With IRON MAN 3 on the horizon I thought now was agreat time to pick my favorite IRONMAN issues from the first 100 issues of the title.
And in no particular order here they are:
“No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity. But I know none, and therefore am no beast.”
― William Shakespeare, Richard III
There is no shortage of villains in the oeuvre of the writer known as William Shakespeare. From the machinations of Hamlet’s Uncle-cum-Father who puts Hamlet ‘too much in the Sun’, to the deviousness of Othello’s ‘trusted’ Iago, to the bloody, eye-plucking Cornwall in King Lear, but none are so ever quotable, and perhaps as eminently watchable as Richard III, who is of such expanse in his villainy that he is the star of his own self-titled play, rather than just a player in another character’s tale.
And this comes to life in florid detail in the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s unique production of RICHARD III. Directed by Ian Gallanar, one of the CSC’s founders, RICHARD III is presented in a ‘movable’ style that puts the audience, truly in the heart of the action and makes them mute(and not so mute) chorus to this tale of treachery and tragedy.
Taking place in the ‘haunted’ ruins at the Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park in Ellicott City, Maryland, beneath the stars and the eyes of God, it is truly a presentation to remember. Particularly on a good, clear fall night (which we were blessed to see it on) with the wind picking up just a little, and showering Richard III with leaves, almost on queue, as he woos a man’s widow over his corpse. Ay, it’s a great thing, when the heavens provide your special effects.
And the whole play went thus, as a crowd of over 100, moved from picturesque room or steps or courtyard, moved from scene to scene, and watched actors of talent and temper… a tale unfold.
And before getting into the actors, a bit more on the setting.
Ellicott City is a 30 square mile area, more loose community than incorporated sub-division, that traces its history back to its founding as a Flour Mill back in 1772 by Quaker Brothers named Ellicott. Nestled in the Baltimore-Washington bosom, the area is rumored to, like Rome, be built on seven hills.
So this is no concrete jungle or ‘great white way’ for your theatrical experience, it is a beautiful and languid tree-lined drive, followed by a pretty spooky uphill walk to make the (typically) 8pm showing, that takes place in the Grecian tinged ruins of the Patapsco Female Institute.
So that is the stage, not New York, or Charlotte, or DC or LA, but the woodlands of Ellicott City; and the PFI Historic Park is a stage worth traveling to see.
Now for those who prance upon that stage.
While there are many strengths to an outdoor production, there are also obvious weaknesses. There are minor moments of congestion and confusion inherent in herding a hundred people to and fro, and that very act of going in and out of the ‘reality’ of the play, perhaps can limit how engrossed the viewer can get into the play.
However I think the immediacy of being ‘in’ the play, and viewing that closely the actors and interacting in their space, compensates for any loss of concentrated immersion in the piece.
However one other weakness of an outdoor production, is the sound. Without the acoustics and sound system of a real theater the actors have to project to be heard, particularly should the weather pick up. Some actors were better at doing this than others. Some actors needed to project better. And some actors were stellar.
The word stellar has to be kept close to the name Vince Eisenson who stars as the titular Richard the IIIrd. He has, as expected, to carry much of the play, much of the language, much of the energy. It is a ponderous role to undertake, and Eisenson manages not just to suffer the weight of the role, but to carry it as if he was born to it.
Part of this may have to do with his youth, but more than that Eisenson’s Richard is a far more vibrant and lively Richard, no less tortured than other actors who have portrayed the character, but there is a sophistication there, a deft touch to his portrayal, that eschews mustache twirling, that makes the character’s ability to charm and deceive, more believable here.
Also of note is the performance of Associate Director Scott Allan Small, as he makes the role of Buckingham, that I think can often come off as no more than a yes man, into one of the formidable figures of the play. He particularly just shines in the scene where he mixes with the audience as he ‘attempts’ to get Richard to accept the crown.
Also the scene where Buckingham draws the line at the slaying of children, and demands his due of Richard, I thought was just played beautifully between the two actors of Eisenson and Small. The physicality of how they played that role, with Buckingham played as the brick wall in that scene (like Marvel Comics’ Kingpin transplanted to Shakespeare), against Richard’s flowing water, that seeps into the brick… and breaks it all to pieces.
