Blah Blah Blog – Reader Questions 5

Another post from my past Marvel blog in which I answer a bunch of questions from the audience.

Reader Questions 5

June 1, 2009 | 1:00 AM | By Tom_Brevoort | In General

It’s a new week, but still we’ve got more of the same old questions. So let’s get started:

> Why does it seem so difficult to get the Hulk to work as a character for any extended period of time or in new media, like the films? I feel that Marvel have drifted away from the core concept of the Hulk, that being that it’s constantly a battle of control for Bruce Banner. Instead, what we see at the moment more often than not is a super-strong character simply fighting. Similarly, the movies focussing on the Hulk seem to ever-so-softly just miss the mark as well. Is it that the Hulk is a difficult character to get right or relevant anymore? >

I think we’ve been able to get the HULK to work for more that 45 years at this point, more or less. but part of what’s allowed the character to work is the fact that he’s been condusive to change–change in the set-up, change in the structure of the series, change even in how the HULK persona has functioned. But the core of the series has always revolved around Bruce Banner struggling to cope with the raging beast that dwells within him. In terms of film, the Hulk doesn’t have that poor of a track record either–he’s had two big-budget films, which is more than any number of other characters can say. But drilling down towards the heart of your question, yes, I think there is something somewhat limited about the Hulk’s application in film. The basic dumb-green-Hulk paradigm, while it drove that series for a few decades, doesn’t lend itself to a whole lot of variety. In the comics, that variety tended to come from where the Hulk’s travels took him, and what other fantastical characters he encountered from around the Marvel Universe. But that’s a lot more difficult to deal with and make plausible in a two-hour-movie scenario.

>I used to enjoy the Spider-Man stories when there were 4 Spidey books, each focussing on a different aspect of Spidey’s rogues (just before Norman Osborn returned). Amazing had the more classic villains, Web of had the more low level crime and Maggia involvement, Sensational was more light-hearted, and Spectacular threw up some different kinds of stories. How do you feel that worked as a Spidey publishing strategy (and no, it’s not a “cancel OMD” question).

Posted by keense on 2009-05-23 22:51:29>

Honestly, I think you’re making an arbitrary distinction between four series all of which seemed to me to cover more-or-less the same ground. Sure, a particular writer may have been more at home writing about the Maggia, or may have had a more light-hearted approach to the material, but that was all about the creators, not the marching orders for the titles. And I think it worked fine enough, except that a lot of the “thrust” of Peter Parker’s life was simply lost, I felt. I’ve covered this elsewhere before, but to me, Spider-Man is the continuing story of Peter Parker’s life–and with that many titles and overlapping adventures, I found it was difficult to synch up with the character, despite the best efforts of all involved. So on that level, regardless of all the difficulties, I find that I prefer the Thrice-Monthly approach to Spidey at this point.

>T, I’m just kinda curious, but do you know the secrets of the MU or have they just not been thought up yet? Do you know things that we as an audience won’t find out for months, if not years ahead? You just had a big editorial retreat, we saw the twitter posts, so for example, do you know twelve, fifteen issues away, a solid year and a half, who lives, who dies, who has Skrull children pop-up, etc. in the titles that you edit. Do you also know things that we as an audience may never know, like Gambit’s parents and birth, or why Logan looked like the Grounds-keeper instead of his father? (I know what was implied, but do you actually have a notepad with the proper story at least in your head?) >

It depends, because things are evolving all the time. For example, among many other things I did today I wrote a long e-mail to a creator concerning a direction we’re thinking about taking one of our characters in. This sea change would hit around April or May of next year–but that’s if it happens at all, since the discussion is still ongoing. The creator in question could come back loving every word, hating every thought or coming up with an entirely new option totally on his own. In the broad strokes, yes, I know a lot about the next few months, and in broader strokes the next year or two, but the further ahead you look, the less certain the future is, because somebody could come up with a better idea, or conditions could change. I find that it’s this combination of advanced planning coupled with our ability to change direction on a dime when the need arises that makes us as formidable in the marketplace as we are. But the “proper story” is what happens in the pages of the books–everything else exists solely in the world of the writer’s what if.

>When I get my Wednesday fix it’s a surprise each time, apart from the previews I haven’t read the book before, it’s a new experience each week. You on the other hand have probably seen drafts, artwork, edits, etc… for weeks, if not months before the actual book is released to the public, so my second question is this; How does the guy who makes the comic books get his weekly Wednesday fix? Do you just read things you’ve never read before? Series you aren’t involved with? (Even though it would still seem like you’d know endings, especially big crossovers, even if you didn’t have anything to do with the title.) Or, does the fact that you helped put together New Avengers and other titles each month not impact your reading decisions at all? I, personally, can’t wait to see how JMS Thor wraps up the first big arc, look forward to the eventual ass-kickery that Dark Reign should produce, and irritatingly count the the days until I can get another 20 page add-on to Bru’s Captain America epic.

