Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Con Gamed

“This is the most fun I’ve ever had drawing a comic.” Fiona Staples, who apparently wants to hurt my feelings. Between that and her NORTH 40 editor believing her work on the upcoming TRICK 'R TREAT was "the first full-length comic Fiona had ever drawn", I'm starting to feel sorry for myself...

Oh wait, I already felt sorry for myself. Never mind, then.

So the "big news" out of the San Diego Comic Con this year seems to be the acquisition of a number of loose superhero properties by major North American mainstream publishers. Last year, DC announced the return of the Milestone characters and the acquisition of Archie Comics' Red Circle superheroes; this year, they announced that they've finally got The THUNDER Agents, which, along with the Justice Machine, is a group of characters I've long had an attachment to for no rational reason I've ever been able to articulate.

Dark Horse has got Jim Shooter working on some characters he's already given a booster shot to back when he helped build up Valiant Comics, Gold Key properties like Turok and Dr. Solar.

And Marvel managed to get loads of PR by strongly implying that Alan Moore's lost/Neil Gaiman's unfinished superhero masterpiece will finally be found/finished, while pointedly not saying anything of the sort. Over at The Beat, Heidi McDonald quotes one-time Eclipse Comics honcho Dean Mullaney saying point-blank that the Miracleman version of the character isn't what Marvel's managed to get hold of. All this talk of Marvelman being "the JD Salinger" of comics characters loses a lot of (if not all of) its weight if what's actually been acquired is a blatant fairly Captain Marvel rip-off, rather than Alan Moore's other major comics work deconstructing the superhero. If it's the latter, it's an exciting development for people who don't feel like shelling out hundreds of dollars for the now very difficult to get hold of story; if it's the former, it amounts to pointing out a molehill and pretending it's a mountain while leaving enough wiggle room to say, "Hey, I never actually said it was a mountain" when someone examines the thing a little more closely.

I completely fell for the hype myself, and sat there reading Newsarama's live updates of the Quesada panel, waiting for the Big Announcement, which I seriously believed would involve Harry Potter--something that might have carried a little weight in the wider mainstream and offered a potential infusion of new readers to a medium that could frankly use it. It was not to be, but as a comics fan, I was excited to learn that Marvelman would be returning, right up until I noticed what wasn't being said.

But hey--The THUNDER Agents are coming back! And Fiona Staples is having a lot of fun drawing NORTH 40. And I didn't spend a couple grand over the last five days for the privilege of sweating and getting frustrated in a distant city. So that's all good.

A

1 comment:

Scott said...

For what it's worth, I knew Done to Death was her first comic work but mistakenly thought it was a webcomic. Which means my utterance was both unclear (since I'd meant to say Trick 'r Treat was her first work for publication) and mistaken (since it wasn't).

A thousand apologies.