And the CSC performance is filled with such capable actors, among them Dave Gamble, Greg Burgess, and Jamie Jager in a passionate performance as Richmond. Another highlight scene is with Ron Heneghan delivering a very captivating performance as the imprisoned Clarence; it takes place in a fireplace dominated prison opposite equally entertaining performances by Bart Debicki as Brackenbury (the lieutenant of the tower) and the actors playing his assassins (Rebecca Dreyfuss and Jared Murray).
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable and recommended production, by a theater company I do not think you would be wrong, in calling world class. And this is typified by the fact that the last few performances of their RICHARD III (ending the weekend of this writing) are all sold out.
But don’t mourn too much, if moved by this review to sample the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company in the future and will be visiting the East Coast, 2013 brings new CSC productions of Shakespeare’s classic plays, among them ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA and THE TAMING OF THE SHREW.
And If RICHARD III is a gauge, both shows will be much labored over in their construction, and much loved in their delivery.
Accolades go out to communications Director Sandra Maddox Barton for all her assistance, in making this review possible.
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to a mad tirade is a complete coincidence.
Quick update, we have the WEDNESDAYS WORDS installment scheduled for tomorrow, that’s going to be a rough one, to get out on time. And I want to get up the MONARCHS OF MAYHEM interview with Charles Saunders for Thursday, which will push part two of 15 FAVORITE PULP HEROES into the weekend. So yeah just check back this weekend for part II.
But to give you pulp fans something in the interim, I bring you… The War on the Public! A mad, slightly quixotic rant (for those of you who’ve never seen me rant before… run away. The water is deep here, and in the words of Alan Moore, “the idea of a God… a real idea.” ) :
CONDE NAST vs BLACK MASK – This is an oldie but an interesting read nevertheless about the first significant volleys in the war to eradicate public domain.
Here are some additional public domain links:
Public domain, public domain, public domain. Why is it disappearing? And Why should you care?
Well the first question is simple, it’s disappearing because people with money can make it disappear. It’s disappearing because of greed.
‘But’, you say, ‘there have always been rich people. and there have always been greedy people, so why is it disappearing now?’
Well it is disappearing now, because business has made such inroads into having the ear of our senate and house, and our courts, that the people who previously were elected to represent the citizens, are instead representing corporations.
The second question, “Why should you care?” I can’t answer that for you, I can only tell you why I care.
Now as a creative person and a writer, and as a friend of writers, I believe in copyright. I think it’s a great thing. But I also believe in Public Domain, and I think that is an equally great thing.
And I think before big business stepped in with their “more, more, more” mindset we had a perfectly workable compromise.
When I was coming up, public domain was very simple, after 50 years, a concept went into public domain
It became the property of the people. Of we, the people.
The writer doesn’t stop being the creator, he is still the creator, his or her name is still on the work. It’s just that after fifty years, his creation can be used by others.
The idea being that if an idea or concept has survived for 50 years that a/ it’s enough time for the creator to profit, sans competition, from the creation and 2/if people are still talking about a character or an idea 50 years later it has become part of the cultural conversation. It has become like an urban legend or a myth or a tale of Grendel and Beowulf, something that transcends the teller. Something that is part and parcel of a larger conversation and the basis for new creations.
(And notice I said people, Public domain is about insuring people, creators get compensated in their lifetime, it is not about ensuring the perpetual unending market share for an undying corporation. Why are companies, that don’t even have the welfare of this country at heart, given the right to lobby our representatives like citizens?
Companies that I can assure you don’t pay the percentage of tax that I do. I’d love to see Disney and Exxon and Shell paying 20% of their income a year in taxes. This nation would not have a deficit.
Corporations shouldn’t in a civilized world, have more rights than citizens. They don’t care about creators, they don’t care about this nation or any nation, they care about themselves. Which is fine if they are not drafting the laws for an entire nation, but they are, so their lack of concern for what is best for anyone besides them… becomes a problem.
A corporation without a sense of cultural and social responsibility… is a mob, to be watched, to be feared, and ultimately to be put down.)
That’s how culture and art works. New things building upon the old. And old ideas being re-imagined into the new. But the coming of the 21st century saw greedy companies rather than earn customers through the new, instead adopt a policy of profit through protection rackets, through intimidation.
