The Column: Issue #5

Fri, August 23rd, 2002 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Mark Millar, Columnist

[Guest Columnist Howard R. Brinkley Jr.]WHY NEW MARVEL SUCKS ASS!
Guest Column by Howard R. Brinkley Jr.

Greetings, fellow comic-book enthusiasts. I would like to take this opportunity to thank your web-master, Mister Jonah Weiland, for this chance to air my views here in Mark Millar's regular CBR spot. You'll note that I refrain from thanking Millar himself because, let's face it, that guy has to be just about the biggest a-hole in the graphic novel industry at the moment. I don't know why he's missing this week. Perhaps it's another one of these 'chronic illnesses' he's always bleating about or, as seems more likely, the intrinsic laziness which many of these so-called pros seem to suffer from as their books become unacceptably late. Whatever his excuse, I'm just glad the little Scottish shit has gone AWOL for a change because it gives me an opportunity to trash everything that hipper-than-thou bonehead stands for. I'm here for a reason, gentle reader, and that reason is to explain why New Marvel sucks the penis of SATAN.

Now I don't write this as some middle-aged virgin typing in his mother's basement. I am, in fact, currently intimate with a very beautiful, mature lady I met on the Earth: Final Conflict boards last year and had my first sexual experience at the tender age of nineteen (heck, make that ELEVEN if neighbors, baby-sitters and uncles count). I actually live almost three blocks away from Mother at the moment and only spend so much time around there because she had a bad fall last year and she needs a little help getting out of the bath sometimes and, as you might expect, getting on and off the old porcelain throne. No, I'm very much your average Joe and that's why I feel compelled to beg Mighty Marvel to turn back now on this road to ruin they're currently on before it's all way too late. I don't care about the buzz, I don't care about the sales and I couldn't give a rat's ass about all those awards they seem to be piling up. Marvel must wake up to the fact that these idiots they're hiring to write and draw their funny-books at the moment are alienating the many, many hardcore fans who loved those titles when they were at an all-time creative low.

Where, besides the back-issue bins, can a fellow find an X-Men book where the story can be enjoyed in twenty-eight parts parts spread over eleven different titles? Why are we forced to settle for ONE Peter Parker when we used to enjoy reading about his fascinating clone, the mystical Madame Web or that QUARTET of Spider-people who were so popular that they were given their own title a few years back? Remember Captain America's cool-looking armor? Daredevil's journey into the after-life? Two Thors, three Iron Men and the past, future and alternate incarnations of the entire 90s X-Men line-up? This much-hated modernization of the line under Jemas and Quesada has only served to encourage the kind of pierced, tattooed, shaven-headed and ethnic types who make my life such a misery in the real world to enter an arena where I once felt safe. Hats off to DC for making their books so unfashionable right now and concentrating their efforts on reprinting old, unreadable stuff like the 1940s Black Canary archives as opposed to pushing the kinds of work these frightening, new mainstream readers might actually enjoy. Comics is where I like to retreat from the horrors of my daily life and it's a credit to companies like DC that they do everything in their power to make the industry as insular, narrow-minded and inaccessible as possible.

As an aspiring writer myself, I thought Marvel might find it enlightening to read how a few of their more recent train-wrecks might actually get back on-track by someone with a genuine affection for the characters. I'm no big-time author, I'll admit, but I think I speak for the silent majority when I plea for a return to common-sense publishing and heroes I can, as a bearded, thirty eight year old man, look up to and learn from.

THE HULK

You'd think, with the Hulk movie on the cards, that Marvel would hire a writer who had at least a little experience in the industry as opposed to a young newcomer like Bruce Jones. Where did they find this kid? McDonalds? I'm sorry, but I hardly think The Hulk is where we should be exploring the ramifications of a haunted man on the run who's constantly battling the demon which lurks inside him. The Hulk, young sir, is best played for comedy effect. Puns? Yes. Digs at other pros? Of course! References to old comics? I loved that stuff for almost a decade! A clear, accessible narrative which could be picked-up and read by anyone? Kiss my ass, Mister Jones. That is NOT The Hulk!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN

Oh, boy. Where do I start with this J Michael whatever-he-calls-himself? No references to Venom! No references to the Clone Saga! No references to Aunt May being dead and resurrected despite the fact that she's perhaps the most respected little lady in Peter Parker's LIFE, JMS? This hipper-than-thou Hollywood hotshot has been writing Spider-Man for a little over a year now and not once, in all this time, has he used one of the six villains introduced in Spider-Man's first twelve issues. Six villains who have been re-cycled and re-used every few months for two entire generations! Is this guy out of his mind? Does Mister Tinseltown even know which book he's WRITING here?

