Posts tagged Rich Johnston
Recent Battle Skirmishes
I’m a little behind on putting together some thoughts on recent industry discussion on Jack Kirby, and the situation with Ghost Rider creator Gary Friedrich. The latter has prompted a few changes on this site that have taken some time to put together. Before we get into all that, here’s a little recap of recent events.
A fresh round of community angst seems to have started with creator James Strum calling to boycott Marvel over their mishandling of the Jack Kirby legacy, following in the footsteps of the Steven Bissette call for a similar boycott last summer. We’ve posted about it here and here on this site. Talk about the Kirby legacy saturates the comics web community. As happened with the Bissette controversy, discussions in fandom forums on the Strum boycott quickly degenerated into arguments over the effectiveness of such a measure and whether Jack Kirby even created the characters that comics history gives him credit for. It’s an interesting and all too familiar phenomenon that turns fandom forums into a battleground between publisher supporters and those of creators. A revelry of aggression, confusion, disinformation, distortion and conflict that has nearly paralyzed such calls to action and halted what could have been a more effective display from comics fandom in support of such campaigns.
Then news broke of the judgement on the Gary Friedrich litigation against Marvel for the character Ghost Rider. Daniel Best has posted some reports which can be seen here, that have spread across the comics net and also to some mainstream media. The litigation started around the same time as the release of the first Ghost Rider film Marvel licensed in 2007, starring Nicholas Cage. It ends now on the eve of release of the second film, which looks very much to be a box-office success and one of the popular film events for 2012.
The familiar battleground fodder in the Kirby campaigns managed to overpower debate in this case also, at least if measured by talk at Bleeding Cool forums and The Beat comments, which together seem reliable enough as a compass for the general mood in fandom on these issues. In a counter-suit against Friedrich, Marvel had also won a judgement for payment of $17,000 from Gary in compensation for his profits from selling Ghost Rider covers, posters, art and paraphernalia for the last couple of decades since not having any income from writing comic books.
Part of the discussion is about Marvel’s counter-suit and victory against Friedrich, which is feared to have ramifications and become a serious challenge to creators who even sell sketches of copyrighted characters through their web sites or at conventions – even though it’s been assumed, by unspoken waiver, to be a legitimate means of raising supplemental income for artists. Heidi MacDonald elaborates in this post, which also explains why there’s a considerable amount of back-stage talk that Marvel had no choice given how Gary conducted the case. Marvel seems to be saying this will have no ramifications on other artists. Ty Templeton seems to tow the company line with an “ouch” critique of Friedrich’s case in this cartoon. Steven Bissette disagrees with Ty and the judgement against Friedrich in this Facebook Note.
Tom Spurgeon raises the ante in this reverberation, which is worth reading between the lines…and words.
Steven Niles, bless his soul, rose to action with a PayPal donation account to help Gary, who has been ill, financially devastated from the trial costs, and is apparently in danger of losing the home he and his family own. The call has been picked up and supported in much larger numbers than what the general mood in fandom hinted at. Neal Adams posted a statement to the comics community urging everyone to pitch in and help give Gary a little financial breathing space. Just to remember that Gary Friedrich is the primary co-creator of a character starring in one of this season’s expected blockbuster superhero movies. The film opened this weekend and looks to be a pretty good production at this stage, on its way to a healthy profit margin.
The campaign to raise funds for Gary Friedrich, given the verdict and judgement against him, seems paramount for the writer’s well-being and that of his family. Anyone who can donate original art or other items for auction is urged to contact Neal Adams. Paypal donations at Steven Niles site. Please consider helping out.
With that behind us, let’s all sit up for a moment and get a little uncomfortable.