So you get corporations lobbying for aggressive changes in the laws of copyright and trademark and patents. And suddenly public domain is an enemy for corporations to avoid and destroy at all cost, instead of what it should be, a necessary part of making old ideas the birth ground for the new.
Art doesn’t get made in a vacuum, it’s part of a continuing conversation. And we are made better for that open resource, for Universal Studios being able to do their version of Frankenstein or Dracula, and for Hammer Studios to be able to do their version, and for any writer or indie filmmaker to be able to do their version.
Without having to clear the usage of Mary Shelly’s concepts with Disney, or Bram Stoker’s concepts with Time Warner, anyone can do a Frankenstein children’s book, or produce a Dracula song or stuffed animal. And that’s wonderful, and cute, and beautiful, and healthy. So it’s about creativity, but it’s also about healthy commerce, and true free enterprise. Companies that want to generate wealth in a country, rather than just taking wealth out. And by Wealth I mean more than money, I mean the ability of people to be able to produce and own products of cultural recognition and interest, without having to pay tribute and protection money… to monopolies.
It’s especially galling to hear from these pompous companies, when the characters they are looking to lock down are, in many cases, popular inspite of them.
Who has kept the Shadow and Doc Sampson and even Spider characters viable? It wasn’t the bloody companies. The pulps and old time radio shows exist not because of the companies, that couldn’t erase the tapes and dispose of the pulps fast enough, it was the bloody collectors. These insane, lovely human beings, who threw together out of their own pocket, these things called conventions, at a time when a company’s initial response was, “Why are they talking about that lame, dead crap, come see my latest Disco Ball action figure! Look at the nerds still talking about the Shadow and Doc Sambo, or whatever his name is! Hey Nerds, the 1930s called they want their hero back! Ha! Ha! Ha!!”
(I just made myself chuckle)
Unfortunately much to businesses’ amazement, this old stuff, due to the passion of fans, actually had staying power. And if anyone has been to a movie theater in the last couple decades, monetary value.
However, as I’ve said before, it was the people, the collectors, the very obsessive types who corporations seek to criminalize today as filesharers, infringers, etc.,, that have saved and preserved much of the culture we now are able to still enjoy, that without them would have been lost.
I love the Old time Shadow radio shows, along with many other radio shows. Those shows, those great pieces of not just entertainment, but of art and culture and history largely exist, not because of Conde-Nast, or insert corporation here… those shows exist because rabid collectors, copied them off the air, made copies, and shared them down the years.
Same with the pulps. Same with silent movies, and sound movies, and film noir.
In the absence of companies finding a monetary value for something they destroy it. They erase over the tape of Doctor Who, they throw out the audio tapes of the Shadow, they burn original artwork of cartoonists.
Why? Because the number crunchers at companies, are not the creative people, they weren’t then and they aren’t now. They make decisions based solely on dollars and cents, and that tunnel vision is always flawed when dealing with work that is also about the imagination of man.
An ‘only Dollars and cents’ mentality will let what is quirky, and manic, and fun, and childish, and challenging in this world die. So these gentle angels of our nature survive because of people who love them. People like the owner of BLACK MASK. Rather than suing that man, Conde-Nast should have got down on their knees and thanked him.
Because he and his kind, collectors preserve these things, when Conde-Nast could not see financial gain to them. But in the wake of renewed interest from Hollywood at the end of the 20th century, and the gangbusters showing of comic and pulp related properties, suddenly everybody wants to sweep in and be the owner of old things made new.
Here’s the thing about public domain. It doesn’t stop you from making money if you have a good idea and a good product. So you don’t need to take Doc Savage or Shadow or Spider out of public domain, to do a book, or a movie, or a audio drama or a cartoon.
No one is stopping you. Build it and they will come. I don’t need to buy Spider Books or Shadow Books, however I do so all the time, when I see a great packaged product. However, if you’re a morally bankrupt company, that has no intention of putting out an attractive product, I can see how competition may not be for you. And you try to sue yourself into business rather than earning business.
And that is where we are at with these companies. They are so petty and greedy for every single penny, it is sickening.
Those…. bloodsuckers!! (Sorry, couldn’t resist! )
Disney’s one of the biggest companies in the world, they can throw around 200 million dollar movies, like you and I throw around nickles, and yet they are afraid to death if a grade school kid creates and passes out her mickey mouse comic.
