Saturday, December 31, 2016


I said it before, I'll say it again:  May the new year surprise and delight us all with magic, miracles, abundance, peace, health, joy—and love above all!


  1. How is this for a New Year... as I write this (January 2 2017) it is the 40th anniversary of Spider-MAn's first Newspaper strip. True.


    1. I remember when it launched. It was a big deal (or at least it seemed that way to me at the time).

      This year is also the 30th anniversary for both KRAVEN'S LAST HUNT and the Giffen-DeMatteis-Maguire JLI!

    2. But not to the day. However, that also makes it Pete and MJ's 30th wedding anniversary.


    3. I meant that the wedding anniversary was this year, not today specifically.


    4. Right. They got married just before KRAVEN'S LAST HUNT, which turns 30 in June, I think.

    5. Well, according to the cover image I saw, on the web when I did a search, part #1 of KLH says OCtober on on it. So, that would mean it either came out in August or July (depending on when the return deadline was changes from 3 months to 2).

      The marriage years later proved Gery Conway a truth teller... not that I doubted it. He has said multiple times that Stan Lee conceived the death of Gwen Stacy, but passed the buck because he couldn't stand the fans being mad at him. Thus... the FIRST clone saga was born.

      After the marriage was dissolved in the comics, the strip did the same thing. Only to then be reversed due to the fan's dislike of the decision. Fun.

      Also, my knowledge of of just when the newspaper strip started comes from the IDW collected book I recently acquired.

      This is how Spidey started his 40th year:

      And this is a reminder of that magical knot-tying:



    6. I guess I didn't realize the Spidey strip still existed! Or maybe I did and I forgot!

    7. But, did you forget about that marriage at Shea Stadium that the other links alluded to?

      Ah the 80s, back when Marvel's advertising was really weird and gimmicky. Now that gets people interested in comics.

      The Saturday editions of the newspaper strip were a big part of my youth... and maybe the thing that made me learn the name Stan Lee.

      IN there own way they may be almost as important as any Spider-Man comic BOOK that has come out since 1977.

      I wonder how many people first saw spider-man in their newspaper, right next to the Phantom, Calvin and Hobbes, Ziggy, Rex Morgan MD, Foxtrot, or what have you. It may not have been how I first got to know Spider-man, but until the 2000s (probably) the Sunday funnies were an American tradition.

      I was excited a year or two back when I found that website.

      Not even Dan Slott in his spree destruction of Spider-man realities dared to hurt the Newspaper strip. And when Spider-man and his Amazing friends got slaughtered, to not even have a stand in one universe destroyed is an accomplishment

      With two ongoing universe where Pete and MJ are married, I wonder if Marvel will ever get the hin... oh that really doesn't matter right now.

      Point is, its still going... even if it has become a bit of a team-up series as of late.


    8. Oh, I remember that Shea Stadium wedding. I'm sure Stan was in PR heaven!

      And, yes, it's amazing that the strip is still going, especially considering the general state of newspaper strips...and newspapers!

    9. Considering that on March 16th, the Detroit News had there front page under the fold story about Chaldean American's Responding to the recent acknowledgement from the US government that what had been happening in Iraq was officially a genocide, and every major news network spent the whole week talking about two presidential candidates arguing about the size of one of their...intimate areas... that there should really be more sorrow for society than shock at newspaper comics existing.

      Did you ever notice that on the 24 hour news stations all have their news on during the day when most people are at work, but when most people tart getting home it becomes the opinon shows?

      As the last example of the mixing of DNA from the person who took the lead on taking down John Deloriane (who a TV show once solely referred to as a man who made his own way in the world, free of irony) and the person who broke the story about the Flint plant closings(which Michael Moore made his first film about) that none of the problems in the news in recent. It has only become more exacerbated in recent years.

      But this isn't about that. This is about the guy that climbs walls and married a redhead, Dave Walchowsky.

      I wouldn't be too shocked about that strip still being in existence.

      Aside from that website I put the link to, the newspapers strips are printed in the free "Comic Shop News" every week. I'm sure there is some monetary compensation there.

      Besides that, with as many creators they have in their employ, and the limited sources of income beyond that, my guess is that the syndicates have plenty of plans to stay alive... newspapers or no.

      As for the Shea marriage, as there ever been a better form of advertisement from Marvel?