The Lies We Live With
We, the community of fans, journalists and creators, concerned about this and similar issues, have inadvertently become paralyzed by our own reluctance to use tools available to us in order to help improve the conditions we all operate under in the comics industry. We are playing by the rules of the enemy, namely DC and Marvel, who, like most other profit driven corporate entities, have taken advantage of a runaway, renegade and mostly hostile-to-the-common-people world economy, and have brought the comics industry to a state of near demise in order to maximize profits outside of comics publishing, utilizing the properties they get from creators, which they control.
We will remain at near paralysis until we are able to break the unspoken taboo that assumes us beholden to DC and Marvel as industry leaders and foundation stones, whom we are reluctant to confront effectively, on the deeper issues that affect the medium and everyone contributing to it.
The Big Lies
If there was any doubt that DC and Marvel are intentionally keeping the comics publishing business on a death bed for everyone else as well, last summer’s New 52 reboot from DC seems to dispel any remaining confusion. The reboot was preceded with the self-serving trumpet sounds of DC putting comic books back on the map. They said this re-writing the DC Universe would open the market for new readers. They promised to utilize mainstream media, television and cinema advertising to make it popular for everyone to be seen with comic books again. They said it was the dawn of a new day for the comics.
Six months into the hoax and the DC bubble seems to have burst with as little fanfare as being able to claim a slightly larger market share than Marvel for the initial months of the reboot. No new reader base and no serious publicity campaign for the comic books. To make things worse, the hoax was accompanied by a digital sales initiative that’s diverted attention away from the plight of printed comics books and has been followed suit by most every other publisher, cementing a feeling that the printed books are now on notice of termination. That entire hoopla last summer, all that noise and public relations pretension, has effectively died out without improving, not in the very least, nor promising to improve, anything in the business of comics publishing for the common good of the market.
Like everything else DC and Marvel do, they do it for a public relations buzz which only helps their other-than-comics merchandise. That’s all they need to do, really.
The Bigger Lies
DC and Marvel don’t need nor want the business of publishing comics to grow and flourish. Because if it did, then there would be many more Siegel/Shuster/Kirby/Friedrich cases dragging them to spend exorbitant funds to defend their absolute control of the properties and absolute corporate greed. They rather prefer to spend immense resources on lawyers battling creators instead of just being a little more fair with the artists and writers who’ve been the content backbone of the companies, without whom there would be no comics industry.
A perpetually dying medium, especially one that continues to produce raw material for exploitation in other arenas, is the best way to keep getting the raw material at the lowest possible cost. No one will ask for more from a publishing industry hanging by a thread.
Armed with this grim reality, DC and Marvel, owned and managed by the most powerful media conglomerates in the world, can posture themselves as doing “what they need to do” by virtually raping the destitute creators who helped build their expansive property base. And they do it with a brazen enough face that we, the comics community, are left to bicker among ourselves as to the merits of one particular circumstance, while ignoring the larger dilemma that publishers are driving the industry into, effectively paralyzing any action that could put a little more pressure on them to do the right thing for the collective good of the comics industry.
The War Imposed Upon Us
In our near paralysis to help improve the general state of affairs, comics industry activists are not entirely impotent, as evident in the overwhelming grass-roots support to help disadvantaged creators when a need rises. We live with the situation because we are basically at war, even though we are reluctant to acknowledge it. We are at war not only against DC and Marvel, but the entire world population is at war with an economy whose heads have altogether shed any semblance of collective responsibility. We are at war against a prevailing attitude that the strong among humanity have no collective responsibility for the general welfare. At war with the notion that the strong hold the upper legal prerogative to rape and plunder every good portion of this world that their hands can reach.
We are at war but we are not yet training to be soldiers. We’ve settled for being as paramedics who tend to our wounded – but we have few soldiers on the front lines. These few who are fighting the good fight are operating in a near vacuum without the needed full support of populist systems such as the voice of fandom and the comics press behind them…who all tend to agree that something’s wrong and needs to change. But we are not yet fighting the war that’s been waged upon us, which we need to do in order to help bring a change.
