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Wait, What? Ep. 109: Delightful

Jeff Lester

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Two panels from Avengers #1. Captain America sounds kinda bitchy here, doesn’t he?

Happy holidays!  Ho ho ho!  Uhh…. Gather Ye Rosebuds While You May!

(Man, I gotta outsource the holiday sections of these entries to Graeme or something.  I am really bad at this!)

Anyway, behind the jump…Show Notes!

0:00-7:13:  Welcome!  We start things bright and cheerful by talking about the possible coming apocalypse.  Are we welcoming you to next-to-last Wait, What? ever? (We’re not.) (Or are we?)  (But, really, we’re not.) But Graeme’s thesis is that 2012 was such a shitty year, it’s easy to believe that even the end of the world would be preferable to it continuing. True for you?

Also, because this is the first of two eps. wherein we answer your questions, let’s see if this approach makes for a nice, clear set of shownotes or not:

7:13-10:21:  Answered first, since it’s been lingering!  From T.:  “Okay, I asked this earlier, but can you recite the Four or so stock Bendis characters or voices that you mentioned two podcasts ago, and can you provide examples? I think the only one you got to was the “smart guy” character/voice.” Here is part one of our answer with All-New X-Men #3 discussed as well.

10:21-21:01: But because we are us, we go on to discuss Avengers #1 by Jonathan Hickman and Jerome Opena instead. I’m really tempted to spoil the joke team in this one because I thought it was pretty funny, but I’ll let you find it out for yourself.

21:01-25:51:  And then, because we are conscientious types, we go back to talking about the four basic Bendis voices, and the voices he can’t seem to quite catch.

25:51-27:10: Whew!  Our first question answered!  Then, because of of some weird connection problems on Graeme’s problems, we move right to…

27:10-27:32:  MUSICAL INTERLUDE THE FIRST

27:32-46:16:  We are back to talk about a topic we promised to discuss last time–how the Internet turned thought into a widget.  Hopefully, this is more than just a standard INTERNET WAAH WAAH WAAH discussion. Among things mentioned: Steampunk, the collapse of the porn industry, zombie hordes, etc.

46:16-1:03:03:  Twitter Question #1: from @adampknave: Redo MarvelNOW: “Cast your 2 X-Men & 2 Avenger books + what creative teams? BONUS: Justify a D-Man series“.

1:03:03-1:03:26:  MUSICAL INTERLUDE THE SECOND

1:03:26-1:08:43: Twitter Question #2 from @adampknave: “What sandwiches and pies are you both looking forward to in 2013?”  If you are in the Bay Area, I highly recommend you order the Cran-Apple Pie from these guys  before the end of December….

1:08:43-1:10:40: Twitter Question #3 from @Twyst: “What would Wolverine get as gifts for each of the Avengers?”

1:10:40-1:20:38: Twitter Question #4 from @davepress:”what do you think Karen Berger will do next? You’ll probably get into this anyway.

1:20:38-1:21:09: Twitter Question #5 from @davepress:”also what writing project are you working on Jeff? (I don’t care about you, Graeme. Kidding!)

1:21:09-1:22:14:Twitter Question #6 from CandyAppleAlly: “Does Marvel hate Scarlet Witch fans more than DC hates Stephanie Brown fans or vice-versa?

1:22:14-1:25:44: Twitter Question #7 from @zhalfim: “what comics this year did you like that you never ever expected to like?

1:25:44-1:28:01: Twitter Question #8 from @zhalfim: “(you don’t have to answer both either/or is cool) what is the most memorable thing said in this year’s run of podcasts?”

1:28:01-1:33:46: Web Question #1 from Dr. Timebomb:  “With Karen Berger leaving DC I’ve thought about the major changes DC has gone through recently. It was only a few years ago that in addition to the DC Universe and Vertigo you had Humanoids, CMX, Minx, and, on the web, Zuda. DC overall seemed to be servicing all aspects of the industry. Variety was a value.  Why didn’t it work? Is it a matter of readers not showing up, therefore these initiatives not making enough beans for the bean counters? Is it impatience/short-sightedness on the part of the publishers? Which side shoulders the blame, and is it more than just one side?

