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When Breakdowns Get Literal

If there's one thing Alan and I hate, it's -- well, yeah, THAT, but...okay, sure, there's THAT, too, but...yeah, yeah, yeah, there's THAT as well, but what I'm thinking of in this little essay is that we both hate The Intro Column. You know, when a guy gets himself a column and wastes the first one telling you all the great things he hopes to do with it, while not doing anything interesting or entertaining the first time. You only get one chance to make a first impression and all that.

So, I'm not doing that. I've been writing reviews and comics commentary for several years now, starting right here at Comic Book Galaxy and most recently at Movie Poop Shoot and in The Comics Journal. The fact is, I was just giving too much time to my Breakdowns column and both my personal life and day job suffered for it, so I've had to scale back. Fortunately, Alan provided a solution with this relaunched CBG, in that I can contribute reviews whenever I have the time, not on a deadline, so that's liberating for someone with limited time to write. So, to keep it short, expect to see some reviews of all sorts of comics of any genre, from any publisher, and I probably won't be able to restrain myself from offering some comments on comics news I find particularly important or just amusing. Thatís where these short pieces will come in, and due to their shorter and more casually-written nature, I guess I need a breezy title like "Chrisí Comix Corner" or something, huh? Well, fuck that. You know where to find me, and you can just quote me as Chris Allen, Comic Book Galaxy for anything I say here.

Which brings me to a recommendations for a new site. I caught Aaron Weisbrodís article at Newsarama about ScrypticStudios, and itís a cool idea that I hope takes off. The skeptic in me wonders if five weekly columns about comics writing will get wearying after a while, but there are some talented people involved. They did the smart thing, which was to have the interview/press release run on Newsarama only after all the writers had a column up. True, a number of these were of the "Intro" variety, but they weren't bad, and Ryan Ottneyís was quite good. Best of luck to all.

Now, Iím someone as obsessed with balance and opposites as I am with wordplay, so itís really almost a compulsion with me to follow a wholly nice recommendation with something with a little more vinegar, so I might as well bring up something that occurred to me reading last monthís PREVIEWS, and thatís F.O.B.s. Whatís an F.O.B., you ask? Friend of Bendis. Thatís not a bad thing to be, donít get me wrong, and almost all the guys Iím going to mention are nice, talented people with whom Iíve even socialized a little. BUT -- is there any question that Bendis being Marvelís #1 writer led to his good friends Mike Avon (POWERS) Oeming getting to be the new THOR writer and Mark (WHISKEY DICKEL) Ricketts getting to write IRON MAN? Itís not bad business on Marvelís part -- Bendis is writing the end and relaunch of THE AVENGERS, so why not have his buds in place doing solo Avengers titles to make it easy on him, with writers whoíll be only too happy to do cross-overs, change costumes and the like. On the other hand, have either of these guys sold a book on their own? I like Oemingís writing all right, but only HAMMER OF THE GODS have I felt was really successful all the way through, and yet fans cared so little about the second miniseries that I donít think it ever finished. Ricketts may be an award-winning screenwriter, but you wouldnít know it from NOWHERESVILLE, a low-yield noir pastiche, or WHISKEY DICKEL, which sought to stretch a tidy, Diniesque plucky gal story across a giant "graphic novel" like a rope of snot across the 5 Freeway, with all the hazards that entails. Not that Marvel canít take a chance; not that both guys couldnít have turned in the most brilliant proposals for the Thunder God and Shellhead, but Iím just saying I think that was a lesser consideration. Hope Iím proved wrong and they both make their respective books worth reading again.

Again, the fact that Bendis has this much pull has had no real ill effects that I can see, other than the possibility that some groovy proposals were rejected for the two guys above, but thatís the way it goes. That wonít stop a good writer. And one real benefit of Bendisí popularity is that he was able to push Marvel into finally doing a creator-owned imprint, albeit so far for just him and F.O.B. #1, David Mack, who was last seen making DAREDEVIL fans go elsewhere for four months while he foisted "Vision Quest" on them. I remember reading new Image publisher Erik (SAVAGE DRAGON) Larsen talking about POWERS and KABUKI somewhat disparagingly, especially of the latter and how long it has been since there was a new miniseries. At the time, I thought it was a little cheap, but thinking about it now, realistically, heís at least part right. Who reads KABUKI? Who thinks David Mack is a major draw, the #2 guy to build your creator-owned imprint around? Never mind that the POWERS relaunch wasnít as successful as hoped -- thatís still an acclaimed book that will entertain almost anyone who reads it. Itís attractive, funny, and has a good concept. KABUKI is just an attempt to elevate an ass-kicking hot chick book into a book with something to say, by a guy whose art is so pretty a few people can be convinced. Hereís hoping that a) Iím totally wrong, and all these books will really be great, or b) Marvel wonít be so concerned with pleasing Bendis that they wonít axe underachieving Bendis buds, and c) theyíll augment the Icon imprint with other good creators with unique books who have their own gravitational pull, and donít orbit Bendis.

-- Chris Allen


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