Archive for the 'Ultimate Edit Week' Category

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New Ultimate Edit Week: The Annotations

March 4th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Before I bring the whole Ultimate Edit Trilogy to rest, I just needed to write up the page-by-page details that explain all the endless references and dropped gags. Enjoy.

WEEK ONE

Cover

– References are made to Josie and the Pussycats, Squadron Supreme/Squadron Sinister where the original Nighthawk is from and, naturally, Heroes for Hire.

Page 1

– The line about Spider-Man looking like a toddler is commentary on David Lafuente’s weird proportions in his Ultimate Spider-Man work.

Page 2

– Spiders-Man is a character from Earth X who was given Inhuman powers and it turned him into a scaly-looking Spider-Man with the ability to create illusions. With Mark Millar’s return to writing Ultimate comics, he introduced a new Spider-Man to Ultimate Avengers. He’s a clone of Peter Parker, kept in a cell with a Hannibal Lecter personality and some kind of mind power. While I’m sure he isn’t based on Spiders-Man specifically, I’ve always just referred to him as Ultimate Spiders-Man. It fits.

Page 3

– During the production of Ultimates 3, there was a nixed cover by Frank Cho that showed Wolverine having sex with Magda, mother of Scarlet Witch. The final version would have had a blanket added on to cover her up, but the released sketch showed a giant bare ass.

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Ultimate Edit: ManiacClown’s Afterword

March 3rd, 2011 Posted by guest article

(Gavok note: Since I’m still working on the annotations for New Ultimate Edit, I thought I’d have Nick “ManiacClown” Zachariasen write down his own thoughts on the experience. The guy never really gets to speak his mind outside of a couple comments here and there, so I thought he should get in his final word.)

I’d like to say that’s it’s been a pleasure to collaborate with Gavok on this project of ours. First we started with Ultimates 3. Then, when we thought the morning sun of the volume’s end had vanquished the horrible night that was Loeb’s first stab into the heart of the Ultimate Universe, Ultimatum came along and we knew that we were needed once again. Before Beast/Nightcrawler/Daredevil/Cyclops/Xavier/Cannonball/MultipleMan/Hank Pym/Doctor Strange/Wasp/Wolverine/[O.K., that's enough, I think they get it by now]‘s body was cold, we learned of New Ultimates and what was sure to be yet more crap. Now, I have to admit that with New Ultimates, Loeb’s dreck wasn’t quite so bad and was in a couple places kind of neat, as with the parachuting machine gun scene. Of course, to counterbalance that, there were also bits like the fact that on top of not having read the Ultimate Universe before writing it, he’d also not read Norse myth. Valhalla and Hel are two different places, Jeph. Granted, I may be seeing New Ultimates a bit differently because of the fact that I had perhaps a greater-than-normal amount of creative input given the heavy use of the Asgardian cast, which brought to bear my skill in writing in godspeak. I guess that year of Master’s studies in English was good for something after all!

One thing that the Ultimate Edit saga has — along with my tendency to heckle bad movies — helped show me is that even badly-executed entertainment has its value in some form. For instance, take Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. No, not the album. That wasn’t bad. I’m talking about the movie. It was kind of a cinematic equivalent of Jeph Loeb’s work in the UU in that it was a horribly jumbled mess that really didn’t make a whole Hell of a lot of sense. However, the music in it was, for the most part, actually enjoyable on some level and I — perhaps somewhat blasphemously — actually prefer Billy Preston’s rendition of Get Back at the end of the movie to the original. Similarly, in addition to knowing how to write a shut-your-mind-off action sequence, Loeb actually had an awesome idea in using Multiple Man as a reusable suicide bomber, which by definition is typically impossible. Overall, though, Loeb did help jar the UU out of what Marvel had seemingly been beginning to fall into, where they’d typically introduce a 616 character with a slightly redesigned costume and a modernized background and BOOM! they had their newest Ultimatized character. No longer can they rely on just rehashing 616 now that numerous key characters are dead, even if they have a replacement Wolverine who can make his sharp bits shiny or not shiny as the situation warrants.