1:33:46-1:44:48:  Web Question #2 from Faur:  “Do you think the role of the artist, artwork, and his or her visual storytelling are given the appropriate amount of consideration in online comics criticism, particularly in criticism of mainstream comics? Follow-up question: Do you think artists are given appropriate credit for a comic’s commercial success?”  Our answer incorporates more discussion of Avengers #1.

1:44:48-1:45:34:Web Question #3(a) from Alan Smith:  “Q. Why are you guys so negative on Mark Miller and Jim Shooter? (not trolling I’m new to comics).”  Cue the link to Marvel Comics: The Untold Story.

1:45:34-1:50:46:Web Question #3(b) from Alan Smith: “Q. (to Jeff re Marvel boycott) Why are you OK with buying/using Apple products to read comics when that company has arguably a far worse attitude to labour relations/creator rights/worker rights than Marvel?

1:50:46-1:56:05:  Web Question #4 from Dan Coyle:  “Q: What do you think victory is for Steve Wacker?” On a related note, Amazing Spider-Man #799 is discussed. On a related, related note, even after reminding himself repeatedly, Jeff still refers to issue #799 as issue #699.  Denial!

1:56:05-FINI: Time is called, after Jeff’s last-ditch attempt to run the ball out of bounds fails. Holiday wishes are made, theme music is played.

Whew, I know, right?  It’s like the type of cliffhanger you might see at the end of an Adam West Batman episode!  If it took us two hours to answer thirteen questions and we can only record one more episode where we have to answer thirty-plus questions then how are we going to…. <insert headsplode here>

(Nah, it’ll all work out, I’m sure.)

Anyhoo: maybe you’ve already come across this episode on iTunes.  Or maybe you haven’t and you just want to listen to it here?? Either way, it is waiting for you below:

Wait, What? Ep. 109: Delightful

And join us here next week for our epic wrap-up just in time for the holiday break!  Hope you enjoy, etc., etc.

 

42 Responses to “ Wait, What? Ep. 109: Delightful ”

  1. I missed the questions deadline but I was wondering if and when you two are going to be hosting a Marvel Now: Next Big Thing conference for Fraction’s Fantastic Four. I think it would be a night/fight to remember.
    Oh and in response to your talk of the endless stream of Captain America’s failed Avengers teams, I feel like this is clearly a build-up to Marvel’s next big storyline: Captain America travelling through time to assemble an Avengers team made of different Captain Americas. Captain America’s Avenging Captain Americas.

  2. Re: The accelerated weathering effect of the internet.

    The speed of information on the internet is like a flash flood that never stops. That’s why it’s important to cultivate a network and embrace it for what it is. It’s very easy to feel the enormity of it (clean out your instapaper / bookmarks bar lately?) but it also can be beneficially limited by choice and pattern.

    Re: Putting super talented people to work on the widget line

    Hearing the list of people that would get put to work on X-Men and Avengers titles did not fill me with a “Ah, wouldn’t that be great…” vibe. It’s utterly depressing to think of someone like Brandon Graham or Kate Beaton basically doing the equivalent of working the injector line at Twinkie cream filling facility 8 – paying homage to old, dead gods. I couldn’t have been happier when Graham tweeted a few weeks ago that he’d just turned down an offer from Marvel.

    This is the struggle with defining success in comics – With defining success in general. It’s a matter of scale and expectations. People set certain goals for themselves or find circumstances dictating needs. I don’t know what some of these creators want in their lives but honestly, as a small business owner (and what are they but self-contained businesses) I can only think “to each their own.” Why not focus on taking a small, committed fan base off to a corner of the world and live a nice life? It’s what I’ve done and I feel at peace with it. I’ll never be Voodoo Donuts but who the F cares? I won’t stand on some production line or acquire responsibilities I can’t afford just so I can have more stuff or meet demands I have control over.

    The internet doesn’t kill or devalue art. It kills and devalues weak and easily accessible commercial art.

  3. Okay, I’m confused. That picture is from the new Avengers #1 by Opena right? I just find it weird that even Opena doesn’t follow his own redesign for Captain America. I mean, he is the guy who designed the new Cap costume everyone is ignoring, right? The one behind these sketches?

    http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=40080

    Is that scene supposed to take place before the debut of the new Marvel Now costume?