You can not have it both ways. You can not want something to be culturally iconic and generational, yet remain proprietary and exclusionary. No. We are creatures raised to spread stories over an open flame and for that story to travel from person to person, being changed by each person, owned by each person, passed on by each person, and becoming changed and new and different with each telling.
If you look at all the martial arts, they are pretty much the same art, changed over time, and over region. And we as a culture are better and stronger and richer for that migration, that cross pollination, that cross ownership… we are better for having silat, kung-fu, aikido, hapkido, capoeira, savate, kenpo, krav maga, systema… etc., we are better for free association, no fences, open source, public domain.
We have always been better for it. But now in the last few decades, fences are being put up by a few gatekeepers, on everything. And that cannot stand.
It is an unsupportable policy/mindset, utter control of the culture, art, and interactions of a mass of people by a few outside those people. There is a name for that, and it has always been the same name.
Because if you think that it is a nightmare and an outrage just getting rights to a song to use in your film or project or play, imagine wanting to do your short film of Poe’s TELL TALE HEART, and being told you have to get that approved through Disney, and if they approve you, fees start at $500000.
You wouldn’t have a filmmaker like Roger Corman, if the copyright and trademark environment of today was in existence yesterday. And then you lose all his Poe films, you lose all his collaborations with Vincent Price, you lose his part in the ascension of creators like Nicholson and Howard and Coppola. And who knows what we all lose for loss of those mad, creative cranked out Gothic films.
All that because one man was allowed to follow his muse without crippling interference or exorbitant costs imposed by ‘rights’ holders. How many possible Cormans are we killing, in multiple fields, today? Killing them because we are allowing dinosaurs to sit on our shared cultural conversation and art like a dragon sitting on eggs.
Doc Savage is public domain. Superman is Public domain as much as Robin Hood. Batman is public domain. The Shadow is public domain. Fifty years is a good run for exclusive rights to profits. None of this nonsense about renewal of copyrights, or trademark used to get around expired copyright.
[And speaking of trade-mark. MARVEL and DC have 'jointly' trade-marked the term 'Super-Hero". What is that about? So tomorrow do you trade mark the term 'hero' or 'myth' or god'? Do you trademark the term God? Who is at the trademark office just handing out the rights to every word in the dictionary to the highest bidder?
They haven't begun invoking it yet, their 'super-hero' trademark, largely because I think they are waiting for some of the smaller comic companies to fold up shop, and don't want a challenge to come up when their hand isn't strong enough. But Like Microsoft, make no mistake, they will give it away for free today, to set themselves up to own the market share and charge you through the teeth tomorrow.
All you small comic-book companies need to come together and publish one big omnibus anthology called 'Best Super-hero Tales' or something, and get that trademark challenged and thrown out today. Now while the challenging is good. and all the old creators they are waiting to die before they can bring evidence, are still around. Because if you don't, mark my words, ten years from now anyone who wants to use the term 'Super-hero', in the title to anything, will have to pay for the pleasure.]
I’m not saying companies can’t continue to sell and market their items past the 50 year mark, but what I am saying is that everyone else can produce their take on that idea as well.
(Quick aside here… A word on this copyright extended to 70 years after a writer’s death nonsense. Who the heck does that benefit, if not the money grubbing corporations? Did someone just say ‘the family’?
This isn’t about your family, fool!
Your family can make money, sell books, shoot movies, whether or not your book is in the public domain. We all know, the rights to a writer’s work ends up snatched up by the publisher. And with only about half a dozen conglomerates owning all the book publishing divisions as it is, that’s a troubling proposed consolidation of intellectual property.
See, what we’re talking about is every work after 1923 [that is the date today, tomorrow they might push it back to works in copyright being only stuff before 1823], all the accumulated wisdom, and hopes, and dreams, and pathos, and joy, and horror, and striving, and yes fighting against oppression of millions upon millions of writers, being owned, with this continued push toward extermination of public domain, the wealth of the world… owned by half a dozen oligarchies. What greater betrayal could there be? To any writer, to every writer. To have the work of the most imaginative, and moral people (which is what on a whole, I find writers to be), owned by people bereft of either imagination or morality.
