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The Comics 8 Ball 04.28.14: Top 8 Contentious Truths in Comic Books
Posted by Anthony Kennedy on 04.28.2014


Welcome back to the Comics 8 Ball in the Movie Zone! Per usual, I'll be your guide through our intellectual trip through comicdom, Anthony Kennedy. As always, we will be tackling a topic and providing you the top 8 selections related to comics. One thing to please understand, these are meant to be my personal takes and not the definitive list on the subject. Although I do consider myself somewhat an expert, feel free to disagree and I'll freely admit you're wrong (no hard feelings tho?) With that in mind, let's get to this week's topic!

This week with the incendiary comments made by Clipper owner Donald Sterling and the anti-government activist Cliven Bundy, I was inspired to make some inflammatory comments of my own regarding the comic book industries and present 8 contentious truths.

But first… we have some more READER FEEDBACK! Truly glad last week topic of Most Wanted Comics Story Arc Adaptations was so well received and sparked such heated discussions.

CyberVenom: Very awesome idea! I dig your list too. The only response (besides making my own list) is the feeling that Justice League's "Burn." line wasn't done right. I think they hit the tone perfectly!

So here's my top 10:

10. Ultimate Avengers (the Ultimates, vol. 1; positive)
9. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (negative)
8. Legends of the Dark Knight (Batman: the Animated Series; positive)
7. Planet Hulk (positive)
6. For the Man Who Has Everything (Justice League; positive)
5. Mad Love (Batman: the Animated Series; positive)
4. Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (Coming of Galactus; negative)
3. Spider-Man 3 (the Venom Saga; negative)
2. Dark Knight Returns (positive)
1. X2 (God Loves, Man Kills; positive)

Haha we'll agree to disagree. I wanted more anger emoting from Superman in that moment as I've imagined it would sound. I tried not to put too many limited series that were directly adapted to a film as I wanted to focus on story arcs from series that were incorporated into a series episode or movie.

I will admit to being a little ignorant of some of the source material co-opted for B:TAS, and pleasantly surprised that so many were adapted. Kudos.

APrince66:Though it seems to really get a lot of hate, I personally loved Watchmen

Personally speaking, I found it boring. It adhered so close to the comic, like a shot for shot retelling that I thought it came off as methodically slow. The poor casting selections didn't help much either, but that would be starting a whole other argument.

James M. Fabiano: What's your feeling on Superman: Doomsday? Obviously WB had a hardon to do this story as some kind of other-media interpretation for years. I felt what we got was obviously scaled back from the comic saga.

It was a very good adaptation and liked the twist of one singular, stronger, Superman doppelgänger than the convoluted "Reign of Superman" storyline.

James M. Fabiano: This. I guess Zack Snyder is another "cool to hate on" director, but this movie WAS good. Better than MOS, that's for sure.

Wouldn't say cool to hate, but he's earned his reputation of not bringing original ideals to existing properties. Let's be honest, 300, Watchmen, and Man of Steel all had their flaws. What do they have in common? Zack Synder. I know, I know, you want to point the fingers at the script or producers, but a good director knows how to stand up for himself and his vision for the film to make the best product he is capable of.

MaskedHypocrite:#3 "The Dark Phoenix Saga". The X3 movie sucked ass. The adaptation in the 90s cartoon, on the other hand, was as good as you could expect from the series (i.e., many liberties taken, but done well enough that only the most rabid fanboys couldn't accept them).

Uncle Teabag:Spider-man 3's portrayal of Venom was terrible, but the 3 part black costume/Venom episodes from the animated Spider Man cartoon was fantastic.

Glad to know there was such great appreciation for those animated adaptation of those storylines and glaring omission by me to not give them honorable mention on the list.

Thanks to everyone who commented.

Top 8 Contentious Truths in Comic Books

Let's be honest, we all have thought about things. There is a dominant fan perception going that keeps the comic industry at a status quo while an undercurrent counter thought seethes underneath for some fans. This week, I focus the Comic 8 Ball on the Top 8 Contentious Truths in Comic.