  4. In relation to what you say about the pressure to consume things fast and how we constantly evaluate relevancy before deciding whether we should consume something:

    I think it’s time to accept that we’re becoming a trickle-up sweatshop society, and the beast must be fed at all cost. The assembly line culture started at the blue collar level and the upper middle class and professional classes didn’t really care because it was a “poor people” problem, but WalMart and the internet and globalization and other factors took the sweatshop dynamic and made it move up the socioeconomic ladder. Now everyone is getting bit in the ass by the sweatshop/assembly line model of industry, and it’s become everyone’s problem, even lawyers and medical doctors.

  5. @T: Yeah, he changes into that second costume by the end of the first issue…Just to let us know he’s serious, I guess.

    Cap is handled with visual inconsistency across the Marvel NOW! books as far as I can tell, though…kind of like DC had (or, arguably, has) no idea what personality Superman should have when the New52 premiered…

  6. It’s funny that you mention Kurt Busiek as the exception to “a guy you really want to see on the Avengers until you actually see it.” To me, he’s the absolute, ultimate epitome of that phenomenon.

  7. “1:50:46-1:56:05: Web Question #4 from Dan Coyle: “Q: What do you think victory is for Steve Wacker?” On a related note, Amazing Spider-Man #799 is discussed. On a related, related note, even after reminding himself repeatedly, Jeff still refers to issue #799 as issue #699. Denial!”

    Or reality. It really IS #699.

  8. @Graeme: AGHHHH!

  9. Normally I love T’s commentary, but that thing about Busiek is THE OPPOSITE OF CORRECT.

  10. Re: Internet/The beast must feed

    It seems i have a completely different experience to everyone else here. I havn’t really had any problems with the internet discussion changing how I engage with art and entertainment.
    That could also be down to the fact I live in Australia, don’t own a tv and avoid the movie gossip sites.
    Also I dont have really have anyone in my immediate circle to chat about these things with. Why may explain why Im compelled to write super long comments on here to get it out of my system.

    Re: Recast the X-Men and Avengers creative teams.
    I cant really do any better than just picking a bunch of indie darlings and putting them on X-Men and shrugging my shoulders when it comes to Avengers. :\

  11. Re: The notion of a “missing scene” in Avengers #1

    I thought the same thing, and while I kind of liked the issue, Hickman really confused and lost me by not showing the initial attacks by the villains. Because, does Banner’s dialogue on page 14 not imply that two million people were killed by those bombs? I’d think that would fall into the category of “A Big Fucking Deal,” and not something that would happen off-panel. I mean, forchrisake, all of Civil War was kicked off because Stamford CT got blown up, and let me tell you, as a native of the Nutmeg State, Stamford CT would not be an earth-shattering loss. And then the big finale, where Cap’s plan to hit back at the space god villains who have killed 2 million people, as well as captured Thor, Hulk, and Iron Man without breaking a sweat, is to call in Spider-Man and the Falcon? That don’t make no sense to me.

  12. My first question in the question thread (re: cast a Marvel Now creative team) is similar to AdamPKnave’s (Damn you Knave!), feel free to skip it if you get that far next time.

    I do like the Evan Dorkin suggestion for Fantastic Four.

  13. Dan Coyle – you know how sometimes you hold an opinion on something and can’t comprehend how other people can feel differently? I’m like that with some things, but with Busiek I’m not. Meaning I can see why other people like his Avengers. It’s just that I guess it doesn’t align with the kind of things I like. Like, I really, viscerally dislike Roy Thomas’s writing, and I just Avengers’ runs by how non-Roy Thomas-like they are, and Busiek just reminded me a lot of Roy Thomas.

    For example, I’m incredibly excited about Hickman’s Avengers runs simply because he promised not to have the Vision in it at all. The Vision to me is the total embodiment of Roy Thomas’s Avengers.

  14. “I just Avengers'” should read “I judge Avengers'”

  15. I thought AVENGERS #1 was terrible, mainly because Hickman was emphasizing style over substance. Forced evolution/devolution has been done to death; no number of stylistic flourishes can make the material new.

