March 16, 1999
by Chuck Miller
I have been rather busy lately, and haven't had as much time as I'd like to read comics. I know, I need to get my priorities straight. After all, what is more important than comic books? But the world won't leave me alone. All this having to earn money to eat and keep a roof over my head... Also, I have been having some dental work done, and my funds are a little limited, so I haven't been able to buy as many comics either.
Well, enough whining. I have been able to do SOME comic reading, so I'll share with you what I consider the highs and lows of recent weeks.
The current Superman storyline, "King of the World." Pretty cool. Superman, under the mental influence of Dominus, has abandoned his Clark Kent identity to become Superman round-the-clock, struggling madly to right all the world's wrongs. So far he has, among other things, disposed of the nuclear arsenals of every nation on earth. Now he is an outlaw and has found himself at odds with his Justice League buddies. In fact, they even tried to whack him with some synthetic kryptonite Green Lantern whipped up. It didn't work, of course. The death of Superman has already been done. But the Man of Steel is in all kinds of trouble, not the least of which is on the domestic front. Lois Lane Kent is royally pissed at her husband's new attitude. Taking on the JLA is one thing; dealing with an angry spouse, though... I don't envy him.
Anyhow, in last week's installment, Superman seems to have shaken off Dominus' control-- but he's still in a world of trouble. Everybody's ticked off at him. How will he get out of it? Time and two bucks a week will tell...
Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neil's "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen." I mentioned this one last week, so I won't go into a lot of detail. But if you'd like to see Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, Bram Stoker's Mina Harker, Poe's C. Auguste Dupin and many others from the same era in one adventure together, I don't know of anyplace else you could do it. This one comes to us from America's Best Comics, which I think is affiliated with DC in some way, but I'm not sure exactly how. Ironic, since Moore once swore he'd never again have anything to do with DC. But, if the Sex Pistols could reunite, I guess anything can happen.
"Boba Fett: Enemy of the Empire," from Dark Horse. Boba fett vs. Darth Vader. Need I say more?
"Hulk," written by John Byrne and drawn by someone-or-other. Y'know, maybe it's time to kill off the Hulk. There doesn't seem to be anything fresh that can be done with the character. Peter David pretty much did it all. John Byrne has somehow gained a reputation as a master fixer of sagging titles-- and he does score a hit every now and then-- but he doesn't seem to be going anywhere with this. The first issue was lackluster to say the least. I don't know what direction he plans to take this title in, and I kind of doubt he does either. Scrap it. Let it rot in peace. I spent three bucks on this thing, and I think I would have been better off investing in a filet-o-fish value meal...
Stan Lee's idiotic question-and-answer pieces in his "Soapbox" column's in all the Marvel mags. Why does this man even bother? I guess when he dies, I'll eat my words and praise him to the skies. After all, he has made some pretty major contributions to the comics field. But for right now... sheesh! He's making a fool out of himself.
(Addendum: Since writing that last paragraph, I have learned that Stan has been "let go" from Marvel Comics! No kidding! And in what sounds like a pretty shabby manner, too. Oh well, that's the way they've been doing business lately. But Marvel Comics without Stan Lee? Even though he's been little more than a figurehead for some time now, it seems like they owe the guy a little better than THAT! So, since being fired is a sort of death, let me now praise Stan the Man. He co-created a lot of nifty characters and took a company that was about to go under in the early 60s and turned it into nothing less than the spearhead of a comic book revolution. I have little doubt that if it hadn't been for Stan and Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko and a few others in those dark days, we would not have comic books today -- at least not as we know and love them. We all owe him a great debt. Apparently the new corporate bosses at Marvel don't feel the same way-- well, screw 'em. We love you, Stan. never forget that!)
Wow. See how quickly things can change? I was ragging on Stan Lee mercilessly in one paragraph, but the minute I find out he's been mistreated, I can't say enough good things about him. That just goes to show, you can count on me when the chips are down-- but not before! (And no, I do not have a two-headed silver dollar with a scarred side that I use to make decisions...)
The Superman/Fantastic Four team-up due out later this month. It has been a while since marvel and DC have done anything together. It was getting to be an almost weekly thing there for a while, and I was really digging it. I hope this will get things cranked up once again. And whatever happened to Access, anyhow? Haven't seen him in over a year...
Comic book publishers beware! If you come out with a title I really, really like, it will be canceled. This has happened too many times in recent months for it to be mere coincidence. I'm beginning to feel like Hamlet. Here is a list of recent casualties:
"Chronos," "Resurrection Man," "Chase," "Power of Shazam." Now I'm shaking in my shoes over the possible fates of "Martian Manhunter," "Hitman" and a few others I won't mention for fear of tempting the curse a little too much.
Oh my God! At the top of the column, I mentioned how much I've been enjoying Superman lately! Will I be single-handedly responsible for bringing down the world's greatest superhero? I need to call the Phantom Stranger or Doctor Strange to help me lift this mojo....
Evil spirits take note: I absolutely HATE Batman! And I can't STAND "Preacher." "Young Justice" and "JLA" are completely awful. "Captain America" reeks! And I just LOVE anything written by Chris Claremont or drawn by Todd McFarlane. And ALL of the 7,547 X-Men titles are among my very favorites! Got all that? Okay, get to work...
Well, that's about all for this time. I have to get back to earning money and all that boring stuff. See you later.