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Thursday, July 08, 2004
Nostalgia & Bitterness
from Batman #1, reprinted in Catwoman: Nine Lives of a Feline Fatale
Sometimes I really miss the simpler, gentler, more innocent comics of the past...
I recently purchased and read Steve Gerber's Fool-Killer series from Marvel. Great stuff. I suspect I might do a more thorough dissection of it here. The best short-hand way I can think of to describe it is: What if the Punisher was created by Ayn Rand? And the timely politcal aspects of the story have come full-circle: American military involvement in the middle east, a Bush in the White House, and lots of people struggling to get by in what we're continually being told is a boom economy.
It's such a far cry from what Marvel puts out now. It's a genuinely thoughtful work, with a strong satirical edge. In fact, I'd say the weaknesses of the book are the neccessary intrusions of the Marvel Universe into the story, including an utterly pointless Spider-Man cameo. Now Marvel's idea of edgy work is border-line mysogynistic porn like Eternal.
But what really annoys me about Marvel these days is this: their ordering and variant covers policy. To get the "Arachnoman" variant of Ultimate Spider-Man we had to order Amazing Fantasy in quantities of five. So for every five AF we ordered, we could order 1 Arachnoman. A similair gimmick was in operation for the two Astonishing X-Men variants. So, in order to get copies of something that we know we're going to get asked for, we had to order more copies than we'd have liked to of a title we know isn't going to sell. And now, Marvel is offering retailers a discount on Avengers #500 if we order it in equal or greater quantities than Amazing Spider-Man #509. On the retail end, it all feels like a desperate ploy on Marvel's part to make retailers over-order in order to drive up sales so that Joe Quesada can go to San Diego and claim that Avengers #500 was the #1 book for July. And I suspect a lot of retailers will fall for it in order to get "hot" variant covers and "sold out" titles. Bah...