Thursday, June 05, 2008


This crossover was even better than that one where we got to vote if Spider-Man could beat up Superboy or not.

—I thought the idea was a clever mixture of two then-ascending Hollywood trends when they first showed up in Mark Millar and Greg Land’s Ultimate Fantastic Four. I thought the branding of the miniseries and the cover concepts was pretty clever, and enjoyed the first series. And that’s as far as I got with the Marvel Zombies; I guess I read a few issues of their appearances in Black Panther, but I didn’t feel any real need to pick up Marvel Zombies 2, or that one-shot or that crossover with Army of Darkness, and all the random variant covers and merchandising has reached the point where when I hear the term “Marvel Zombies” a sort of weariness settles upon me.

Clearly, the world doesn’t need any more Marvel Zombies comics. On the other hand, the world could always use more Fred Van Lente-written Marvel Comics.

So it was that I was in the middle of a deep, deep sigh at the the announcement of Marvel Zombies 3, until I saw who would be writing it. Van Lente’s currently co-writing one of my current favorite superhero comics—The Incredible Hercules—and achieving Jeff Parker levels of humor with his Wolverine First Class series, so if anyone’s got a chance of keeping the Marvel Zombies joke going a little longer, FVL’s probably the guy for the job.

Plus, Man-Thing will be involved.

—If the comics news sites don’t give you enough opportunities to shake your head at what a colossally self-aggrandizing ass Mark Millar can be, check out this long and rather thorough profile from The Times Online .

For the most part, it’s a well-written overview of who this Mark Millar guy is for people who don’t read Marvel comics. Two things really jumped out at me, though.

The first was this bit: “The success of Wanted, which he says has sold about 1m English-language copies and is the highest-selling creator-owned comic book of the past decade, has become a lucrative diversion.”

Is that even remotely true?

I suppose it may be, but I was under the impression that Bone, which is also creator-owned, has sold two million copies by this point (in its various formats). But perhaps by saying “of the past decade” cuts out Jeff Smith’s pre-1998 Bone sales, which perhaps is significant enough a number to get it down under the one million mark.

I don’t have the inclination or patience to research sales figures for creator-owned comic books from the past decade (and apparently neither did The Times, since they just attributed the fact to Millar), but the fact that Millar does keep track of this shit, thinks up phrases like “the highest-selling creator-owned comic book of the past decade” with which to talk about his own work, and then volunteers them in interviews sure makes him a hard creator to not dislike personally. (And by “personally” I mean “public persona-ly,” not personally-personally).

The other most note-worthy bit was this:

I love the fact that Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of my favourite films," he says. "It's the worst kind of snobbery to want to be into stuff that most people aren't. It's a defect in character. Whereas being into something that everybody's into, what could be nicer?”

Not “Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of my favorite films,” or “I’m not ashamed to say that Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of my favorite films,” or “I’m proud to say Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of my favorite films,” but “I love the fact that…”

Or, in other words, “You know what I love about myself?”


This news, via Tom Spurgeon, sounds like bad news. Ann Telnaes is one of my favorite political cartoonists (i.e. one who's style was distinctive enough that I remembered her name and actively sought out her work). The points of her cartoons aren't always that hilarious—or, in some cases, even at all funny—and she does over-indulge in that labeling thing I find so irritating, but I can't think of a better political cartoonist character designer than her.

Her Dick Cheney is the greatest Dick Cheney of them all, and, no matter what’s going on in the cartoon, I always laugh at the sight of her Cheney's face and the sneaky, self-satisfied, almost blank expression she gives him. It’s easy to exaggerate his snarl for comedic effect, but Telnaes goes the opposite route and the results are perfect.

I'm not a fan of the animation by political cartoonists I've seen (I’ve never seen a Telnaes one), most of which tends to be terrible. Part of that may be the differences inherent in animation and political cartooning, of course. With the latter, I read it at the ideal pace for me, while animation is not unlike someone else reading it to you at their chosen pace.

Abhay on Secret Invasion is always a treat, isn’t it?


Tucker Stone said...

The thing that struck me as so absurd about Millar is that he claims to have some kind of populist mentality for entertainment, yet he's also in full embrace of comic books, which, going by even their highest sales figures, can't compare to the popularity of a Wayans brothers movie.

Leigh Walton said...

I'm pretty sure Bone has sold well over 2 million just in the Graphix edition alone... but that's in aggregate, I guess. Possibly Wanted tops Out from Boneville? That seems impossible.

JohnF said...

"I love the fact that I've written the dumbest Fantastic Four story from the past fifteen years!"