I’ve long held that the way we live our lives is itself the training ground for the wars imposed upon us in our journey through this world. I also understand the notion that taking a defensive measure in offence to wars imposed upon us, by itself defines us as warriors also. I’m alright with that, though I understand that a lot of voices in the periphery disagree with the need for such a definition.
Within this outlook on life, I’ve been somewhat of a gypsy soldier in training myself, moving around the comics web community where I’ve been able to try to add something to the talk that stimulates towards seeing the larger picture we’re contending with. The Web Activism section at my Wikipedia biography highlights some of these activities that have been covered in the comics press.
As such that the entire world is our training ground, I’ve not concentrated much on a focal discussion forum for these activities at this site. A previous attempt to start something like that here was apparently too early and suffered a natural fadeout. It may still be too early or entirely unsustainable for such an environment here. But like I hinted at the head of the article, it seems that an imperative move is needed at this juncture. And so, even in suffering a potential fail, I’ve started somewhat of a discussion forum training ground for myself and anyone interested in participating.
Announcing FUSION Fourms
FUSION Forums is a registration-free think tank, at this stage.
Its goal is to take a step beyond discussion, into the realm of web activism on behalf of the common people within the comics industry and beyond.
Its hope is to establish a sort of task force of activists who will slowly saturate the comics web community with the need to take a stand and apply a little more public pressure on the “strong forces” who are waging the war against us.
It may take some time to come together, or it may not do so altogether.
But we will at least have tried to fight back.
If you see the war coming, join us and help prepare yourself and others.
It’s somewhat daunting to be reminded of fellow colleagues in the creator community defending DC and Marvel, during heated debates on the “creator revolution” (I wonder what happened to that, or did some of the comics press effectively kill it by turning a blind eye to the real debate?), against my charges of their mistreatment of creators as being the root cause for their intentionally keeping the industry in a constant decline mode.
But every once in a while a series of events converge to give us a clearer picture of the ugly practices of major publishers, relative to creators who are the source and cause of their success, and who are mostly discarded like bloody rags when they’ve been sucked dry of stories and properties with which publishers build their empires.
At Bleeding Cool, Rich Johnston reports about the Kirby Estate losing the Summary Judgement against Marvel for Entitlement to Termination of properties that Kirby co-created with Stan Lee. He posted the entire document of the ruling which is a revealing statement on the mitigating conditions creators work under, relative to Intellectual Property rights they should ostensibly have a legal avenue by which to reclaim. Looks like it was an easy win for Marvel who can now be even more emboldened against such future claims.
And in contrast, over on Tom Spurgeon’s The Comics Reporter, he posts links to two articles by creators, revealing a realization and fighting spirit that we can hope to see more of, and touching on mitigating instances of publishers’ behavior towards writers and artists:
1. WAKE UP: Matt Seneca on a Marvel tribute to Gene Colan in Daredevil.
2011-: It isn’t the tribute itself, which is a touching example of hearts in the right place and even carries traces of what seems like genuine emotion at points. It’s what it stands for: a tiny gesture of remote pity by an immortal giant watching the lives of the people who built it pass more quickly than they should. It is a hypocritical expression. A lie.
This is what happens to the lives that give themselves to the world’s most beautiful medium. This is what working in comics does to people.
Something is wrong.
2. SNEAKER PIMPS: Warren Ellis on publishers lying to and pitting creators against each other.
Not only are they fostering a creative condition where even Eddie fucking Campbell can’t triumph, but they are finding new and interesting ways to piss off more people than they’re hiring. Now, comics has no shortage of resentful people – but do you really want to create exponentially more? People who can identify the exact individuals who fucked them over, and wait?
Commercial comics can be enough of a snakepit even in relatively benign times. But bringing back a process both demeaning and creatively inferior, and just fucking lying to people about it? I don’t like what that says about the next cycle in the field. I guess the Nineties really are coming back.
If the Kirby judgement is any indication, and it certainly seems to be, it looks like things will get worse before they get any better. But will this help awaken the comics community, creators, fandom and press alike, to overcome an overriding complacency we continue to try to resist?
