Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Renegade Master

Again, it's been a while. Oops.

Things have been fairly eventful, which makes a change, as usually I struggle to find interesting things to talk about here. The biggest thing is that we've moved house. We were feeling a bit cramped in our flat, despite the sea view, and so we've been looking at moving up to a house; Meg had been searching for a while, and we didn't think we were going to even start the process of moving until the spring, but she chanced upon a small cottage a bit further out of town than where we were (no sea view). We went to see it, loved it, and decided to go for it. We had to take it pretty much then and there, so we moved in a rush about a week before Christmas. And because the flat was part-furnished, we didn't have any furniture.

And we still don't. Our sofa and bed aren't arriving until February, so we spent Chrimble sitting in fishing chairs and sleeping on inflatable mattresses. A full third of our presents seemed to be among the two million lost by a beleaguered Royal Mail, and Meg burnt or sliced most of her fingers preparing the Chrimble dinner. Still, even with all that, and the requisite Christmas Colds, we had a pretty good time of it in our new place. It will be nice when we have real furniture, although I secretly quite like these funky fishing chairs.

I should probably also mention that my story "More Than You Can Chew" was recently printed in the third issue of vaguely-horror-themed anthology comic Paragon. It's not my best work by any means, as it's more of an illustration of a concept than a real story, but nonetheless it's great to see it in print. The rest of the issue is a really good read, including a fun mystical superhero thingie called Battle Ganesh, which plays like a Hindu Dragon Ball Z, and should turn out to be the star strip of the comic, Paragon's version of Judge Dredd or Dan Dare. Should you want to pick up a copy, you can find ordering details on the ComicSpace page.

Alas, the funky comics project I was hoping to kick off, um, today isn't ready, and I'm still behind on a strip I'm drawing for a friend, so my New Year's resolutions are to get the latter done by the end of January, and to at least get started on the former by Easter.

Oh, and the Silver Bullet Comic Books Year In Review for 2007 is up. Go and see what I was grumpy about last year, and what my more level-headed colleagues actually liked. Also at SBC, a review of Amazing Spider-Man #545. I'd dropped ASM a while ago, on the grounds of it being rubbish, and I wish I'd stuck to my boycott.

It's back to work for me tomorrow. Given how I forget how to do everything after only a weekend, having almost two weeks off will completely throw me, most likely.


  1. I haven't read 545 yet, and don't wish to be one of those fanboys who wail and gnash my teeth over something without having read it first. What I have heard sounds utter tripe, but still... there's a part of me thinks it'll turn out for the best in the long run. I don't agree with the way they've gone about it at all (I'd come up with a better solution to the marriage, but would they give me the job ;-)... but I'm still looking forward to what comes next.

    Does that make me a sucker or what?

  2. I think there's potential in splitting Pete and MJ, but I just don't get the feeling that Quesada sees it that way. He just has this bizarre idea that audiences will flock back to Spider-Man if he makes Spidey a single teenager again, brings back a Goblinesque Harry Osborn, and (it looks like anyway) resurrecting Gwen Stacy. I honestly don't think that's going to fix anything. Perhaps the audience went away because they kept on messing with the powers, the costume, the mythology and kept on chucking him into crossovers every other issue. I dunno.

    Oh, and making MJ a fruit-machine-themed superhero is just mental.

  3. Or in other words, Quessada is splitting the pair not because of the story potential, but because he wants the character to be forever stuck in 1967. I'm half expecting the original Kraven to turn up again.

  4. I think you're misreading JQ's intentions slightly, but you should at least be happy that most of the JMS stuff (stingers and mythology etc.) appears to have been dumped along with the marriage. And Gwen stays dead - though apparently they had considered bringing her back (which would have been a step too far even for me!)

  5. If I'm misunderstanding JQ, it's only because he's been saying since he arrived at Marvel that he doesn't like MJ and wants a pre-marriage Peter Parker back.

    As for the stingers and stuff, I really didn't mind the mythology stuff (nor did you at the time, as I recall from your CI reviews), and I think all the nonsense brought along with The Other was imposed by editorial, as part of their endless flailing attempts to make Spider-Man work by bolting stupid bits on to the concept.

    As for Gwen, I'm a bit worried about this new character they've introduced who looks just like her, and fits in her spot in the old 1967 love triangle that they've brought back. A Gwen by any other name...

  6. (Actually, I don't know about The Other, but it seemed so very more whacked-out than the rest of JMS' stuff, even the totem business, that it seemed to come from elsewhere. I can't see JMS' suggesting a crossover, either.)

  7. The mythology stuff was OK, but I'd still rather ignore it. I seem to remember at the time my attitude was that it's good JMS has left open the possibility that it's all nonsense.

    The biggest problem with JMS's run is that he came up with idea after idea after idea and then did bugger all with them, just moving onto the next thing. In some cases they were picked up by other writers who had fun (Peter David did something interesting to tie up loose ends from The Other in the latter issues of FNSM), but in other cases they just disappeared. In that regard, the idea of wiping the slate clean appeals more and more - as does the one continuity 3 x a month thing.

    Oh, and the thing about misunderstanding JQ - as I see it, it's not a rest to 1967... just a reset to the early 80's. Which is when I started reading Spidey, and he was at his best (Stern / Romita etc al). I don't think PP's back to being a teenager or a college student, he's pretty much the same age as we're used to... his history is just a bit muddled. (And it remains to be seen just HOW muddled.)

    Anyway, I don't want to come over all 'JQ's Big Defender' on you... I'm just glad it's all over and we can finally get back to some fun Spidey stories.

    (For the record though, as bad as OMD might be, it still doesn't suck as bad as the Clone Saga, or the worst of the Byrne/Mackie nadir!)

    Is there a word limit in these comment boxes? ;-)

  8. Evidently not. :)

    I'm confident about the creators Marvel have got lined up (except Steve McNiven), but I just hope they are able to navigate the wreckage JQ has left for them.

    I'm also hoping that with this fresh new start, Marvel are going to let Spidey run without slamming into a crossover every other week. But I don't see that one happening.

  9. The thing that confuses me is Quesada is insisting that all those stories that happened since the start of the marriage still happened, it's just that Pete and MJ weren't married. So MJ still had a miscarriage, Aunt May was still thought to be dead, there were still lots of clones, and Venom and Carnage, all that.

    Harry's the biggest question mark, because that means he DID die, but now he's back, and Liz Allan and little Normie are nowhere to be seen. What happened there?

  10. According to JMS, Quesada's answer to all the above is "it's magic".

    Which is pretty poor, whichever way you look at it.

    Still, Slott, Gale and Guggenheim will do me. I can do without Zeb Wells, but 3 out of 4 decent Spidey writers is better than we've had in a while - and the preview of Soltt's first issue made me feel all gooey inside.

    And apparently, for the immediate future at least, crossovers will be kept to a minimum. No Spidey Skrull then...

  11. If editorial (specifically JQ) will leave the title alone, I may give it another look. But I just don't trust Marvel to treat the property well given the crap they've foisted on it over the past few years. Certainly Queseda's mucking about (however it was intended) seems less like fixing things for the good of the franchise and more him letting his ego run wild.

    If you'll review the series on your blog, Rol, I'll look for my recommendations there.

  12. Ooh... you trying to get me to talk about comics on my blog?

    That's naughty!

  13. Well, it is a Brand New Day...

  14. You totally need your own column - that's not a comment on your reviews, or rather, that your reviews don't give you enough room to say what's really on your mind.