    10. Didn't know that about Comic Shop News.

      Re: Shea being the best PR ever. Did you forget when Marvel paid a guy in a loincloth to chase Stan Lee around Manhattan as a way to publicize KRAVEN'S LAST HUNT? It was on the front page of ever paper.

      Okay, so I made that up.

    11. I didn't read many newspapers in elementary school, JMD, so if you'd stuck with your story I'd have no choice but to believe you!

      I do remember those killer black & white promotional posters for KLH, though. It was such a crazy followup to the marriage! I'd never seen anything like it in terms of tone for a Spidey story. Made "The Death of Jean DeWolff" look light-hearted by comparsion!

      As far as the news goes, I think a lot of it comes down to the granulation of pop culture. Thirty years ago, Americans were pretty much watching and listening to the same things.

      Now, there's just too much content available to create the same sense of unity. That, of course, has positive and negatives. It's great that there are voices being heard now that once would have been silenced.

      On the negative side, though, there's a real danger that we feel less connected, and can have our own preferences and perspectives parroted back at us nonstop without ever being challenged.

      It feels like news has followed that trend, but I think it happened with culture first.

      It remains to be seen where all this ends up. I don't think the changes are inherently good or bad, but there are always growing pains with this kind of thing.

      We have amazing opportunities to hear voices from every walk of life--or to shut them out entirely and live in a cultural hermitage.


    12. Granular is right. The days when we all got our news from one of three anchors, when we all talked about the show we watched last night, are gone. One of the reasons the Beatles could have the impact they had back in the days was because pop music was a monolith, we all listened to AM radio and were fed the same songs. (The upside was that the musical menu was pretty diverse: You could hear the Beatles, the Supremes, the Beach Boys, Otis Redding and Frank Sinatra in the same hour.)

      But I agree that we have "amazing opportunities to hear voices from every walk of life"—and that's a great thing. The problem is that people often seek out the voices they agree with and run from the ones that don't fit their worldview. I just hope that we all don't lock ourselves too tightly in our Bubbles of Belief.

    13. How do I put this in the most diplomatic way possible?

      While there is certain merit to what you say, in regards to the news it isn't very... accurate and is actually symptomatic of the problem.

      IN the end you seem to be stating an idea that it is good to hear more opinions on the news, that is 100% the opposite.

      The problem is that the news is not opinion. It's fact. Cold, clear, indisputable fact.

      Post War America got to a point where they think that anything without an opinion (let alone one that agrees with there's) is disingenuous or perhaps lacking.

      It isn't about whether the opinion is right or wrong, or if all sides are shown, it is that it is there in the first place.

      If you consistently know what someone's opinions are, they probably are not a good source for news.

      Then of course there is the celebrity status, where people get so big they feel a need to try and influence.

      The Hollywoodification of journalism which makes people think that anytime there isn't a ground breaking story, someone is dropping the ball. This completely overlooks the small basic groundwork of the practice. In a way this starts with Woodward and Bernstein, and how the process was depicted in film.

      There is also the setting up of stories that people want to hear/read. Now there is no actual problem with this. They in and of themselves can lead to bigger stories and have an important role of its own. It is a focus on them as a whole.

      Even the argument that there is so much is not quite true. Yeah there is a lot of it, but the internet is big and to be noticed you have to be really lucky or really understand marketing.

      It is still only a handful of sources, they just have changes from teh big three networks. In fact, back in those days, people watched that, the local news, and read the paper. It was a wider array.

      Saying it is growing pains is also problematic. IN the end it isn't growth, but a giant step backwards. Much of this is not far removed from the pamphleteers of the 18th and 19th century. We moved past that for a reason.

      A know pizzagate brought fake news to a lot of people's attention, but there were a lot of articles about it for months before hand. Some of these people make millions doing this, while real reporters get laid off left and right. This would not happen unless there was a far amount of complicity from a great many people.

      There is a genocide going on in a country the US has called for troop withdrawal from. The facts are there, how much in the public mind is it. How much in yours.

      Facts speak for themselves, just usually to a deaf audience these days.


    14. I agree with much of what you say, Jack, but there's also the problem that all facts are open to interpretation. "History is written by the victors," as they say. (For instance: one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. If the American Revolution had gone another way, would our textbooks be teaching us about the failed terrorist movement in the colonies? The way I learned about our treatment of Native Americans in grade school and the way the world sees that treatment now are very different things. All based on the same facts and, at the time, presented as fact.) Even the most trusted news sources are always going to have a slant, and not intentionally. We're human, we interpret. Two people in a room have a discussion, both walk out and write down what happened and there will be differences. If they watch a video of that discussion they can still disagree about what happened, what the facts are.

