Friday, December 09, 2005

To taste the flesh not yet deceased

Over at Kung Fu Monkey, they're talking about the new Blue Beetle character scheduled to debut in his own series after INFINITY CRISIS wraps up. The blogger over there, John Rogers, is understandably excited about it, because he's scripting the book over Keith Giffen's plots.

Me, I wouldn't trust Giffen with a nickel I found at the bottom of a pay toilet; he is, to my mind, one of the most egregiously untalented 'talents' who has ever disgraced every title he's been entrusted with. I'd have to go all the way back to Marvel's WOODGOD to find some Giffen artwork I liked, and as far as I can tell, the man has never once had a single good idea as a plotter or scripter. So as far as the new Blue Beetle comic goes, I'm pretty much out.

However, I'm in the minority. As with most blogs done by professionals, the majority of commenters on Kung Fu Monkey tend to be somewhat sycophantic. Being a professional in a geek business confers instant validity in the eyes of most geeks, so the vast majority of Rogers' regular commenters tend to fawn all over him. It's a natural reaction... Here We Are, Talking With Someone Actually Working Behind The Scenes! The urge to kiss ass is nearly insurmountable. Those who can resist it are either personal friends of Rogers, or fellow pros... and all of them, naturally, like the new Blue Beetle, too.

However, besides me, there is one other guy who is not particularly happy with the new concept. Styling himself 'the ghost of Ted Kord' (Ted Kord was the recently murdered Blue Beetle's secret identity), this fellow will have nothing of a new Blue Beetle... he wants Ted Kord back, he wants him back NOW, and like Rick Jones lecturing Dr. Strange on the meaninglessness of death in the Marvel Universe, he can't see any reason why, if Fill In The Blank With Countless Once Dead Now Resurrected Characters can't be brought back, his particular beloved dead character can't be revived, too... and toot fucking sweet.

Meanwhile, over at HCRealms, I've been trying to hold some kind of textual line against a swarm of Modern Age loving gnats, all of whom are convinced that Geoff Johns should be crucified with giant splinters through his naughty bits for having the temerity to take a bunch of the most obnoxious slacker juvenile cretin sidekick characters that ever existed, and investing them with a little maturity. These guys constant refrain, other than wailing about how Impulse and Superboy just aren't any FUN any more now that they're behaving, you know, in a slightly adult fashion, is to sob and sob and sob that, yeah, it's okay that they brought back Geezer Lantern Hal Jordan, but gosh, couldn't they have given him a shawl and a chair by the fire with some milk and cookies, and let glorious godlike mule dicked male model Kyle Rayner continue to be The One True Green Lantern?

It's fortunate none of these people try comparing the Silver Age Aquaman unfavorably with the various horrifying Modern Age versions of the character, or I would honestly have to go out and buy a high powered rifle.

But as to, specifically, the anguished cries of 'the ghost of Ted Kord'...

Jeez. The pain in the posts of a ghost.

I want to laugh... Moore's Nite Owl (from WATCHMEN) means more, emotionally, to me than the walking talking fat joke that DC's BLUE BEETLE mostly was... and asking us to trust that the author of the fat jokes is going to give us a better version of the fat joke is way too big a stretch for me, too, parenthetically without parentheses... but I can't. I can't laugh at the ghost. His pain is very real to me.

I invested enormous childhood love... is there a more intense kind?... into dozens-hundreds-thousands of Silver Age characters at both Marvel and DC, and that love was rewarded by DC back in the mid 80s with the contemptible circulation stunt we all call CRISIS, and the reprehensible series of incomprehensibly awful reboots that rolled out senselessly and relentlessly for years afterwards.

So I know how he feels. I felt it for Hal Jordan, and Barry Allen, and Katar Hol, and Kal El, and Kara El, and pretty much the entire Legion of Superheroes, and Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth, and dozens/hundreds/maybe thousands more.

"But DC was about to go under, they had to do SOMETHING," harrumphs Mr. Comics Is A Business Too You Fucking Fanboy, as I saw the top of his head off and prepare to start sticking toothpicks with little colored ribbons into his shriveled, feeble brain.

"But all that Silver Age stuff was Plan 9 From Outer Space stupid, we needed to make the heroes more re-uh-LISS-tick," gibbers Captain I Would Have My Tongue Up Frank Miller's Ass Right Now If Only I Could Find Him Somewhere On This Wretched Mortal Coil, as I fasten the electrodes to his Bronze/Platinum/Diamond/Modern/Shite Age loving testicles and prepare to flip the switch.