Or will we be forever wooed by 52 Relaunches and Retailer Gimmicks meant to divert attention away from the more sinister reasons for the decline of the printed comic book?
Following some heated discussion on the two-page Armageddon Diplomacy story and art, at Bleeding Cool Forums, based on the item Rich Johnston carried at the main site, it was expected that the work might not be well received by everyone.
The thread, however, turned into a referendum on my character, artistic choices, my views on DC/Marvel and the comics industry, my general ability to communicate an idea, and even my sanity (which is nothing new in some comics circles) . The intensity seemed quite beyond the call of duty, one of the qualities that make fandom so engaging. It’s a highly recommended, very informative and entertaining forum thread, so have a look if you get a chance.
But it all left me wondering how I can more clearly communicate what I’m trying to say, which I’m not so sure of myself, actually. And also what to do about the second page, which some forum members thought was so hateful that it warranted the extreme responses there.
So, I’ve decided that if that second page, depicting Superman, Batman and Wonder-Woman burning American, British and Israeli flags in Tehran, is such a hateful image, then perhaps it’s best for us to renounce our attachment to the original art. Or at least to unequivocally disassociate ourselves from it.
And to do so in a lasting way that leaves little doubt as to the strong sentiment some have heaped on it.
I don’t know if it’ll work, but I’m hoping it clarifies what I’m trying to say and sets people’s minds at ease about it.
Now that this is behind us, the original art and positive message from the first page, along with a life size digital print of the complete second page, the original art of the consumed second page, and two photos from the process, are all available on eBay.
Starting bid was $10 for all items seen below. Click here to go to the auction.
It’s been a busy few days with a lot to report about recent web activity relating to this site. But before we get into that, a little good news for the family with the birth of my daughter’s first baby boy on Tuesday morning. Congratulations to Moshe and Oshrat Hefetz for making us twice the grandparents. Things will be a little busy on all fronts for the next couple of weeks as the young couple will be staying by us and adding to an already rigorous home environment. We wouldn’t have it any other way, actually.
Onto the web-neighborhood news:
- Chuck Wells is the long time blogger/proprietor of Comic Book Catacombs. In a recent post, he described his general misfortune with buying original art and how fate smiled upon him by his winning the Kobra drawing produced for the Jack Kirby Collector during the Inkwell Awards Benefit Auction at the recent Heroes Convention in Charlotte, NC. As a result, Chuck has posted a gracious biographical profile at his blog, mostly derived from my Wikipedia biography, with a few new, nice, personal and subtle nuances. Cheers, Mr. Wells.
- Jim Shelley is one of the participants in Flashback Universe, a delightful blog bridging the Golden and Digital Ages. In a recent post, Today Mars, Tomorrow the Universe! he collects the Martian Manhunter series I drew in 1976 and bridges it to the Campaign to Save J’onn J’onzz from January 2008: “The art in this run was primarily by Mike Netzer (as Mike Nasser) (remember that guy? He often got tagged as a Neal Adams clone, but he was really too good for such a lazy tag as that.) Netzer must have really gotten attached to the Martian Manhunter, because years later, when there were rumors that MM would be killed as the kickoff event of Final Crisis, Netzer posted a very sincere plea to DC to spare the Green Gumshoe.” Much gratitude for the kind sentiment, Mr. Shelley.
- Philippe Theophanidis maintains an “iconographic and text archive related to communication, technology and art“, Aphelis. Not at all related to comics, though the passing of Jeffrey Catherine Jones has apparently fallen under his radar. In a thoughtful presentation of one of the artist’s paintings, Phillipe links to a few obits/tributes, including our own contribution: “Fellow artist Michael Netzer generously shares his memories and thoughts on his website. It certainly is one of the most warm and interesting tributes available online for the moment: “Woman In The Man. The Many Gifts of Jeffrey Catherine Jones”, May 20, 2011.” Thank you for sharing a thought-provoking image and presentation, Mr. Theophanidis.
