Tag Archives: Gwen Stacy
As comic book readers age, they tend to get more interested in the creators of the book than the characters themselves. I’m sure there are exceptions, like people who only read Spider-Man comics, but even they prefer certain storylines and appreciate the people behind them. Everyone’s got their favorites, and some that they hate. Then there are people that you just don’t get. There are plenty of people for me that fit into these three categories. I love Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Millar, and Steve McNiven. I can’t stand Dan Slott, Chuck Austen, and I’ve read more Robert Kirkman stories I haven’t liked than liked. In the middle are guys like Matt Fraction, Geoff Johns, and Grant Morrison – I’m not a huge fan, but I definitely don’t hate them.
And then there’s Joseph Michael Straczynski a.k.a JMS. I’ve got a real love hate thing going with this guy. The first work of his that I had any contact with was the excellent Rising Stars. It’s all available in three trade paperbacks and makes for a good read. It’s about a group of 113 people whose birth coincides with a meteorite crashing to Earth. They all have different powers, but they are all tied together. It’s a pretty cool read, even though the art sees a steady decline.
Having enjoyed that I figured I might as well give Babylon 5 a shot. But first, some background – I’m a huge trekkie. To the point where I had a cardboard Enterprise-D dangling over my bed. (And if you know which one the Enterprise-D is, congratulations. You too are a trekkie.) I’ve watched pretty much every episode of every Trek series other than Enterprise. When Deep Space Nine was starting there was an outcry that it was just a copy of Babylon 5. And there are definitely some similarities (http://www.firstones.com/wiki/Similarities_between_Babylon_5_and_Star_Trek:_Deep_Space_Nine). But, after hearing from die hard B5 fans how superior it was to DS9, I finally got a chance to see for myself. I did four seasons of watching. Four seasons that I’ll never get back.
This is the series that gave JMS the cred in the geek community that he has. This. It is terribly acted, the sets are atrocious, and the highly touted computer graphics look dated and ugly. And JMS wrote almost every episode. He set a record for it! So, pretty much everything that ended up on the screen was his brainchild. Having said that, I’m pretty sure I slept through most of the first season. It was the only way I could get through it! It picked up in season 3 and 4, but that’s not saying much.
Having slogged through that, I kind of figured that would be it for me and JMS. But then, I guy I worked with started buying his Thor run. I was pretty skeptical, but he insisted that it was really good. He wore me down, and I started reading his back issues. I was blown away! Thor is resurrected and he recreates Asgard as a floating city in Oklahoma. Eventually, I picked up the Marvel Omnibus of his run and it stands as one of my favorite Marvel storylines. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Olivier Coipel does some of his best work on the series. The only problem with the run is that it was cut short because Marvel had other plans for the character. It’s a real shame because I really would have liked to see where JMS was going.
Before that, he did a really long run on Amazing Spider-Man. I haven’t read much of it, but he did something in it that alienated every Spidey fan on the internet. Peter Parker finds out that Gwen Stacy, his first real girlfriend, went to Paris and had twins with Norman Osborn. Then, she came back, was killed by Norman in his Green Goblin guise. The children aged much faster than normal because of the Green Goblin serum in their blood, and they go on the hunt for Spider-Man because Osborn says that he’s their father. It’s all very bizarre and tarnishes the character of Gwen in a way that doesn’t really make sense given what was established about her previously.
So, to sum up, I just don’t know what to think about JMS. He’s the one writer whose work I truly either love or hate.
Graham Becksted did get Mass Effect 3 Collector’s Edition after all (thanks Sonali and Jesse). He is the author of Graham’s Grumbles the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles. If you would like to be his 57th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.
All right! All right! I guess I’ll just have to give in. This week, there’s one thing all comic book blogs have to talk about. I’m not going to bury the lead any further. Watchmen. Prequels. There. I said it. Now, I don’t really know what else to say since every other blog seems to have said it all before. But seriously, was anyone really surprised about this?
I mean, sure there might have been some initial shock, but wasn’t it only a matter of time? For the past twenty-five years people have been saying, “They better not make a Watchmen sequel!” “How could they even consider doing a follow up?” “Watchmen is untouchable.” Turns out they were half right. Prequels are untouchable (at least for now), but prequels are totally fair game. At least, that’s what DC says. Alan Moore is not pleased.
But, Alan Moore is never pleased. The only time I’ve ever seen him even close to pleased was when he was talking to some Occupy London protestors. And I’m not just being flippant. It was on the news! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FumNSfY7SfI) Seriously, though, Moore fights with anyone over anything. He fought with DC over creator rights, and a rating system. He ended up not trusting the Image guys and Rob Liefeld in particular. He fought with Jim Lee when Wildstorm was sold to DC and they started messing with his work. He hates Marvel for some reason that I cannot quite figure out. (It has something to do with his time writing for Marvel UK.) So, Alan Moore not liking something is not reason enough for it not to be done.
The entire comic book industry is about taking other people’s work and exploiting it. I knew this isn’t exactly a news bulletin, but even Watchman is based on other comic book people’s work. Rorschach is a thinly veiled version of the Question. Nite Owl is Blue Beetle. Doctor Manhattan is based on Captain Atom. Has he ever thanked Steve Ditko for letting him corrupt all of his characters?
Besides, it seems like whenever comic book pundits say you can’t do something the industry takes it like a dare. After Chris Claremont killed Jean Grey in the Dark Phoenix Saga, there was an ongoing contest in the Marvel offices to find a way to bring her back. So, just when fans are getting used to the idea of Jean Grey being dead, she gets resurrected.
There used to be a saying, “Uncle Ben, Gwen Stacy, and Bucky are the only characters who stay dead.” Add to that Batman’s first dead Robin (Jason Todd), and you have a pretty important group of characters. All but Uncle Ben have returned to life in one form or another, most notably Bucky and Jason Todd. All three are characters whose deaths had a serious impact on other characters. They represented the greatest failures of Captain America, Batman, and Spider-Man. They influenced their thought processes and their priorities. But, that didn’t stop the industry from bringing them back.
Why should Watchmen be any different? Bucky’s resurrection has lead to a “new” character and some fantastic stories by Ed Brubaker. He even lead a group of Avengers for a short time. Maybe Watchmen could follow a similar trajectory? A lot of concern and dissention, but ultimately a big success? They certainly got a strong group of creators to give it the best chance possible.
Graham Becksted watches the Watchmen. And, apparently, so does the rest of the internet. He is the author of Graham’s Grumbles the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles. If you would like to be his 52nd follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.
P.S. Honestly, I’m not even all that interested in these prequels. But, I’m sure I’ll try ‘em out in trade just to see what’s what. At the very least it’ll give me something else to write about.