There are these things that bother me.

And apparently I want them to bother you too.

They exist as tiny anomalies infecting the consciousness of the industry, threatening to overtake the larger organism if not properly addressed. These mysteries are lying beneath the surface, and only precise and logical explanation can set them straight. Confident that the right answers are only revealed when met by the right questions…enjoy a series of them in usual Ambidextrous fashion.

Why are Haters Still Hating?

I’m so sick of this bullshit. Why won’t people just give Marvel and Quesada their due credit? The industry is experiencing a swell of activity and financial progression and when identifying the reasons behind this resurgence, the Marvel Effect is likened to some coincidental blip on the radar that was pre-destined in nature. Are you people even listening to yourselves anymore?

You may not agree with every internal policy and mandate that’s come from the company in the last two years, but to diminish their notable influence on the relative health of the industry is ridiculous. People act like admitting that Marvel has been steamrolling their primary competition, creating inroads in other medias, and just releasing some good fuckin’ comic books is like takin’ a shot in the mouth. Close your eyes for this one…

…when Joe Quesada became editor-in-chief of Marvel…shit…got…better. Simple undeniable fact. The creators got better. The production values got better. The approaches got better. I don’t give a damn how many X-books got cancelled, exist now, or are coming in the future, because I know I can count and don’t need to prove it to you, but I challenge anyone to present me with credible evidence that the entirety of the Marvel line was more engrossing when Joe wasn’t king of the ranch. And good luck with that too. Let me know how it goes.

Marvel is getting it done. Don’t hate because they still got their shit together. And don’t make me come over there. In this day and age…haters still hating. Disappointing to say the least.

Why Isn’t Christopher Priest One of the Biggest Writers in Comics?

How much more evidence do you fuckin’ need? Black Panther remains one of the most critically-acclaimed titles that Marvel publishes on a monthly basis, despite its perpetually anemic sales figures. Blending aspects of humor, action, and politics, Priest has maintained a standard of quality and complexity that remains with the title despite its periodic shift in editorial stewardship, and the virtual ax that remains over the creators as they cling to the Diamond 100. Panther is the tights comic that makes you think, requiring more than ten minutes to read, and a laser-like focus from the architect to prevent the multi-layered storylines from collapsing in on themselves.

My question now becomes…why won’t anyone give Priest something more high-profile to dive into? Hooking him with a more popular character ensures exposure to a wider audience and will no doubt solidify his rightful place on the A-list. Companies are recruiting fresh talent from independent publishers, internet sites, and other wings of modern pop culture…while Priest, one of the best doing it, is languishing on a title that’s forced to propel itself from the black hole of cancellation on a quarterly basis.

We need this fixed immediately. Get to it.

Why Haven’t More People Given Joe Kelly Props?

If Priest is the most underrated writer in comics, then Joe Kelly is likely a close second. Don’t misunderstand, when you’re playing ‘name that creator’ Kelly is going to emit the aroma of recognition, but I don’t believe his work receives the fanfare or acclaim it deserves. Since helming Action Comics a few years back, his interpretation of the Man of Steel delivers an incredible sense of humanity that fails to overshadow the notion that this is the most powerful being on the planet. The scribe has consistently delivered stories anchored around a deep understanding of Kent and his supporting cast, whether the format calls for a contained adventure or the end cap to the latest crossover.

Don’t believe me? Read Action #775, one of the best standalone Supes stories in recent memory as Kelly confidently addresses the more “extreme” depictions of superheroes that were becoming the industry standard in the wake of The Authority. The man is good. Anyone that could interest me in Superman has to be. In addition, he’s currently penning JLA in the lingering shadow of Grant Morrison and doing a fine job thus far. He deserves your support and money. Don’t be fooled by imitators.

Wouldn’t Warren Ellis Write A Dope Batman Story?

This has less to do with Warren’s recent call for the removal of Joker’s nipples (which probably isn’t a bad idea) and more to do with Ellis’ track record. He created one of the sharpest and most dangerous of “Bat-clones” in the form of the Midnighter, is dipping his toe into the waters of strange crime fiction at Avatar, and judging by his recently released JLA/Planetary understands Bruce Wayne. For nearly fifty pages, Ellis hammers home the point…you do not fuck with Batman…Batman fucks with you. The attitude and intellect on display is pure unadulterated Dark Knight, and begs the questions…could Ellis pull this off on a larger stage? Give him a Legends of the Dark Knight arc or something guys. Just imagine what the writer could do with Batman’s Rogues Gallery…

But you know what? It probably wouldn’t matter because DC would only care about promoting it the first month it came out anyway…

Why Is It So Difficult To Say Nice Things About DC?

Just when you think the face has emerged from the sand…

This section was originally intended to congratulate DC on a recent string of life signs flashing over their publishing wing. Critical darling 100 Bullets continues to garner nearly every award its nominated for, Vertigo has launched four incredible projects in the form of Fables, The Filth, Y: The Last Man, and 100%. Flagship titles Green Arrow and JLA have fallen into capable hands. Wildstorm’s Eye of the Storm has an alarming amount of potential. Batman: Murderer is finally the fuck over. Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee are taking over Batman in October. And 2003 looks promising with Batman/Superman, Dial Hero, and Jeff Smith’s Shazam.