And to that plan, of mad, sick twisted companies, their dream of a world devoid of public ownership, I say the only thing I can say, the only thing a life-time of loving books has taught me to say to such over-arching presumption and tyranny. I say… no. )
Public domain can work for all
Disney will still have Mickey Mouse, but if Tarantino or Seth Green or anyone wants to do a Mickey Mouse movie, they can. I’m not saying DC/Time Warner can’t still make Batman or Hulk comics or movies, but I’m saying past 50 years from date of creation, so can everyone else. How about a Batman movie by Werner Herzog or a Superman tv series by the Hughes Brothers?
Both those ideas just made me chuckle.
I can’t say you won’t get your share of train wrecks with such freedom, but you’ll also get get your share of wonders. You’ll get Baz Luhrmann’s Shadow next door to Branagh’s Doc Savage. And we are made richer when we can build on the culture we grew up in, rather than this new corporate policy of paying tribute to entrenched monopolies, Disney’s Culture or Time Warner’s culture.
This is very much a land grab, but not land rights this time, not water rights, not airwave rights (which they recently removed from Americans), this is about dreams… being fenced off.
We are on a perilous path. When I think of how much we have lost in the 6 years since Conde Nast sued BLACK MASK out of existence, it gives me pause. Because it is very much a culture where only the few will own anything, that we are pushing toward.
Not software, not hardware, not books, not houses, not music, not comics, not land, not our airwaves, perhaps not even our food or our air, do we get to own. Where everything we interact with is rented to us, is timed, our reactions to it… judged, to insure they are in acceptable non-infringing levels.
That is the end of culture my friends.
Fiction you say?
Yes… Fiction, I say.
Want to learn more?
Want to fight? You? Want to fight? After all I told ya Boy, ya want to fight the dragons of the world?! Swing at windmills like your uncle HT?!!
Aye, you bring a tear to an old man’s eyes. Aye, if I had five more like ya, I could ride into hell and put out all the fires!
Well get ya some education first boyo, read the following takes on public domain:
It’s a start.
CR Fight Article – Yet another Brit! Where the hell are the Americans working to repeal copyright extension! Hold on, I’m still looking.
EFF- Ah, here’s the beloved Yanks! Over there! Over there! And the Yanks are coming! The Yanks are coming! Over there! WHAT??? Don’t you guys watch James Cagney musicals?!!
Okay, below I’m going to present this installment’s favorite comic book covers.
When it’s over I’m going to have a frigging melt down about ads on comic book covers, patronizing American companies using the ‘African problem’ to advance their own effing interests.
So to avoid all that just look at the pretty pictures then leave.
Unless you like seeing me have a meltdown, in which case… read on.
So without further ado, here are this installment’s favorite comic book covers!
Now on to the ranting!
I hate ads in comic books.
I hate ads on comic book covers even more. You want me to not buy your book, just put an ad on the cover.
If you have to do ads, do it in the inside front or back covers, or in the pages after the story, in the back matter. But don’t put them between the story, in the story, or ON THE COVER!!!
It’s like buying a movie poster and having a shell or 7-11 or Walmart ad posted on it. It is a deal breaker.
Now I don’t give an eff what the cause, or what the reason is, altruism usually isn’t it. I’ll choose my own causes and organizations to support… thank you very much. I don’t need a bs spin campaign, the illusion that you give a damn.
I’m talking about DCs ‘help Africa’ ads on their covers.
I find it insulting.
For all the crocodile tears American companies have shed, the situation abroad never gets better.
In-fact it continues to get worse until the point the US decides to invade on her white horse, oust the bad-guy of the day, and setup their own bad-guy. Only general difference being, the US backed bad-guy rapes the people holding the cross in one hand, and the American approved constitution in the other (talented guy). Oh , and of course he makes sure the country under question gets privatized, so American approved companies get rights and control of all the regions natural resources, from water to oil.
And the people we supposedly were all that concerned with to begin with?
Are worse off after American intervention. That’s a song that’s been the same since World War II. What amazes me is how each generation… keeps dancing to it.
If companies as large as Marvel/Disney or DC/Time-warner really wanted to put money toward making a problem go away, it would go away.
So let’s get off that bs ad in particular, and discuss ads in general.
So typically an ad on a cover is bs self promotion or politicking, regardless of how Altruistic it looks. And I refuse to pay for it. If you’re giving it away for free, knock yourself out. But at $3 and $4 per book, I’m not paying for your ads.
