Wednesday, May 25, 2016

On that whole "Steve Rogers is and has always been secretly an evil agent" stuff

I don't believe Steve Rogers has secretly been pulling the wool over our eyes or Marvel's hero who just raked in a billion dollars at the box office has actually been an Agent of Hydra all along or whatever it is Tom Brevoort, Marvel's personal Salacious Crumb, said to the New York Times.

Yes, Captain America was designed by two Jewish guys to punch Hitler in the face, and, yes, of course, if Marvel were actually turning him into a villain longterm, it'd be kinda gross.  But, y'know, comics.  I'm pretty sure it's some usual sci-fi comics monkeyshines, Cosmic Cube business or time travel or whatnot, and by tale's end, we'll all be back to normal.

What I'm irritated about is that I can't actually remember the last time I read a good Steve Rogers story about Steve Rogers being Steve Rogers.  Don't worry - it's not limited to Steve Rogers - I'm pretty sure DC hasn't had Superman as Superman in an in-continuity comic in at least four years, and before that we had Superman walking America (Grounded Part 1 = garbage, Grounded Part 2 = pretty darn good), Superman not being Superman for a year in the comics because New Krypton, Superman with no powers...  And, if I never felt like the New 52 Superman was Superman, well, it seems like DC is set to confirm that suspicion).

I like Sam Wilson.  I do.  I am cool with him being a Captain America.  But we always knew Cap was going to come back.

Honestly, if I'm a little testy about the whole thing, it's because before that we had some sub-par Cap comics with him in Dimension Z (so it wasn't really what I signed up for when it came to why I'm interested in Cap), and for a long, long time before that, Cap was Bucky.

Why is it that for 3/5ths of the time I keep trying to read about Captain America, or Superman or whatever...  the only thing Marvel and DC can seem to think of to do is give me not that thing?  Especially when the movies are that thing, and make a billion dollars.

So maybe I was pleased to hear I could buy a new Steve Rogers comic.  Maybe I pre-ordered said Steve Rogers comic.  Maybe I'm regretting that Marvel is getting a sale out out of me whether I like it or not.

What I don't want to find out when I've preordered a Steve Rogers comic is that, ha ha, eat a dick, buddy.  This is EVIL Steve Rogers!  And we're gonna have some fun with you and say he was always evil!  I just... want what I thought I was paying for, and in this era of comics, that transaction seems very, very difficult for the Big Two to wrap their collective heads around.

Getting yet another "god, how long am I going to have to wait this arc out" feels like a kid showing you the same lousy magic trick for the fifth time and expecting you to reward him for it the same way on round #5 the way you did on round #1 when you could see the card sticking out of his sleeve that time.  And when you didn't get excited, they jump up and do it a 6th time, because - hey, maybe you didn't quite get it that fifth time.

And, yes, comics people.  Let the story unfold.  Don't get excited.  Why would you express dissatisfaction?  JUST GIVE US YOUR MONEY - which is what I kind of hear when I see "hey, comics!" from anyone actually working in the industry and something eye-rollingly bad is going on.

Don't tell me I need to want to pay Marvel's frankly exorbitant cover prices to read a comic doing something I don't actually care about.  And it might be smart storytelling if it weren't the fourth go-round on the same basic "it's not Steve" hoo-har we've been seeing since 2007 or so.   Smart storytelling would be giving me a Steve Rogers comic that established the new status quo that I could care about, and to quit assuming "oh, we've already seen all the standard Steve Rogers stories already".

I would love to hear this storyline turns out awesome.  We'll wait and see, but I'm not paying cover price for Marvel to pad out the fact that they can't write a straight Captain America comic anymore now that Brubaker is gone.  In 6-12 months I'll either pick up the trade or I won't.  And 6-12 months after that, when Evil Zemo or whatever is defeated and they settle on how to actually try to tell a Captain America story, I'll check in and see what they're up to.  But...

And, hey, if you work in the industry and you're on twitter - don't say "trust the story" or "trust us", because...  man, I don't.  DC has been telling people "trust us" for so long they're big summer event is a @#$%ing 80 page apology for the past several years of their output.  The industry's record of succcessful execution is batting under .100.  So maybe don't go to insisting on a social contract that benefits you and $5 a comic.

Man, sometimes I wonder if there's a mathematical equation you could write to prove all the short-term readership gains are a net loss.


Stuart said...

Yeah, I kind of immediately thought of New Krypton and all that bullshit as well. And I don't get all the folks saying "but it's only temporary," like that makes it okay. That it's an obvious gimmick to gain press makes it even more distasteful to me.

PS I think I may have woke someone up laughing that "eat a dick, buddy" part.

RHPT said...

Do you need a hug, Ryan?

Simon MacDonald said...

I was originally riding the high of Captain America civil war and thought maybe I'd pick this up. Nope, no way, pass. I do really feel like this is a shitty thing to do to the character and it's creators. I know it will be undone at some point but that doesn't make it better in my eyes. Tarnishing an icon to make a quick buck is just gross.

The League said...

I need to see basic competence.

The League said...

@simon - It's just wearying. They could have come up with a great story about Hydra or Red Skull or whatever movie fans are familiar with, but instead it's "you like Cap? YOINK! He's a lying liar! Thanks for the $5 and learning comics are disappointing!"

Simon MacDonald said...

@Ryan I know we are just giving them what they want but being upset about it and commenting all over the internet. It's this type of buzz that they are hoping gets people into the comic book stores. Sigh, I can't be bothered to keep up with Marvel and DC anymore I'll just keep getting my Image books in trades and enjoy my blissfully ignorant years.

Actually, that Comixology Unlimited seemed like a really great deal.
- No Marvel or DC but who cares.
- Races to Comixology to sign up
- Finds out it is USA only
- Flips table!

The League said...

I'll be honest - seeing how the creators and their sycophants have responded to this has been a bit of an eye opener. I mean, I get this has got to be freaking all of them all out a bit, knowing it could have been any one of them to draw the ire down. I'm also a bit irritated that there are so many comics fans and pros jumping on the "oh, you care about a FICTIONAL character, ya baby" argument. Yeah, nerds nerd-shaming nerds about a hobby where EVERYONE is invested in fictional characters (and, increasingly, everyone is now "nerding out" about/ finds themselves invested in fictional characters).

I dunno. In a way, all of this was probably inevitable.

The irony of this blowing up at the same time DC is apologizing in-story for some of their wrong decisions has not gone unnoticed.

RHPT said...

I just read an explainer which basically spoils the entire plot and yeah, it's bs.

The League said...

BS as in "I can't believe this bullshit" or BS as in "it's an illusory/ temporary thing"?

RHPT said...

well, I don't want to spoil it.

The League said...

DM me.

Simon MacDonald said...

@RHPT the plot of the issue or the entire storyline?