Monday, January 7, 2008
Comic's TRUE super-villains!
When I stop to consider what is wrong with today's comics (and there are many things wrong), I keep coming back to two reasons: Joe Quesada and Dan Didio.
Now, to be fair, I'm sure that they are both very nice fellows. I'm sure that they love their families, give to charities and always stop to pet stray dogs. I don't know either of them and wouldn't recognize them if we passed on the street (nor would they recognize me either). I'm also sure that neither one of them really cares all that much about anything I say. I can't imagine Joe Q sitting in his office, screaming "damn that Gafford! Everyone would have loved 'One More Day' if it hadn't been for his blog!"
But when I think about what is wrong with comics today, it always ends up with these two men and the concept they represent. Basically, they are the figureheads for the new way of making comics by which I mean 'event over story'. In both cases, events are planned out by them and their editorial teams and they look for the right creators who are willing to tell those stories. Once upon a time, the main goal of comic creators was to tell a good story (not that they always achieved that but they tried). Now the goal is to feed the never-ending 'event' machine that must churn on even over the broken, bloody bodies of those who created it.
We hear about editorial summits or creative meetings where an entire year's worth of comics are plotted out and this is my overwhelming problem with that: editors should not be dictating stories. Editors are there to help make the creators make the best story that they can but, somewhere along the line, the Editors were put in charge of the creating. It's almost like the Editors are ordering their stories the same way they might order Chinese food! "I'll take one from Column 'A' (murders and disfigurements) and one from Column 'B' (useless retcons)..." Somehow, the cart got put in front of the horse and now the horse is just happy to still have a job so can't dare complain that he's got this huge, crappy cart in his face.
Let's face it. There would never have been a "One More Day" without Joe Quesada pushing it through. Likewise, no IDENTITY CRISIS without Didio at the helm. If these men were not in charge of Marvel and DC, we wouldn't have had to suffer through CIVIL WAR or HOUSE OF M or INFINITE CRISIS or COUNTDOWN. Would we have had better comics without them? I can't say for sure but I believe so. In the very least we would have been spared the indignity of Sue Dibny being raped and murdered, Blue Beetle's head being shot off, Wonder Woman snapping Max Lord's neck, Superboy-Prime beating the Golden Age Superman to death, "Avengers Dissembled", Iron Man becoming a fascist, Captain America being assassinated, and Spider-Man telling MJ to f**k off cuz Joe Q says he should be young and single.
Rather than letting the market dictate what the readers want, Q & D are determined to make them want what THEY are willing to sell. We hear a lot of wordplay giving to how Q & D "listen to the readers and care about what they think." If Q had really cared what the fans thought, he would have listened to them at convention after convention when they begged him to leave Peter and MJ alone.
As far as Q is concerned, "One More Day" accomplished exactly what he wanted it to: broke up a plot he didn't care for, got media press and lots of sales. The fact that it was a stupid story has no effect at all. Sounds suspiciously like "Death of Superman", doesn't it?
Q is on the fan hot seat right now but he's not worried. It'll pass over and people will either forget or accept what cannot (i.e. WILL not) be changed. Slowly, the attention will turn to another target. Whether that will be Q again or D depends on who dictates the worst story first.
FINAL CRISIS, anyone?