Funnybook Babylon

January 3, 2009

FBBP #84 – Best of the Year

In the waning hours of 2008 the gang got together to discuss some of their favorite comics of the year.

Our official picks are a little skewed since we were trying to pick out books we hadn’t already discussed to death: sorry Ed Brubaker, Eddie Campbell, David Lapham, Grant Morrison and the rest!
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December 7, 2008

This Blog is Cancelled!

Torches? Check. Pitchforks? Check. Two-gallon drum of Haterade? Check. Looks like it’s time for Internet rage about comics getting cancelled again.

What’s up on the chopping block this time? One Marvel book (She-Hulk) and a whole lotta DC books (Nightwing, Robin, Birds of Prey, Manhunter and Blue Beetle). Why are they cancelled? Well, that’s a bit more complicated.

Conventional wisdom might tell you that these cancellations are due to today’s harsh economic realities. Other sectors might tell you that it’s about sexism, or subtle racism against minority characters, or a general unwillingness on the part of the publishers to give these books a shot. I’ve seen blame passed around, from the nature of the periodical medium to the willingness of the reader base to accept new characters, a lot of arguments from people who either weren’t reading the books or admitted they didn’t like them. What’s up with that?

Blue Beetle had an astounding 25-issue run that was a slow-starter and is forever kind of hurt by the fact that the opening stages are greatly affected by, and have to refer to, the events of Infinite Crisis where Jaime made his first appearance. As much as I hate to say it, this’ll always hurt its ability to sell in trades. Once you hit issue seven (which is, ironically enough, the most Infinite Crisis-linked of all the issues), it really kicks off, though, and Rogers turned it into what was probably one of DC’s strongest books during the time it was coming out. I’m sure somebody will comment about how that’s damning with faint praise, but this was during 52 and the start of Morrison’s Batman and back when Busiek/Pacheco Superman was cool and it looked like DC might actually keep its momentum.
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June 11, 2008

Salvation Run and Gotham Underground: Letters from the Edge of Failure

Today saw the end of the DCU-villains-are-mysteriously missing plot line that has been running since around the quarter mark of Countdown. Both of these stories were promised as major status quo modifications for the cadre of villains that DC has, of late, become increasingly enamored with. Both of these stories were, supposedly, born out of the planning sessions that led to the lead-up that led to Final Crisis, and the creative process behind these books must have been as circuitous as this sentence.

Salvation Run is like some sort of paragon of editorial mandate, the sum total of all unnecessary top-down plotting that, invariably, falls flat on its ass in the end. This is the end, and damn, has it fallen flat. Looking at Salvation Run as a project on its own merits, it started out as a decade-old Elseworlds pitch proposed by fantasy writer and geek paragon George R.R. Martin. His original plan was a long-term look at a society founded by the DCU’s villains on a sort of cosmic Australia. This pitch sat in DC’s “maybe we’ll use this shit sometime” files until it was inexplicably dragged out as part of the lead-up to Final Crisis. Of course, there’s one major problem with adapting the premise for this purpose: If it takes place before Final, and it’s in continuity, the villains sort of have to get back at some point. And if the villains get back, then they can’t do any of the long-term sociological view. And if they can’t do that, then what the fuck is the point of the book?
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