But dammit if they don’t manage to piss me off anyway.

Batman from Loeb and Lee beginning in October with #608. Big deal right? Big fuckin’ deal right? Well, according to DC’s recent solicits…only for the month of October is it a big deal. After rightfully stroking their balls last month over the approaching creative change, DC seems to have forgotten that the size of their unit and sales figures may actually match that of chart toppers X-Men and Spider-Man. Flip through the latest Previews and see if you can find the solicit for Batman #609. While you’re squinting to locate said solicit, ask yourself…what the fuck is wrong with these people!!? I’m excited, you’re excited, hell…Marvel is more excited about this book than DC.

Guess your name has to be Frank Miller to garner a promotional push that lasts longer than one month. Here’s hoping Loeb and Lee bring more to the table than a cluttered mess of a story that made little sense to regular fans, absolutely NO sense to a potential mainstream audience, and sported a generic ending hinged on the T-1000 version of the Joker. Who was Dick Grayson. Oh, and there’s a volcano under the Batcave…yes…that’s as dumb as it sounds.

Anyway…they should be screaming from the mountaintop for the next twelve months about this book. Then screaming about the forthcoming trade collection of the arc.

And while we’re on the subject of trades…where are they? The last Wildcats trade that should’ve been out before Version 3 hit…where is it? My Legion trades…where? Instead we can look forward to the re-release of some tired ass Return of Barry Allen story. To hell with Barry Allen. Release another set of Geoff Johns’ Flash while the creator’s name is growing hotter by the minute. It’s like DC doesn’t want money, and when we try to give it to them, they’re still not concerned.

But that’s okay though…because DC’s products are all fully returnable…

Isn’t Brian Hibbs A Major Pain In The Ass?

The disgruntled retailer continues to make himself famous by crawling into Marvel’s ass with his class action lawsuit citing breach of conduct. Whether or not the whole event is warranted depends on who you talk to, and I only wish that I could find an interview with this guy that didn’t read like text-based masturbation. Everyone refuses to nail his nuts to the wall and make him answer the tough questions. Oh…he has a lawyer, so that makes him legit. We need a hard-core journalist to dissect Hibbs and see what his insides look like. If only to find out whether his grievance is genuine or if he’s just a fanboy with a grudge.

Do You Care About Marvel’s U-DECIDE?

I’m not sure it’s funny anymore. Reminds of Saturday Night Live. Used to be funny. Not really now. Waiting for it to get funny again. Captain Marvel will likely be saved in the process, but when discussing titles that deserve additional press and fanfare, Black Panther is the clear front-runner. Where’s the dunk tank to save this book? Ah, well, I’m probably just bitter I wrote an emergency column commenting on the whole thing, providing credence where there was none. Yeah, that’s it…I’m bitter. Read Captain Marvel. CrissCross’ art is pretty.

And to close out on a related, not related tip…

Who Else Is Waiting For Warner Bros. To Release Their Critically-Acclaimed Animated Series’ on DVD?

It appeared they were dipping their toes into the pool with the release of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker and the first Justice League episode, but you know what we want…the complete collection of Batman the Animated Series, all 100 some episodes, preserved for posterity on DVD. And throw those Superman episodes in there for good measure. Everything else in the world is available in a collector’s edition boxed set, someone write the WB and tell them to get on the good foot.

That’s all I’ve got folks. Come back next week for something special…well…special to me…I guess you would have to…just come back…cool things. Promise.

Oh, and will you look at that…The New Hotness is back…

The New Hotness – The Books You Should’ve Read Last Week:

Powers #23 (Brian Michael Bendis/Mike Avon Oeming)

You thought you knew where Bendis was going with this. You thought he was just gonna write any old “main character returns to the fold” story that would successfully reunite the series’ principal leads. And he pulled the rug out from under us. You don’t know how Walker returns, you just think you do. You don’t know what Deena will do to get her way, you only think you do. Another tight script, another twisted climax, another twenty or so pages of beautifully rendered Oeming artwork. It’s what you’ve come to expect from Powers, only in a very unexpected way. Just read it. It’s hot…and it’s new…

JLA #71 (Joe Kelly/Yvel Guichet)

I swear I didn’t plan this. For those following this title over the last few months, the original JLA has vanished without a trace while searching for their fallen comrade Aquaman, and Batman’s fail-safe device has assembled a league of heroes to inherit monitor duty. Some old favorites, some new faces, and Kelly brings some strong characterization to the game that makes the ‘replacements’ strangely fascinating. Whether its Green Arrow living up to his reputation with the ladies, the Atom serving as interim spokesman, or Nightwing doing his best Batman impression, the new guys are proving to be an interesting bunch. Art is nice too…

Black Panther #49 (Christopher Priest/Sal Velluto)

Well all right then. Next issue everything changes, but to be honest…if Priest hung it up right now, these 49 past issues make for some bold storytelling. They didn’t call this story Death of the Black Panther for nothing folks, things change hard and fast, yet maintaining the continuity and presence established over the last four years. King T’Challa has spent a great deal of time distancing himself from the people that would be his allies, all because of a brief glimpse at an unkind future, and as a result…at the end, after making a terrifying mistake…his future can only be decided in the manner he chose to walk…alone. Let’s hope the next fifty are this good…


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