THE X-TATICS

Excuse me, but am I the only one who thinks editor Axel Alonso is some kind of overpaid Skrull-in-disguise up there at the House of Ideas? Besides ruining the Hulk and commissioning the worst Spidey stories in living memory, he's turned Liefeld's X-Force into a veritable laughing stock. And don't get me started on Mike Allred. Has nobody else noticed that he's just ripping off Jack Kirby every month? And I'm talking about Jack Kirby after his first STROKE, before you ask!!!

THE X-MEN

I've no problem with ringing out the old and ringing in the new; so long as the new is a reshuffling of the same old ideas I've known and loved for nigh-on fifteen years now. Grant Morrison seems just as big an a-hole as Millar in his sheer contempt for beloved minor characters and a continuity which made this franchise perhaps the most difficult to even UNDERSTAND towards the end of the 1990s. Yes, yes, yes, it's all very clever for the hipper-than-thou Morrison to think he can just start injecting new ideas into a beloved and tired old formula, but the consequences are catastrophic. I believe he has written this book for close to eighteen months now and not once, in all this time, has Magneto returned for a battle with Marvel's merry mutants nor have we met a relative from an alternate reality. And as for Frank Quitely and his disturbing, realistically-rendered females and appropriate facial expressions; nuff said, true believers. I have read this book since you started, gentlemen, and have understood each and every one. This, my friends, is NOT the X-Men.

THE HOOD

An examination of Marvel's criminal underworld sounded promising enough until I read the first issue and realized that the protagonist was WHITE. Give me a break, Brian Vaughn. I have a friend who studied sociology at university for a while and he assures me that almost all crime is perpetrated by blacks and Asians. In fact, in tests which he told me about, a wallet containing ten dollars was placed on a table before a hundred average blacks. In ninety five per cent of cases, the black said he 'felt compelled' to steal the wallet and, when the money was upped to fifty bucks, not a single black in the study was able to resist taking that which didn't belong to them. Based on this evidence alone and the fact that there's a gang of black thugs who chase me home from work every night, I refuse to buy another copy of this mini-series until this racial misinterpretation is rectified.

MARVEL KNIGHTS, THE ULTIMATE LINE AND MARVEL MAX:

Cancelled, cancelled and cancelled. I doubt few would disagree that Marvel Knights was the beginning of the end for the comic industry. Yeah, the hipper-than-thou Smith and Latin-sleaze-bags Quesada and Palmiotti might have notched up a few sales, but at what cost? They might have been onto something with that demon-hunting Punisher book, but this sick crew paved the way for everything that's wrong with the industry today. Wife-beating superheroes? An Iron Man comic where the lead character cusses like he's in some kind of bar-room saloon? These three lines should be given the heave-ho at the earliest opportunity and Millar should be sent to a grade school creative-writing class. His hipper-than-thou characters just really get under my skin. Has anyone else noticed how his X-Men all TALK the same when, as we know, foreigners always pepper their language with phrases like MEIN GOTT and HEIN? His constant references to the world we live in, whether it's politics or pop-stars, is really freakin' annoying too. When oh when, Mister Millar, will you realize that comics are only supposed to reference old comics and the real world should be avoided as much as possible?

IN SUMMARY:

You want Marvel to work again? Okay, here's the recipe, Messers Jemas and Quesada: No Bendis, no Morrison, No Quitely, no Hollywood-types, no Chuck goddamn Austen, no John Ney Reiber (what kind of name is that anyway?), no John Cassaday, No Hitch, no Kuberts, no Jap-style guys like that anime shit you gave us recently, no pro-crime books like Cage, nothing edited by Axel Alonso, nothing written by Brian Azzarello, no Jenkins, no Jae Lee, no Terry Dodson, no Garth Ennis, no Steve Dillon and definitely, definitely, definitely no Mark fucking Millar.

Thank you and good afternoon, gentlemen.

Visit Mark Millar on the Web at www.millarworld.biz.

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