This is the way the world ends
April 17, 2008 8:53 PM   Subscribe

Superstar Scottish comics writer Grant Morrison is about to tear the DC Universe apart again with Final Crisis, the latest in a series of apocalypses and world ending events he's inflicted on various comics worlds over the years. But there was a time before fame when he wrote the tie-in comic for ZOIDS, the robot dinosaur children's toy. So what did he do? Ushered in the apocalypse, in the form of THE BLACK ZOID.
posted by Artw (70 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Art by Steve Yeowell.
posted by Artw at 8:57 PM on April 17, 2008

I was a Marvel kid through and through, but I devoured the first Crisis series when I borrowed it off a friend of mine. Imagine my shock when, years later, well after I'd pretty much gotten out of comics, I found out there'd been another Crisis series, despite the fact that the whole point of the first one was that there wouldn't be any need for anything similar afterwards. Now imagine my shock when, years after that I find out that they're still pumping these things out ("Final Crisis"!!! For reals this time!!!").
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:07 PM on April 17, 2008

If I wanted to start liking the DC Universe, where would I start? I've heard The Dark Knight Returns is pretty rad, as is Batman: Hush, but beyond that I'm totally lost. I read a collection of Alan Moore's DC work on a lark and it felt awfully stilted -- and I like Alan Moore. Classic stuff, modern stuff -- there's got to be a good place to get to know these characters.

Thanks all!

- a Marvel loyalist
posted by lumensimus at 9:09 PM on April 17, 2008

Read Morrison's All-Star Superman, it's pretty wonderful and more or less self-contained.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 9:16 PM on April 17, 2008

Morrisons All Star Superman (subject of part III of the CBR interview) is kind of sitting on the edge of the DC Universe proper, but absolutely awesome. His Batman has failed to really fire me up so far though. This despite writing one of the definitive takes during his (again, totally awesome) run on JLA.
posted by Artw at 9:18 PM on April 17, 2008

The place to start for the DCU is The New Frontier. If anyone says different they're wrong.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 9:18 PM on April 17, 2008

When I stopped reading comics marvel was pulling a entire universe changing upset every six months, at least in the X-Men "area" of the world. It got old.

If you ask me, they ought to just give up on continuity, rather, they should simply do runs of a few hundred comics isolated from eachother, the way the Japanese seem to do with Manga (although I'm not that familiar with Manga)

All of my opinions are based on the comics I read in the late 1980s/early 1990s, and are clearly totally relevant.
posted by delmoi at 9:26 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

No, it pretty much got worse. Following mainstream continuity for DC or Marvel is largely pointless and frustrating now.
posted by Artw at 9:30 PM on April 17, 2008

I was a DC kid through and through, but after Crisis On Infinite Earths I found my interest in comic books fading. Besides the fact the prices shot up again soon after that maxi series was through (or was that during I forget), I simply felt that for me the story was done. The multiverse i'd come to know and love in my golden age of comics (historically called the silver age) had officially ended. Nothing could top it for me. Flash was dead. Supergirl was dead. Superman of Earth Two was given a kinda macabre but happy ending. Aside from what was happening in Vertigo, I was pretty much done.

As I understand it they've killed off Superman a few times since, but somehow he always manages to remain not only alive, but thirty-something. Forever. Now that's a superpower for ya. They've also had multiple crises as a result of the one in 1985. And time in comic books has been going quite wonky. Now everything happened five years ago or ten years ago. They keep pushing time up, saying that what we thought happened in 1985 really happened a little more recently than that, but the Justice League has gone through multiple incarnations in a brief period of time. Just took them twenty-five years to detail it all. The Teen Titans traveled in space at least twice, but barely a nod and wink about it now. Meanwhile, Batman's remained the same age while Nightwing continues to get older. Pretty soon Dick Grayson will be taking Alfred's job, and Bruce Wayne will still be pretending to be a playboy.

Honestly. Bruce is older than Hef.