      The real problem today is, as you indicate, that there's so much opinion masquerading as news. And that's not a good thing. But having different voices interpreting that news, looking at those facts, is, I think, a good thing.

      The biggest problem of all is that we've now got people saying that facts don't really exist at all and we're all free to write our own version of reality. Which, metaphysically speaking, when we're forging a personal reality, can a wonderful thing. But socially, politically? It's a recipe for disaster.

      We could spin these plates forever, so I'd like to wrap this discussion up and move on to more important comic books!

      But thanks, as always, for your insights!

    15. I'm not sure that discussing comics is the best way to get me to not be long-winded.


    16. We'll just have to do our best, Jack! : )

    17. For instance:

      This new TV show coming out, POWERLESS, seems an awful lot like Damage Control. Is that a name change or a an attempt to screw Dwayne Mcduffie's family out of royalties.

      That wasn't very long winded, but...

      Marvel and Dc and Marvel, should really stop killing off characters. It isn't even for the reason people might guess.

      No body who has a comic for more than a month and a half is buying it. Even if someone at the big two thinks that it will stick, it won't.

      But, we're all stuck with the usual song and dance. Everyone mourns, talks about the tragedy and the triumphs, and then the replacement comes around. Then we have to get to the point where they are comfortable in the role. Next thing you know, that guy is getting spun off into a new book and we take x-amount of time to restore the old guy.

      I'm not saying you shouldn't have replacement stories...maybe find another possible story for Captain America...there have been a lot of really good ones. It offers a chance to explore just what it means to be this iconic character, and why that first guy worked so well, and why this new guy has value and their new perspective.

      Just... maybe there is a better way to do it. BAtman was injured when Azbats pulled on the cowl. Tony Stark became a a bowery bum. Steve Rogers had it taken from him.

      Not only does this cut out all the usually death points, it allows more stories. There are two characters, that is twice as many possibilities.

      It also helps with the transition. That guy or gal we love is not gone, not even for a little while, they just have a new role. We get to see new sides to them.

      It would also probably carry more weight.

      then there is..

      Spider-Man Renew Your Vows, sold 30,000 issues more than Amazing Spider-an in its first month.

      Granted, those are orders for an issue #1, they are always high.

      It did sell out at my local comic shop in both the first and second months. And has been very well received by almost everyone.

      Now, none of that is concrete evidence. It is however a better sign than bad. I think why may have been over looked.

      Yes Conway is a good writer, and yes many Spidey fans have wanted the marriage back, and those certainly help. There is more, I think.

      Issues 1 and 2 are very much an A to B plot. It is nothing to write home about. The characterization however... that is really, really good.

      For the past few years, Marvel has been very plot heavy, with characterization taking a backseat.

      Now I fully admit, I prefer character drives stories, but I don't discount the other as bad. From a business stand point, it gives more of a chance to leave, since once the story is over you can wlak away easier than if you want to see what the character does next. Not bad however.

      The Captain America book was launched last May, and is pretty much a build up to the next event. Or so it seems. Very little of what Cap being a HYDRA agent means to him or how this Steve is different in his mind, and the barest of how he may be similar. Only how he got to that point. Not saying that is good or bad, just an example.


    18. So if I don't think it is so bad, what is the problem? Well, it is over saturation. If that is every book, where is the character work people may crave? Around, but mostly in Conway's books.

      A fix is being filled, it just happens to be done by an excellent writer with a premise fans have been vocal about wanting.

      And unless I forget...

      Have you ever seen the Rod Serling Western, "The Loner?"

      I recently got the DVD's and I find most people have not heard of it... even big TZ fans.


      I'm sorry, but I really need to say one thing.

      I really hope it is appreciated how much self-control it takes me not to get into a whole thing about the "Even the most trusted news sources are always going to have a slant, and not intentionally" comment.

      For everything else it was, it is incredibly insulting. This might not seem like self control, but I have had hour long discussions with people about such statements (admittedly the term "liberal agenda" has made the scene).

      It never ends well, mostly because most people don't...never mind. I thought it was best not to get into that.

      The reason why I bring that up is that I wanted to summarize my point.

      There is no problem with op-ed or any other type of personal views attached to the news. Only when that is all you see.

