-It appears that the Marvel/DC hype machine-friendly convention season has drawn to a close. Right? Please? Either way, I have one request for all those who blog these conventions: please, for god's sake, quit posting pictures of people in costume. I know I claim a lot of things depress me, but I really mean it this time. The sight of pimply, surely virginal young-ish men dressed in poorly assembled costumes intended to replicate the appearance of characters which the average American human could not identify if forced to do so at gunpoint--is there anything so viscerally nauseating in all the world of comics? I really can't take any more pictures of pudgy guys dressed like Iron Fist (or, to be more accurate, like an ice sculpture of Iron Fist which is slowly melting in the sun). I mean, I'm not trying to imply that I'm some Adonis, but I know better than to go out in public dressed in a little red skirt like Magnus, Robot Fighter. Actually, I don't think I would do that even if I was some kind of Adonis.
Really though, I find the costumed women even more disheartening. Look, it's bad enough that fictional characters are expected to dress like strippers who dance for a baroquely depraved clientèle. Why on earth are teenage girls doing it? Do we really need to see pictures of them? I'm actually somewhat serious about this last bit of business. The sight of overweight, delusional fanboys gussied up to approximate Blue Devil--that's funny to a broad cross section of the population, I'm guessing. But these young women (some of them, at least) seem to scream "severe self-esteem issues." It's not like any of the male fans are strutting around with half their butt hanging out.* Hell, most of them aren't even wearing spandex, perhaps in an effort to keep secret the precise contours of their genitalia. Here's a possible rule of thumb--if you're not old enough to rent a car, you're not sufficiently mature to determine the wisdom of dressing up like the White Queen in front of a convention center packed with guys who think The Death of Captain Marvel is great literature. And many of these guys have cameras, and will treasure those pictures until the end of time. Others will post them on the internet, so that even more depraved nerds can match their fantasies to actual flesh. And those pictures will be out there until the end of time.
*Not intentionally, at any rate.
-I don't know if it's responsible to think of conventions in terms of wins and losses, but I was really struck by how much more impressed I was by DC's announcements than Marvel's. I'm mainly basing this on the revamping of DC's kid-friendly line, particularly the awesome-looking Tiny Titans. (Actually, that Super Friends series looks pretty fucking bad--that's toy tie-ins for you, I guess). Marvel gets some points for Genndy Tartakovsky's CAGE!, but I like DC's attempt to embrace an original, cartoony aesthetic in its all-ages line.
Other than that, it was more of the usual crap from the Big Two. Tony Daniels replaces Andy Kubert on Batman? Geez, that seems like a lateral move at best. Alex Ross on some portentous Captain America project? Sure to be a hit with the dressed-like-Green-Arrow-in-public crowd. Dustin Nguyen on Detective? Actually, that's a good move. Nguyen's a whole lot better than Don Kramer, whose chief virtue is that his pencils don't force the reader to dwell on them too much. More time to analyze the continuity errors! Countdown: Arena? Yes, that's precisely what this ill-conceived franchise needs: a multiversal Contest of Champions retread spinoff. The Resurrection of Ra's Ahl-Guhl? Sounds like DC learned something from the success of World War Hulk. I say that under the assumption that all those crossover titles won't be necessary reading to get the basic story; that would be a bad thing, Mr. DiDio. Liefeld and Kirkman on Killraven? Once again, it's a cheap laugh at the expense of the "How dare you criticize the 1970s" crowd. More importantly, it once again proves that my upcoming Liefeld retrospective is well-timed. I'm working on Hawk and Dove right now. Millar and Hitch on Fantastic Four? Not really that interested; doesn't seem like a good fit for either talent. I haven't been reading Dwayne McDuffie's run, so I don't feel personally slighted. It's just another comic I won't be reading.
By the way, the news that Millar won't be renewing his exclusive with Marvel might be the best news for DC all week. Seriously, Millar is just the sort of galvanizing figure DC's going to need when Jann Jones inevitably replaces Dan DiDio this time next year.
-On a related note, Rich Johnston reports that Mike Allred blames DiDio for failing to release his Teen Titans special and a Metal Men collaboration with Evan Dorkin. Now I don't care so much about the latter (I've become less and less into Dorkin as the years have passed), but Allred's Teen Titans story in his issue of Solo was really great, whimsical Silver Age pastiche. That's harder to pull off than one might think (not that it's stopped people from trying). It's wrong of DiDio withhold this from us. Here's hoping Jones really does replace him! Assuming, of course, that she does the sensible thing and releases said Teen Titans special.
-RIP Mike Wieringo. I always thought he was one of the few contemporary superhero artists who cared about the craft of cartooning, let alone excelled at it. The mainstream comics world will be poorer for his loss.