In the past year or so I've read about the Infinite Crisis and what they've been doing to characters I once loved. I can't bring myself to throw away my money on what's essentially rehashing old stuff in a new package for an ever younger audience. These aren't my heroes. I'm not their target audience. They keep recycling them based on what trends, demographics, and research tells them. The "All-Star" series of retreads is the latest blasphemy, although I have to admit the Batman and Robin one is funny - especially when Bats makes fun of GL.

It's like when I watched Star Wars Episode One and witnessed George Lucas turn Darth Vader into a victim and a product of his environment. A cute little streetwise elf of a rugrat that we were all supposed to love, knowing that one day he'd deteriorate into evil incarnate. How quaint. There goes my childhood memories. AND HAN SHOT FIRST DAMMIT. The thing is tho, I haven't a leg to stand on in complaining. Even though a chunk of my childhood was spent daydreaming about a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, my dreams are owned by other people, and if they wanna ruin them for a fast buck, I have no shares in their corporation. I can't mount a hostile takeover. All I can do is watch them piss on my childhood heroes and villains.

If there were no more crises, comic books would have nothing to print. FINAL Crisis? Don't make me laugh. The real crisis? They can't come up with anything new that'll sell worth a damn.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:30 PM on April 17, 2008 [5 favorites]

If there were no more crises, comic books would have nothing to print.

I like how you think Marvel/DC superhero comics = comics. No, wait, not "like," the other thing.
posted by jtron at 9:36 PM on April 17, 2008

I've enjoyed the Marvel mega-events I've read so far. Not that I paid for them (I read my Marvel stuff second-hand from a friend) or anything. X-Men has been feeling pretty stale of late, but Hulk, Cap, and Spider-Man haven't been all bad, and some of the miniseries (Runaways, the tragically canceled Ant-Man) have been quite intriguing. The drama between Tony Stark and Peter Parker during Civil War was pretty compelling.
posted by lumensimus at 9:42 PM on April 17, 2008

Not to glorify continuity or anything, but
* spoilers for the past month of DC comics? *
didn't Orion & Darkseid just die?
* end spoilers *

And, it's Grant Morrison, so, anything he does may get retconned immediately afterwards...
posted by Pronoiac at 9:45 PM on April 17, 2008

Complaining about changing timelines as a recent (or at least post-Crisis) thing makes no sense. Superman has been in publication for 70 years! All the classic Marvel characters have been around for 45 years (excepting Cap and Namor, but they weren't really Marvel characters anyway). Marvel and DC have always been like this and probably always will be.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 9:49 PM on April 17, 2008

Honestly. Bruce is older than Hef.

And he's still going in 2039.
posted by homunculus at 9:51 PM on April 17, 2008

I have the same problem with D.C i never got into it until they started messing with their icons in the 90's. I remember reading Arkham Asylum, Dark knight Returns and Killing Joke in a row, without really knowing the whole story of Batman. Dark Knight returns was actually the first time i've heard of the joker.
In continental europe, DC was not really well distributed, it looked much cheaper than the marvel stuff. Everybody i knew was into marvel and knew very little about the DC guys.
All in all it was considered junk by the bande dessiné people until the three M, Morrison, Moore and Miller, got into business.
posted by SageLeVoid at 10:02 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

"I like how you think Marvel/DC superhero comics"

Without going into detail how i can have an opinion about this, seeing as I have zero money to spend on buying comics, fact is I've yet to see any evidence that any comic book company outside of DC or Marvel has the right to claim supremacy. I know I should be impressed. I know a lot of people think [insert your favorite independent here] should be heralded and lauded and applauded and blah blah blah. I'm not impressed. DC & Marvel are still the best out there, and that's not intended as being complimentary to DC or Marvel.

Marvel's Civil War looked like they were taking things in the right direction. I almost found myself going back to the comic book store to support it. Peter Parker was going dark. Maybe they'd finally kill off Aunt May for good.