      Also, technically speaking, analysis is not opinion. It is predictions and explanations based off what is known and past trends. You might say that is a type of opinion, but what happens on 24 hour news talk shows would never pass the test.

      I really wish I could have left that part out but I can't/ Its a sickness with me.

      see long-winded is just in my nature, but now it is all also in the past.


    19. I also noticed similarities between POWERLESS (at least in concept) and DAMAGE CONTROL. The show could, of course, play out very differently.

      I'm old enough to remember THE LONER being on TV. And I think I've seen an episode or two on YouTube. I may seek them out again, now that you've mentioned it. I believe Serling was frustrated with the way the show worked out. Which, sadly, happened a lot in his post-TZ career.

    20. I'm not sure how much of it is an age thing. my parents were born in '48 and '50, and neither remembered the show. On top of that, my dad is a bid western fan.

      As for Powerless, it is on ABC,which like Marvel is owned by Disney. There was also talk of a DAMAGE CONTROL series. It may be that they just changed the name. We'll know if it says "based on Damage Control, Created by Dwyane McDuffie."

      If it is just a ripoff though, I expect you and Arvell Jones to mount a fearless campaign to compensate the McDuffie estate.


    21. POWERLESS is actually on NBC and it's a DC/Warner Bros show, so it has nothing to do with Marvel. If the show is too close to DAMAGE CONTROL, you can bet Disney/Marvel will raise legal hell.

    22. WB should have a JLI sitcom! It's a no-brainer.

      BTW, it occurred to me that the Disney film SKY HIGH has a JLI vibe too. And Danielle Panabaker went on to play Caitlyn Frost in the FLASH. Random thoughts at Monday's end...

      On another note, I think it would be interesting for DC to do a mini-series or anthology about past, present and future incarnations of the Spectre. Lots of potential there!


    23. Well, if it is NBC, odds are it won't be seen by enough people to be infringed on by anyone.

      I only met Mr. McDuffie at a show (the last one in the Detroit area he attended) and h while appearances can be deceiving, he was as nice a gentleman as anyone could want to meet.

      He chatted with other fans and myself about typical nerd stuff. A truly nice man, and in a world where rude discourse seems the way of things, I can think of no heftier praise than to call him a "nice gentleman."

      I'm sure he didn't remember me 5 minutes after I left, but I will always remember his calm and pleasant way with fans.

      I would never want to see his work cheated in any way.

      In the end, whatever else he was, he was a nice guy from Detroit. THAT, well, that is a legacy I respect, and would never feel okay with being taken advantage of.

      If ever someone tries to steal from that man's legacy his intellectual bounty, may the actions be swift and just to those he left behind.

      That may seem a bit melodramatic, but in Metro-Detroit, we stand by our own. He even knew Arvell Jones (a charter member in 70's Marvel's Detroit Mob) when he was just a kid. Yes, McDufie's comic connections ran deep.

      I hope for NBC's sake it doesn't infringe on Damage Control, because the fan response will be severe.

      ah, the stories from those Knights of Columbus Hall comic shows... Needless to say, in those shows where nothing is to be done but buy and sell comics, well as I said, we respect and honor our own here.


    24. Okay, so everyone in Hollywood owes money to me 'n' Keith! : )

      I love the Spectre. A character with infinite potential. I hope that, one day, DC collects my Spectre run with Ryan Sook and Norm Breyfogle. It's one of my favorites.

    25. I didn't know Dwayne well, but we worked together on JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED and BEN 10, had mutual friends and shared some very enjoyable dinners in L.A. at various times. He was very talented, very smart and, most important, a truly nice guy. His loss is still felt.

    26. If we are talking vibes and monetary compensation, then you and Giffen probably owe money to Will Eisner for the Spirit (parts anyway), Ben Edlund for the Tick, Steve Gerber for Howard the Duck (as well as parts of his Defenders run), and the Electric Company for their goofy interactions between Spider-MAn and the Blue Beetle.

      Oh... you lost your legal gains before you got a chance to spend them.

      I'm all full a Spectre series. An anthology is a great idea, but I would also love one based on Ostrander's run.


    27. Although I love Eisner, I was never very into the Spirit; never read the Tick or watched the Electric Company. Steve Gerber I adore, as you know.