    The last five pages had no more info than a few lines of text. The dumb Hulk as an Avenger made no sense, even if he was in the movie. Have the captured Avengers been hanging around for three days plus? Was the trivial defeat of them sarcasm by Hickman?

    AVENGERS, pre-Bendis, historically featured heroes who were among the world’s best in their specialties, or unique in other ways. Spider-Man didn’t fit in the classic Avengers because he lacked the requisite power, and concern at Marvel Editorial about overexposure made perfect sense when the company was focused on selling series.

    Spider-Man and other characters fit in Bendis’s Avengers because Bendis didn’t write about battles with supervillains. He wrote about conspiracies, encounters with thugs, and minor menaces, and generally devoted more page space to portraying thugs’ thuggishness and banter among the heroes than he did on the plot in any given issue.

    If putting Spider-Man, et al. in the Avengers was good, it was because Marvel was concerned much more with reaching readers with fetishistic affections for characters than it was with publishing stories that were “good” according to standards.

    SRS

  16. Spider-Man didn’t fit in the classic Avengers because he lacked the requisite power

    I don’t know, look at Hawkeye, Hellcat, Tigra, Black Knight, Black Panther, or all the other Avengers who have been more lacking in power than Spider-Man. I think it had more to do with tradition than anything else.

  17. AVENGERS, pre-Bendis, historically featured heroes who were among the world’s best in their specialties, or unique in other ways. Spider-Man didn’t fit in the classic Avengers because he lacked the requisite power, and concern at Marvel Editorial about overexposure made perfect sense when the company was focused on selling series.

    With all due respect, Steven, I think you are starting with what you consider to be a foregone conclusion, “No real Avengers team can have Spider-Man on it,” and then backwards rationalizing to make the evidence and reasoning fit the conclusion. I don’t really see any reason why having Spider-Man on the Avengers should be considered such sacrilege nowadays.

    Back in the day it would have been a much harder sell storywise. But after 50 years real-time and 10-12 years in story of fighting alongside other superheroes, the Marvel Universe both in the real world and in-story is a very different place. He’s fought alongside all the other superheroes so often it’s not the same as in the 60s when he was largely kept separate from the other characters for the most part.

    Spider-Man and other characters fit in Bendis’s Avengers because Bendis didn’t write about battles with supervillains. He wrote about conspiracies, encounters with thugs, and minor menaces, and generally devoted more page space to portraying thugs’ thuggishness and banter among the heroes than he did on the plot in any given issue.

    First, I’d argue that Spider-Man and other characters didn’t fit in Bendis’s Avengers, because all they did was usually join the team to big fanfare, then sit on the sidelines for six issues and do nothing except occasional banter. Second, why would fighting supervillains make a difference in whether or not Spider-Man fit on the team? If the book is about conspiracies Spider-Man as a member works, but if it’s about fighting supervillains then it would become obvious what a bad fit he is? I don’t get this logic because I’m pretty sure like 85% of Spider-Man’s appearances in comics has had him dealing with supervillains over conspiracies. I would think he’d actually fit in BETTER if there were more outright supervillains, as he’d be in his natural story element.

    If putting Spider-Man, et al. in the Avengers was good, it was because Marvel was concerned much more with reaching readers with fetishistic affections for characters than it was with publishing stories that were “good” according to standards.

    Why should Avengers stories with Spider-Man as a member automatically be considered to be incapable of being objectively “good?” If you took a writer who could write great Avengers stories and great Spider-Man stories, like, say, Roger Stern, and put him in charge of an Avengers run with Spider-Man as a member I bet it would be great. In fact, I’d argue that people who think only a handful of characters can be allowed to be Avengers, and anyone else is a poseur can just as easily be argued to have fetishistic character attachments, except to “traditional” Avenger characters.

    At first the whole team was created as a “big guns” team of top characters. Later on, Stan Lee had them get rid of all the main characters except one and replace them with three supervillains! If supervillains are considered fair game to become acceptable Avengers by the creator of the team, why can’t Spider-Man?

  18. T.: actually, learning you’re a hardcore Roy Thomas hata makes more sense. I’ll fully admit you can’t like Busiek’s run unless you like Rascally Roy.

