Before we get started, there's various and sundry stuff to cover. Thanks to Jeremy Travaglini for pointing out that the DC annual crossover event a few years back was actually named "Bloodlines" rather than "New Blood"; to J. Adams for suggesting I give RICHARD DRAGON another chance (don't worry, starting off your letter with "Dude" doesn't count against you when what follows is intelligent, as was the case with yours!); to "DreamMephisto" and Mark Bottjer for pointing out why I should not give GAMBIT a chance (the statement that the series "sucks blackened Cajun nuts" was what sold me the most, Mark); to Doug Ferrar for writing in with more corrections than I can list here and for keeping me honest about my John Byrne bashing (yes, it's true, I don't feel he's done any quality work since MAN OF STEEL, but you're right to point out that I take my comments on him just a bit overboard); and to all those people who continued to write in with suggestions for titles they wish had never been cancelled, some of which included PURGATORY, CHASTITY, EVIL ERNIE, LADY DEATH (all suggested by the same person, I might add), RUSE, Scott McCloud's ZOT! (damn right that should have been included!), and the Helfer/Baker version of THE SHADOW. Thanks for the responses, folks!
You might have already guessed from all that, however, that I received relatively few responses to the question of which characters should have their own series. I'm fairly certain that's because most of the characters who most deserve a monthly outing (and a whole bunch who don't) have already received them, with varying degrees of success. And while I'm sure I pointed out that characters who have only gotten minis were eligible for this, it still didn't bring that many suggestions out of the woodwork. The ones I did get were pretty interesting, though...
Dale Walker opens his letter with a guess at what fictional character the title of Marvel's MARVEL KNIGHTS SPIDER-MAN VOL 1: DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN rips off ("I would say Matthew Scudder, from the Lawrence Block mysteries, the best of which is TICKET TO THE BONEYARD"). Good guess! However, I was thinking more of Professor Bernice Summerfield from the DOCTOR WHO THE NEW ADVENTURES series who also stars in her own series of books and audio dramas the good professor wrote a book about the Ice Warriors called DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN. OK, now that I've proved how incredibly sad I am...here's
Phil Sexton has an unusual but interesting suggestion: "Personally, I'd love to see DC do something with a Checkmate agent. Great costume. Interesting concept. DC should create a series focusing on one specific Checkmate field op (who's also a great character) and then let us follow along on his (or her) adventures. Could be a great combo of superheroics and spy game - tough and edgy without falling into the 'grim and gritty' clichés of the nineties." For that matter, Phil, why not have it be a sort of "anthology" book in which we see the adventures of several Checkmate agents, all of whom have the potential for coming back and/or getting killed? I think this is a cool idea how about it, DC?
Nathan Crowder (who also wrote in about the GL controversy and whose thoughts on that I'll print next week) writes, "I may be in a huge minority here, but I actually like some of the new X-titles - particularly X-MEN, a book that reminds us that even if you on the same team you don't have to love/like/tolerate each other. But that's beside the point. I would actually like to see Cyclops and Havok get their own series, not as a team players or team leaders but as individuals. They have enough history to support it and enough emotional baggage to keep it interesting - I mean, Scott has got the dating track record of Terry Bogard of FATAL FURY fame, and Alex has been stuck in another dimension for the length of a whole series! This will provide enough material that you won't have to deal with time displaced children for a year! Plus it's one of the only places you can get go ol' fashioned sibling in-fighting [apart from] my second candidates for their own series: Arsenal and Green Arrow (Connor Hawke). In a recent issue of GREEN ARROW the two spent a night on the town. It was like the odd couple with bows! They have a truly functional dynamic that I felt has been missing for some time since the days of POWER MAN AND IRON FIST." Ah, speaking of series we wish hadn't been canceled...sigh. Those two were great together, weren't they? Anyway, Nathan, given the current vogue of giving every mutant and their brother his own title, I think your suggestion is not far from being picked up...
