A post from my old Marvel blog looking back on some stories that I had edited in the past.
I don’t often get the opportunity to reread the books I’ve worked on over the years. Once they’re in the rear-view mirror, it’s typically straight on ahead to the next thing. And that’s probably healthy for the most part–you can fall into the trap of living in the past and subsisting on your past triumphs, both real and imaginary. But people show up each week for the new books. It’s a very “what have you done for me lately” type culture.
However, I did have occasion recently to revisit a couple titles from days gone by. And I found that I liked them, enough so as to call them to people’s attention here.
Last month, while he was in town, I had the opportunity to grab dinner with Geoff Johns. We hadn’t really had the opportunity to catch up and chew the fat in a couple years, and we shot the breeze about all sorts of books, both uptown and at Marvel. I always find it helpful to get a perspective from somebody like Geoff who knows the business and knows storytelling, yet who is removed from the day-to-day of all of our planning–such impressions are invaluable. In any event, afterwards, I was inspired to look back on the run that Geoff wrote of AVENGERS several years ago. And I found that I really liked it, especially the “Red Zone” storyline he did with Olivier Coipel. I remember there being a certain amount of hand-wringing in fandom over this arc, people feeling that it was too decompressed, or that it was too steeped in the real-world vibe that ULTIMATES had pioneered, or whatever–but coming to it fresh, I found it was a cracking good read. Geoff and Olivier skillfully juggled a very large cast, but made sure that everybody got some memorable moment along the way, and also managed to keep the run’s ongoing subplots moving as well. And I thought the overall vibe was very strong.
In similar territory, I also read through the first AVENGERS: EARTH’S MIGHTIEST HEROES collection while doing research for a different project. This was an eight-issue series by Joe Casey and Scott Kolins, dealing with the earliest days of the Avengers team. And it too was a strong tale. Taken at a single sitting, it didn’t even matter if you were familiar with the original stories that EMH was dancing around–the emotional beats really worked for me, and added a depth to those classic 60s stories that hadn’t been there before. And a subplot involving Jarvis and Hawkeye before the archer had joined the team, which I remember being uncertain of when we were working on the series, came off beautifully to these eyes on rereading.I also think it’s just about the strongest art job that Scott ever did while at Marvel–his assorted Iron Men, his Hulk, his Cap, his Giant-Man, all of them looked great. And he had a special facility with taking what should have been a dated-looking design, like the original Melter outfit, or Baron Zemo’s flying top-ship, and making it look cool and contemporary without changing the design.
Speaking of Scott, the last book I revisited was also illustrated by him: THOR; BLOOD OATH, written by Michael Avon Oeming. I was astounded by how much this read like the sorts of ancellary Thor series we’ve been putting out of late, steeped more in the genuine mythology than in the Marvel Universe continuity. And like the new Star Trek movie, it wasn’t afraid to have fun with the characters–Thor himself, and his companions Hogun, Fandral and Volstagg are all so likeable that you almost can’t help being drawn into the procedings.
I’ll try to avoid having this blog turn into this sort of self-congratulatory back-patting in the future, but I enjoyed each of these books enough on re-experiencing them that I thought it was worth mentioning.
Now, off to the Marvel Editorial Retreat–no new updates for a few days.