So both DC and Marvel shot themselves in the foot by both having ads on the covers of their books (At least in Marvel’s case it was only some books, and the ad in question, while obtrusive and ugly was at least relevant to the book).
All this to say that’s why there were no DC covers, and very few marvel covers this time around.
And on another note: To the other websites that are picking out “best comic book covers”, like I do… word to the wise: If you are not posting pictures of the actual covers, but rather just cover art… that’s more than a bit misleading.
A cover is more than the artwork, it is the typography, the layout, the blurbs, the entire gestalt, so any grading of a cover can not be done without taking that into consideration.
Well let me put it this way, it can’t be done well.
I’ve looked all over the Internet and for the most part, the people who review “best covers” are content to… not put the time in, to do it right. Luckily, you kids have me.
Also luckily we still have Independent Comics, so that in a month when Marvel and DC jointly decided to screw up their line of comic book covers (only partially with Marvel. A good portion of their line have avoided the Avenger vs X-men logo/house ad), I had alternatives, in the form of the Independent comics you saw above, to save the day.
Well, see my ranting is all done. That was relatively painless.
I have four new MONARCHS OF MAYHEM interviews that have come in and three more that I’m waiting to arrive, and just have to schedule them and put them on the calendar. Last week completely threw my time table off, and this weekend isn’t helping any.
But yeah should have the next couple of MONARCHS OF MAYHEM up after the weekend.
And once all the MONARCHS OF MAYHEM posts are up that’s just the end of the first stage, the second stage is where it gets fun. But I’ll notify you of that when the time comes.
On another note the link usage has dipped a bit, so if we can turn that around that would be great. You guys using the links and purchasing through those links, is a huge deal. And is greatly appreciated.
Well that’s all the minor updates for this posting. Have a great night, and I’ll leave you with the craziest thing I read all day over on BLEEDING COOL, namely… Alan Moore goes… OFF! (Again:)). I love Alan Moore, even when he’s completely napalming everyone in sight.
Check out this line, from Mr. Moore:
“In the world that could have been, I could have carried on working happily with the American comics industry.
I know a way that they could have sorted out their continuity. I could have gotten rid of all of their problems for them. It would have been really simple. But, like I say, they unfortunately alienated me. But, they’ve done that [to] everybody who has been a heavy-hitter creatively. Jack Kirby and all the people who genuinely created stuff all got screwed. It was only the company employees who kind of created stuff that wasn’t really that original in the first place that didn’t. It was the Len Weins who kind of did all right out of it because they always did what the company told them.” — Alan Moore
Ohh, I grew up reading some Len Wein comics. Ouch that’s harsh. Heh!Heh!
But the thing about Alan Moore is, even when he is bitch slapping people, and saying ‘F*ck! You write like a retard!’. You cannot argue with the man, because he has the body of work, even to this day, to back up his talk. And the man has a reason to feel screwed.
So I completely get his tirade with the industry. Where I think he does a disservice to himself is with his burning of bridges with his co-creators. That has a bit to do with how Moore views himself.
From what I can gather reading his interviews, he does have a bit of a high opinion of himself, bordering on perceiving himself as the messiah, the savior of comics. Which while not true, is complicated by the fact… that it’s not entirely false. Alan Moore’s work made something… new out of comics. It redefined what a comic could be, it raised the bar, and here almost three decades after he raised that bar, no one else has arguably equaled it, and without argument no one has transcended it. Thirty years later and WATCHMEN is still hailed as the best, most sophisticated work the comics medium has produced.
So yeah given that, and given the fact you’ve been rewarded for this achievement by being repeatedly lied to, cheated, and used, and ripped off… yeah… I can see that persecution, mixed with an unequaled body of work, will give anyone a bit of a messianic attitude. His falling out with Dave Gibbons is part of this.
Moore taking an idealogical stance against Hollywood films, has been signing over his revenue from these films V FOR VENDETTA and WATCHMEN etc to his co-creators. Moore’s stipulation being he wants his co-creators to call him up and thank him when they receive the money. Both David Lloyd and Dave Gibbons, ultimately balked at this.
Being an outsider I can see both points of view:
Moore sees he has on idealogical grounds signed over a considerable sum to his co-creators and wants to be thanked. But if I’m a co-creator my stance is ‘I didn’t tell you to sign over the money, if that’s what you want to do great, I appreciate it, but you’re not going to compel my appreciation. I’m not going to thank you for a work that is mine as much as it is yours’. And I can only gather that’s Lloyd’s and Gibbon’s stance.