Posted by thomas more on 2009-05-24 12:31:44>

This is one of the things that Geoff Johns and I talked about that evening when we had dinner. And as you’d expect, being so plugged into what’s going on at our respective companies, he gets his biggest and best reader’s bang from the Marvel books, and I get the same from following his DC titles. But I read a small stack of new titles every week that I buy off the racks from a wide assortment of companies–my tastes are diverse enough that it’s a rare week that I walk out of the shop empty handed. And atop that, I also get a bundle of new Marvel and DC titles every week as part of my job, which I’ll cherry-pick for titles I haven’t read as part of the gig. So it’s a very different experience that what you’re dealing with–but all it means is that I get to experience this stuff a litle bit earlier, and in its formative stages as scripts and pencils and inks and so forth.

> Is there any chance of the rest of the Weir/DeFillipis run on New Mutants being collected? I wicked loved the first trade, and really want to read the 2nd. >

There’s always a chance, but I don’t know how much demand there is at this point for such a collection.

>Is there any chance of David Mack’s 2nd run on Daredevil being reprinted? Because I love, love, love his art and Echo to death, but I can’t find a trade for less then 50$ :/

Posted by ScottyQuick on 2009-05-24 15:36:45>

Same sort of deal. Given enough time, most everything tends to come back into print, especially if it’s material that was well-received or featured a given character prominently. In the case of this Echo story, my guess would be that the best chance you’d have to see this in print again would come whenever there was a big new storyline spotlighting Echo in the works.

>you said before that peter parker’s recent unmasking was something that was heavily coordinated between the avengers and spider editorial offices. i can’t see any reason why the new avengers didn’t remember that they knew peter’s secret identity like FF did in ASM? did i miss something? sorry, about the annoying contunity question, but it was bothering me. i

Posted by tusbat on 2009-05-24 16:12:17>

Two reasons for this from where I’m sitting, tusbat. The first is simple logistics: the NEW AVENGERS story beat the AMAZING story to the stands by two or three weeks. Secondly, and more importantly, covering the specifics of how the process works when Spidey unmasks in front of people who’ve already known his ID is much more a bookkeeping element of AMAZING’s world, rather than NEW AVENGERS. It wouldn’t have been great to ask Brian Bendis to stop his story short and explain to everybody in the audience how all of this works (and if we had done that, some folks on the internet would have insisted that Brian just decided it all himself, and railroaded the Spidey web-heads with his decision!)

>In the Punisher comic by Rick Remeder, we were promised in interviews that the Hood would resurrect dead villains that had a personal vendetta against Frank. I would’ve thought this would’ve been a great oppurtunity to resurrect the Jackal. Instead we got the likes of Basilisk and the Fly who, to my knowledge, never actually fought Frank. So my question is, are there any plans to bring back the Jackal into the Marvel Universe? It seems that Marvel is forgetting all about this gem of a character.

Posted by Miles_Warren on 2009-05-24 16:51:00>

If we do use the Jackal anywhere, it’ll probably be in the Spidey books rather than PUNISHER, as he’s a much more important component of Spidey’s world and series than he is Frank’s. So no immediate plans right this second, but I like the character, and if we found the right way to dust him off and make him relevant again (without opening up the pandora’s box of the Clone Saga again) then we’ll bring him back.

>I picked up a magazine sized book about the 70th anniversary, and it was awesome reading the chronology of Marvel Comics, from Timely to a teen aged Stan Lee as editor and Stan’s time in WWII. Also, got me more interested in the Invaders. I dug them before, but this reading experience cemented it. So I guess I’m looking for any info on projects coming down the road about these characters, comic books or otherwise. A Marvel Animated Invaders DVD project, even rushed out to coincide with the 70th anniversary could rock the house. I know that’s not your department, but see what you can make happen. Also, I think the story telling the rise of Marvel during the 40’s and beyond has the potential for Oscar winning film, embellished a little sure, but could be a very cool look at a uniquely American industry during an awesome time in our countries history, produced and released by Marvel Studios.

Posted by TConway on 2009-05-24 19:21:46>

I think any animated project rushed out to hit a 70th Anniversary that’s almost half over right now is going to look like ass. So if the Marvel Studios team had a hankerin’ to do an INVADERS cartoon of any stripe, I’d like to hope they’d take their time and do it right. (And how many people remember that a sextet of Marvel’s cheesiest 40s characters turned up for a five-part storyline in the ’90s SPIDER-MAN cartoon?) On the other hand, a film about the rise of Marvel could be cool, but I’m not sure that it would be the best idea to limit such a picture to Timely/Marvel exclusively–without understanding the larger landscape of the burgeoning comic book field, you’d only be seeing half the story. So something closer to a KAVALIER AND CLAY film would be right up my alley. (And if you haven’t yet read Michael Chabon’s fictional account of the early days of the comic book business, it’s well worth seeking out!)

More tomorrow.

Tom B

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