- Armageddon Diplomacy has received a little coverage, starting with web pioneer and good friend Rik Offenberger at First Comics News. Next up was Rick Veitch and Steve Conley‘s ground breaking Comicon.com: The Pulse, which has been covering a good part of the activity here recently. Many thanks good sirs.
- The most controversial reportage on Armageddon Diplomacy comes from none other than the comics news and rumor wizard, journalist Rich Johnston, who carried an item about it at Bleeding Cool. Very few writers can use a term like “Cheeky Fucker” as endearingly as Rich does. Cheers, Mr. Johnston. The item became one of the more viewed stories on the site for that day. The fallout of reader reactions on the article’s forum discussion was expected, but it’s not easy to keep up with it considering the Grand-Central-Station-atmosphere in the house right now. The growing 5 page discussion there is shaping up nicely and it’s a good read for more insight into the 2 page piece, and the effect it has. I think there might be a surprise coming up on this story, so stay tuned.
Sam Agro, the thoughtful and talented Canadian artist/writer who posted a series on the state of the comics that was covered here previously, has just posted an in-depth interview on the campaign to save the comics. Sam’s enthusiasm and thorough approach has made it an inspiration to get to know this caliber of people fighting for the comics and moving picture arts. This is a newly informative and greatly helpful push to the campaign. Pass the word around as much as you can.
It’s posted at two blogs he writes to simultaneously. Readers can choose the one most comfortable to the eye.
It seems the creator revolution, as dubbed by Heidi MacDonald, is taking a mid-semester break.
It is expected actually because how many really engaging ideas can Indie creators come up with for dodging comics shops and DC/Marvel’s dominance of publishing? Adding to this venue is the stifling notion that most news sites don’t seem interested in the subject as they load their web pages with more and more fluffy and fun news about the colorful projects and creators making headlines.
But I’m of the mind that we have to take ourselves more seriously sometimes, like a lot of us did in school – and that everything doesn’t only have to be fun and fluffy. In school we had to take things seriously if we wanted good grades. And I don’t think it’s serious to talk about a creator revolution when we’re in denial about what we’re revolting against.
By default, a revolution means an overthrow of an undesirable regime. So, patting ourselves on the back as if we’re conducting a revolution when we’re acting more like scaredy teenagers seems silly at best. We have to get our hands dirty to start rebuilding our fallen house of comics.
This is my virtual class on the creator revolution, and for lack of anyone else stepping up, I’m going to be the teacher who grades everyone. Until I see an initiative better than the petition cited at the head of this page, everyone’s grades will be relative to their position on it. No offense really intended to any of the students. If you want a better grade, study the situation with a little more depth to understand why we need to promote and sign the petition. Or you can make your own virtual class and grade it as you like.
Here we go with the class report card.
Eric Powell: (A+) – Well done Eric for getting the ball rolling with your poignant and hilarious video. The serious message that followed the first… ahem, act… is one of the more inspiring observations the class has seen. Unfortunate that your fellow students couldn’t bear your message and compelled you to remove the video. But it did its job in opening the dialogue and for that you are commended.
Steven Niles: (C+) – That you are an extremely talented writer may not be enough for a good grade in the class of the creator revolution. Your well received article in response to Eric’s video fed the fears of your fellow students and discouraged their courage. What do you mean by “First off, this is in no way an anti-Marvel or anti-DC thing. Those are great publishers to work for if you can find the work.”?? This is a revolution class! Not for smoochy goochy with DC and Marvel. Let’s do some more homework, sir.