Then they just rebooted Spidey sans the redhead, and Aunt May's spunkier than ever, saving homeless people. Comics are spinning their wheels, and the ones that don't? They're crash test dummies hitting walls.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:06 PM on April 17, 2008

Haven't these people ever heard of a reboot? You don't need to invent a ridiculous storyline about how the Punisher died but was cloned on Earth 40892 by Darkseid to infiltrate the Super Friends or some retarded shit. If you want to make your own Punisher storyline, go with it. Just go with it. You don't need to have continuity with Archie #854 to write up a good Punisher story -- do you?
posted by Avenger at 10:15 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Money quote from Morrison: "There are still all kinds of words to put in front of 'Crisis.' There's 'Constant Crisis', 'Future Crisis', 'Mid-Life Crisis.' But please don't say that to them [DC]."

But then, DC had its Mid-Life Crisis back when they 'killed off' Superman, right?
posted by wendell at 10:16 PM on April 17, 2008

I'm a skrull.
posted by vrakatar at 10:28 PM on April 17, 2008 [4 favorites]

ZachsMind: Huh?

DC & Marvel are still the best out there, and that's not intended as being complimentary to DC or Marvel.

What are you basing this on? Sales? Biggest =! best.
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:48 PM on April 17, 2008

The comic market is like any other media market: there is the stuff that sells and there is the stuff that is "good". Sometimes the two intersect, sometimes they don't. In terms of dollar value and market share the Big 2 will always claim supremacy, but that makes them the best in exactly the same way that Titanic is one of the best films of all time.

The Eisner nominees are always a good place to look for good comics. I don't quite agree with their list but I'm willing to concede that others may have different tastes (even if they are wrong). You'll notice that Dark Horse actually tops the list with 12 nominees to DC and Marvel's 11 each.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 10:52 PM on April 17, 2008

I think comics companies pandering to overgrown children who can't cancel their super hero subscriptions after they grow up ruined the super hero books. Superhero books are for children. They should just reboot them every 5-7 years, because that's how long you should be reading them before you move on to stories for adults.

Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns were great books, but superhero books for adults should be a curiosity, not a cornerstone of the industry.
posted by empath at 11:02 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Demoli: As far as manga goes, a run of comics is usually produced by one studio or even by a single writer/author who does the whole project. This means that there is usually much less to worry about in terms of continuity or changes in the tone of a comic. There is also usually some kind of endpoint in mind, which is something that is anathema to the way Marvel and DC have structured their business.

Personally I find this sort Crisis stuff silly. Superhero comics are set in this massive shared universe but there is a certain timeless quality to them that makes it hard for actual progress to occur. Everyone wants to play with the core identity of the hero and ignore other people's changes or alterations to the character. I'm thinking of the recent Spiderman reset in particular as a real waste of a character who had seemingly broken out of this and matured a little by getting married and publicly unmasking himself. These comics would work better if they were structured like Calvin and Hobbes, where summer and winter roll around but no one ever really ages. But that means admitting the artifice behind it and perhaps dropping the idea of having a "true" version of events amid the spin offs. It'd be satisfying in a way for a writer to be able to take a character as far as they can and then close to book on that version and let someone new start over on a different foot.

Maybe I'm wrong, I don't read modern comics enough to speak definitively, but superhero comics are a playground for ideas and they're letting the problems of wrangling a leviathan sized plot get in the way of the real fun.
posted by CheshireCat at 11:10 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

With the exception of Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns (which is absolutely brilliant), I just can't get into superhero comics. The whole Marvel/DC universe thing just doesn't do it for me.

However, I love Grant Morrison for writing The Invisibles, the single greatest comic book series for people who don't like superheroes. Perhaps the greatest comic book series, period.
posted by zardoz at 11:20 PM on April 17, 2008

"There are still all kinds of words to put in front of 'Crisis.' There's 'Constant Crisis'....

Great. Now I have k.d. lang stuck in my brain.
posted by rokusan at 11:21 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

empath: Superhero books are for children.

Whuh? Care to back that up somehow? Why is there any reason that a particular genre is only suited to one age group?

Also, your general argument is flawed, in that largely what the problem with superhero books is not that they are trying to make them "for adults" but that, in many ways, they are trapped by the nostalgia of said adults for the comics of their childhood.

Avenger: Haven't these people ever heard of a reboot?
Well, Marvel tried that with their Ultimate line, which has now developed a pretty full continuity of its own and is starting to get weighed down by it.

