If you haven’t read the first Beneath the Panels it’s on my personal blog here. Beneath the Panels isn’t going to become a regular feature, but I will probably continue it for the duration of Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham’s Nameless. After seeing how many words it took me to cover what basically amounted to just the first page of the book in that previous installment, I figured this column would be better served on Joup. That said, the idea of moving that first installment over, with all the re-embedding, setting links and what not seemed like a waste of time. Thus, I’m leaving #1 where it is and getting on with further revealing the MANY occult influences/ideas Morrison has once again worked into the ‘code’ of his new 6-issue book. Also, I’d like to note here that a major influence on my idea to do this column has been David Uzumeri‘s amazing annotations for other Morrison works, much of which can be found at Comics Alliance and also on Funnybook Babylon.
Could you pass the mustard please? I believe slathering my words – which I am about to eat – may go easier with a nice stone ground brown or perhaps even a lovely champagne dill atop them.
Over the last few months we’ve been living in something of a Grant Morrison renaissance; after what felt like an extended absence following his seven-year run on Batman, which was admittedly peppered here and there with some limited series and a run on Action Comics that, in part, required the eventual release of Multiversity to have the proper context for fully understanding, Morrison’s presence seemed to shift to that of one of the Great Old Ones – you could feel his influence everywhere in comics – especially in DC books as his architecture begun in his run on JLA as a “Maybe one day I’ll be able to pitch my grand design” and over the course of twenty years became the scaffolding upon which DC slowly began to realize they could hang the elaborate fidora of their entire Universe on – but there was no iconic series hitting the stands month after month. We knew this resurgence was inevitable; press for the Legendary-published Annihilator, complete with mouthwatering “What the f@#k images” by series artist Frazer Irving began at least a year before the book had a release date. Morrison’s three appearance’s on Kevin Smith’s Fatman on Batman podcast teased Multiversity and the still to be released Wonder Woman series. But the big question through all of this, perhaps the reason I’ve felt an absence from my favorite comics scribe when in fact, after listing all of this it seems my initial concept of a Morrison-drought seems misconstrued:
First: SPOILERS lay ahead. Nothing super detrimental, and in fact what I write will hopefully influence those not reading this book to pick it up, but if you’re behind in the series or the kind of person – like I am – who likes to know absolutely NOTHING going in, maybe skip this and just go read the book!
You have been warned.
It is not a coincidence that my previous column outlined my plans to leave Marvel Comics as a monthly reader and then a scant two weeks later we get the massive announcement that the House of Ideas is destroying their 75 year-old Universe – as well as their 15 year old Ultimate Universe – in a major continuity upheaval come May. No, that was not a coincidence at all. My inner comics circle know I kinda called this after juxtaposing second hand information about Jonathan Hickman’s current “World’s Collide” storyline in his Avengers books with the very ‘real’ sentiment Marvel editorial staff seemed to be approaching the recent Death of Wolverine storyline with. However, though leaving the Marvel fold so to speak, I do not do so with the vitriol some have bore this world-rending news. I simply see this moment as what my friend Louis has called a perfect “jumping off point”. Am I upset? Outraged? No, not really. Am I skeptical? Perhaps, but maybe more than anything else I am actually quite confused at how I have interpreted the news and intend to use this week’s column to jot down my own thoughts for the first time and really get to the bottom of how I – an essentially life-long Marvel fan – feel about the company razing all that has come before and carrying on in a new direction.
I’m using this edition of The Joup Friday Album to exorcise my regret over not including Dum Dum Girls’ new record Too True on my best of 2014 list. Honestly, I knew this was going to happen – inevitably every year as soon as I post a list the “One that Got Away” syndrome pops up on something I didn’t hear in time. That’s not the case here though. I’ve had this album for months and had even developed quite a relationship with it, listening to it over and over on my Greyhound bus trip from Chicago to Dayton back in late October and MAN did it hit all the right buttons as I stared out the window at Autumn in the Midwest. And yet, despite my immediate love of Too True, and despite contemplating putting it on the list, not everything can make a list of ten, so it was one of the ones I cut.
The last time I stopped buying Marvel books was maybe 2010 or 2011; Bendis was writing Avengers but after trying to keep up only to have my wallet smacked out of my hand again and again as he added more and more titles to his workload and the endless events began happening I just could not keep up (that’s not a Bendis-oriented compliant – I love that he can write so much so well and weave such intricate, multi-act, multi-book story scaffolding. I just can’t afford to keep up with buying it all). Other than that, the needle at the self-proclaimed “House of Ideas” really seemed to be skipping. Then a friend introduced me to Rick Remender and both his Uncanny X-Force and Venom titles and soon I realized Marvel was really putting their game back together. Ever since I feel as though they’ve done an amazing job streamlining their Universe, putting it into a real tight working order that keeps most of the old school fans like myself happy and helps usher in newcomers brought in by the sheer perfection of Kevin Feige’s Marvel Movie Universe. I’ve read all Remender’s stuff, tried to read all BMB’s X-Men stuff (and just generally found his mechanism of bringing the young first class into the present day was a potentially terrible idea that he made absolutely amazing), have followed the Hickman Avengers stuff from a distance and really wanted to jump in on the Guardians of the Galaxy stuff. However, even as we prepare for this Spring’s next big step in the evolution of the MCU, I am bidding buying monthly Marvel Comics goodbye.