Saturday, July 25, 2009

SDCC Commentary

* One of Marvel's many confounding tendencies is their occasional imitation of a DC Big Event via a Small Event. Last time it was "Identity Disc", now it's the upcoming X-Men crossover "Necrosha" which apparently involves the undead wreaking havoc. The fact that I automatically thought of "Blackest Night" even though I'm not reading "Blackest Night" is probably not a good sign. Still, if Craig Kyle and Christoper Yost are to be believed, it's one of those crossovers where each series tells a self-contained story - a fortunate choice, given how "Messiah War" turned out.

* "X-Men Noir" is coming back for a sequel miniseries. I liked the first one, might end up checking this out.

* Gerard Way has two upcoming projects coming out at Dark Horse: a third volume of "Umbrella Academy" (always welcome) and a new series called "Killjoy". Now, Way did not do himself any favors by calling it a love letter to the '90s, since the '90s are already back with their damned ugly foilograms... On the other hand, I was reserved about "Umbrella Academy" too - a comic from the lead singer of My Chemical Romance? Parents, hide your razors and black hair dye! - and it turned out to be one of the best stories Dark Horse has published in years.

* I'm expecting a hail of posts around the blogosphere titled "It's A Miracle!" Yes, Marvel has finally completed its acquisition of Marvelman/Miracleman, perhaps the greatest "lost epic" in mainstream comics. And this would be a coup worth celebrating, but there are a few caveats that bother me. For starters, I'm sorry, but this is Marvel Comics we're talking about: much as I'd love to be optimistic, this wouldn't be the first time they made a big splash at a convention and then utterly failed to come through, as I'm sure any fan of Stephen King recalls - they went from "Stephen King is writing comics" to "Stephen King is overseeing comics" to "Stephen King's assistant is co-writing comics". Here, too, any celebration may be premature: it seems Marvel's initial plan is to reprint the Mick Anglo Silver Age material, which is... well, it's Silver Age material. And not particularly good examples at that. It's the Moore/Gaiman saga everyone's waited for all these years.

Which raises another interesting question: am I to believe that Marvel, once it gains access to those specific issues, will reprint them faithfully? They're going to publish the childbirthing scene in "The Red King Syndrome"? The destruction of London in "Olympus"? Or are we going to start hearing about quiet censorship, "minor" tweaking of panels and so on? It seems unthinkable, but so does the notion that Marvel - having cowered in the face of possible controversy in the past - might balk at some of the themes Moore explored in his trilogy.

So... I don't know. Not breaking out the champagne yet. It would be wonderful if we got the whole hexalogy out there - "A Dream of Flying", "The Red King Syndrome", "Olympus", "The Golden Age", "The Silver Age" and "The Dark Age" - but I've seen Marvel drop the ball way, way too many times to get as worked up about this as I would have two or three years ago. We'll have to see what happens...