The problem is that many people get pretty irritated with reboots, especially if they happen too often. It makes all the time and money they spent on previous stories seem wasted. "What, I've been reading this comic for 10 years, and now you tell me it was all just a dream?!"

Personally, that's why I think that the best comics are those based around a limited run: Sandman, Preacher, Watchmen, DKR, Y: The Last Man, etc. These have a limited scope that allows the writer(s) to do what they want in crafting the story without worrying about making sure they've developed a brand that can be milked for decades.
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:21 PM on April 17, 2008





Seriously, they need to fucking die already.

Making them longer and more expensive and calling them Graphic Novels doesn't help anyone. Trying to parlay the existing style of storytelling into comics with 'indie' themes doesn't make it any better. Affected suburban teen goth shit is even worse than spandex superheroes. Changing the theme to music, alternate history, 日本-philia, post-religion, racism, feminism, or comic-making itself (fuck Scott McCloud) does nothing if the terrible storytelling style and clockwork plotting of traditional print comics is still used.

Putting them on the web a page at a time updated one, three, or five times a week does not make them webcomics.

The only people my age that are into print comics in any form are either into 'indie' graphic novel stuff (a fairly small market), or are manga fangirls going gaga for homoeroticism. I don't see the kids ten years younger than me keeping the graphic novel market alive. The manga market will probably survive for quite a bit longer, but scanlations mean that eventually the only people paying for it will be parents of tweens and the people who covet physical originals more than the content.

I don't see american serial print comics lasting much longer (I doubt Marvel/DC and even the indies make much money of of it, especially compared to licensing $$$), and I for one bid them good riddance.
posted by blasdelf at 11:23 PM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

zardoz: There are a few "superhero" books out that are pretty excellent: Bendis' Powers, Vaughan's Ex Machina, Bendis' run on Daredevil... by and large, these avoid the problems that plague most properties, and they do so while expanding the boundaries of the genre.
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:24 PM on April 17, 2008

Saxon Kane: thanks for the tips. I should've added I don't want to be anti-superhero, and I welcome any suggestions my fellow nerds can give me.
posted by zardoz at 11:44 PM on April 17, 2008

Saxon Kane: "What are you basing this on? Sales? Biggest =! best."

International recognition.
Multiple Other Reasons I Can't Think Of Right Now But Will Occur To Me After I Hit Send.

How many Darkhorse or IDW titles can boast a balloon on the Macy's parade, or household name status in more than thirty countries? I'm not saying this really makes Marvel or DC so great that all the others should just give up and stop publishing. I'm just saying that when it comes to 'cream of the crop' after DC and Marvel it comes down to personal preference, and my personal preference is meh.

[insert your favorite independent comic book company] has about as much of a chance usurping the top two, as Ralph Nader has ever becoming president. Actually, Nader has a slightly higher chance.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:59 PM on April 17, 2008

I'm getting my comic book fix via the University library; they have every book published in Britain, which includes a fairly significant percentage of the better comics.

I'm also almost completely certain that the library wasn't set up to provide undergraduates with comics on the cheap (well, on the free really), but as long as they let me read their comics, I'm happy.
posted by WalterMitty at 12:54 AM on April 18, 2008

As of this moment, Grant Morrison is no longer my favorite comics writer. I've waited for years for him to get back in the saddle and again write something as mind-blowingly compelling and psyche altering as The Invisibles and The Filth but he's too busy polishing the reeking turds of DC to even finish that arc of The Authority he started in 2004 or so.

I don't know who should be my new favorite. The only comic I've consistently read in the past year is Fables, but it's not great and the author probably has a Ron Paul sticker on his SUV.

Warren Ellis had a strong start with Desolation Jones. It was smart and mature, and seemingly signaled that he was beginning to grow out of his narcissism. Then he stopped working on it and went back to preening for Suicide Girls.

Alan Moore is the one true genius in comics, but to call him your favorite is like saying your favorite writer is Shakespeare.