    28. The point was m,ore to show that a lighter or comedic take on superheroes is a long and proud tradition.

      And I guess to defend The Spirit and promote the Tick. Every interpretation of that character is just absolutely freaking bizarre.
      and as for electric company


    29. No need to defend them. Eisner is a god in my comic book firmament; I just prefer his graphic novels to his Spirit. And I've heard nothing but good things about the Tick.

    30. There is a page to an Eisner Spirit. That establishes mood as well as any artist of today. For all the deconstruction and comics with barely any words, this one establishes mood perfectly in just one page. No repeats all forward momentum... yet slow.

      This may be the history buff in me seeing what isn't there, but I think the spirit is the zeitgeist (pardon the pun) of an era.

      That strange limbo in time where we were in the post-war era... but not really in what we call the Post War Era.

      Those post WWII stories are what are remembered for a reason. It was searching for something different, but still very much cluing to what was before it.

      There was just as much drama as humor, as if we couldn't process what to make of our recent history or the future. Do we remember or move forward?

      Even Ebony White shows this. He is often shown as Eisner's great blight. And in many ways he is , he was a disturbing, racist, caricature.

      But he was also a kid. A kid who may have been portrayed poorly, but also a kid who was treated with respect by everyone he was close to. A kid who was shown to have deductive skills, bravery, and a sense of decency. A kid who was clearly loved.

      It is fitting in its way. The GI generation is the one that pushed civil rights, and had a change in racial views.

      Many people even credit the Depression and WWII as part of the reason why that new view came about.

      A generation's changing views on race were right there. The desire to change the treatment... but also a reminder of the stereotypes they were raised with.

      Even the portrayal of women shows a crashing between the pre-war view of women as somewhat strong and capable (after a fashion at least) and the merging idea of the 50s housewife. Even a type of rejection of the latter.

      I love A Contract With God, and The Building, and Life on Another Planet, The Dreamer, all of 'em. But they are what they are, and very straight forward. There is a certain beautiful simplicity in that.

      The Spirit on the other hand has layers Eisner himself probably didn't see, and act as a view of the past that Eisner's recollection...good as they are... never kid.

      The Tick is just Bizarre fun. I would actually recommend the the Venture Bros. episode written by Tick's creator ahead of that, given what ou are writing.

      It has the Scooby gang cast in parallels to Jim Jones, Patty Hearst, Son of Sam, and Valerie Solanas.

      Now, TOO SLEEP!


    31. I certainly appreciate THE SPIRIT and its contribution to the language, and soul, of comics (people are imitating what he did to this day); it just never resonated with me emotionally the way that CONTRACT WITH GOD and his later work did.

    32. So, now I need a collection of The Spectre. I'll put that on my wish list next to Dr. Fate.

    33. I'm thinking of doing a post about all the uncollected work I'd love to see collected, Douglas. FATE and SPECTRE are right up there!

    34. One of the people in charge at IDW is a huge ROM fan so he collected all the issues and had them professionally bound. Maybe I'll just do that. Here's a link for the picture.

    35. DC has been slow to collect Spectre material, though I suspect if he ever made his way into the CW or the DC cinematic universe we'd see that change.

      As it is, only 22 issues of the Ostrander run are in TPB, and the rest is on comixology. But nothing from the Moench run that preceded it or the JMD run afterward.


    36. I'm sure it will be great reading, like the one that praises the Silver Surfer and the other that discuses the nature of violence in comics.

      Oh, I kid.


    37. These specially bound volumes can be amazing, Douglas. I've been meaning to do the same with FATE and other series of mine.

    38. Thanks for the info, David. I'd love to see ALL that material collected.




  3. "This year is also the 30th anniversary for both KRAVEN'S LAST HUNT and the Giffen-DeMatteis-Maguire JLI!"

    I bought Kraven's Last Hunt when it first came out. I was in 7th grade. I still remember where I was when I picked up those issues. Still to this day my favorite Spider-Man story. I actually bought the TPB version for my daughter for Christmas this year (I raised her to be a DeMatteis fan). Hard to believe it's been 30 years.

    1. I always come back to the Bob Dylan line: "Time is a jet plane. It moves too fast." Thanks for sharing the work with your daughter!

    2. George, you and your family clearly have impeccable taste in literature!


  4. Happy New Year! Last year I managed to write two books and six issues of my zine. I hope to be more productive this year. I also wish for the J.M DeMatteis collection of Dr. Fate to be released this year.

