Are YOU the next Rob Liefeld?

So, i was just curious as to how many members of a site like Comic Vine are actually frustrated comic book creators themselves. If so, then i was wondering, if given the chance what character/team you would want to take the reins of and what you would do with them.

I know story ideas are usually well protected and i'm certainly not looking for you to give up your million dollar Superman idea here in detail, but to get the ball rolling, let me start by raising my hand and saying;

"Hello. My name is Fee and i'm a recovering frustrated comic book creator."

I'll even throw out THREE books i would want to handle;

1. SILVER SURFER - Not my favourite character of all time but it just seems that over the years the Surfer has been relegated to the side lines as a supporting character in other peoples epics when i think that there is an epic waiting to to be written focusing on him. Remember that Surfer story in the 70's, (i read it in reprint by the way. I'm not THAT old) the one by Stan Lee and John Buscema where Mephisto tries to win the Surfers soul? Yeah. That one. I would elaborate on that, bringing Mephisto back and turning him back into a top tier villain on a cosmic scale after he realises that to tap into the Surfers soul is to tap into the soul of all life.

2. AQUAMAN - Pretty much the same applies as it does with the Silver Surfer. This guy has been warming the bench for too long when there are great stories just waiting to happen. He's king of the seas goddamit! How could there not be great stories there!? I would use the ocean itself as a character, focus on the immensity of it and all that we don't know of it. At the moment though, having just read the new 52 relaunch, i see a lot of things i've previously thought of with Aquaman perhaps popping up in this new version, so i will reserve my thoughts for now. But if Geoff Johns drops the ball on this one, MAN have i got some ideas!

3. WOLFPACK - The forgotten teen group of the 80's. I have always wanted to get my teeth in to these guys (not literally, of course). Head on over to http://www.comicvine.com/wolfpack/49-4081/ to check them out. Teen fighters, trained to battle an ancient order of ninja with the final fight taking place on the streets of their own town... hey, wait a minute! Wasn't that an episode of Degrassi Junior High? What's that? It wasn't? Too much cough syrup you say? Oh. Oh right. Anyway, it think a contemporary approach to the concept is much needed and would love the chance to tear them a new arse (whatever that means).

So tell me, what would YOU do?

P.S. The title -Are you the next Rob Liefeld? Dripping with sarcasm people. Dripping.

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ALL The X-Men Are Crap!

Deliberately provocative title? Maybe.

Personally, i have always had a love/hate relationship with the X-men. Sometimes they have been thrilling, the original concept of outcasts, the superhero team being used as metaphor regarding teens and minorities making the comic an exciting and challenging mix. Other times it has been a convoluted conglomerate, lost and unwieldy, treading water whilst cashing in on its inbuilt fan base and long forgotten hip cache.

I think more than any other comic title, the Men have been criticized for having past their glory day or their comics referred to with the words "when they were good".

The thing i have noticed though is that people nearly always refer to the period that they first started reading X Men as the best period and that they've been rubbish since then. I think the X Men, for a lot of people, were the primer team when young readers first entered the comic world, probably due to the proliferation of Wolverine. This leads to strong opinion, and let's face it, there aren't many comic fans who have stronger opinions than X Men fans.

I read just the other day that one of the fine folk on Comic Vines favourite X Men period was around the 'Fatal Attractions' storyline. Personally, i hated the X Men comics around this time, but keeping in mind that my introduction was the Claremont/Silvestri period, maybe i was just out of step or disliked them because they were different in tone and context from my initial exposure. I guess the point is that i don't know what makes a comic great. Who does. Sure we can cite Alan Moore and Grant Morrison's comics as beyond reproach, but at the same time, let's admit that Final Night was rubbish and The Killing Joke is vastly overrated (a fact conceded by Alan Moore himself).

There is no definitive run on X Men. There is no great or terrible creative arc i suppose as each run has its supporters, each run was a first for someone and through those completely biased eyes, every line drawn and written is amazing and everything after is a big pile of trousers.

