Wednesday, March 16, 2011

You Had To Be A "Big Shot," Didn't You

Marvel has previously teased a line of relaunches they were branding as "Big Shots," taking three of their street-level characters and putting them under new #1's by new creative teams.

Until today, the only creative team that had been announced was that of Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev bringing a potentially unusual take to MOON NIGHT.

This morning, rumors took flight that the remaining creative teams would consist of Greg Rucka, Marco Checchetto, with Laura Martin on THE PUNISHER followed by Mark Waid and Paolo Rivera on DAREDEVIL.

I've never been a regular reader of The Punisher. I can probably count on one hand the number of Punisher comics I've purchased. Nothing about the character--or at least, my perception of him--clicked with me and I had plenty of sad mutant comics to buy. But Rucka writing Punisher? That would do it.

I've probably paid Moon Knight even less attention than I have The Punisher (though I've liked having him in SECRET AVENGERS) but I'm an easy mark as far as the Bendis/Maleev team is concerned.

Waid writing Daredevil is surprising to me. I can't think of any time I've ever seen him write the character and Daredevil has been primarily handled by crime writers for much of the series following Kevin Smith's Marvel Knights relaunch. Will Mark Waid bring the character back to his lighter, swashbuckler/superhero beginnings? It would be a refreshing change of pace from how miserable Matt Murdock's life became up to and during "Shadowland." I'd been a Daredevil reader for the entirety of the series since Smith's relaunch but Shadowland just about broke me. Broke me enough that I opted not to buy the DAREDEVIL: REBORN mini that followed it, opting instead to wait for a discount trade later on, if it turned out the series was worth my time. Waid and Rivera would definitely be enough to bring me back to the fold with DD.

Official announcments are expected to be made this weekend during the "Cup o' Joe" panel at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo. Presuming these are, in fact, the new creative teams, what are your thoughts?

Are you willing to give these "bigs" a shot?

(Source: Bleeding Cool)


  1. Those are some unique creative teams for these characters. I too am very intrigued. Mark Waid and Greg Rucka writing Daredevil and Punisher (Respectively) is an awesome way to add credibility to this "Street Level" move. I knew about Bendis on Moon Knight and have even ordered that book… now I may have to add 1 more.

    As for you never having really liked a Punisher book… Lady, this is one of the very few things we don't have in common, comicbook wise. I owe much of my appreciation of The Punisher to the likes of Matt Haney and Jack Irons, who both insisted I try Garth Ennis's Punisher. That is when I began to see the appeal. Despite the violence, there are so many great stories told in the Punisher world.

    With Garth Ennis, the thing I enjoyed about the Punisher is when he's treated like a force of nature… not necessarily a person with feelings and a personality. I'm not saying Ennis didn't write Frank with depth or personality, he did. But that was secondary to the story. The characters around Frank were where the story was… How this mess of a man on a mission of vengenace torn like a tornado through their lives. The background characters were the plot. I'm very excited to see what Greg Rucka will do. We don’t need another origin story… but maybe some new twist to why Frank is Frank. But Greg has done so well with Batman and Gotham City's Finests, Wonder Woman, and of course Batwoman, What will he do with Punisher? And how long will Tracie collect? I honestly don't see me doing Daredevil… even Mark Waid on the title does nothing for me. Now, put Waid back in DC on Superman or Batman… then we'll talk. :)

  2. I have never read a Garth Ennis comic that I've enjoyed. BUT I've never read Preacher or Hitman. I didn't read his Punisher runs either, though I did read a short story he did with Joe Quesada which was told with the unique camera view of inside the mouth of a man Frank was torturing. Interesting storytelling device.

    My exposure to The Punisher is limited to his appearances in Spider-Man comics/cartoons and the Thomas Jane movie.

    My favorite part of the film was Ben Foster's character who, if I understand, was based on a supporting character in Ennis' Punisher run. So... maybe.

    But any chance of me reading any older Punisher runs falls way, way, way low on my to-read list. I'd sooner read the Matt Fraction or Rick Remender runs. (I do have a couple Remender Punisher comics because they crossed over with Dark Wolverine)

  3. The worse thing about Big Shots is that they are wasting Alan Davis' time to promote it. Bendis' Moon Knight is a horrible concept that has nothing to do with the character and frankly seems like something a child would come up with. The thing though more than likely every book part of this promotion is probably just going about moral ambiguous assholes doing stuff that in actual superhero stories would make them the villain.