    I’m kind of glad Hickman’s not using the Vision, because Bendis pretty much ruined him- and the Scarlet Witch, but Marvel’s going to give it the old college try, even though no one read Heinberg’s attempt to “redeem” her.

    Stephen, put down the crack pipe. Avengers #1 is one of the best comics of the year, if not the decade, simply for being a comic called Avengers that is not written by Brian Michael Bendis. yes, it has driven me THAT crazy.

    But no, seriously, it was good, it felt like it had an actual purpose and more importantly, that the writer enjoyed writing it. The villain was classically Hickman,

    However, I will point out that the body count porn is gross and stupid. I recently read Hickman’s first Ultimates trade, and it was good, but in one issue 9,000 SHIELD fatalities are recorded, and in another, we discover Reed Richards’ future city has racked up civilian casualties to the tune of 27 million. What the hell? That’s like taking a chunk out of the world- it would radically alter the global scope more than what happens later in the series. It’s also incredibly cheap heat, to just have the villain KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL.

    I realized I’ve gone quite a while since reminding you all that Warren Ellis Ruined Everything, but this fetish for what Stalin once called “a statistic” from writers like Hickman, Bendis, and Johns are getting out of hand. The Authority was 14 years ago, stop rubbing it on your crotch, okay? What’s even funnier about this is that Ellis’ intent with all those corpses his villains racked up was to show how SUPERHEROES ARE BAD AND YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD, although he was such a cowardly deck stacker his villains were all so irredeemably evil you wound up glad the Authority was around anyway.

  19. The classic AVENGERS lineups generally made use of the Big Three/little four system. Cap, Thor, and Iron Man were the leaders; the other heroes provided specialized powers and abilities that were used as needed and figured in subplots and could be developed, back when development was allowed.

    Spider-Man’s presence in the Avengers titles was wasted because he did hardly anything that justified his presence. Look back at Bendis’s runs: What did Spider-Man do that was memorable? Perhaps his greatest moment was in the HOUSE OF M miniseries, when he got mad about having false experiences.

    Over seven or so years, what constituted development in Bendis’s Avengers runs besides Cage and his wife having a kid? And having them leave the Avengers because of the kid conformed to the most hackneyed comics stereotype there is.

    Bendis’s run on AVENGERS began with “Avengers Disassembled” (A.D.); trying to return the Scarlet Witch to a heroic state with CHILDREN’S CRUSADE only nullified the basis for A.D. because Heinberg’s Life Force was incompatible with Bendis’s claim that Wanda’s power had driven her mad. The end result was basically nothing.

    Why write anything based on the “illusion of change” policy? A major challenge for a writer is devising a dramatic conflict that results in a change; another challenge is devising a situation with some originality. If a writer doesn’t present the reader with a dramatic change or do anything original, he’s not doing anything that he should be paid for.

    And if readers don’t much care who the writer on a series is, but follow specific characters instead, then the writer will always have doubts about what the readers are reacting to.

    If Marvel were to stop publishing comics next month, I doubt that I’d miss them for more than a week or two. There’s plenty of other stuff to read, written by people who want to demonstrate their creativity.

    SRS

  20. I’ve long been in the “let Jeff boycott whatever he wants to boycott” camp, but I do feel the need to point out that Jeff’s notion that Apple has been improving conditions for their workers seems oddly naive at best.

  21. Stephen, then why are you still complaining? Why are you still posting? Why? Why? Why? Why? WHY?

  22. Steven, I agree that Bendis didn’t use Spider-Man well, but I don’t think that means Spider-Man is an inherently bad fit on the Avengers or that no objectively good Avengers stories can be told with Spider-Man as an Avenger. I think it just means Bendis is a crappy team book writer. Even many of the “classic” Avengers were often used poorly or infrequently. He just can’t seem to properly balance large casts or give individuals in large casts unique voices.

  23. As someone who has lived more of his life with the internet in full swing I haven’t had it effect how I enjoy anything because it has always been active in the same way.

    Could it just be culture shock and nostalgia for a fondly remembered past.