This is the problem with altruism when it is misplaced, and I think in Moore’s case it is. He gives away the money but wants to be thanked.
Note to Moore: If you want to be thanked then give your proceeds to your family or a charity. But to relinquish your profits to your coworkers and then insist they thank you when they get the check??– well that’s you putting fellow creators and fellow men and I would assume fellow friends, in a subservient position to be beholden to you, and therefore that’s not giving them anything at all.
That behavior is attempting to buy something. So yeah I completely understand what Moore wants to do on idealogical grounds, but he would have been better doing it without expectation of being thanked, or bnot doing it at all.
So Moore, burning bridges with his friends, when friends always a rare commodity becomes ever rarer as we get older; is the only thing, If I had his ear, I would suggest he reconsider.
As far as his industry comments…
Well once again a lot of people are up in arms, talking smack about Alan Moore because of his attitude. Here’s the thing, you have to earn the right to throw bricks. And when it comes to the industry Alan Moore has earned the right to throw bricks. A lot of you attackers have not. Stay the heck out of it.
I agree that perhaps there’s another way to handle this almost three decade old feud, between Alan Moore and mainstream comics (specifically DC) rather than tossing gasoline on it. But if that’s not the way Alan Moore chooses to go, that’s his choice. I’m not in his shoes.
Sometimes the price of genius means you tow an idealogical line, perhaps to your detriment, and past the understanding of those of us who eat compromise for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And so we attack anyone who doesn’t compromise, or quiet down like the rest of us.
Alan Moore wants to rant, he’s earned the right to do so. Cause even when he is ranting, he is erudite, and informed, and teaching us about navigating the slippery slope of dealing with businesses… with conglomerates in the early days of the 21st century. Hopefully without losing our souls…. it’s a history lesson and a cautionary tale. So rather than objecting to Alan Moore having an opinion take from what he says… what works for you, and leave alone the rest.
Read Rich Johnston’s synopsis here and when done with that, go here to read the whole eight page interview! I’m going to call it right now, with a whole 10 months left in the year, the best/most important comics related interview of the year. !
heh.heh. That Len Wein comment cracks me up.
And wrapping up my favorite AVENGERS covers from the original series, is pretty easy. Because after 1977, with very few exceptions the covers are just uninteresting at best and plain awful at worst. Much like the book itself, it was just stumbling from weakness to weakness.
Here then are the best covers in the last 20+ years of the books original run:
It says a lot that the numbers jump over a hundred issues, before I list another cover. And this is gimmicky mess, but it was better than all the previous 100 covers. It just clarifies how bad the book got.
So needless to say you want great AVENGERS covers (and comics) stick to issues #181 and before. At least for the first Volume.
In 1998 creators Kurt Busiek and George Perez would launch a new AVENGERS series that largely just pays homage to the great years of the series, You can look at them almost as a remake of the Jim Shooter and George Perez run, that I mentioned in the previous post. But it’s done well enough by Busiek and Perez to be entertaining in its own right.
And then later would come the Bendis’ years, But that is a story for another installment.
Revisit the earlier posts here:
Okay I had intended to tackle all the great covers in the 2nd decade of AVENGERS comics, however that’s not going to happen, there are just too many great covers. So this post will cover the first five years of the 2nd decade of AVENGERS comics. The years from 1973 to 1977.
AVENGERS 136- The floating heads is always a nice touch. And even without Gil Kane signing his work, those elbows at jaunty fighting angles even in repose, screams Gil Kane. (turns out the floating heads are done by a different artist, John Romita, and that’s what was making some of these covers hard to call as completely Gil Kane)
AVENGERS 139- Here’s another example, the main drawing with that exagerrated action (somebody gets hit and their knees fly into their chest, and elbows shoot out)is vintage, powerful Gil Kane. But those floating heads are by Spiderman artist John Romita. A favorite comic as a kid, so that may be swaying my appreciation for the cover, which is not Kane’s best. I’m going to have to start grading harder or I’m going to end up listing every cover Gil Kane does.