"bernadeph" (sorry, folks, but he (she?) didn't sign his (her?) letter) has the same problem that I suspect many of you had with this question: "I've been racking my brain in order to think of someone mildly interesting that doesn't already have their own book. I've come up with zilch. Or at least almost zilch. I would like to see a series of Liz Sherman from HELLBOY. Why? Because she was always the black sheep of a family of black sheep. She was hardly ever with the group, so there's a lot of unaccounted for time. And (besides Hellboy) I think she was the most interesting of the BPRD team. It wouldn't have to be like HELLBOY, either (ie, supernatural monsters every storyline). Some storylines could go more personal. It could be a little more mildly supernatural. And it's not like we couldn't see the main guys again. Personally Id love to see HB back for at least one story - I have a hard time believing he just 'gave it up.' And it's not really that interesting... but the recent guest appearance of Barda in the SUPERMAN/BATMAN series makes me nostalgic...so give her a one-shot or something.
"And here's the big problem: why do some characters even get their own series? I have a hard time believing that people were sooooo Jubilee-starved that they needed a whole series about her. The whole X-Universe is already very solo heavy." No arguments there, bro. I also agree with you about Barda hell, I wouldn't mind seeing Mister Miracle get his own series again (as he had very, very briefly back in the 70s) just to see Scott and Barda all the time. They have one of the most interesting romances in the entire comics universe, and they were one of the best things about the comedic version of the Justice League, in my opinion. Seems like it would make a great book. As to why some characters get their own series...tell you what, let's address that in a few weeks, shall we? I'm sure you're not the only one a little put off by the very concept of a Jubilee series...
Morgan Idris Little writes, "In response to your query of what characters might benefit from their own book, I have recalled an old Spider-Man supporting cast member from about 12-15 years ago. His name was Solo, and as he was fond of reminding our favourite wall-crawler and everyone else for that matter, 'while he lived, terror died.' This character was a homicidal maniac in the age just before all mainstream heroes became homicidal maniacs, but his gimmick was an anti-terrorism kick and a fondness for grenades and teleportation. It seems to me that he had his own limited series at one point, but regardless, maybe in today's turbulent times a mad man going after terrorists might please and amuse the masses." I know I'd be amused, Morgan...good suggestion! By the way, the SOLO series coming out next month has nothing, repeat, nothing to do with this character. For one thing, it's from DC.
John L. Bush saves our collective ass by coming up with not one, not two, but four suggestions and since I have so few responses, I'm going to give him the floor for all
And finally, Alex Rehm
Some of you have already begun writing in on next week's topic, which is whether bringing back Hal Jordan as Green Lantern was a good idea and/or whether Kyle Raynor should remain in that role, but there's still plenty of time to weigh in on the debate! Simply send your thoughts to me via the web site contact address here or e-mail me directly. Responses should be in by 12 noon (CST) on Sunday, October 10 to make it into next week's column. Please use CAPS when giving the title of a series you want to mention. And as always, don't forget our discussion boards! In the meantime, here's this week's listings:
For the kids this week, Marvel presents the Fantastic Family's encounter with Invaders from Planet X (yeah, things were much simpler then) in MARVEL AGE: FANTASTIC FOUR #7, while MARVEL AGE: SPIDER-MAN #13 presents Spidey's first encounter with some minor villain or other...Green Gob-stopper or something like that. Each goes for $2.25, which is still a darn sight cheaper than you could buy the original issues these stories appeared in...
Meanwhile, over at DC, the kids will be thrilled by the appearance of everyone's favorite hero, Booster Gold (no, seriously!) in JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED #2 ($2.25), while LOONEY TUNES #119 ($2.25) features Bugs
Yes, Virginia, there is someone willing to pay $2.99 to read ALPHA FLIGHT #8 but it ain't me.
As for Bat-titles this week, I hope the fact I can't find any info on the ARKHAM ASYLUM: LIVING HELL trade paperback ($12.95) doesn't mean it's not coming out, if it's collecting that dandy little miniseries from last year. There's also the BATMAN: BLACK AND WHITE VOL 1 trade paperback for $19.95; DETECTIVE COMICS #799 ($2.95), which, as Doug Ferrar pointed out to me, starts "War Games" Act 3 - God, when will it end? and SCRATCH #5 (Of 5, $2.50), which obviously is the end. Nice to know there's one Bat-book out there that doesn't require the purchase of, what, eighteen others?
I honestly have to say that I don't fully understand the plot description of the story arc starting in CAPTAIN AMERICA & THE FALCON #8 ($2.99) all I got is that M.O.D.O.K. is in it, and that's all I got. I trust someone will give me a plot synopsis in five months after the whole thing's over with?
