The Comics I Didn’t Read

There were a couple of different comics that I didn’t pick up this week. Actually, I didn’t even get a chance to get them — they weren’t in the store when I made it in. Could be because they were already sold out. Could be because they weren’t included in this week’s shipment — something that happens quite a lot. Still, even if they’d been available, I don’t think I would’ve bought them. But let’s talk about them a bit anyway.

The Amazing Spider-Man #583

Yeah, the issue where soon-to-be President Barack Obama does the terrorist fist jab with Spider-Man. I’d already heard from a friend who’d seen the comic earlier that he didn’t think it was a very good story, and I was already leery of this being something I’d buy, read, find boring, and want to get rid of ASAP. So it wasn’t appealing to me at all. Just another publicity stunt by Marvel, though by all accounts, it’s been an uncommonly successful publicity stunt — Marvel’s gone back for three printings already to keep up with the demand.

Final Crisis #6

Well, like I’d said previously, I’m quitting the crossovers, especially the crossovers that are $4 instead of $3. I’ve already heard that Grant Morrison finally delivers what he said he’d have in the “Batman R.I.P.” storyarc — the death of Batman. He gets zapped by Darkseid’s “Omega Effect” right after shooting him in the shoulder with a big gun. Way to go, Bats, you actually use a gun on someone, on the biggest, baddest villain in the DCU, a guy who’s planning on killing, well, everyone, and you still can’t shoot him in the head. Great work, man.

Also, please feel free to gasp in wonder at the stunning and humiliating depths of ineptitude displayed by DC’s public relations office. You’re part of a gigantic media megalith like Warner Brothers. You’ve just “killed” the most popular superhero in the world. And you can’t even get a mention on the news because everyone’s talking about Marvel’s publicity stunt with Barack Obama. Congratulations, DC Comics, you are officially the Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight.

And in a related topic, could I direct y’all’s attention to this silliness over at Valerie D’Orazio’s joint, referring to the new issue of “Final Crisis”?

This book comes out the same day as the Spider-Man Obama cover. Such a contrast in energy, direction.

I choose hope.

Puhhh-lease. The death of Batman and the guest-appearance of Obama have exactly the same goals: sales. In fact, the energy and direction of both events is blatantly, unashamedly cynical — fake events, publicity-seeking nothingness, and short-term sales boosts. Will Batman stay dead? Certainly not. Did Obama’s appearance serve any greater story? Certainly not. Both events are there only because the publishers believe that readers will buy into the hype and buy the comics.

If anything, I think the Spider-Man comic may actually be more cynical. Marvel head-honcho Joe Quesada has said they published the story only because they found out that Obama is a Spidey fan. It’s the equivalent of a commemorative plate. I don’t blame Marvel for publishing it — if I was in charge of the company, I’d be nuts not to hook my wagon to an incredibly popular president-elect. But let’s not ascribe unearned nobility to what is simply a fairly shrewd PR ploy.

Oh, and one more thing, ’cause I just can’t let this go yet. As far as all the “hope” at Marvel, and the “contrast in energy, direction” between Marvel and DC — in the past few years, Marvel has killed off Captain America, the Wasp, and Kitty Pryde, and had Spider-Man make a deal with the Devil to end his marriage. It takes more than a back-up story guest-starring a popular politician to erase years of cynical storytelling. The contrast between Marvel and DC is nil.

No Comments

  1. swampy Said,

    January 16, 2009 @ 9:32 pm

    Batman is dead…til someone hits a wall and retroacts him back to health.

    Cap is dead and will stay dead for a while (I bet the Cosmic Cube will play a part in his revival)

    Wasp will stay dead, because no one cares about her.

    Kitty ain’t dead, she’s just sightseeing

  2. TS Said,

    January 19, 2009 @ 6:17 am

    I think even the mainstream press has grown cynical. Death of Supergirl and the Flash? Covered. It was a rare thing.
    Death of Superman?
    Covered to, uh… death. This was Superman.
    Spider-man a clone? Sorta covered. Someone at UP heard that this “Spider-man” fellow has drawn in some older readers.
    Death of Captain America?
    Covered a bit. The parallel with America’s self-doubts at the time was too significant to ignore.
    The Death of Batman. Batman, the most popular superhero in the world?
    The gimmick has worn far too thin by now.

    Yeah, and if I were running Marvel, I’d’ve asked for an Obama-Spidey story, too. But I’d’ve asked them for a real story.