Ravage for an oversized hardcover collection with foil-embossed cover. I’m sure it’s coming along with the Mad Dog Omnibus with introduction by Bob Newhart that you have to flip over to read each Mad Dog version.

    I believe a lower-cost version of the Alex Ross Fantastic Four book will show up in next month’s Previews– this $40 one is the “slipcase” version. I’ll probably spring for the cheaper one.

  2. HAL 2000

    “God took the tablets back to heaven”, it’s probably like the best crockery, he only brings them out on special occasions. For some reason I’m reminded of a memorable question from the otherwise awful Star Trek V, “What does God need with a starship?” Except here it would be, “what does God need with golden tablets?” For I am a jealous God and I like shiny things.
    A.X.E. Judgment Day. What a terrible title. A v X was bad enough (it’s Vs you Philistines!). I found it amusing that Gillen had Mr Sinister comment on the shonky spelling of “Judgment”, he rightfully plumps for “Judgement”. Ha.
    Gillen’s Eternals is absolutely chockful of dreadful retcons and authorial jiggery-pokery. The Eternals (some of them) find themselves turned into fundamentalist loons with personality transplants to suit the “story”. Really, if a writer finds the underlying concepts of a creation to be unworkable or antithetical to their modern thinking, perhaps they should leave well enough alone. “Boy, I don’t like that Peter Parker was bitten by a spider and granted the proportional strength and agility of a spider. I hate that he feels tremendous guilt and that he wisecracks. Can’t Aunt May be a lesbian and Uncle Ben not really dead? What if the clone wasn’t dead? What if he comes back? What if the clone wasn’t the clone? What if he comes back and takes over as Spider-Man? What if it turns out he WAS the clone and dies? What if he comes back again…as a villain? What if returns to being the Scarlet Spider? What if he takes over as Spider-Man AGAIN then loses his mind and becomes a villain with an incredibly stupid name and look?!?!” *shakes head as he knows most of that actually happened in the comic books* Bwa-ha-ha!
    Gillen isn’t a bad writer but his attempts at wit are too often excruciating, as if he has read about humour somewhere but doesn’t understand it so writes to formula. (cf. Al Ewing). His Mr Sinister, tho’ ludicrous, has his moments however.
    I hope you feel better soon, Greg. Difficult as it with things as they are.

    1. Tom Brevoort discussed the “I don’t like the premise of this series so I’ll reject it” approach on his blog: https://tombrevoort.com/2021/04/03/blah-blah-blog-commit-to-the-idea/
      James Hudnall taking over Strikeforce: Morituri was a classic example. The hook for the series was Earth fighting against an alien invasion by giving some humans super-powers, even though the process kills them in a year. Hudnall didn’t like having them die, didn’t like alien invasions, so he made a complete shift of direction. I stopped buying.

      1. HAL 2000

        Agh. I remember Strikforce: Morituri (We who are about to die salute you!); I didn’t know that Hudnall trashcanned the entire concept of the series. What an idiot. Lucky he didn’t take over Planet of the Apes. “Does it have to be apes? Ewww. I don’t like APES. And what’s this planet business. I have a MUCH better idea…”
        I’d argue that the famous Alan Moore Swamp Thing retcon is rather different as altho’ it epitomises the everything you know is wrong approach, it didn’t say that nothing before happened and it opened up new vistas of story. But Moore could write and most of his imitators can’t or at least nowhere near as well. Similarly the original Marvelman would not be remembered if it wasn’t for Moore’s Marvelman/Miracle man yet when when many writers retcon characters while explicitly contradicting/replacing GOOD past stories the results are annoying. Jason Aaron’s recent shenanigans around Thor’s parentage and the existence of a prehistoric Avengers are a case in point. A Ghost Rider on a wooly mammoth? A Starbrand Hulk? The first Black Panther? A redheaded Phoenix who is supposedly Thor’s real mother? Oy.
        This all reminds me of an especially irritating retcon, the Phoenix retcon. She/It WASN’T Jean Grey all along except for those later stories in which she (Jean) is treated as if she were. The (ridiculous) retcons around the nature of the Phoenix seen in AvX made things even worse. There’s no problem with Jean returning she was after all a PHOENIX which have a tendency to do that but the endlessly retconned Phoenix Force is for the birds. As is the obsession with making the Phoenix redheaded. Jean, yes, she WAS Phoenix. Rachel? Yep, she was Scott and Jean’s alternative future daughter. But Hope? Prehistoric Phoenix?! I love redheads but this makes no sense! Ah, but the new Phoenix is Maya Lopez/Echo and that is the result of a whole new

        1. Alan Moore never felt like he was rejecting the original. It’s still horror, still Swamp Thing the swamp monster, even if he’s now the Swamp God as well. The Kraft reboot in which Alec regains his humanity, lives near Seattle (I think it was) and periodically turns back into the Hulk — er, Swamp Thing—is more what I’m thinking of
          Moore’s Miracleman is more of a total reboot but at that point the original had been gone for a while which must have muted the shock. Though I’ve never been able to get into that reboot.