#8 The Walking Dead Should have Ended at Issue #94

I respect Robert Kirkman immensely and have enjoyed the Walking Dead series. However, I would be grossly derelict in my duties if I didn't point out that they have been treading water since the conclusion of the ‘A Larger World' story arc. That should have been the end of the series as Rick dealt with on hoarde overrun of Alexandria Safe-Zone, vowed to build a great community and leave readers with hope that our survivors will build a better world and restore some semblance of a society as they reached out to the Hilltop. Heck, the above final panel would have been an awesome way to end it.

#7 Comics Should Go to an All Digital Format

Gradually. It's truly a shame that the comic book industry is not doing more to make the transition to a digital format that it's cousin industries, books and newspapers, have dutifully gotten around to embracing. The access to paper comics is limited to subscription (ha), boutique stores, and bookstores. The former is not a viable option and the latter two are experiencing industry constriction. What to do? Offer a monthly subscription service ala the WWE Network would be a great way to counter declining sales. This would open up their vault of back issues (which Marvel, DC and Image make little to no money off of) digitally while allowing us to read some, if not all, new issues for a price is the best way to maintain and possibly grow readership.

#6 Alan Moore Books Really are Un-filmable

There have been four adapted films based off the works of Alan Moore and only one (V for Vendetta) has been great. For whatever reason, film producers decide to use the source material as a storyboard (Zack Synder) offering no creative, Hollywood interpretation. Or, in the case of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen decide to go completely against his book, yielding a steaming pile of crap. Let's leave these films alone and enjoy them in the medium that best entertains the comic masses.

#5 Comic Books DO Objectify Women

And I'm fine with that. Let's all admit we are fine gawking at the ridiculous portrayals of female superheroes with these impossible body types. Does it make us sexist? No. But it is, what it is. And there is no proper argument to justify this.

#4 Rob Liefeld is a Good Artist

We know the criticism: unrealistic character model sizes, excessive pouches, no ankles?!?! But at the end of the day, Rob Liefeld has drawn some beautiful comic book issues. Along with Todd McFarlane and Jim Lee, he was one of the three best artists in the early 90's that sold books. Did he go too far in his caricatures? Yes. But do you really think John Byrne didn't have flaws? Or Tim Quietly? Or Jack Kirby? Let's let the hatred for his writing or business practices not overshadow his artwork.


#3 Superman No Longer Works as a Solo Character

Yes I went there. We're seeing it played out in the film medium and it's even more glaring in the comics: Superman is no longer an interesting character to follow in solo books. How do you do interesting story monthly with someone with his power set while dealing with 75 years of continuity? How many different ways can you tell his exodus from Krypton or introduce something new from his home world's history? The new millennium has made the blueprint of telling interesting Superman stories: big interstellar team books, Elseworlds, and team-up series with Batman. Situation where the Big Blue cheese's ideology can be challenged is where the Man of Steel shines and, in 2014, is where he should be highlighted.

#2 The 'Origin' of Wolverine Should Never Have Been Told

File this under ‘Be careful what you wish for'? Or at least how the publishers choose to execute it. For nearly 30 years, they have teased Logan's past and had us begging to get the definitive information on the origin of the good ol' canucklehead. What a let down. To completely took the edge off of one of Marvel's darkest characters. Dog, Rose, Wolverine the lumberjack? No thanks. ‘Origin' has been mind wiped from consciousness and Wolverine's bio begins at the Weapon X (X not Ten) project.

#1 Bruce Wayne Should Have Stayed Dead

After a 70-year plus history, you do get to the point of, "what is there left to do with a character?" (ahem, ask Superman.) The death of Bruce Wayne opened a door for writers to explore Dick Grayson under the cowl as Batman for an extended run. It also had him in a precarious new role as mentor to Bruce's son, Damien. What resulted were fresh comic stories of the new, combustible Dynamic Duo's situation that readers really took to. And DC should have stayed with that.

Well that's my list. Agree, disagree, did I miss someone that deserved to make this list? Let me know! Join me next week for another edition of the 8-Ball! Have a great week and don't forget to read the many other great columns, news articles and more here at 411mania.com! I'm done.

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