-By now everyone's heard about J Michael Straczynski making public his reservations with the One More Day storyline, up to the point where he wanted to Alan Smithee the last two chapters. Assuming this isn't part of Joe Quesada's carnival of misinformation, I think JMS's declaration marks a turning point in the post-Jemas era. When I read interviews with Marvel's top tier writers (Millar, Bendis, Loeb, Straczynski, and Brubaker, more or less), it's hard to find hidden messages suggesting strife between creators and editorial. And believe me, I look. Mostly what I see are a bunch of statements intended to make you think of Marvel's most prominent writers as a bunch of swell raconteurs, kind of a nerd version of the Rat Pack with Quesada in Sinatra's position as enlightened despot.* You may very well question the sincerity of this sentiment, but it's pretty consistent in all the interviews I read. It's not like the heavy hand of editorial is denied or anything, but usually it's couched in phrases like "it opened up a lot of great storytelling options" or "after the creator summit, I was so full of energy that I couldn't wait to get to work scripting Editorially-Mandated Crossover No. 183-B."
So this is mildly ominous for Marvel, and it doesn't bode well for the final chapter of the story (which I'm not reading, though I am following the online reaction to it (which is probably more entertaining, anyway)). And if this does turn out to be a stinker, we might be in for a pretty entertaining round of tell-alls and mea culpas. You can never tell; this story might be remembered as the crest of the Quesada reign, the point from which everything went south. Probably not, but maybe this is the first domino. Probably not, but I'm certainly eager to see how this gets spun in future Quesada interview (they still doing Joe Fridays at Newsarama?). Prediction: JMS and Quesada milk this to no end in an attempt to make everyone feel like a jerk for caring. And JMS is off Thor in 6 months' time, to be replaced by someone like Frank Tieri. And then the title is canceled and the "real" Thor is back by March 2009.
*If my interpretation internal Rat Pack politics is incorrect, please bear in mind that I don't give a shit about the Rat Pack.
-UPDATE: Perhaps no one will be talking about any of this once word circulates that Greg Rucka has announced his intention not to renew his exclusive with DC. Let the speculation begin!
-The new banner, for those who can't tell, is a John Buscema drawing from Avengers #48.
-Those who follow mixed martial arts are strongly advised to bookmark the redesigned Fight Opinion, which now has RSS feeds for pretty much every MMA blog, website, podcast, and mainstream press writer of note. I mean, there are even feeds for Dave Meltzer's Yahoo Sports articles. This is especially recommended because no one in their right mind wants to clutter up their RSS reader with a bunch of MMA blogs. If you think comics blogs are bad (and, as a rule, they are), you probably can't handle the oppressive idiocy of the MMA blogosphere. So do what I do now: go to Fight Opinion and click on the headlines that interest you. Sure as hell beats going to the Underground Forum.
-I'm probably going to pick up the Loeb/Madureira Ultimates this week. Don't ask me why, cause I can't put it into words. I want to say it's out of a desire to rubberneck, but there seems to be something deeper than that. Like there's some vestigial part of my brain that thinks this comic will provide vital nutrients. I can't explain it. Hopefully they don't all sell out today, cause I don't feel like braving the elements right now.