          1. HAL 2000

            Yes, exactly right. The Incredible Swulk. The raging muck monster that dwells within. Hilarious!
            Like you, I have never been able to get into Miracleman. I can admire the skill, appreciate its influence, but it isn’t something I can really enjoy.
            Back onto Swamp Thing – so to speak – the climax to DC’s Brightest Day saw (you are already likely aware of this) the now mindless rampaging reanimated Swampie merged with the spirit of Alec Holland returning him to something to his original status quo. Oh, Geoff Johns you are silly!
            Johns is an odd one, he’s not untalented but writes often as an Alan Moore karaoke tribute. But missed the point. Retcons a-go-go, gratuitous gore, and an obsession with turning villains into sexual psychopaths (he even does that in a single issue Avengers story in which he has Whirlwind have an escort dress as the Wasp…then murder her. Revolting). Bizarrely altho’ he uses actual Alan Moore concepts over and over he also passive aggressively monkeys with them as if to say, “I’m best! I’M BEST!” (Dumbest example: his use of a couple of extremely short stories as “inspiration” for much his – sometimes pretty good but ludicrously in awe of leather-jacketed jackass Hal Jordan – Green Lantern run with Blackest Night being the stupid cherry atop a cake of stupidity). Moore wrote some *fun* things, Johns on the other hand Brightest Night which included such bright delights as an entire family being slaughtered by the mother/spouse; Black Manta discovering Aquaman was still alive and hacking apart a shop full of customers; and zombie sharks devouring people (and that ISN’T a joke!). If that’s his idea of a Brightest Day he must have loved 9/11. Really weird. Um, well, that was something. I find this stuff incredibly goofy as well as off-putting.

  3. HAL 2000

    (Oops. Sent without finishing)… basketful of dumb. The Phoenix force launches a contest to see who gets to be the new Phoenix then decides to choose someone other than the winner? Two stupid ideas for the price of one. Impressive. Fortunately, America Chavez wasn’t there or she would have been the new Phoenix and even more obnoxious! Apologies for transforming this into a rant about the Phoenix and Jason Aaron’s all-time worse ideas and storytelling weaknesses. Must…not…mention… Original Sin…and…the…absurd…retcon…used…to get…rid of…Classic Coke Nick Fury…in order to…replace him with… a Nick Fury…who looks…like Ultimate Nick Fury…or Movie Nick Fury…but doesn’t have a…personality. Oh no, I just did!

  4. Rereading Johns’ GL run from the Blackest Night/Brightest Day period, I was amazed to realize for a solid year half the Green Lantern story is being told in other books. Not the worst thing Johns did on GL, but still.
    Strangely enough, the 2004 Andy Diggle reboot also went with “Now Swamp Thing IS Alec Holland for real!” twist. But as my friend Ross says, there’s no idea in comics that won’t be done multiple times.

    1. HAL 2000

      Yes. Some of the stuff in that period isn’t bad but grim ‘n’ gritty heart-ripping stuff is ridiculous. Blackest Night Flash is an example of how Johns’s worst impulses clash with his better. Bart gets saved from being pulled into Black Lanternness but against that we have Wally West being – literally – outshined by superdupermarvelous Barry Allen and Boomerang Jr being willing to feed even children to his cannibalzombienotDad. The ludicrous zombie asshole Black Lanterns enjoy ripping people’s hearts out (everyone’s got to have a hobby) but why is Black Lantern Boomerang Sr a cannibal? No man can say. It’s especially weird because Johns was the one who invented the silly Black Lantern concept so the explanation seems to be that Johns wanted to kill off Boomerang Jr in order to bring his father back (um, Johns has an addiction to doing things like this, doesn’t he?) and couldn’t be bothered with following even his own logic. Tsk tsk.
      I did not know that! I’m surprised that no one has tried to bring back the Wolverine was a mutated Wolverine/Spider-Woman was a mutated spider origins. There’s still time… Be afraid, be very afraid.

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