Kurt Busiek: (C+) – You’re also an amazingly talented writer with a lot of credits in comics, but the revolution needs more than good comic books right now. It needs the courage to stare into the eyes of the undesirable way the business is being strangled, dominated and neglected by DC and Marvel who seek greener pastures outside of comics. Your challenging the teacher’s comments as if to say that the big 2 are working in good faith for the good of the industry, is an extreme case of denial – not the river in Egypt. It is not the best way to get a good grade in the revolution against an oppressive regime holding down the comics. A little more consideration of human nature, my good fellow, could help improve the grade in the next semester.
Mike Dubisch: (A+) – You’re a brilliant artist and creator with a heart of gold and courage of a tiger, who drew me into the class with a call to hear me out, after challenging Steven for his kid gloves treatment of DC and Marvel. The revolution needs you Mike, right up there in the top ranks of leadership.
Tom Spurgeon: (A+) – You’re a light to your fellow class members. The clever way you fed the fire of revolt is nothing less than brilliant. But the articulate speech you delivered to explain what we’re up against will become a lesson for generations to come.
Rik Offenberger: (A+) – You were not only a trailblazer for the comics on the internet, but are now also trailblazing the way for the creators with your excellent interview. With it, you’ve paved the way for the dialogue that needs to now be nurtured amongst the creators, reporters and fandom.
Heidi MacDonald: (B-) – You know I think you’re one of the more promising students, and you are the one who led the charge in spreading the word about the revolution. But because you take sides in the debate and effectively influence discussion on it, you’ll get a less than excellent grade right now. Chin-up though, a word or two about the petition, which is a viable and reportable story, will go a long way towards taking you to the top of the class… where you really belong.
Rich Johnston: (B-) – You’re also one of the more promising students. And though you haven’t led a charge for the revolution, you did help out with a runaround in the beginning. But it’ll be imperative for you also to fulfill your destiny as a reporter and tell your readers about the petition. There will be no way around that… unless you come up with a better incentive for public pressure on DC and Marvel. Which I don’t put past you at all. Either way the grade will improve in accordance with next semester efforts.
Daniel Best: (A+) – You, my friend, are a front line power in the war against publishers who’ve driven the comics into the mud. There isn’t a better researcher who’s mindful of the injustices of the industry to its creators.
Jon B. Cooke: (A+) – Though your contribution will only be known in the upcoming issue of The Jack Kirby Collector, your signing the petition openly is a brave statement by one of the more revered comics historians in the industry.
Comicon Pulse: (A) – Just for being a good fighter and helping pass the word around. You built a great vehicle and community and are destined to do very big things things with them.
J. Caleb Mozzocco: (B+)Your nice words on the open letter are only rivaled by the awesome comment on the beard. You deserve a better grade but your blog has no contact info in order to send you updates. What kind of an outfit are you people running at Blog@Newsarama anyway? Shouldn’t you have an accessible link for sending in stories? Let’s get it together guys and plug the petition already.
Fandom: (AAA+) – A special grade for all the special things that you, the fans, do to help spread the word on the petition and campaign…and who are the lion’s share of signatories. You are the grassroots voice of the people that will guide the comics into victory. It’s only a matter of time that more creators begin to discover the faith and trust you place in them…and begin to reach for the role of leadership that you know to be their destiny.
Recent rumblings around the comics creator community regarding the state of the comics medium are gaining momentum. On our side, the Open Letter to DC & Marvel from The Comics has been mentioned at three of the high profile industry sites:
I sometimes talk to my comic books, but apparently some of the comic books are talking through Michael Netzer.
- Rich Johnston’s Bleeding Cool Friday Runaround also carried a quote and link to the Open Letter. Scroll down. The revolution is happening indeed.
You probably knew Michael Netzer was an incredible artist and an incredible beard haver, but did you also know he could channel the voices of comic books?
More extensive coverage of the last few days was delivered twice by Heidi MacDonald @ The Beat, where she highlights Steven Niles first post on supporting creator owned projects, followed by Eric Powell’s video with CREATORS FRONT FOR DIVERSITY IN COMICS. Heidi’s second item on grassroots creators rumblings pretty much agrees with the assessment of DC and Marvel in our open letter. She’s much more diplomatic, however, but her insight encourages a thought on the role of journalism at such a critical juncture that I hope to publish here soon.
