A post from my Marvel blog of long ago talking about my own fannish opinions and assumptions before being hired at Marvel.
For some reason, Marvel’s servers seem to have eaten the last few paragraphs of the previous blog entry, which has caused a couple of people to get the wrong idea about where I was coming from. My point wasn’t that the people complaining about any of these stories were wrong, but more that there are always going to be people both loving and hating anything and everything we do–and it’s often impossible to tell at the moment of publication which stories are going to become classics, and which history is going to condemn.
To kind of illustrate this point, and as promised in the section of the last post that didn’t make it to your screens, I went and dug up a bunch of comments about some Marvel books that I made in fanzines twenty years or so ago. I can completely relate to the irate fans (even if I don’t always agree with them) because I used to be one of them. Here are a few choice selections:
1988 Tom: “One good thing about the current Marvel Ed-in-Chief–he likes the right stuff. Unfortunately, he likes it so much he’s trying to imitate it. Even less fortunate is the fact that he has absolutely no one on his payroll that’s fractionally as talented as Kirby, Ditko, Lee, Romita, Colan, etc. Tom DeFalco would like nothing so much as to be back in 1966 again, when Marvel was the cutting edge of mainstream comics. His THOR, for example, (done in collaboration with current Marvel house-style pretty boy Ron Frenz) reads like nothing so much as a bad parody of the Lee-Kirby run on that series. His new project SPEEDBALL is a blatant attempt to “re-create” the Spider-Man concept (“If Lee & Ditko could do it, then Ditko and I can do it again!”)”
2008 Tom: This whole statement is pretty ridiculous. First I condemn Tom D for having the good taste to like the same comics that I like, and for trying to bring some of that flavor to what he was working on. Then I put on my magic mind-reading helmet and ascribe egotistical motives to everything he’s working on. That off-handed cheap shot at Ron Frenz, a thorough professional and a proven talent, is especially idiotic.
1988 Tom: “Marvel’s entire current output is aimed solely at the “new-kid/fan on the street”, with the exception of Englehart’s books. In trying for a common denominator audience, Marvel has reducd it’s line to little more than formula books, with X-MEN (you just knew I was gonna pick out that one, didn’t you?) being the prime example. Chris Claremont won’t have to do a lick of creative work for the rest of his life. He can just run the same three stories over-and-over-ad infinitum. What’s more, along with Louise Simonson, he can do it in FOUR X-TEAM books, a WOLVERINE solo book (Would you believe that this book’s solicitation stressed the fact that Wolverine kills 72 people IN THE FIRST FIVE @#$%^&* PAGES?!?! That’s a SELLING point, mind you.) “
2008 Tom: Boy, this one’s a winner. First it starts out with an overwhelming sense of entitlement (“Don’t make comics for a broad mainstream audience, only make them for meeeeeee!”) then rolls into some more character assassination. I still think that soliciting a book around the notion that the lead character massacres 72 people in five pages is pretty idiotic, and 1988 Tom would be aghast if he could see how many X-Titles we have these days, but everything else is just the self-importance of youth, and an attempt to sound smart by acting edgy.
It’s also a bit humiliating that in each of these instances I singled out for scorn creators who are still working in the business on a regular basis today–proof of their longevity and appeal. These guys definitely have my apologies for taking these stupid non-reviews to an ill-informed personal level.
So the point is: I get it. I understand these guys, because I was these guys. We’re all the same moron, in our own individual ways. And in some cases, those opinions are going to prove to be embarrassing in the years to come. Hey, it could happen–!