  24. Moose,

    Under the structure of “capitalism” I don’t think necessarily that the onus is on Apple to improve conditions. They are not Apple employees.

    http://www.quora.com/Foxconn/Who-owns-Foxconn

    They are sending teams of auditors and evaluating whether they should continue to do business with them (aka “hold their nose”). Lately Apple has been bringing more and more assembly home ( http://kottke.org/12/12/apple-to-make-computers-in-usa-again ) and I wouldn’t be in the least surprised if the multi-year foxconn spectacle of pain is the reason.

    More jobs for US workers and fewer jobs for companies that treat human beings inhumanely. Win / Win. It’s not some “grand gesture” of overnight refutation but it is progress.

  25. Re: They’re not REALLY the Avengers! Yes they are! No they arn’t!

    As someone who only really started reading comics in the last 4 years I have zero idea what the point of the Avengers is suppose to be. I find it hard to see it as anything other than taking a bunch of popular things and mashing them together haphazardly.
    I heard Morrison describe it as something like: “The Fantastic Four are a family, the X-Men is a school and the Avengers are a sports teams” but that doesnt really gel with what Ive been exposed to.
    Is there some fundamental point to the Avengers that Im missing? Or is it just that people like seeing their favourite heroes together?

  26. Re: My post above.

    I had completely forgot about the Ultimates in my above post, where the whole things seems to be talking about the military.

  27. Could it just be culture shock and nostalgia for a fondly remembered past.

    What do you mean by this? That the changes in media and how it’s consumed are something that Jeff and Graeme are imagining due to culture shock and nostalgia? What specific arguments and aspects of what Jeff and Graeme are you saying is the product of culture shock and a fondly remembered past? It just seems like a very fuzzy and vague rebuttal as it stands now, and I’d really be interested to hear you flesh it out more .

  28. “As someone who only really started reading comics in the last 4 years I have zero idea what the point of the Avengers is suppose to be. I find it hard to see it as anything other than taking a bunch of popular things and mashing them together haphazardly.”

    As someone who’s been reading comics a lot longer than that…THANK YOU. It used to be that the Avengers was different than the Defenders, both were different than Fantastic Four, all three were different than X-Men and none of them were really like Justice League.

    One of the weird subtexts to this age of the writer being elevated more than perhaps any time in super-hero comics history is that super-hero comics have actually become more homogenized. I remember that first occurring to me when I read a Marvel comic where one of the characters referred to super-heroes as “capes”. That doesn’t make any sense in a Marvel Universe where heroes are and have always been largely capeless. It’s totally a DC reference and to include it in a Marvel book demonstrates the writer is looking at super-heroes as an undifferentiated mass.

    Mike

  29. I for one really enjoyed and appreciated the discussion of the new “thought as widget” paradigm created by the internet. However, I think the word “experience” needs to be qualified more carefully for this discussion (This may be due to reading a bunch of John Dewey and William James in graduate school). Is simply “consuming” something the same as experiencing it? I think that the new dynamic of sharing and commenting on a piece of information is a far cry from the sort of “pure” experience (to use James’ terminology) that we should expect or cherish when it comes to art. The speed of information on the internet has made experiences free from preconceptions much rarer, obviously, so it might be useful to distinguish the the new dynamic of seeing/liking/sharing as a new form of “experience”, or at least one of a different quality, as opposed to the “pure” experience of reading or watching something new.
    The example of the new Bond film is a good one. Personally, I have no interest in James Bond, yet I felt compelled to have an opinion about it (even if that opinion was “who cares?”) since everyone else on my Twitter feed seemed to have one. And, as Graeme seems to hint at, seeing the film at this point feels more like an obligation or chore than an “experience”: “Now I can comment on this with authority, since my opinion of the film is what matters most,” for example.
    So, while the democratizing force of the internet has its advantages, the “widgetization” of thought and opinion has radically altered the types and quality of “experiences” we have with art and culture.
    I hope that made sense: there’s a lot to unpack and parse in this discussion. Thanks for your insight.

  30. Is there some fundamental point to the Avengers that Im missing?

    The short answer is that the Avengers were formed to defeat villains and other menaces which no single hero could withstand. How they should encounter the villains and menaces has been debated. If something threatens the world, the Avengers respond. If a threat is connected to an Avengers member–character-driven story.