Blue Beetle got shot. Apparently, Maxwell Lord did some time with Johnny Caspar, and learned Caspar's maxim... "Always put one in the brain". Is it possible Ted Kord could come back from having his brains blown all over four different comics panels? Sure. With Keith Giffen plotting him, it's not like he NEEDS a brain... he could be the new Ambush Bug!

For all that, all I can say about Ted Kord is this... I never liked him until Geoff Johns wrote him, and then I liked him, and then they killed him.

On the other hand, I loved a lot of other characters deeply for most of my childhood and into my early adulthood, and DC killed all them, too, and replaced them with strutting grim n' gritty poseurs in black costumes with laser autocannons and I don't know what the frick all else, and it took twenty years to even start putting that right, and now all the Modern Age crybabies are sobbing and wailing "But Impulse and Superboy used to sit around and play videogames and jerk each other off in Young Justice and NOW they're acting all grown up and mature and weeeeeee don't LIKE it WAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!"

You can't please everybody.

I'm just happy that finally, DC has a writer who seems to want to please me, about some things, at least.

On a completely unrelated tangent, I just reread Busiek and Perez's JLA/Avengers crossover, and it STILL FRICKIN ROCKS. Best. Superhero. Story. Ever.


  1. Well, it was all pretty much over my head, but still entertaining.

  2. Yes, it was entertaining; but the Woodgod cover distracted me from the rest of the post. I'm one of those pathetic bastards that just loves the 3rd tier characters that inhabit the vast wastelands of comics limbo. I had to drop everything and go dig out my copy.

  3. Nate,

    It's over your head... but it sure feels nice.


    Are you kidding? Any comics fan who doesn't love the obscure third tier loser characters is no friend of mine!

    I used to have a copy of that MARVEL PREMIERE... bought it off the drugstore's magazine rack when I was around 14. I also had the previous issue, with MONARK STARSTALKER, I believe. But, alas, those issues are no more.

  4. People don't realize you have to pick and choose. They see most of the bad elements of an age being swept away with some of the good elements to bring some of the good elements of a previous age back, and automatically assume DC is performing a complete regression and they go into full panic mode (little do the moaning Rayner fans realize that their beloved character is steadily surpassing his predecessor in ways that never would have been allowed if his predecessor hadn't been redeemed, and both characters are stronger for the other's existance).
    But I think DC's got the right strategy here. There are bad and goood things from each era and the object should be to lose the bad of each and have a mix and match of the good from each era to make great concepts. DC is in the middle of making a soup right now. They're bring back old elements, losing some of the newer ones, but keeping the best new elements.

    Impulse was a good character, Superboy was a cardboard cutout -- they've flip-flopped this trying to mature both. Kyle Rayner was good, Hal Jordan was good, both coexisting is a wonderful idea. Modern Age Aquaman sucked, but at least Silver Age Aquaman was funny.

  5. R,

    Sorry, you'll never convince me that little prick Bart was EVER a good character. My heroes need to be at least slightly heroic; that creep never was. I don't care if he was three weeks old or whatever the hell he was. Creating a character who has a built-in reason to act obnoxious is no excuse for creating an obnoxious character, as far as I'm concerned.

    Other than that, I find your analysis masterful (mistressful?), except, of course, for the fact that 'bad' and 'good' are always subjective, and I am reluctant to trust anyone else's judgement. After all, apparently Len Wein or Marv Wolfman or someone thought that Tommy Tomorrow was a concept worth salvaging from DC's Silver Age. SHRIEK ::gibber:: AAAAAUUGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!

    INFINITE CRISIS, however, seems to have good hands on the wheel, in that so far, everything I've seen done in it (i.e., the people killed) I've agreed with. I don't understand what's up with this 'two Luthors' thing, but if one of them is the original Silver Age Lex Luthor (you know, the crazy scientific supergenius who hated Superman because Supes made Lex's hair fall out when they were both kids), well, I have to hope that SA Lex does a Blue Beetle on MA Lex real quick.

    I cannot agree with you that Kyle Rayner can ever, in any way, surpass Hal, but I will admit that Geoff Johns has done the impossible and made the rotten little creep tolerable to me. All of which simply points out that all this is subjective.

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment.


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