What this bring me to is that bad entertainment is like why I realized why pants are funny. See, Wakko and Dot Warner don’t have pants but Yakko does and this is funny. This made me realize that pants are funny. However, until several years later when I had a 103 degree; fever from a sinus infection, I realized that the image of a man whose pants are around his ankles — exposing his heart-strewn boxer shorts — is funny because it isn’t the normal state. If pants didn’t exist, it would be the normal state, and therefore not funny at all. However, because pants exist they create the possibility of a lack of pants, which is funny. Therefore, pants are funny because lack of pants is funny — inherent humor value by proxy, if you will. The point is that, much like Heaven and Hell, without the bad the good is meaningless because there’s nothing to compare it to. If you don’t have Ultimatum, you can’t appreciate Ultimate Thor as much. It’s kind of like that part in The Dark Knight Strikes Again when Luthor’s pounding Batman in the face repeatedly until Green Lantern pulls his planet-saving stunt. We just sat there and took it from Loeb because we know the payoffs are coming. We know Loeb’s not going to stick around forever. We just know we have to outlast him. It’s a sort of faith that has its reward in the here-and-now, even if you have to be patient for three years.

The other bright side of the last three years (which I still can’t believe has gone by this quickly) is that I’ve gotten to know Gavok. Before, I just knew him as the Ruin the Moment guy in Batman’s Shameful Secret on the Something Awful forums. However, after I said the magical words “I want in” I gained a friend and writing partner. I found someone to help me be creative in a way that I hadn’t experienced before. During this process Gavok’s essentially been the head writer of our team, ultimately deciding which jokes get included and which don’t while sometimes indulging my insistence on certain gags that I thought were too good to not do. One good example of this was continuing the Twinkies gag. While certainly not as prominent as Thor being Santa — which has unexpectedly had legs like mighty Sleipnir, the eight-hooved steed of Odin — that joke’s been a nice little undercurrent to the Editverse, popping up when both you and we least expect it. While it kind of sucked getting some of what I thought were good jokes left on the cutting room floor sometimes, most of the time I think what Gavok did in that respect was simply good editing, which had I been doing this alone may well have ended up leaving me as a sort of Jeph Loeb of funnybook mockery. We weren’t just one writer with seniority over another — we were and I dare say still are a team.

I think Gavok and I mesh very well together in our senses of humor. I think some of that is our mutual interests, which include comics (obviously) and professional wrestling. We did, though, also make a good team because of our differences. Sometimes Gavok would toss out a reference that I would have absolutely zero clue about or perhaps a choice in diction which was probably a regional difference. He lives in New Jersey and I live in South Dakota, so in one joke he suggested that Multiple Man “ask off for Saturday” when I’d never heard that particular arrangement before. Out here, we always say “ask for Saturday off.” That difference in perspectives is part of what made us write so well together in addition to simply coming up with things that would make people laugh.

Of all we accomplished in this collaboration, I’m personally proud of the fact that I either came up with some of the best joke ideas, or at least refined them like the sugar in a Twinkie from Gavok’s brainstorming or one-off gags. Santa Thor, of course, is the prime example of this, without which the entire Ultimate Edit trilogy would have been wildly different. It ended up being a unifying element, tying everything together and ultimately (no pun intended for once) came together in New Ultimates as Loeb had the volume centered on Thor and company. Little did we know when we whimsically tried to think of a reason for Valkyrie to be on the team that we’d sown the seeds for what New Ultimates has been. That’s some of the magic of working like this, where we’re not completely in control of what we’re doing. Even though somebody else is sort of controlling what we do, it just feels natural once we get going and — at least for me — there’s a certain magic to that.