AVENGERS 142- I promise you I’m grading harder, but what can I tell you, 1975 and Gil Kane was just knocking these covers out of the park. Add cowboys to it, or people in normal clothes and Gil was in his element. Notice the difference between this cover and the previous. The inker here was more faithful to Gil Kane’s hard angles and musculature, which I think looks more striking. Great cover.
AVENGERS 145- What?! Do you see this cover? I’m trying to avoid anymore Gil kane covers but that’s like trying not to give the MVP to Michael Jordan when he’s playing. It can’t be done. Great Kane cover, inked by Dan Adkins. Wonderful use of word balloons and typography. Something you don’t see too much in modern comics.
AVENGERS 146- Tell me this cover doesn’t have ‘buy me’ all over it? It’s a great design. However you notice how it’s rounded a bit, inked by Al Milgrom, you lose some of the angularity and power that Kane’s pencils are full of. But even subdued Kane is great.
Don’t worry Gil stops doing covers with this issue, so we should be able to jump ahead a few years before we get any more covers this good right? WRRRRRROOOOONNNGGGGG!! Cause the artist they bring in to replace him on covers is…..
AVENGERS 147-148 Last time he made this list was all the way back in issue #20, Jack the King Kirby is back doing the covers! Definitely with 148! 147 however is attributed to Buckler and Adkins, but what I’m seeing in 147 is Kirby and Milgrom.
So I’m going with my gut and attribute the penciling on both of these to Jack the King Kirby. He’s not as sophisticated as Gil Kane or John Buscema, but there is just so much life and energy in these covers, so much going on, that they are just a joy to a young kid stumbling across these issues in the libraries back issue bins or on newsstands.
And the interiors were done by Steve Englehart and Jim Shooter on scripts and George Perez and John Byrne on pencils, from this point till issue 166, almost twenty issues, they are mostly home-runs. I guess the best way to put it in perspective is… all of the comics I’ve mentioned previously… I’ve sold. This run from 147 to 166, are not for sale. In the age of digital these are the comics that are worth having as paper.
I won’t list all those covers here are the standouts:
As mentioned 147-148 are great, we bypass 149-150 (these are credited to George Perez, possibly George Perez’s earliest work. Look nothing like his great work now, quite frankly they are not good) and from 151-158 we get great Jack Kirby Covers. The best being the following:
159 So Kirby leaves or is let go, it’s unclear which, who the heck can they bring in till a new regular cover artist is chosen. Who else but the best? Gil Kane returns, and like he always does… he blows the doors off the place! Look at what he’s doing in this cover. It’s just a clinic on great art. Add to that the interior art by George Perez and story by Jim Shooter and you have… classic defined.
164-166 There’s a lot of nonsense about great comics out there. Here’s the straight dope… this three part storyline, issues 164-166, is the best AVENGERS storyline. Full stop. With Jim Shooter as writer, George Perez on covers, and John Byrne on interior art, they together created the throwdown for the ages. People like to use the term wide-screen entertainment to define something blockbuster in scope, these three issues from the summer of 1977… were wide-screen entertainment before the term existed. If you own only three Avengers comics… make them these three. Highest recommendation. Now that said, while all three of the covers are at least good, only one is great. This one:
AVENGERS 164- And with that cover the legendary John Byrne created the last great AVENGERS cover of 1977!
Come back next time as we finish off the 2nd decade of AVENGERS comics. the years from 1977-1983, and we also tackle the third decade, the years from 1983 to 1993.
Ya’ll come back now ya here!
p.s. As far as purchasing issues, per my previous post (scroll down) Marvel has the first 30 issues available in their oversized hardcover format they call an omnibus. It’s a good deal. However they don’t have omnibuses out for issues 31-164, so getting these issues is a little more difficult. You would think with Marvel’s AVENGERS movie due out this year they would capitalize on interest and release Omnibuses for most of these early issues. But… Noooooo. So failing that look at the links in the first post and this:
The above two are black and white collections, which is just about sacrilege, the color being such a part of these issues, but if you can’t afford the original issues, and can’t wait for the expensive hardcovers or omnibuses… they are a cheap way to read a bunch of issues.
Hold the presses!!! Here are some better color options to read these issues:
If you do choose to buy, please support this blog by using the links provided. This blog generates a couple dimes from each sale, so you guys using the links is definitely appreciated and definitely necessary to keep the blog going. Thanks!