BY: Managing Editor Byron Brewer
(Editor’s note: For the past few weeks, you have been reading The Cosmic Triune by the Cosmic Book News brass about the state – or lack thereof – of Marvel Cosmic. This piece by Managing Editor Byron Brewer presents another perception.)
I know how Joe Q. feels.
I think I know how Tom Brevoort feels.
I certainly know how Cosmic Book News publisher/editor Matt McGloin and other staffers and forum posters feel …
Feel about the lack of respect Marvel in general and its decision makers in particular seem to be treating us fans who are the backbone of its cosmic movement. With our base titles, Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy, “on hiatus” and probably never to return, we have been scrambling to get any piece of cosmic epoch left that we can, be it from Avengers, Thor or Chaos War and its infinite spin-offs, etc., etc.
Of course, some do not want to scramble. If it does not feature [fill in your favorite Marvel Cosmic character here; mine is the Stranger and he has been no where during the Annihilation buzz!], it is simply “not cosmic.” And besides, only DnA write such great tales, right? Of course, fans (like myself) of Jack Kirby, Roy Thomas, Walt Simonson, Jim Starlin, Steve Englehart and others may have something to say about that, if we are dealing with the long, broad picture.
But really, we are not. We are dealing with today. With a Thanos: Imperative that was a runaway sell-out hit, a critical success and the news that comes of wasted talent like Abnett and Lanning and Walker on an Earth-based book like Heroes for Hire. That, my friends, may be seen as a slap in the face to some Marvel Cosmic fans. Me? I am trying to see it as a simple waste of talent, and that is not unique to our industry.
How many years was Bill Everett, creator of the Sub-Mariner, alive and well and working in and out for Marvel before he was allowed his time at the character he created? Mere months before his death! The Silver Surfer was given his first book and who drew it? Certainly not his creator, King Kirby, but John Buscema (a nice substitute, but at the time a sub nonetheless). Don McGregor was making magic with the Black Panther in Jungle Action and suddenly one of the most beautiful, soul-searing storylines in history is interrupted by who? Jack Kirby, with a less-than-appealing arc or two for T’Challa. Same happened with Steve Englehart on Captain America.
The times, they aren’t a’changin’, kids. It has nothing to do with Marvel Comics, Marvel Cosmic or us as fans. It is the way “suits” think, perceive things in dollar amounts and flood, flood, flood. Ask anyone who was reading these titles when the bottom dropped out in the 1990s. Superman cannot save a DC line and Deadpool and Spidey by themselves cannot a Marvel Universe make.
The Marvel Universe. Called “your” universe. Yet some folks think that universe barely leaves Yancy Street, much less Manhattan. Where is the “Universe,” the wonder promised us in Fantastic Four #1 by Lee and Kirby? Will it die with the recently-announced Devastation?
No, True Believers. For Lee and Kirby, Thomas and Buscema, and Starlin all by his lonesome proved that storylines can be attached to this mudball Earth and still be cosmic with a capital “C.” Read “The Hive” in the FF, wherein Adam Warlock (then Him) was born. Read most of the “Kree/Skrull War,” the ultimate cosmic tale, where most of the action occurs on Sol-3. Take a gander at “The Celestials Saga” in Thor, “The Korvac Saga” in Avengers … for Christ sake, “The Galactus Trilogy!” Many involve space or time-travel, but the main front of battle, of story is Earth. That does not make them less cosmic; that just makes them great Marvel Cosmic stories rooted on Earth.
I understand everyone’s cynicism. No one has enjoyed the tales of Nova, Star-Lord, the Guardians and Darkhawk as much as me (not even you, Bill!) and I have really been glad to see them occurring in deep space, a venue I have always loved, away from the madness of mankind.
As a 30-plus-year newspaperman and editor/writer for CBN, I always try to maintain a “glass-half-full” attitude, as you may have noticed. I am not Gomer Pyle, who never heard of Vietnam, viewing things through rose-colored glasses. But this is not a science class! This is supposed to be our fun, after all! Like the characters mostly appearing in What the D’ast?, I don’t mind searching for my Marvel Cosmic if Joe Q. is not willing to hand it out to me under a Realm of Kings banner. It is there to be found, if you look, despite what many of the MU architects have said.
But I would also use CBN as a “bully pulpit” to voice my objections and desires loud and clear, in a language ($$$$) Joe, Tom, Brian and others understand!
And never forget: Out there somewhere, beckoning, is the next writer with a pitch for a trend-setter like Annihilation. And we will be here to receive it!