'WSJ' Trashes Big Two
In Book Review
Published: 05/30/2012 02:08am
A Wall Street Journal review of new book Leaping Tall Buildings turned into a brutal, high profile condemnation of superhero comics as published by Marvel and DC. Noting the difference between the $500 million in Avengers ticket sales and the 230,000 copies sold of Avengers Vs. X-Men, reviewer Tim Marchman asks, "If no cultural barrier prevents a public that clearly loves its superheroes from picking up a new 'Avengers' comic, why don’t more people do so?" And then he answers. "The main reasons are obvious: It is for sale not in a real bookstore but in a specialty shop, and it is clumsily drawn, poorly written and incomprehensible to anyone not steeped in years of arcane mythology."
As for Leaping Tall Buildings, Marchman says it "…intends to celebrate the form—and does—but along the way reveals the forces that have caused its most iconic titles to rot." He then details the relationships between Marvel and DC and key creators Siegel and Shuster, Jack Kirby, and Alan Moore, and compares those creators to The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman and asks, "Why sign over the rights to original ideas when he could keep them for himself?"
Again, Marchman provides the answer. "Marvel and DC probably wouldn’t have wanted anything new anyway," he wrote. "Judging by Before Watchmen and Avengers vs. X-Men, their notions of new ideas involve sequels to comics that came out when New York Mets announcer Keith Hernandez was a perennial MVP candidate."
Marchman also goes after some current talent including J. Michael Straczynski, whose work on Before Watchmen he describes as "the rough equivalent of having Z-movie director Uwe Boll film a studio-funded prequel to Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver."
Straczynski responded via Twitter on a variety of topics, and wraps up with this gem: "My final word: your behavior was dickish. I became a better writer after He-Man. You will always be a dick."
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