Funnybook Babylon

March 4, 2008

FBB Swipe Files: Alan Graaaaaant. Come On, Now.

Filed under: Blurbs — Jonathan Bernhardt @ 3:25 pm

Comic book writers, I can understand the bind you’re in. I get that you want an issue title that has cultural context, that resonates with your readers, and is instantly memorable. But guys. GUYS. “Sins of the Father?” Yeah, that one’s taken.

In fact, it’s taken by (in no particular order):

Amazing Spider-Man #263, Avengers #401, Marvel Tales #275, Giant-Size Man Thing #5, stories in Adventure Comics #454 AND #462, Silver Surfer #67, a story in Web of Spider-Man Annual #7, Captain Atom #51, Action Comics #606, The Demon #3, Guardians of the Galaxy #42, Blade #7-12, Blade: Sins of the Father (a different comic, not a collection of Blade #7-12), Deathstroke the Terminator #12, JLA: Black Baptism #3, The Punisher 2009 #22, Sabretooth #4, Superman #68, Captain America #246, Superman: The Man of Steel #47, The New Gods #8, Starman #0-3, Marvel Super-Heroes #12, and uh, X-Men Annual 1996.

I left out all non-Big Two books (and a couple of Big Two books, as well). That’s because I was getting tired of italicizing all those damn titles. Seriously now, guys! Change it up! Blade, especially.

And Geoff Johns is almost the worst here. Besides using generic titles such as “Homecoming” (seriously, it seems like every event in the past three years has an issue called “Homecoming”) and “Endgame,” during his Teen Titans run, he named titled #6 AND #23 “War and Peace,” a title it shares with a bunch of Star Trek, Transformers, and other licensed books over the years.

The big prize, though, goes to journeyman writer Alan Grant, who is most widely known for reading V for Vendetta, changing V’s mask, putting him red, making him a teenager obsessed with making his vigilante alter-ego’s neck look longer than it actually was, and having him fight Robin. And I like Anarky! I really do. But in the eight issue series Alan Grant got to do about the character, here are the issue titles:

Anarky #1 – “Aberration Part One: Power Play”
Anarky #2 – “Aberration Part Two: Green for Danger”
Anarky #3 – “Aberration Part Three: Wishing Well”
Anarky #4 – “War and Peace Part I”
Anarky #5 – “War and Peace Part II”
Anarky #6 – “War and Peace Part III”
Anarky #7 – “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”
Anarky #8 – “Sins of the Father”

Both of them. He uses both of them, in the space of five issues. And the one that isn’t is the title of an extremely well known song from the American Civil War. Come on, Alan!!


  1. I think every single one of Alan Grant’s story titles–for DC at least–were the titles of famous films, novels or other books. I think.

    Comment by caleb — March 4, 2008 @ 6:09 pm

  2. Holy shit, not every single one, but here’s a sampling:

    Outcasts #11 – “Some Like It Hot”
    Detective Comics #590 – “An American Batman in London”
    L.E.G.I.O.N. #1 – “Homecoming” (!!!)
    L.E.G.I.O.N. #5 – “The Secret Diary of Garryn Bek” (Even Anne Frank isn’t off-limits!)
    L.E.G.I.O.N. #8 – “Don’t Look Back”
    Detective Comics #607 – “The Mud Pack, Part 4: The China Clay Syndrome”
    L.E.G.I.O.N. #11 – “Power Play” (What? Seriously?)
    Detective Comics #612 – “Cats”
    Detective Comics #621 – “Trial By Fire”
    The Demon #3 – “Sins of the Father” (ALAN YOU MOTHERFUCKER)
    Robocop #9 – “Vigilante Part 1 – Power Play” (SEE ABOVE)
    L.E.G.I.O.N. #24 – “The Empire: Strike Back”
    The Demon #25 – “From Here to Eternity”

    I was only able to get to mid-1993 before I gave up on this. Most of the titles I left off are things like “Girl Troubles” or “The Scheme of Things.” And Alan Grant used Sins of the Father and Power Play not once, but twice and three times respectively over the course of ten years. The Anarky issue titles are some kind of greatest hits of cliched, bland, and insubstantial allusions.

    It should be noted that Alan Grant also produced a Batman arc called “Identity Crisis,” and a Robocop arc called “War Games.” This isn’t surprising, considering how unoriginal those titles are to begin with. His versions are probably better than the Meltzer/Bat Office ones, too.

    Comment by Jonathan Bernhardt — March 4, 2008 @ 6:33 pm

  3. Did you happen to see the Countdown preview before writing this, or is it just a happy coincidence that the cover of issue 8 says “War In Pieces”, and the title of the issue itself is “Homeward Bound”?

    Comment by Hoatzin — March 5, 2008 @ 2:00 pm

  4. The name of the upcoming Cyborg mini is “Rage Against the Machine”

    Comment by Mrbird — March 6, 2008 @ 9:35 am

  5. When it comes to his DC work, Alan Grant truly is one of the hackiest hacks ever to hack from Greater Loebistan.

    Comment by Dan Coyle — March 13, 2008 @ 5:32 pm

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