    1. Thanks, Douglas! And congratulation on all the writing you did in 2016!

  5. A week or so ago the Star Trek the introduced Kahn was on, and if there was one hing you can take away from hat episode is that on some level Kirk was really stupid.

    Seriously, he left a heterosexual woman with Richardo Montaband, with a heterosexual woman and and didn't see her turning traitor?

    Come on that's stupid, no matter the era, he may be the most charismatic man on Earth... and that is the genetically manipulated version.


    1. Doesn't say much for Starfleet if you have to worry about your female officers falling for every charismatic superman that comes along! Of course, given the fact that Kirk was either falling in love with or bedding every gorgeous female that came along, it seems that was part of Starfleet training!

    2. Ricardo Montalban got people to come to an inland when half the time he just showed them how stupid their fantasies were in the first place.

      I'm not even sure Kirk believed in his side of the argument when Kahn spoke. Imagine all that charisma... now imagine it if it was genetically bred to be at its top potential.

      How could you not see her going turn coat?


  6. I'm about a fourth of the way through the Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire JLI run and loving it. Don't know why it took me this long, but I was pretty much exclusively a Marvel fan in the 1980s.

    I do wonder, JMD, have you, Giffen and Maguire ever thought about just how much JLI changed the pop culture landscape? You look at a recent film like GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, and there's no doubt in my mind you can trace a direct line back to the workplace sitcom vibe you guys engineered or stumbled on. But there is simply no substitute for the original, the material is great and holds up really well.

    Re-read KLH last night, and was struck by how important the Joe Face memorial is in setting up Peter Parker's ability to separate himself from the mask he wears. Thematically similar to the last page of BATMAN: ABSOLUTION, but with Peter being more self-aware.


    1. We have thought about it, David. I remember watching that tag scene at the end of the first AVENGERS movie, where they're all sitting around in the diner, and thinking, "Pure JLI." Too bad they don't pay residuals for tone!

      Writing KLH was like a huge gush from my unconscious, so I didn't consciously set up anything with the Joe Face memorial. It was pure intuition. Glad it works!

    2. If they did, you might could buy back multiple copies of X-MEN #1 and give them out to trick or treaters.

      Also, that hospital is reaaaaaally creepy. You know the one I'm talking about. I hope we'll see it revisited...eventually?


    3. No plans for the hospital to return, but it's not a bad idea!

    4. How much consciousness was in your writing of "Going Sane?"

      I don't have a favorite personally (though I do like Peter more than Bruce, so...), but perhaps if Hoping Sane was more crafted that is why KLH is more regarded by fans, while GS is more highly regarded by you.

      You see all the parts that went into the creation of GS, but fans feel the energy of a more primal creation.

      Personally, the scene where MJ knows instantly "Spider-Man" isn't Peter and the conversation between Bruce and his she-friend about living his nice little haven... its a toss up.


    5. As I recall, "Going Sane" kind of gushed out of me. But then so did KLH. Although both stories gestated in my unconscious for years, the actually writing was, as you note, primal.

  7. Good issue of Scoobs Apocs... even if DC did give away the last page of the main story with the solicitation.

    Characterization remains strong, and when I read it I was reminded of something Alfred Hitchcock (your old nemesis) said. It was about how melodrama is everyda life with the boring parts taken out. It would seem that Scoobs Apocs does that, it just chooses a different non-boring part to focus on.

    Also, I had my first published work in a Marvel comic this week.

    Technically it was just a letter in Spider-Man Renew Your Vows #3, but it's something... and it was the first on the page. And incredibly long-winded.

    It's a start.

    I guess this week, that makes us rivals. For the five people who read that letters page anyway. And, no one probably bought the comics FOR the letters page.

    Whatever, logic isn't going to steal this joy from me... that is what the rest of life is for.


    1. Congrats, Jack! I had a bunch of letters published in a variety of Marvels back in the Old Days and it was always a kick to see them in print. That said, I had no idea Marvel still HAD letters pages.

      I'm was a big fan of the letters page; I'd often read them before the story. I know that's strange, but so am I.

    2. It doesn't, not really anyway.

      For the most part it is only in response to the first few issues of a comic. My guess is that it is a sort of promotion for the comic. First issues usually sell well, with some what of a drop after the first story arc. It keeps people hyped.

      Just a theory though.

      Marvel and come and go on the idea of letters pages every few years,usually only for a short while.

