Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I'm really not in a bad mood today

-If the joke mentions me, it went on just the right amount of time. ("Don't be fooled by cheap imitations" cracked me up, actually.)

-I'm shocked more people (by which I mean Graeme McMillan) aren't covering round two of Tom Breevort's Simulation Madness. For those few of you unfamiliar with the concept, Breevort picks a few volunteers to serve as mock editors for existing series. This time he also added an editor-in-chief, whose duties include supervising the mock editors and trying to promote Marvel as a whole. Anyway, as you might expect, there are plenty of amusing highlights:

  • Mock John Byrne is offended very early on
  • Breevort's again expresses his real-life enthusiasm for a third major publisher to compete with Marvel and DC; in the simulation, mock Steve Wacker is the editor-in-chief of such a hypothetical company
  • Breevort has mock Quesada fired in a "coup executed by editors that he himself had hired"
  • Participants indulge in nostalgia fetishism: one editor hires David Michelinie on Spider-Man, and another hires Robert Weinberg (who?) to write Uncanny X-Men
  • The mock e-i-c fires the latter editor; this editor then goes to work for Wacker's company (which, I assume, brings an end to his mock editing days, unless Wacker has a blog I don't know about where he runs his pretend comics company)
  • Rich Johnston writes a mock Lying in the Gutters to comment on all this
  • The e-i-c (I think) proposes two different, major crossovers, including the incredibly lame-sounding Rise of the Defenders (and I like the Defenders as a concept--I even read New Defenders as a child)
  • Breevort may or may not think David Finch is a whiny prima donna and Ed Brubaker is a deadline-missing slacker
  • The mock e-i-c attempts to bribe Back Issue into running a retrospective on the Defenders; he's unsuccessful only because Breevort apparently thinks Back Issue would be happy to run advertorials for free.
  • Breevort calls Brian K. Vaughan (who refuses to write one of the crossovers) "Dr. No;" I'm unsure if this is a joke of some type or a rare glimpse at how Marvel editorial views its non-exclusive freelancers
  • The editors repeatedly try to defraud retailers and consumers by submitting false solicitations.
So here's what I gather from all this: Tom Breevoort thinks the participants are kind of dumbasses, and is constantly having the creators object to their heavy-handed editing style (including some interminable controversy over a softball sequence in Fantastic Four; I don't really get it either). The fan-participants are from the "comics reached their zenith during my youth" corner of the internet, as reflected by some of their bizarre assignments. They're also really kind of unethical. I have no idea how much longer this experiment will go on; hopefully forever.

You know, I really intended to throw my name in as a potential participant. The current mock editors have some really goofy ideas for promoting Marvel to the general public, like die cut bookmarks (no, seriously). My ideas are much more aggressive:

  • Have Spider-Man marry Dr. Octopus (but not divorce Mary Jane--this will be a polygamic marriage)
  • Produce a hardcore pornographic comic depicting their honeymoon, featuring extreme (yet consensual) tentacle action
  • Incorporate an extreme right wing political message into all comics; hire Steve Ditko as consultant
  • Kill off Spider-Man due to his immoral lifestyle; have replacement (Sean Hannity look-alike) fight in Iraq
  • Incorporate an extreme Fundamentalist Christian message in all comics; hire Jack Chick as consultant
  • Sell e. coli-infected gummi candies in the shape of all the Marvel heroes
  • Make amends for e. coli incident by giving away unsold copies of the Spider-Man-Dock Ock honeymoon comic
  • Claim to have produced a functioning Fanasti-Car; have Stan Lee drive it off the top of the Empire State Building
  • Put Jack Chick to work on a new tract speculating on Stan Lee's afterlife; have Michael Turner draw variant cover
  • Make up for Fantasti-Car and Chick tract incidents by setting self on fire in order to warn children about the dangers of imitating the Human Torch; distribute copies of the video as a premium for mailing in coupons running in all the August Marvel Adventures titles
Breevoort and Quesada should feel free to borrow any of these ideas. Upon the advice of my lawyer, I'll waive my usual consulting fee.

-On a completely different note, this is very, very encouraging, and sort of makes me feel better about being a human being.

-You know what strip I really like? Fred Basset. It's not funny--sometimes there's a Marmaduke-like anti-humor involved--but there's something very charmingly old fashioned about it. I'm under the impression that the quality has greatly suffered in the last few years, but (a) it still compares favorably to other newspaper (or online) strips, and (b) I had never heard of it until sometime last year, so I don't have first hand knowledge of the older strips to warp my perception of the current version.

BTW, this is a good example of how fucked up Wikipedia's comics editors are. Fred Basset gets a "low importance" rating, but something like Baron Mordo is mid-level importance? I guarantee you a whole fuck of a lot more people know about Fred Basset (even years after its apparent peak) than Baron Mordo. Is it any wonder that these fuckers went on a webcomic deleting spree? I guess if they haven't made it into a hideous action figure or garish statue, it must not be very important. Go fuck yourself, Wikipedia Comics Project editors.

-I don't think I've agreed with anything Tom Spurgeon has said lately more than this, and I tend to think Spurgeon is the single smartest comics blogger. You know, we should be able to enjoy something as weird and wonderful as Fletcher Hanks' oeuvre without having to seek shelter under the cover of irony. There's a broader point to make here, one that many of you could probably see coming, but I'll leave it alone for now.


Steve Flanagan said...

If Fred Bassett seems old-fashioned, that's partly because it has been all reprints since Alex Graham died in 1991.

It's a fixture in the Daily Mail over here - daily circulation, about 2.3 million. There have been quite a few collections over the years.

It was also my late mother's favourite comic strip.

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