    You want to know why the Direct Market is dying just look up. Instead of having publishers that try new things to reach out to new audiences we have the same character being repackaged by the same names. I mean even the "big successes" of the last decade Deadpool, Green Lantern, and Civil War are pitiful in a historic perspective. I don't even mean that far back either, 16 or 17 years. Instead of actually trying to rebuild after the crash the publishers, big and small, figured it was better to gouge the limited readership they had left. Books no longer even sell on based on character or story, they are sold because of the cult of personality all these "top tier" creators foster. Something needs to be done to pull comics back from the brink we now find ourselves, and this isn't it.

    Do you want to know what from Marvel does has me excited, 15 Love. I would love to see an ongoing mainstream romance, untapped market there. The thing is Marvel fucked themselves with price, $5 is too high. This and other experimental titles should be priced at $2 for about 20 pages of content, you to willing to risk something if you want to expand the market. Hell you could even re-purpose these and other stories by putting them in a magazine. With that you could even have it on sale outside the Direct Market.

  4. I don't know a lot about you Blue Saint, but that surprises me. 15 Love huh? Please email us, once you've read... and write a review. I'd be happy to post it.

    I not sure I agree with your assessment of GL, Deadpool, and Civil War in a historic perspective. Especially Civil War. I feel we will be talking about that book when I'm 50. And we are an event driven society. Look at it this way... Each story that writer is trying to tell his/her own Superbowl. That big crossover... and I am getting worn sometime... I love a huge story. Not eveyone feels this way... and I think thats why we need more books like Thor the Mighty Avenger. Good solid story telling, with great art all self contained to one title, month in and out.

    I fit into both catergories... I want the reality altering cross over and the slow character building deep stories. That why comics are such a great medium! I think they have something for everyone.

  5. I make mention of it from time to time, but yes romance is a close second to superheroes for me. In particular I love Japanese Josei romances, which is a rather hard genre to follow due it's lack of popularity even within Japan. For those not familiar Josei is a demographic category/genre of manga. Josei is aimed at young women in contrast to Shoujo (which I also enjoy)which is targeted at girls and Seinen which is for young men. Though there is crossover between all three, such as NANA which is labeled as Shoujo and published in Shoujo magaizne, Cookie, though having hallmarks more fitting for a Josei comic. Furthermore my favorite sub-genre is Yuri, which are lesbian romances but not as exploitative as Western ones (though they can be). The appeal of these stories is the focus on the subtly nature of the romance as homosexuality in Japan is less acceptable than in America. But there is also exploration of accepting oneself and learning to expand on the rigid constraints and definitions society has set before you, in many ways it for similar reasons on way I love the X-Men.

    Also I was referring solely to sales, importance as far as story is tricky matter. First there is requirement of time to see if anything has a lasting impact, and besides the death of the New Warriors and Goliath everything about Civil War has been undone. Even now it looks like Steve is going to end up taking the mantle of Captain America again.

    The problem with such "earth-shattering" events is that to shock the increasingly jaded audience writers have to be more outrageous than ever. The problem is this ends up painting subsequent writers into corners, just look at the X-Men and what Grant Morrison caused. Then the only sensible action is to reboot everything because characters have to maintain a certain "iconic" quality.

  6. Hey, I'm 100% behind Trying New Things and broadening the comics audience.

    You're free to dislike Bendis' work or his take on Moon Knight, but as a big fan of what he and Maleev did on Daredevil and what they're currently doing on Scarlet, I look forward to what they're bringing to a character that doesn't typically grab a lot of attention (or sales), as much as I do like the sound of a crime fighting taxi driver with multiple personality disorder. As for the "One Man Avenger" take Bendis is bringing to it, I don't really know enough about the execution until the book comes out. I haven't read enough about it because I'd rather be surprised and let the work speak for itself.

    I don't know any reason to assume these characters will be turned into morally ambiguous assholes. Greg Rucka brings a lot of depth to his work and does such an amazing job with espionage (Queen & Country) and crime (Gotham Central) that I'll be very curious to see what he would bring to a man like Frank Castle who is often treated more as a force of nature than a man. Rucka tends to write fully-realized human beings and that is the sort of Frank Castle I think I would like to read.

    And Mark Waid has such Silver Age sensibilities, I'd be very surprised indeed of Matt Murdock continued to be such a dour creature. He's pretty much BEEN a morally ambiguous asshole, I'd very much expect a shift from that. Maybe something a little closer to the Joe Kelly or Karl Kesel runs on the book.