Maybe I should just step away from comics entirely for a few years as I did when Liefeld started wrecking them back in the early 90s. Maybe by 2015 there will be a new generation of young turks burning up their keyboards trying to get all of the fresh ideas out and comics can make me happy again.
posted by bunnytricks at 1:15 AM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm surprised that nobody has commented on how completely, wonderfully bonkers the ZOIDS story is.
posted by HeroZero at 1:25 AM on April 18, 2008

I'm surprised that nobody has commented on how completely, wonderfully bonkers the ZOIDS story is.

Why would they do that when they could spend hours prattling on about how awesome their own taste is?
posted by beaucoupkevin at 3:46 AM on April 18, 2008 [4 favorites]

I got an email from Grant Morrison once, he speaks in BLOCK CAPITALS like a proper comics character...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:39 AM on April 18, 2008 [2 favorites]

Wow, Morrison wrote the Zoids comic! No wonder I thought they were so awesome when I was a kid.
posted by ninebelow at 4:42 AM on April 18, 2008

New Life Goal: To Be A Russian Nesting Doll of Villainy.

So that way when the hero beats my giant robot, it will become a slightly smaller robot that flies, and when they beat that, it will be come some sort of angry hopping robot which when blasted will reveal myself as a cyborg spider. Then if the spider gets beaten, say with a lead pipe or piece of rebar or something, and my head gets knocked off, my head will grow legs of its own and I will continue my attack.

Some may say all this planning is redundant, defeatist even. To those people I say, calmly and without reservation that I hate your weak bodies of meat and blood. You may defeat my evil, but in fighting me, muscles tense and eyes full of hate, you become me.

So in the end, I will never die, a fact no doubt assisted by my writhing right arm, which should it be bested in combat will, I dunno, explode into some metal hate-bees or something.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:03 AM on April 18, 2008 [4 favorites]

While he has had his low points, Morrison is one of the few comics writers that really seems to actively try to push the medium, even when he's working with normal super hero comics.
posted by drezdn at 6:10 AM on April 18, 2008

Now I've actually read the Zoids comic it proves to all sorts of awesome.. and the writing is far too good for a knock-off comic about plastic toys. If I've read that when I was, what 9?, it would have blown my head off.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:37 AM on April 18, 2008

bunnytricks: Brian K. Vaughan.

I wish Final Crisis would stop with the "Are we gonna kill Batman?! Hunh, are we gonna?!" It's not cute.

As for the Future of Serial Comics, I think the biggest problem is that writers and editors spend too much time freaking out about the Future of Serial Comics/Batman/Spider-Man/Continuity, and not enough time crafting good stories now that will, incidentally, hold up 5 years and 15 years from now. Geoff Johns, I don't need your One True Theory of the Multiverse. Quesada, I don't need your One True Theory of Spider-Man (which, P.S, is both contrary to 40 years of comics and really freaking misogynist). Shut the hell up and take it one year at a time, and I suspect most of your ZOMGPROBLEMS!!! will disappear.
posted by bettafish at 6:42 AM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

To be followed in 2010 by Really Final Crisis and in 2012 by The Absolutely Last Crisis (We Really Mean It This time)?

Funny that Zach's mind didn't include the things that long-term fans of sequential art as a medium consider important, like plot, character, setting, and really-great artwork.

But the big reason why I don't read much from the big two these days is because every "Crisis" from DC and "War" from Marvel forces me to read a dozen comics that I consider badly written and badly scripted in order to understand what's going on in my primary title. And then, you end up with pieces of shit like most of the X-titles, impenetrable attempts to resolve the gaping plotholes produced by the previous big universe-changing event that retconned half of the history. Hence my love for the relatively self-contained BPRD and Umbrella Academy.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:56 AM on April 18, 2008

I totally agree that continuity in serial superhero comics should be abandoned. It's a dead weight around the neck of the genre, one that's been slowly added to since the sixties. I mean, there was a time when the prevailing attitude towards comics was that the readership turned over every two years, so repeating stories (or even entire comics!) over and over again was completely fine. Modern comics get so bogged down in the continuity that the story gets lost and we end up with these storylines by committee that attempt to fix the last group's attempted fix. Ungh.