      I also like them, sometimes questions I had were answered, sometimes they were entertaining, sometimes it just reminded me how good the previous issue s were.

      The internet kind of killed it off (weird since the only letter I ever got published was the only one I wrote in an email), but in some ways it may be a better forum.

      When done right letters pages would have a balance of pros and cons to the book... to some extent anyway, you don't want top give people a reason not to read your book.

      Valid or common complaints are addressed, usually in a calm metered way. Now however you have aggressive fans spewing hate, arguments over Twitter, and one writer for Marvel who went to the Marvel forum and told a critic top go F*** themselves. In case you are wondering, I don't go to the Marvel message board ever , but I did see the critique and it wasn't very positive, but also not warranting that response.

      Personally, I think Twitter is going to be the hill that Western Civilization dies on, and comics may be the first casualty, but that is neither here nor there. Although I am willing to discuss it in a calm metered way. I find the idea fascinating.

      In the end, just thank you for the "congrats."

      Interesting fact, one run in Marvel history got so many bad letters that they had to make up their own just so they could say something positive about the book. I don't think you'll be able to guess which. It is not a name most people would ever assume had this problem.


    3. I agree that the letters pages were something special—and a balanced, tempered way for fans to express themselves.

      I've had great experiences on Twitter, but I know that there are others who've had some very unfortunate experiences.

      I suspect that there have been MANY comics over the years that made up their own letters. Which one are you referring to?

    4. Jack Kirby. His return to Captain America ni the 70s was received to poorly that Marvel made up mail praising it.

      Another interesting story from the mail bag is that after the Dr. Strange Sise Neg story, Stan Lee wanted an explanation that it wasn't THE God,. Englehart then wrote a letter from a fake pastor praising it.

      As for Twitter...

      I think social media is stupid, and as such am an outsider, which gives me both better and worse perspective on it.

      I have peered in on such things from time to time.

      It seems like poor discourse is more often than not the name of the game. Or at least, that when it happens it revs up faster.

      I think the idea of most people doing it mobile from a phone can make things seem more aggressive. It is all about where you are in the real world.

      I also think that the limited number of characters that can be used causes problem. This perhaps leads to initial statements sometimes being taken as more blunt or insulting.

      There certainly isn't much room for nuance.

      This of course is all secondary to the natural human desire o react to such things, and again I think there is a forgetting of the "social" part of social media. There response is more attune to screaming at the TV than a conversation.

      And of course that need to reply is natural, it is... but so is hitting a guy in the face when he gets in your face. Not everyone is great at curbing things, and its a muscle that needs to be exercised. Some people just ignore it.

      I don't think I am the only one that sees this seeping into the greater society as a whole.

      Then again, maybe its just more visible.


    5. I've heard those stories about Kirby's CAP. So many of those Kirby books were derided when they came out and are now revered. Just goes to show you. (My favorite Kirby from that era was ETERNALS.)

      You describe many of the negatives of Twitter and I can't argue with any of it because it's an accurate assessment of the dark underbelly of social media. That said, my own experiences have been extremely positive. I went to Twitter reluctantly—these days you need it to promote your work—and found it was a wonderful avenue for connection with the fans—who are generally warm, respectful and enthusiastic—and with fellow professionals. There have been a handful of negative exchanges over the years—very few, really—and several of them resulted in a very open, compassionate dialogue. So Twitter, for me, has been a big positive. So has Facebook. And, of course, this blog, which started it all!

    6. Really enjoyed the latest issue of SCOOBY APOCALYPSE as well. The change of pace worked nicely, giving the gang time to reflect a bit before setting up the next big conflict. And the Scrappy-Doo backup was an emotional gut-punch.

      Read an article in the Washington Post yesterday that researchers are using blue light to stimulate neurons in mice and increase their aggression (toward prey, not other mice). Made me think of SCOOBY-DOO APOCALYPSE.

      As far as Twitter and other social media goes, I think it comes down to being the change you want to see in the world. A little kindness goes a long way.


    7. I agree, David. I had one truly enlightening experience where someone on Twitter came at me in the most negative way possible and I met that with compassion. That changed the energy instantly and it was a great lesson for me. But, as I said, these kinds of negative exchanges have been very rare for me I also think some people seem to take joy in antagonizing others. That's a recipe for ugliness and I don't understand it.

      Glad you enjoyed SCOOBY. Next issue gets VERY weird. In what I hope is a really fun way.