    From an editorial perspective, the Avengers (AVENGERS) were handled fairly consistently–with the exception of odd periods, such as the Gilgamesh era–until Bendis took over, which happened to coincide with the disappearance of narration and thought balloons, increased use of decompression, and more focus on the “cinematic” aspects of the artwork.

    So, the nature of the content has changed, from SF, sci-fi, morality plays, and other standard superhero fare in the ’70s-’90s, to the themeless and fairly plotless Bendis issues, in which the heroes and villains just appeared.

    I’d ask current comics readers what makes the characters believable as people. In a prose story, the writer has to work. If what he produces has stilted dialogue, lousy descriptions, or bad grammar and spelling, what he writes might never be published, or he’ll be damned for his failings.

    If the artwork suffices to make the characters believable, because the reader likes fantasies and wants to believe that they’re people, then that reader’s eagerness to immerse himself in a fantasy will encourage a writer to do just a fraction of the work he’d have to do in a prose story.

    SRS

  31. @J_Smitty: “It’s utterly depressing to think of someone like Brandon Graham or Kate Beaton basically doing the equivalent of working the injector line at Twinkie cream filling facility.” AMEN! I always get a little exasperated when I hear people concocting their filmic or comic book dream teams. I’d be much more excited to see Joss Whedon’s next wholly unexpected and original work — a “Firefly” or a CABIN IN THE WOODS — instead of AVENGERS 2 or “S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Series.”

    re: Spider-Man as an Avenger… to me, it’s a gross misreading of what makes the character tick in the first place. Parker was originally written as a complex swirl of big ego and low self-esteem — a prickly, self-sabotaging loner who longed for friends but tended to lash out at anybody who got too close. There’s a reason that the quintessential Spidey story frequently reiterated the drama of him rejecting responsibility, only to be driven back into the Spider-suit by guilt or necessity. His trust issues made him, perversely, an ideal candidate for a team-up book, as any partnership would by necessity be on an ad-hoc basis. If you ignore all that stuff, Spidey ends up being what he was in Bendis’s Avengers — a serial quipper, relegated to the sidelines to make smartass comments.

  32. Spider-Man as an Avenger… to me, it’s a gross misreading of what makes the character tick in the first place. Parker was originally written as a complex swirl of big ego and low self-esteem — a prickly, self-sabotaging loner who longed for friends but tended to lash out at anybody who got too close.

    One could argue that much of what you just described easily applies to Hawkeye as well, especially as he was when Stan Lee first introduced him to the team. Yet he’s considered the quintessential Avenger.

    There’s a reason that the quintessential Spidey story frequently reiterated the drama of him rejecting responsibility, only to be driven back into the Spider-suit by guilt or necessity.

    Again, I don’t see what it is about such stories and characterizations that wouldn’t work within an Avengers story. How many times has Hank Pym, Wonder Man, Tony Stark, or someone else rejected responsibility only to be driven back into the Avengers fold by guilt or responsibility?

    If you ignore all that stuff, Spidey ends up being what he was in Bendis’s Avengers — a serial quipper, relegated to the sidelines to make smartass comments.

    This characterization was not a natural, unavoidable side effect of making him an Avenger. It happened because that’s simply how Bendis writes mainstream Spider-Man, even on his own: as a useless serial quipper. For example, see how he wrote Spider-Man in Pulse. Bendis wasn’t forced to write Spider-Man that way because Avengers membership make Spider-man inevitably into a serial quipper. Bendis wrote Spider-Man that way because that’s simply how he writes Spider-Man. It’s one of the “four voices” that Bendis has as described in the latest podcast.

    When Spider-Man is written as an Avenger by someone who actually sees Spider-Man as more than just a serial quipper, like Dan Slott, his dynamic with the Avengers doesn’t compromise his personality or usefulness at all. The problems with Spider-Man as an Avenger didn’t have to do with some inherent incompatibility of Spider-Man with the Avengers concept but rather with the incompatibility of mainstream Spider-Man with Bendis.

  33. Spider-Man as an Avenger has made sense to me because I came into the character just as Tom DeFalco was fired off the book, and he had spent his highly influential tenure beating into readers’ heads how miserable and worried about EVERYTHING around him, and feeling responsible for all his friends’ behavior, not letting anyone die, etc. Dan Slott has explored this, to an extent in his run, and better than Tom DeFalco did, because pretty much everyone not named Howard Mackie or Joe Straczynski can write Spider-Man better than Tom DeFalco.