It's not like continuity matters much anyways. The Big Superhero Comics seem to be either testing grounds for new IPs that will hopefully get spun into movies or promotional tie ins for movies or TV shows. So why not focus on that? Just tell awesome stories that will hopefully break even in sales and may hit the movie-version jackpot. Don't mess around with the continuity of characters lest you find yourself on the eve of a big summer comic movie blockbuster release whose title character is depicted in most of your recent books as a cross between Richard Nixon and Henry Ford.

The lack of continuity will give creators more room to experiment without worry of driving a character into the ground. If something doesn't work, fine, just don't ever mention it again. After all, who the hell is Aunt Harriet?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:02 AM on April 18, 2008

None of the things that you mentioned, ZachsMind, have anything to do with quality. And you are mistaken is assuming that various smaller comics companies want to usurp the position of Marvel/DC. Just as many third-party presidential candidates, their goal is not so much to win as to get a different voice out there in the mainstream.
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:44 AM on April 18, 2008

How many Darkhorse or IDW titles can boast a balloon on the Macy's parade, or household name status in more than thirty countries?

By this logic, Titanic is the best film ever made and Justin Timberlake is the greatest soul singer the world has ever known. In other words, you're spectacularly wrong on every level.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:32 AM on April 18, 2008 [3 favorites]

How many Darkhorse or IDW titles can boast a balloon on the Macy's parade

I'd be pretty jazzed to see a giant inflatable Hellboy bopping through the parade, waving a giant, inflatable gun around.

Anyway, back to the post at hand, I'm really surprised at how much of Morrison's narrative voice comes through in a Zoids comic. I mean, it's recognizable from the captions on the first page.
posted by COBRA! at 8:46 AM on April 18, 2008

Metafilter: Some metal hate-bees or something.
posted by JHarris at 9:13 AM on April 18, 2008

This was a fine post, Artw, and it's a shame it got hijacked by an argument about whether comics are good or not. It also reminded me that I had a bunch of these toys when I was six or seven, and haven't thought about them in years and years. I wonder what happened to old Zoidzilla?

(p.s. DC: The New Frontier is a horrible place to be introduced to the DC universe, as it requires a lot of preexisting knowledge of the DCU to get what's going on.)
posted by UKnowForKids at 1:57 PM on April 18, 2008

If I've read that when I was, what 9?, it would have blown my head off.

Pretty much what happened to me. I read it in SpiderMan and Zoids Magazine, and I barely noticed SpiderMan, I was all about the zoids, and when it went full on mental apocalyptic I was thrilled. when I found out later it was Morrison I really wanted to read it again, but slightly afraid that it would turn out to be a bit crappy in the way that childhood thrills often are. Years later and, well, it doesn't disapoint.

So that way when the hero beats my giant robot, it will become a slightly smaller robot that flies, and when they beat that, it will be come some sort of angry hopping robot which when blasted will reveal myself as a cyborg spider.

I loved that. Silverman basically started as a crappy knock off of Ash from Aliens, with a dash of Terminator - Mission: bring back Zoids to earth; Method: getting hot in the face to reveal indestructable metal skull - who got bumped off and dumped down a pit in a Zoid factory, and Morrison manages to turn him into something grandiose and terrible, though thoroughly mental and comics. I love that these arn't even Zoids you can buy - they just added a bunch of mentalist new Zoids that arn't in the toyline.

I'm really surprised at how much of Morrison's narrative voice comes through in a Zoids comic.

it's totally there isn't it? The captions are a little overdone, since that was the style back then, but it's totally Morrison.
posted by Artw at 2:04 PM on April 18, 2008

I thought the Zoids seemed familiar to me (which would be curious, since I'm not from the UK), and here's why! The Morrison comic put me in mind of the Starriors mini I read as a kid, and indeed it appears that the Starriors toys were basically just repurposed Zoids. Why they didn't catch on here, I have no idea -- I only had one of them (identified on the above-linked page as "Nipper"), but that little sucker was cool. Sadly, I can't find scans of the comic's interiors, but that link does include the painted covers (by Bill Sienkiewicz!).
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:38 PM on April 18, 2008

Morrison Zoids? Awesome. I highly enjoyed the site.