I’ve sent out press releases for the upcoming Adventures of Unemployed Man to a handful of comics news sites, but doing these one by one is a bit of a chore. Which brings me to wonder if we don’t have a comics industry news wire agency, where a press release can be sent out to all the comics news sites at once, like in the real world. There are so many good news sites out there that it’s perhaps about time someone also establishes such a service. If it does exist and I’m not aware of it, then please do let me know.
In the meantime here are a few places that picked up the release:
- 20th Century Danny Boy: Daniel Best, one of our site complex’s oldest and most dedicated friends, and exemplary activist on behalf of the comics creator community, offers an enthusiastic response to news of the project.
- Bleeding Cool: Rich Johnston’s cool comics news site, a subsidiary of Avatar Press, carries the press release and gives it a creator oriented title. On the forum thread for that item, Josh Adams, son of Neal Adams, makes an appearance to voice his enthusiasm for the creators working on the project, surreptitiously leaving out Joe Rubinstein and myself. Josh seems to have an ax to grind since leaving his less than flattering comments on the Supergod item Rich Johnston ran some time ago. I tried then to explain to him that there’s more to his frustration than he even understands himself right now, but it apparently didn’t sink it well enough to help him overcome the urge to continue poking. So, maybe Josh just needs a little hug or something, He is just a growing boy, after all.
- First Comics News: Rik Offenberger and company’s excellent new site, setting up to also conduct an interview on the project, perhaps coming soon.
- Comics Bulletin: Jason Brice and Jason Sacks leading comics news, reviews and commentary site, formerly Silver Bullet.
- Comics Should be Good: The Comic Book Resources blog runs a nice profile of the project by Brian Cronin.
- Millarworld Forums: Posted the press release there and received a couple of nice comments.
That about covers it for now. The press release needs to make the rounds but I’m presently too busy doing the actual artwork for the project. That’s one good reason for needing a comics community news wire agency.
Rich Johnston, reporter extraordinaire and Bleeding Cool proprietary, sent out a memo to his contacts before Thanksgiving, asking for news bits about upcoming projects that haven’t yet received much comics press. He ran the items throughout the holiday, one every hour, transcending East to West U.S. time zones (34 items and not getting any sleep in the process).
Though I don’t have a new comics projects to promote right now, I did send Rich a few images and words that relate to Warren Ellis’ new series SUPERGOD, published by Avatar Press, which Rich advertises and reports on at Bleeding Cool. Suffice it to say that because the item wasn’t quite about an upcoming project, it didn’t make it into the Thanksgiving marathon. And so, that was that.
To my surprise, Rich ran the piece today as an independent Bleeding Cool item.
There’s nothing really in common, other than the name, between Warren’s series and my strip from 1978. Warren’s SUPERGOD is an apocalyptic journey into the dark side of fabricated-to-order saviors, while my strip was a more innocent look at superhero godhood trying to cheer up some people in a psychiatric ward who seemed to need a little positive encouragement in their homemade newsletter. But they carry the same name, which perhaps reveals that dark and light motifs, polarized as they appear to be, can share a commonality.
Warren Ellis is producer/writer of some of the more prolific ideas and titles in comics. He reaches deep into readers’ hopes and fears to stimulate and entertain, while clearly having something to say along the way. His cultural sensibilities, telling volumes about the man behind the writer, are elegantly laid out in his perpetually morphing web expanse. From his groundbreaking Transmetropolitan series for DC Helix to his recent surge of titles at Avatar Press that include Black Summer, Doktor Sleepless, FreakAngels and Ignition City, Warren Ellis’ contribution to comics is perhaps of the most expressive of divergent states that readers of the graphic story form thirst for.
The same name for two diverging ideas nearly 30 years apart. Bloody bleeding cool.