    The basic idea is, Spider-Man is so concerned with the safety of others, and doing his best to protect, of course he’d join the Avengers, the world’s protectors. I don’t see why he wouldn’t. It doesn’t make sense to me, given the take on the character I grew up with.

  34. @SRS: “The short answer is that the Avengers were formed to defeat villains and other menaces which no single hero could withstand.”

    Not wanting to draw an arguement out (people who dont like Spidey on the Avengers will probably always think that way, and same for people who do, same for people who do and dont like the Avengers) but coming together to fight villains seems to be the basis for every superhero team. Not really something that the avengers could hang their hat on.
    Then again I dont understand the justice league either (I understand it more than the Avengers but thats probably a discussion for another day).

  35. The Avengers has been published monthly for 50 years.
    Let that sink in for a moment…
    I bring it up because it kinda makes critiques silly at this point.
    You guys weren’t blown away by Hickman’s first issue, other readers/critics were.
    Am I saying it’s review proof? Maybe.
    I’ve read the title on and off for maybe 28 years. I’ve accumulated a pretty big Avengers collection. Got my favorite runs. Some are considered classics (Stern, Englehart) others not so much but I love em anyway (Byrne, Harris).
    Bendis’ run ain’t my favorite but man that sold, and now we’ve got s major motion picture and comicbook franchise.
    I guess in that context I just see the “let’s pick apart Hickman’s first issue” as a silly and pointless exercise.
    As a longtime Avengers fan, I liked it. And I expect I’ll generally be thrilled with the rest of the run.
    Those who aren’t, well, eventually a new Avengers writer will replace him and maybe you’ll like that guy/girl.
    In the meantime you’ve got 50 years of back issues to reread or discover.

  36. @ Brian: The point of this podcast is critical review of comics, so why would picking apart Hickman’s first issue as a silly and pointless exercise. It is the beginning of a new writer and a completely new storyline and it is from the perspective of two guys who read Avengers since the 70s. It is a radical departure in art and in tone. I think they’re right in saying that Hickman would be a better fit for Defenders than Avengers.

  37. Looking at that pic above, I think one of the worst trends of modern Marvel comics, started by Cassaday, is to make enlarge Captain America’s chain mail to the point that they resemble feathers and he looks like a blue version of Big Bird

  38. Graeme was dead-on when he said people are looking to various entertainments for content. I’m guilty of it myself; once I’m done with something, I look for something else. It matters what that is to a degree, but I’ve become both less picky and less easy to please at the same time. It’s partly a class thing, as I don’t have to work multiple jobs or fret over every little thing. I could be wrong, but I’m reasonably sure most people reading comics and looking for stuff on the Internet are in a similar situation.

    Hungry for sensation yet somewhat dulled to it to the point where I buy or click on stuff just to be looking at or listening to things: world’s least significant “problem.”

  39. My first thought of who would write a D-Man comic was Tom Hart, because of his Hutch Owens series. But the probable mainstream choice would be Brian Wood, because of all the fight-the-power/fuck-the-man stuff he does in books like DMZ and Channel Zero. I would hate that comic, but I’d probably still pick it up because Farel Dalrymple would be drawing it.

  40. @CBrown: Tom Hart writing a D-Man series is a seriously great idea (as these kinds of things go–as someone pointed out, there’s something kinda distasteful about taking people who’ve worked out to carve out their own individual and distinct styles and dream-teaming into the work-for-hire woodchipper). I would love to read that.

  41. “Entertainment Singularity” has lodged in my head. Good doctoral dissertation, that!

  42. Just wanted to note that the existence of the Celestials and Arishem, the judge, in particular. combined with the High Evolutionary, make Hickman’s AVENGERS storyline redundant. Arishem does what Aleph does.

    The material reads not as a writer presenting the single best idea he had for AVENGERS, but as a writer who had a job to do, brainstormed for a while, and came up with Ex Nihilo, et al.–which only work if the reader is new to the Marvel Universe. Hickman is in the position of a genre fiction writer who hasn’t read other stories in the genre.

    SRS

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