Morrison event comics these days, such as Final Crisis? Still brilliant over-all, but robbed of their impact by the fact that we've seen it all before. Apocalypse + science-magic + strange religious ideas = Morrison on song. But every author has their tics and hallmarks so it'd be a bit hasty to say that Final Crisis will suck or that it (as a story) is indicative of a deeper malaise in comics right now, without actually knowing how the story plays out.
posted by MUD at 5:00 PM on April 18, 2008

I’ve got doubts myself, mostly relating to how much this ties in to a bunch of stinker crossover stories floating around at the moment. One of them being 52, which Morrison was involved with. But Morrison’s pulled this sort of thing off before (DC One Million, Seven Soldiers) and done an excellent job of keeping it readable as a standalone, so I’ll be giving it a shot.
posted by Artw at 5:11 PM on April 18, 2008

I don't like the vicious edge that DC events seem to have celebrated recently but I thought that the Morrison-scripted elements of 52 stood out as being pretty strong so, yeah, I'm giving him a little free reign at this stage.
posted by MUD at 5:28 PM on April 18, 2008

kittens for breakfast-
I had Issue #1 of Starriors! I blame the mid-80's speculator's market. Nothing compared to the 90's market but I sure ended up with a lot of crap in my collection. Good stuff too, but a lot of crap. When I first read the FPP I though, "Damn, that was Morrison?" But no, I was confusing that one toy-based, astronauts-crash-on-a-planet-peopled-only-by-giant-warring-robots-that-just-happen-to-need-human-shaped-pilots with with another one.

How silly of me to get the two confused.
posted by lekvar at 5:32 PM on April 18, 2008

Nope, I was wrong again; The comic I had was Robotix #1.

Jeez, how many of these titles did Marvel put out?
posted by lekvar at 8:03 PM on April 18, 2008

Marvel UK, which existed as it's own groovy distinct entity for a while, did a whole bunch of stuff, inlcuding a UK only Transformers comic (still held in very high regard by many) and Doctor Who Weekly - I think from various guest appearances and crossovers you can establish from DWW that the Doctor is actually part of the Marvel universe, which is a bit odd.
posted by Artw at 8:57 PM on April 18, 2008

Jeez, how many of these titles did Marvel put out?

Toy tie-ins? Um...a LOT. (No, really, quite a few.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:01 PM on April 18, 2008

I just can't get into superhero comics.

You know, I say that a lot myself, but then I look at my bookcase, and I see:

The Watchmen, which is a portrayal of superheroes in a realistic society; Powers, which is about non-superhero cops who work in the homicide-against-superheroes department; The Authority, which is about a team of superheroes so ludicrously powerful they end up basically running the entire planet; Planetary, about a team of superheroes who are archaeologists of the Earth's secret history; Alias, about a superheroine who gives up the spandex and becomes a private eye instead; Hellboy, superhero Lovecraftian paranormal investigators; Doom Patrol, a team of weird misfit superheroes who face the most surreal and dadaist villains imaginable (another Morrison work); The Flaming Carrot, insane "blue-collar" superhero... and others. And all of them fantastic books that I would recommend to anyone (anyone who likes comics anyway).
posted by rifflesby at 9:04 PM on April 18, 2008

No LoEG?
posted by Artw at 9:13 PM on April 18, 2008

No LoEG?

Oh naturally. It's not a complete list of my collection, just the stuff that's most overtly superhero.

Now I think about it, LoEG is probably more "superheroey" than Hellboy, though once the characters stop actually wearing lycra bodysuits the distinction starts to get fuzzy.
posted by rifflesby at 9:56 PM on April 18, 2008

Now I'm wondering... what makes a superhero comic a superhero comic? Is it just the outfits?

Griffin and Jekyll in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen have powers, but I hesitate to call it a superhero book. And I certainly wouldn't call The Invisible Man or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde superhero novels.