The latest offering from Dark Horse may sound like barbarian porn, but the CONAN AND THE DAUGHTERS OF MIDORA one-shot (ahem!) probably has nothing to do with porn except that, at $4.99, it's probably about as expensive as a copy of HUSTLER. And if it's not, please don't write in to correct me 'cause I'd rather not know.
Ego the Planet has a child in EXILES #53 ($2.99). On the other hand, it could be a false alarm he may just have passed a kidney stone.
Speaking of stony things and severe pain, Marvel pre-empts its regularly scheduled printing of THE INCREDIBLE HULK to bring you HULK AND THING: HARD KNOCKS #2 (Of 4, $3.50). Hell's bells, I hope this doesn't mean they'll start Hulk over at issue #1 again when they do take him back up...
Something tells me some sad fanboy is going to use the next offering for the same purposes as that Conan comic mentioned above... Image presents BATTLE OF THE PLANETS: PRINCESS #1 (Of 6, $2.99). Eep, what a thought...
You know a series is in trouble when they start a story as "Part 1 (of 1)." But that's JUBILEE #2 ($2.99) for ya...
And you thought your stepbrother was a pain in the ass... Pick up LOKI #4 (Of 4, $3.50) and discover what Thor has to go through. It's enough to make you want to buy your own
In MAJESTIC #3 (Of 4, $2.95), the Wildstorm hero is still trying to get back to his own universe, but he's being prevented from doing so by his memory loss and from an enemy far more mighty than he is...the DC Editorial Staff! (No, seriously, it's really the Eradicator but the first choice made more sense, didn't it?)
There's yet another Monolith in MONOLITH #9 ($2.95) this month! Could it be the one appearing in HAWKMAN next week? Nah, that's the same one. By the way, Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray write both titles. Coincidence? I think not!
Speaking of which, is it a coincidence that NYX #5 ($2.99), which is appearing so late after issue #4 that any other writer would have been fired for extreme tardiness, is written by Joe Quesada? Oh, probably not. When any other book goes from May to October without a new issue, most comics companies just start it over with issue #1... And does anyone remember issue #4?
If SABRETOOTH #1 ($2.99) weren't the beginning of a five-issue mini, I'd say that Marvel had finally lost all sense of reason and had indeed decided to give every single character in the X-universe their own title. But it's a mini, and Sasquatch from Alpha Flight is in it, presumably not being written as comic relief as certain other writers are treating him (and the whole team...)
Normie chooses between Raptor and May in SPIDER-GIRL #79 ($2.99). Oh, come now...what other choice is there?
The TEEN TITANS: FAMILY LOST trade paperback for $9.95 reprints issue #s 8-12 and the hard-to-find #1/2, all of which recount Rose Wilson's switch from Titans ally to Titans enemy and her alliance with her father Deathstroke. It's enough excitement to make you want to poke an eye out!
THOR #85 ($2.99) is the last issue. Seriously. Last issue. No THOR #86, no reboot with issue #1 in six months, no nothing. Oh, Bendis, what hast thou wrought? (Indirectly, of course.) Read this and find out...
And what else has Bendis wrought, you ask? Well, Wolverine's teaming up with Petey in the first part of a two-part story in ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #66 ($2.25), so this series won't be ending and rebooting for a long while...
Massive amounts of money may be spent on Vertigo titles this week (if you so choose), since there's SWAMP THING #8 ($2.95), the
TRANSMETROPOLITAN VOL 3: YEAR OF THE BASTARD trade paperback for $12.95, and Y: THE LAST MAN #27 ($2.95) to choose from. Gotta have something good to read now that THE NEW FRONTIER is over...
Majestic may not be in the Wildstorm universe right now, but the Thundercats are! (Now, see, you're supposed to be excited about that...) Anyway, THUNDERCATS: ENEMY'S PRIDE (nice little play on words, that) ends with #5 (Of 5, $2.95).
And finally, Wolverine's 30th anniversary celebration (I s**t you not) begins with a bizarre series of murders committed with adamantium blades in UNCANNY X-MEN #450 ($2.25); and if you don't feel like you exposed to Logan enough by now, there's also the WOLVERINE #20 VARIANT EDITION for $2.25. Oh, yeah seems there's a six dollar poster of Wolverine out there, too. Oh, joy.
I'm outta here, bubs.
Comicscape is our weekly Comics column.