Sunday, March 05, 2006

Flipping through Marvel Previews

As fine, upstanding readers of this blog know, I don't often engage in snark for snark's sake. First of all, if you're going to do that sort of thing, you should be really funny, and guys like this are much, MUCH funnier than I am, and second of all, I often wonder what the point of it is. However, some things struck me when I was flipping through Previews for Marvel comics shipping in May, and Brian's lament about great comics not finding an audience fits in well with some of the stuff in Marvel Previews.

Now, I'm perfectly aware that Marvel is simply trying to sell as much of its product to me as possible, so it's all about hyperbole. Still, some of this is laughable.

Page 10: Ultimate Spider-Man #95: "Introducing the midnight monster you've been clamoring for - Ultimate Morbius!" Really? REALLY? A groundswell of popular support for Ultimate Morbius? It seems like people are more jazzed by goddamned Ultimate Swarm.

Page 14: Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #8: "Continuity fans better break out their back issues ..." I've made it clear that I am a Peter David fan, but this is annoying. This is why people don't read comics. Look, kids, read this book that features some obscure character from before you were born! Besides, if it's not Puma, who cares?

Page 20: Sensational Spider-Man #26: Oh, Puma is already back? Never mind, then ...

Page 25: Annihilation: Silver Surfer #2 (of 4): "But can even the combined powers of the Silver Surfer, Firelord, Terrax and Red Shift stand against the Annihilation Wave and it's mad master?" My pet peeve rears its ugly head in that sentence. What is it????¹

Page 31: Is that fucking Speedball? To paraphrase countless exasperated movie villains, "Can't someone kill him already?"

Page 32-33: Nitro looks different than he did in Daredevil. He has those long, flowing locks parted down the middle ... Oh dear God - it's the mid-1990s again, isn't it? Shit. Well, at least Marvel has given us time-traveling technology.

Page 35: Daredevil #85: I know others have pointed this out, but why does Matt Murdock's crotch have radar sense? Didn't anyone look at this cover before approving it?

Page 36: Doc Samson #5 (of 5): "With the Earth's sanity hanging in the balance - if Doc looses against the demon-possessed, alternate-universe Leonard Samson - the whole planet will need a psychiatrist." Grrr ... Again, what's wrong this?²

Page 38: Fantastic Four - A Death in the Family: "The Invisible Woman is dead!" You don't suppose Jean Loring did it? Now that would be a crossover! Jean Loring rampages across two universes, and only her own stupidity can stop her!

Page 39: Iron Man #8: "Iron Man's now-monthly series!" As opposed to the biannual schedule it's been on?

Page 59: Squadron Supreme #3: "But when the group falls under the control of an evil general, will this first mission end in catastrophe?" I'm sure we'll find out by issue #10 or 11. Maybe #9.

Page 72: Wolverine: Origins #2: "Who better to combat the Weapon X program's most successful specimen than with its most bloodthirsty? One hint: Gimme a red." Okay, this ticks me off on several levels. Again, it's a case of Marvel (and DC, but let's stay on-topic here) trying to have its cake and eat it too, continuity-wise. I think most people would agree that, whether or not you like the quality of it, Grant Morrison's X-Men run was on of the more dynamic pieces of work for Marvel in a while. It also supposedly took place "in continuity." So why is Marvel returning to the old status quo of the "X" standing for a letter instead of a number? Has this been explained? I don't really care that much, but if you're going to turn your highest-profile group over to Morrison and approve a story that tells us the "X" means "10," at least go with it in the future. Marvel is obsessed with idiotic continuity from 30 years ago, but something from a few years ago has been swept aside. As for Nuke, is it something new that he comes from the Weapon X program? Originally he was part of the Super Soldier thing. This is what bugs me about these companies - either get rid of continuity completely (yay!) or get the shit right.

The best thing in the book, though, is on page 55 - the "Comic Shop Talk" by Phil Boyle, the CEO of Coliseum of Comics, a chain of stores in Florida. I don't know who this guy is, but he's quite the Marvel enthusiast. According to him, "the comic industry is publishing some of the best comics that have seen print in decades - maybe ever!" Phew, that's heady praise. However, not everything is peaches and cream: "if there's anything more frustrating than fans clamoring for a new title and as a retailer not being able to supply it, then I don't know what it is." There's nothing more frustrating than that? Pretty swell life this guy has if that's the most frustrating thing in it. But how, how can we get the books we want? Luckily, Mr. Boyle has some helpful suggestions, including talking to your store manager so you can "let him or her know that you want every Civil War crossover ..." Shill for Marvel much, sir? We can also talk to our non-comics-reading friends (who the hell has those?) because "comics are enjoying a new 'coolness' that only a few billion dollars in smash hit movies could buy." Sure, and when fans of the Spider-Man movie or the Fantastic Four movie (all six of those) rush to a comic book store, they find ... Well, they don't find what they're looking for, and they might find employees who are scornful of them because they don't know who Paste-Pot Pete is. Of course, all comics fans are sheep, because Phil also wants us to not let others talk us out of liking a character. "It seems that 90% of the people posting on comic boards on the Internet are doing so only to get a reaction. It's hard to get a reaction by saying that you like something that everyone has agreed it great so many seem to post how bad something is just to stir the pot." Ignoring the mangled syntax, I'm kind of sick of people saying this. I don't go to message boards, preferring instead to read blogs, but it really seems that bloggers in general write about what they like and don't like equally. Obviously, some are purposely savaging books, but when they don't like something, it's not because they just want to get a reaction, it's because they genuinely don't like something. And I don't care if you read Loeb's Superman/Batman. Go right ahead! As I've said before, I love Bon Jovi. And Weird Al (that's for Spencer, who recently insulted the great Polish Accordioned One and therefore earned my wrath).