Are the X Men past their prime? No. Is the truth more to do with the impossibility of maintaining constant greatness over decades? Probably.

There is NO other medium like comics and never has been. Our closest cousin, the pulp book or the radio serial never lasted as long or had to produce such an enormity of material. Comics ebb and flow, they touch the heights and they drag their arse along the crushing lows. It is just the way the machine works. The point is though, and as trite as it is to say, someones trash is someone else's treasure.

You know that story, the one where the X Men disband for the 7 millionth time because the world hates them and is drawn by a talentless hack who only gets hired because he can draw massive boobs?

That's someones favourite that it. And you know what else?

It may keep them reading comics for the rest of their lives and help keep the industry that we love alive.

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End The Epics... PLEEEASE!!!

I'm over stimulated.

I think if i have to see one more "changes the status quo forever, never seen anything like it, people will die be brought back to life so we can kill them again before bringing them back to life in a way you've never seen before so we can kill them to take them back to their roots because we never should have messed with them in the first place" epics i think my arse is going to explode.

Don't get me wrong, i have loved some of the stories that have come out of these fantasmagorical epic. Civil War was great, Blackest night, Sinestro Corps War, Legion Of Three Worlds and even Fear Itself seems pretty interesting so far, but please... enough.

I fear that in comics desperate attempt to bring in more readers that they are alienating the ones they already have. I fear that the plot pool is being emptied and if an idea can only be sustained a matter of months before being scrapped for the sake of something new, then how long can comics sustain themselves? An example that comes to my mind as i'm writing this is J. Micheal Straczynski's run on Thor. Straczynski attempted to relaunch Thor in a new and interesting, which manner which was in using the tried and true method of returning him to his roots. As we now know, the twist on this was placing Asgard in Oklahoma and allowing the Gods a more asserted sense of humanity as a result. I was not a huge fan of the series, but i did respect and admire the freshness it brought to Thor, who had always been a difficult character to write and a difficult hero to relate to.

The problem i have with such notions is how quickly the modern major comic companies will change the playing field. After only two years of playing with this idea, Asgard was knocked from the sky in yet another major epic, Siege.

"HEY!", you may be saying, "TWO YEARS IS A LONG TIME, FOUR EYES!" And in that you may be right.

But that's only around twenty four issues (if they're shipped on time which they NEVER are but i shall rant about that later).

I feel that maybe ideas are maybe changed purely for the sake of change when there may be more life in them.

I wonder how many years a writer like Peter David, or Chris Claremont in his prime could have gotten from the Asgard/Oklahoma scenario. I wonder how many up and coming talents could have been given the chance to take the idea deeper and into more interesting elements. We will never know now as the Gods have left and Oklahoma has been abandoned.

Overkill is a very great danger in the comic publishing world. Always has been. But what i worry about is how long the industry can sustain fresh and interesting stories for its readers when it burns through ideas so quickly.

Can the well run dry? Are there an infinite number of Superman stories to draw from? Can we reboot every ten years, every five years, every year and hope the wheels don't fall off? I don't know.

What i do know is that i miss the smaller strokes. I miss reading a spider man comic and wanting to read the next issue, not because his life is going to change FOREVER or because he's going to die or his whole life be made to be a dream, but just because i care about the character himself, because it was well written. Well written these days seems to mean how much you can screw with the history of the character or what interesting way you can find to kill someone.

I don't want to see my heroes die anymore. I don't want to see their homes burned or revamped or retconned or whatever the hell it is they do with them in the back rooms of the majors.

I just want to read good stories. I think we're missing them, a heart, a backbone to the comic book world which has gone astray. I don't mean to sound old fashioned or that i don't think comics should progress, i just think that we shouldn't throw out the craft with the bath water, if you know what i mean.

If you don't then i hope you enjoy the seven hundreth epic tussle between Doomsday and Superman, where Doomsday absolutely THRASHES Superman in a game of Pong.

6 Comments
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