Monday, October 28, 2013

Also, if what I heard from the reeds is true, Tom Brevoort has ass's ears.

I would like to draw your attention This is probably the best blurb I've found on the back cover of a comic book in quite a while, the second one down:
"Geoff Johns and King Midas of ancient Greek myth both have a similar trait in common: whatever they touch, no matter how lackluster or trivial, is turned into radiant gold and worthy of attention."
I like everything about that blurb.

I like how overly-complicated the structure of it is. If one wanted to make an everything-Geoff Johns-touches-turns-to-gold observation, it doesn't take quite so many words: "Like King Midas, everything Geoff Johns touches turns to gold." Period. Also acceptable, "Geoff Johns has the Midas touch."

But the writer, whose name isn't given in the blurb and whose name I am not giving here because I don't really want to make fun of him or her as much as I want to point out the out-of-context blurb as something that amused me personally, specifies where the metaphor of the Midas touch comes from ("ancient Greek myth") and then seems to work against the use of that metaphor. Johns doesn't just have the Midas touch, he has "a similar trait in common," a phrase I have trouble processing, with Midas. And here neither Johns nor Midas turn what they touch into mere gold, but to "radiant gold" that is "worthy of attention." Not normal gold, or the sort of gold you can ignore.  The blurb kind of makes me wonder if the writer actually knows the story of Midas.

I also like the fact that the comic book the blurb appears on in a collection of Justice League of America  Vol. 1: World's Most Dangerous, written by Johns, Matt Kindt and Jeff Lemire, and featuring artwork by David Finch (who draws  only parts of three of the eight issues collected, and is merely the first of 16 artists involved, despite the series being sold as a Johns/Finch one). The blurb itself is taken from a review of JLoA #2, one of the issues Finch drew.

I find it amusing that this is the comic that the writer deploys the Midas touch metaphor on because, even allowing for variations in the tastes of different critics, it seems to me that reasonable people who have read more than just DC super-comics of the past three years can agree that it is not a very good comic book. It's not even a very good Geoff Johns comic book. It's not even a very good Geoff Johns comic book about the Justice League.

I think it more accurate to say that with this comic, Johns has taken the original, the perfectly golden concept of the Justice League of America—the world's most popular superheroes and Martian Manhunter team up to fight giant starfish and other threats to big for any of them to handle alone—and turned it into, I don't know, nickel. And then Finch touched it and turned it into lead. (Wait, is lead less valuable than nickel? Because if not, reverse them. I'm just assuming lead is of no real value, as that's what alchemists used to try to turn into gold, another popular, valuable metal-based metaphor. But maybe nickel's actually worth even less. I don't know. I'm a comics critic, not a metallurgist).

But mostly I like that blurb because of the story it conjures in my head. I imagine Geoff Johns waking up and getting dressed one morning, grabbing his favorite Green Lantern logo T shirt and slipping it on, only to find that it turned to solid gold as it fell over this torso. He pulled on his jeans and socks, and each of these became gold as soon as he had them on as well. Now frightened, he reached for his baseball cap, and it too became gold upon his head.

I imagine him walking awkwardly to his desk, weighed down by his heavy, metal outfit, and as his fingers touched his computer keyboard, it too became solid gold. In horror, he realized that he wouldn't be able to write comic books anymore, so long as he suffered from this terrible affliction! He tries to call for help, but as soon as he picks up his cellphone, it's a non-functional golden objet d'art in his hand!

So he rushes into the office to tell Co-Publisher Dan DiDio of what has befallen him, and as he bursts into DiDio's office, the comics executive jumps up to greet him, reaching to shake his star writer's hand before Johns can stop him, and in an instant, Dan DiDio is no more, replaced instead by a solid gold statue of himself!

Aghast at the site of his long-time co-worker and friend rendered lifeless at his touch, Johns' mind reels, and he turns to flee the building. But he hears the voice of Co-Publisher Jim Lee in his ear, "What have you done to Dan?" and feels Lee's fingers closing around his wrist, and before he can even turn around, Lee too is a statue of gold!

Johns stumbles out of DC's offices, probably bumping into one DC editor after another, and runs down the streets of New York, screaming and crying tears that turn whatever the fall upon to gold as well. He runs to the temple of Zeus—surely there's a temple to Zeus in New York City; they've got everything there, right?—falls on his knees, throws his hands wide and looks to the heavens. "Please Zeus, remove this curse from me! It wasn't I who wished for it, but someone from PopMatters! Please, I'll do anything you ask!"

And the head of the giant marble statue of Zeus creaks as it turns to look down upon Geoff Johns, and a voice like thunder rings out, echoing against the temple walls: "Anything?" And as Johns ugently nods, Zeus' voice booms out,  "Very well, but only if you promise to change Captain Marvel's magic word to 'Zasham'...!

"Oh, and also, you must promise to read my pitch for a 12-part maxi-series to do away with the New 52 continuity! You don't have to publish it or anything, I just ask that you read it! I think you'll like it! It involves the Fifth Dimensional Thunderbolt rescuing and rallying continuity casualties like Oracle and the Batgirls and Wally West and Donna Troy, and joining forces with disaffected youth from the New 52 like Anarky and Spoiler who know that something about their universe just isn't right, and ultimately they convince many of the heroes of the New 52 to join them in battle with Pandora, who re-wove continuity to form the New 52, I guess, but you never really explained how or why you know, and then re-set history once more, this time collapsing the New 52 into the post-Crisis DCU, kinda like they did COIE with the various Earths, so you can keep the good stuff from the last few years but get rid of all the dumb stuff, of which there has been so much!

"Oh! And for God's sake, have Azzarello put me back in Wonder Woman! He's got every Greek God except me in it! It's pretty annoying!'

And Johns knows he's not supposed to accept unsolicited pitches because he could end up getting into legal trouble, but he also knows that anyone who could possibly object have already been turned to golden statues, so he ascents, and Zeus lifts the curse and Johns is promoted to publisher, since anyone more experienced than him was turned into a pure gold statue, and while he isn't able to to change Shazam's name to Zasham, publisher and deity compromise and make him Captain Marvel again, and while Zeus' maxi-series pitch is eventually rejected, he and Johns do collaborate on an event comic getting rid of the New 52, but Zeus uses a pseudonym, Z. Alan Smithee.


Akilles said...

Gotta love your train of thought.

David Charles Bitterbaum said...

This is quite possibly the best explanation for how DC works (or could work) than anything else I've read about the mess of trouble at the company.

SallyP said...

This seems perfectly plausible to me.

Anonymous said...

Another thing I'm wondering about that blurb, even after reading the rest of the review it was taken from for context, is what exactly the reviewer thought was "lackluster or trivial." The basic concept of the Justice League of America? The premise of this particular series? This particular group of characters? I have no idea.