John Constantine has powers as well, and lives in the same universe as Zatanna and the Martian Manhunter, but I wouldn't call Hellblazer a superhero series.
posted by rifflesby at 10:12 PM on April 18, 2008

LoEG is structured like a superhero comic, Hellblazer isn't.
posted by Artw at 10:42 PM on April 18, 2008

Wow, great post. Thanks, Artw. ("R2"?)

Recently, I had comics brought back to life for a guy in his sixties or seventies. He's a local guy here in Key West named Mike Chodzin, lots of people know him, he used to own the roofing company here ("Chodzin Roofing....we're smarter than water!"). And as it turns out, he loves comics.

He loves comics so much that he lets his hot younger girlfriend (forty or fifty) have the entire house to do whatever she wants....all except one room: The Spiderman Room.

He's got every Spiderman thing made in the last twenty or thirty years. And I mean everything. Like I said, everyone knows him here on the island, so when people buy him gifts....well, you get the idea. Just put it this way. Amazing. He only wears black, silver jewelry, and half of his wardrobe are variations of the Punisher's logo on a t-shirt. He is officially rad.

So we happen to meet, and we happen to talk, and he happens to be a cool and morally complex person who is into comic books. How into? Well, the above gives you a hint, but I have already seen stuff worth ridiculous amounts of money. Original art. Trailers full of comics. You know the dream. He hired me to teach him internet. I have been. YouTube blows his mind.

Anyhow, I stopped buying comics until recently. Having bought them when they were "Still only .20¢!," I was kind of cheesed off that they are now $3 and $4. I felt ripped off.

Then M. Chodzin comes out with the Spiderman reboot comics, and says, "Look at the art. Can you believe you get all that for $3?"

And I did look at it. And I was flabbergasted. $3 for all that? What was I thinking that $3 is a lot of money? What a spoiled brat....

I spend $5 on coffee drinks or pizza all the time! It was like scales dropped from my eyes. Sure, I had read the same story lines when I was a kid. And sure the Spiderman reboot seems contrived, but when you look closely at it, and consider the art that is there, wow!

Kids get it. They're vision is clear. They don't worry about whether it's original or not, they just want good. And I am here to tell you that the same stuff that got me into comic books in the first place is there is there....and more!

If anyone wants to argue about comics, leave me out of it. I paid for my entire first year and more by selling the comics I had speculated on as a fourteen year old! And now I am reconvinced all over again because of this old guy I met who looks like Keith Richard's dad. Choose to put down mainstream comics? That's not my loss.

One other thing. The old guy? Chodzin? Subsequent to an AskMefi question I posted, I started helping him get his really collectible stuff graded and sealed by CGC. So on Monday he is flying to Chicago to pick up among—other things—his copy of Amazing Fantasy#15. And I am going to get to see it, touch it (with latex gloves, natch') and experience it in person.


posted by humannaire at 2:06 AM on April 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Thank you for that comment, humannaire.
posted by Eideteker at 7:49 AM on April 19, 2008

Virgin Comics Announces Grant Morrison Webisodes

(and plenty of othe New York Comicon news over at CBR. The Punisher new writers announcement interested in particular, though lets face it none of them is going to be anything to Garth Ennis.)
posted by Artw at 7:06 PM on April 19, 2008

Oh, and the interior art on that page is by Laurence Campbell, who was an incredible artist when he was doing work for 2000ad and seems to be well on his way to being even more incredible.

I've worked with him, which was pretty cool. He did me a perfect Yuri Gagarin, and some neat kirby dots. </smug>
posted by Artw at 7:10 PM on April 19, 2008

NYCC: Grant Morrison Spotlight
posted by Artw at 7:41 PM on April 19, 2008

I am beyond happiness. I cannot believe the whole Action Force comic is archived on that Blood For The Baron! site. That is simply awesome. Weekends at work are going to go so much quicker now. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

/relives youth.
posted by longbaugh at 11:35 AM on April 20, 2008

"It’s just superhero poetry" - Lengthy blog post on Morrison.
posted by Artw at 11:34 AM on April 28, 2008

Final Crisis first look
posted by Artw at 10:53 AM on May 7, 2008

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