Anyway, it's a fun essay. Apparently there are places in the country where you may not be able to pick up every single goddamned variant cover of Civil War and its interminable spawn. The idea that I might have some trouble finding a Marvel title is quite funny.

Despite all this, I'm probably buying a lot of Marvel title in May. According to their Previews, they might go under if I don't! And, apparently the fate of the world will be decided in at least seventeen different books. How can I turn that down!³

¹ I was an English major in college, if that helps.
² No, really, I was. I also taught grammar to high school students. Read that again if you want to know why our school system is in the shitter.
³ Yes, I'm aware that these are advertisements for books, and therefore Marvel Previews is less egregious than, say, Wizard. Don't bring me down, man!

Read More


Blogger Bill Reed said...

"its" - "lose"

I too am an English major and those two are major peeves of mine.

Another pet peeve of mine is guys who hate Speedball. So, nyaahhhh. :P

Speedball is Ditko, Ditko is crazy awesome, hence...

3/05/2006 01:24:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Sims said...

Don't forget that "Marc Spector" was misspelled in two out of three instances in the solicitation for Moon Knight.

Jesus Christmas, Marvel Previews. Get an editor.

(Of course, whomever is doing the solicitations for NextWave is doing a damn fine job)

3/05/2006 03:29:00 AM  
Blogger David Cutler said...

"It's" and "looses". English majors unite.

3/05/2006 05:43:00 AM  
Blogger David C said...

The "lose/loose" thing particularly bugs me, as I can't even figure out *why* one would make the mistake in the first place, let alone hundreds of times.

Is it some horrible side-effect of some now-discredited teaching method for reading that was in vogue 10-20 years ago?

3/05/2006 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Someone wrote in my yearbook that I should "never loose my sense of humor." I've never been sure if that was a typo or not...

3/05/2006 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Matt Brady said...

"Who better to combat the Weapon X program's most successful specimen than with its most bloodthirsty?"

Bad grammar in this sentence too. The "with" is not necessary. At least they got the "its" right. I wasn't an English major, but I know my grammar and spelling, and mistakes like this drive me crazy. Doesn't anybody have a proofreader anymore? It's even worse when it's in a magazine, newspaper, or book. That drives me nuts. These are supposed to be professional publications (is Previews considered professional?), and somebody like me can find all these errors. Maddening.

Ooh, another one that always bugs me is complimentary/complementary. Learn the difference, people!

3/05/2006 12:22:00 PM  
Anonymous carla said...

The best thing in the book, though, is on page 55 - the "Comic Shop Talk" by Phil Boyle, the CEO of Coliseum of Comics, a chain of stores in Florida.

Oh, good. I was hoping someone saw that and had just as much a 'What the-?' moment as I did.


3/05/2006 02:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Marc said...

As for Nuke, is it something new that he comes from the Weapon X program?

Ironically enough, that was established in the same "Assault on Weapon Plus" story whose naming protocols Marvel is now ignoring. Morrison retconned Captain America, the Super-Soldier program, and Nuke as precursors to Logan... in fact, I think Nuke might have been Weapon IX.

3/05/2006 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Good to know, Marc. It's been a while since I read those.

3/05/2006 05:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Dan Coyle said...

It was established in Frank Tieri's Weapon X ongoing, in the second to last arc, that John Sublime established the Weapon Plus Program and the Professor took control of Weapon 10 away from him, renaming it Weapon X.

3/05/2006 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger Jake said...

I've been teaching an English class this semester at ASU, covering basics like grammar and sentence structure. In the past seven months or so, the majority of what I read makes me cringe, even in my own writing.

I'm particularly bad with modifiers, dangling or misplaced.

3/06/2006 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger Spencer Carnage said...

You redeemed yourself with your love for Bon Jovi, Greg. I'm very proud of you.

3/06/2006 07:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Omar Karindu said...

Morrison retconned Captain America, the Super-Soldier program, and Nuke as precursors to Logan... in fact, I think Nuke might have been Weapon IX.

He was. Alas, Daredevil v.1 #233, the last of the Frank Miller issues, revealed that Nuke is so damn deceased that DD was able to drag his corpse across town and dump it on Ben Urich's desk.

Poor Ben, really.

3/06/2006 11:43:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home