Why do bad things happen to good fans? Whether it’s atrocious art, ridiculous writing, or something else entirely – some crimes against fandom cannot go unanswered. When that happens, it’s time to say ”BLAARGH!”
With so many things crossing my mind lately, I couldn’t pick just one idea for this week’s column and at the same time I felt the need to vent on it all. So this is kind of a different format for BLAARGH! Shall we begin?
1. I haven’t read Amazing Spider-Man over a year and a half. I still consider Spidey one of my favorite characters, but I don’t read his official adventures anymore. Unlike those “fans” that keep following Marvel’s dreck of post-Mephisto, retconned Spider-Man only so they could keep their whining and bitching on the state of their beloved character. You hate it – drop it already! All I hear since late 2007 is people cursing Joe Quesada and co., yet did any of them drop the book and stopped financing Marvel? If you’re one of these people and consider yourself a fan of comic books, then you’re doing an injustice to the industry. Don’t be surprised when books like Captain Britain and MI:13 and Young Liars get canceled.
2. Microsoft can have a rest, because Fox is the largest corporation everyone loves to hate nowadays. Fox News is pretty much Satan’s favorite news station, the other network is synonymous with “Screwing Good Shows” (giving Dollhouse a second chance, barely, gives them half a point I guess) and the movie studio has been in a bad shape ever since X-Men 3: The Last Stand. X-Men Origins: Wolverine saved the studio a little bit by gaining money, but made the people who run the company look like villains their Canadian mutant hero will usually stab to death. How did it all went so wrong? Does anyone care anymore?
3. Speaking of Wolverine (yes, I know, third week in a row): Lots of people complained about the shuffle in issues Marvel did, publishing two new stories in Wolverine #73 instead of the long-awaited seventh part of Mark Millar’s ‘Old Man Logan’ story arc in #72. Ignoring that misdeed by Marvel, #73 was a pretty good issue with stories from Jason “The New King” Aaron and Daniel “Getting Better” Way and art by Adam Kubert (welcome back home!) and Tommy Lee Edwards. If you skipped that issue – and I know many people did – just because of what Marvel did, then you must have a big problem and I hope you regret you were ever born when eventually reading this issue. And come one, it’s not like ‘Old Man Logan’ really delivered. I waited for this story months in advance, but a bad feeling all of Millar’s promises will fall flat. Sadly, midway into the story arc I was right. Now let’s just see it wrapped up (didn’t have a chance to read this week’s #72 yet).
4. As I write this, I heard DC fired writer Dwayne McDuffie from Justice League of America. Apparently, the recent exposure by Rich Johnston in his CBR column ‘Lying in the Gutters’ (will get to it later) of his two years plus Q&A session with readers on the DC message boards, wasn’t taken well by McDuffie’s bosses. I haven’t read the book since Brad Meltzer’s run (hated it all but issue #11) for financial reasons and never had he chance to catch up with it, but from reviews I read it wasn’t good, mostly writing-wise. If you read McDuffie’s answers to fans, it appears his whole run was mandated by editorial and he never had the chance to write the stories he wanted. Guess, then, that this firing came as a blessing in transparent disguise.
As for the reasons of the firing: I know how much people like to complain about their jobs and sometimes I do that too, but they’ll never do that so publicly, knowing it’ll endanger their career. A public persona like McDuffie complaining (even if he did it so nicely without calling out anyone) about a gig he’s still doing, that’s an obvious recipe for firing and he should have known better. Anyway, he’s neither the first nor the last to reveal the secrets behind the Big Two editorial process and sadly this won’t change either. The Big Two think they do a great work and like to maintain the status quo, not seeing how their ways really destroy the industry and cannot keep them going the way for the long run. Unless they get a giant, disastrous wake up call, DC and Marvel will keep this shit up.
5. I just mentioned ‘Lying in the Gutters’ so it’s only fair to mention this week’s last column. Rich Johnston is moving on. Kinda; from this Monday he’ll have a new column in a new website, Bleeding Cool, doing the same thing on a broader schedule and financed by Avatar Press. Way I heard, Warred Ellis will also have a column in there. When I first heard LITG is gone 24 hours before the last column went up I was a little bit sad. Knowing the circumstances, though, I felt better and hope the new place will inject new energy to the old rumor column.
Anyway, I only followed LITG in the last 3-4 years and it was good to read early rumors, get inside info and even discover the evils of some industry crooks. I was never mentioned in LITG (thanks goodness…) but was involved indirectly when Rich reported in late 2007 that Wizard fired several employees and “hired” freelance forum members. As most of you know, I was one of those forum members. Months later, at WUMB someone started a thread asking about our payments. Regrettably, me and the some of the other freelancers revealed too much information, it was reported by LITG and caused the thread to be deleted and us freelancers get little slap on our hands. When PoP! went up, LITG reported it and wrongly said that we were fired from Wizard and then started this website. I sent Rich an email trying to make things clear, but he never replied it nor printed anything in regards of his mistake(s). I’ll still miss LITG, though.
6. Most importantly, this passing week has brought us the news a new Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie is in the making. It’s a known fact creator Joss Whedon was planning a movie ever since the show went off the air in 2003 and its spin-off Angel was canceled a year later. Eventually Whedon chose to continue the shows in comic book format and had a great success with both (BTVS: Season Eight has a permanent place each month in the Top 10-15 sales charts. Now, the recent movie news is that the original movie’s (1992) producers and director plan to revamp it for a new generation, without Joss Whedon. The original script writer they dumped and rewrote his work, creating one of the worst movies to see film, ever. The man who five years later went on and with his rights for the character of Buffy created a whole new world, introduced TV viewers his own version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And guess what? It became one of the greatest TV shows ever and lasted for seven seasons. And up to this moment it became so big, almost everyone forgot there was ever a bad movie with the same title.
I know fans can be annoying and overreacting at times, and Whedon/Buffy fans are not different. While I still think Whedon is a good writer, since BTVS he had a bit of an uneven record: Astonishing X-Men started so good but went downhill and stopped at ‘Mediocre’ already in his second story arc; Serenity was an excellent movie and continued one of the best prematurely-canceled TV shows ever (remember what I said about Fox?), but didn’t do well in the box office; Runaways was an enthusiastic continuation of another’s creation, but was a disappointment; Dollhouse was Whedon’s big return to the same network that burned him in the past (Fox, right?) and months before airing it was obvious they’re going to screw him once again (Spoiler: The notion was justified, but eventually they gave Whedon freedom, the show improved, the ratings didn’t and somehow it got a second chance). But I still count on Whedon to do a Buffy movie justice and without him there’s no reason to that. If someone involved with that production is just a bit smarter than the average, they should stop it. Now. Before anyone gets hurt and the apocalypse will come upon us. Remember this warning.
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