Marvel + Disney = SRSLY??
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On my way to the Fortress this morning, my phone was blowing up with tweets about the Disney acquisition of Marvel. We threw out a tweet of our own, asking for how people felt about the whole thing. Most responses were people afraid that Marvel would be dumbing down its stories and movies for a younger audience. I can see how people would knee-jerk react in that way. It's not like the name "Disney" is exactly known for its horror films. My immediate reaction was "Oh, no, this is going to turn into Time Warner/DC." DC Comics has been a subsidiary of Warner Bros. since 1969. They've never really interfered in DC's operation in terms of producing comics, but we know how infrequent DC movies are. I mean, in the span that it took us to get Batman Begins, Superman Returns, and the Dark Knight, we've gotten 3 X-Men movies, 2 Hulks, and an Iron Man, a Daredevil, and some others that I'd rather not mention. Marvel has been free to work with whoever they want to get these movies shoved out, while Warner has been holding pretty tightly to their properties. Of course, both Batman movies were absolutely worth the wait, while neither of the last two Punisher movies should have ever seen the light of day.
Disney higher-ups have been quick to say that they want Marvel to run exactly as it has and plans to maintain a hands-off approach. They're indicating that current agreements with movie studios will remain in place, so that's not a big deal, but they're saying that video game licensing deals will be reevaluated once those start expiring. With Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects, a reeval might be a good idea. If they really do go hands-off, I think we'll be fine. Disney acquired Pixar in 2006 and has since let them pretty much run free, and they've still maintained the quality they've always had. Let's not forget that Disney also owns ABC, and it's not like their throwing Mickey Mouse onto the set of LOST. I'm willing to give this partnership a chance, and not immediately assume everything is downhill from here. Marvel has been running pretty strong for roughly a decade now, making some moves that have only strengthened their position financially. I'm sure that built into the agreement were some protections to maintain the brand as is. What's sounding pretty cool so far is that Pixar’s John Lasseter is excited about the new playground that he's going to be able to play with. I would line up to see a Marvel/Pixar movie in a heartbeat!
What I'm hoping for most of all is that Marvel will use at least part of the $4 billion to start really paying out to the creative teams. They haven't been skimping on deals or anything. It's just that historically, only a few people in the industry of comics have made a lot of money. Most other writers, artists, inkers, colorists, and those guys just make enough to have a decent living. I'd like to see the guys who make my favorite medium of entertainment start rollin' on dubs, makin' it rain, y'know what I'm sayin'? I mean, so few of them even have medical coverage. It sucks, but that's bound to happen where most of the people in the industry are freelancers. Maybe this huge infusion of capital can do something about fixing that situation. Now, let's talk about some books!
Greek Street #2
Book One: Blood Calls for Blood, Part Two: Where Two Roads Meet Together by Peter Milligan and Davide Gianfelice
Published by DC Comics under the Vertigo Imprint
I was excited to see Peter Milligan putting out a new Vertigo book. I was first exposed to him when he started writing X-Force for Marvel. He took that title in a direction it had never been before, introducing a completely new cast, and focusing more on a team of mutants as media darlings than on their adventurous exploits. He was working with Michael Allred on the book at the time, which kind of intensified the surreal aspect of the book. I picked up his Human Target for Vertigo, and was blown away by that immediately. I was very much looking forward to the prospect of that series being adapted to a television show... until I found out that the main character, Christopher Chance, would not be using disguises every week. THAT'S THE ENTIRE DAMN PREMISE OF THE BOOK! Why would you get rid of that element of the story? Lame sauce, but that's not Milligan's fault. That would be Hollywood, who once again take an awesome property and sodomize it until they think it's tame and palatable for a wider audience.
Vertigo was promoting Greek Street in most of their other books leading up to its release. They did a good job with that, as my interest was thoroughly piqued (not "peaked", as so many people tend to write). In the book, Milligan takes the godly (and sometimes demonic) forces that were prevalent in Greek mythology and throws them into a modern setting. The ancient stories are not retold; rather, they never really ended. They've always been happening, and, by all indications, will keep happening. Gianfelice's style works really well here, being gritty and dark. His characters have a sense of sexiness to them, but it's spoiled because they're tainted. No one is innocent, and that comes across in the art work. That's not to say there are no relatable characters. I think their imperfections and taboo desires can resonate with a lot of readers. Does that sound too "English lit. major"? I'm reading back over and I'm getting a sense of too "English lit. major". Let me rephrase my reaction to the book a little more simply: Pretty pictures, good story. Boobies on some pages.
Who should read this book:
People who are well-versed in Greek mythology.
People who dig crime stories.
People who occasionally suffer from Oedipus complex.
by Mark Sable and Julian Totino Tedesco
Published by Boom Studios
Unthinkable is a little gem of a book that I think will go unnoticed by most readers. It's published by Boom Studios, which I am becoming more and more of a fan of with each new release of theirs. I'm just afraid that this book will kind of slip through the cracks and not really get the attention it deserves. Now, it's not the strongest title on the shelves by any means. It's not like this is going to be the "Watchmen" that changes everything. It certainly has its faults, particularly in pacing. I find that it kind of jumps through scenes without any sense of transition. Major explosion happens - jump to weeks later where we don't even discuss what happens in between. Despite that major flaw, I think the book is really entertaining and raises some really interesting points of discussion. The basic premise is that the US government gathers a group of unlikely compatriots and has them think about the unthinkable. Basically, they get a novelist, a biotech engineer, a hacker, a finance guy, and I think one or two others, and they have them think of worst-case scenarios, sort of a "what if the unthinkable happened"? It's built around the idea that none of us ever thought that 9/11 could ever happen, and yet someone out there actually thought of it and made it happen. So say you had a group of people doing this for the government so that the government could prepare for it, but then those ideas landed in the hands of the wrong people. How would that think tank feel? Would they hold themselves responsible for the disasters that occurred because of the ideas that the government paid them to think of? And if so, what would they do about it?
Who should read this book:
People who get into conspiracy theories.
People who have evil siblings.
People who work for government think tanks.
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