    I have no problem with books selling based on creative team, versus selling based on character or story. Buying a comic because the writer or artist has done work that I enjoy is the same as if I choose to see a film because the director or screenwriter or is someone who fascinates and entertains me. I genuinely want to buy these comics because the writings of Brian Bendis, Greg Rucka and Mark Waid bring me a lot of pleasure. Which is in direct contrast to the characters they're writing because Moon Knight and Punisher are total unknown quantities to me but because of the years of quality work I've purchased from these writers, I'll follow them.

    As for 15 Love, I think I'll bring this up as it's own entry. Thanks!

  7. The thing is Bendis' Moon Knight concept is so divorced from the character by all rights it should just be a new character. This is a problem I have with Marvel right now, they are forcing roles on characters that make no sense. I mean why is Flash Thompson Venom? Why is Spider-Man's biggest supporter willing taking on the identity of his idol's greatest enemy? One who just recently assumed Spider-Man's identity in order tarnish and destroy the his reputation. That is just an example of the legacy kick that is going. I mean in short pre-existing characters with established identities have assumed the mantles of the Hobgoblin, Spider-Girl, and Madame Web. The problem is that it makes following characters month in and month out pointless, because years worth of characterization and identity can just be tossed to the side on a whim. Why buy into this story when sooner or later this is all going to be forgotten.

    Also the morally ambiguous asshole comment has more to do with the current editorial regime and my distaste for everything that Axel Alonso gets involved with. Because sooner or later he is going to try and make his legacy as EIC, which going by his past work is going to consist of making everyone a morally ambiguous asshole. I mean under is editorial guidance he had Gwen Stacy have sex with Normal Osborn, that is something that should only happen a porn parody even then it is still horrible. Plus he was the guy that got me to drop the X-Men and I love the X-Men. I still have my X-Men bedsheets plus those old X-Men the Animated Series picture books.

  8. Your concerns about Flash Thompson are all addressed in the story, actually, and quite well I thought. They made it make perfect sense to the story and it gives Flash a really interesting role. (I could go into details but I didn't want to lob too many spoilers around)

    There'd already been several Hobgoblins and at least this gives Phil Urich something to do rather than fade into obscurity. Same with Julia Carpenter as Madame Web. Can't say as though anyone was writing any great Julia Carpenter stories and it lets Jessica Drew be the sole Spider-Woman.

    Furthermore, I'd argue that an alternate future daughter of Peter Parker is a harder line to follow than giving the Spider-Girl name to a great in-continuity charater like Anya.

    Finally, I'd say your distaste of the Straczynski Spider-Man and Morrison X-Men would come down more to the asthetics of the writers themselves than by Alonso appointing them. They were both extremely popular, successful books so as an editor, I'd say that gives him the win. And I say this as someone who, like you, dropped both books because I didn't like what was happening in them.

  9. Well I always liked Julia, in part due to 90's Iron Man cartoon. Plus she has a great hook as a single mother, but nothing was ever really done with that because Marvel hates children.

    I just hate legacy characters in general which I have talked about previously. There is just too much baggage with legacy characters since they have a hard time escaping the shadow of their predecessors.

    Also JMS' Spider-Man sold due it being JMS, Alsonso was only slotted into the editor chair after the deal was done and as a screw you to DC. Plus Alonso never did anything with Morrison, Morrison's editors were Mark Powers and Mike Marts. Alonso only became the X-editor with the start of Endangered Species, at which point the line began it's downward decline. Plus Alonso was only given the X-Men after he tanked the MAX imprint and again probably as a screw you to DC due to Mike Marts jumping ship. Also I am quite serious about the screw yous to DC. Once at meeting between DC and Marvel Alonso brought only ex-DC staffers with him.

  10. I've never gotten the impression that Marvel hates children.

    Which is why they turned down my pitch for POWER PACK AND THE WINDOWLESS VAN.

    And I thought I heard that Alonso was responsible for getting Morrison and other Vertigo creators to come to Marvel, regardless of if he was editor on the books or not.

    I don't know why I had the impression that he got JMS as well... but I don't think all the bad ideas he's had in superhero comics can be Alonso's fault. Though Osborn, Stacy and their progeria-children is still probably the worst.

    I do remember hearing about that meeting with the ex-staffers. That's cold but that sort of treatment seems to happen on both sides from time to time.