Finally, I’d like to give my thanks. Thanks to all of you readers who’ve stuck with us for the last three years. Thanks to Jeph Loeb for giving us material to work with. Thanks especially to Frank Cho, who seems to have been — at least incidentally — one of our readers with the Waldo sight gag, which he seemed to have acknowledged by actually inserting Waldo into a published scene in the issue after we made the joke. Obviously, I should thank Marvel Comics for being good sports about this whole affair. I don’t think they can have not known about this because doubtlessly somebody there’s read our updates. I think the aforementioned Waldo incident shows that and while I seriously think that if legal push came to litigious shove we’d have plenty of support (as fair-use parody) under Campbell vs. Acuff-Rose and its progeny, that Marvel didn’t even try to stop 4thletter from letting us put these up this whole time. I’d like to thank David Brothers for facilitating our four-color frippery through his blog. Last — and of coursenot least — I want to thank my writing partner Gavok, without whose perhaps-passing musing on an edit of Ultimates 3 I’d not have had the opportunity to do all this. It’s been a great run and I’m immensely proud of having made so many people I can’t quantify laugh at a bunch of Twinkie jokes and Christmas puns. To quote the Animaniacs whenever they’d been written into a corner: Goodnight, folks.

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New Ultimate Edit Week 5: Day Seven

March 2nd, 2011 Posted by Gavok

It started over three years ago. Venom attacked the Ultimates for a reason that’s still ill-explained and it led to a story about Ultron murdering the Scarlet Witch and Tarzan knockoffs being taken apart by Magneto. Then, many delays later, we got a story about Magneto killing billions, including a bunch of mainstream characters. As bad as Ultimates 3 was, Ultimatum brought crap to a whole new level. But with every Empire Strikes Back, there needs to be a Return of the Jedi, for better or worse. New Ultimates has come and gone and now it’s time to lay it all to rest.

Yesterday showed the fates of Loki, the return of Captain America’s shield and Arcana’s posterior. Let’s finish it.

And there it is. Thank you so much for those of you who read this regularly enough and even stuck around for the end. Thank you for every, “This makes more sense than the actual story,” comment. Thanks to my partner in crime ManiacClown, who will no doubt go through the worst episode of withdrawal since the baby nightmare scene from Trainspotting. Thanks to Frank Cho, whose art has made this a more pleasurable experience. Hell, thanks to Jeph Loeb for keeping me off the streets.

New Ultimate Edit Annotations

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New Ultimate Edit Week 5: Day Six

March 1st, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Yesterday gave us the brief reunion of Thor and his undead squeeze Valkyrie, whose wings will make putting on shirts a total chore. With everything taken care of, threat-wise, we still have the epilogue to work through. Shanna, Ka-Zar and Black Panther have moved on to greener pastures. They aren’t the only ones leaving.

ManiacClown insisted I namedrop “Twinkies” somewhere in there. The dude just can’t let it go, but whatever. I like the challenge. As for what Zarda’s talking about, the Supreme Power: Hyperion miniseries from a few years ago showed a dark future where Hyperion, Zarda and a lot of superheroes rule over the world with Nighthawk being the only remaining opposition. Like with the end of Howard Chaykin’s Squadron Supreme series, Loeb’s exit from Ultimate stuff calls for a moment of, “Crap, we have to force things back to the status quo so that future stuff can happen.”

Tomorrow is about putting an end to this for good and also tying up that one loose end that really should have had a bigger impact on the story.

Day Seven!

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New Ultimate Edit Week 5: Day Five

February 28th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

In our last installment, Iron Man was in the middle of talking down Thor when Loki made his final play. Yes, his end game was to smack Thor upside the head with a hammer. It didn’t work and he instead got a spear thrown through his neck. Now the twice-dead Valkyrie returns and hooks up with her badass boyfriend.

So that’s it, right? Me and ManiacClown can go home now? Bad guy’s dead and… oh, what’s that? Two days of wrap-up? Fine. But I swear, if we get a final page reveal of the next big threat, I’m burning this website to the ground. I’ll do it.

Day Six!
Day Seven!

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New Ultimate Edit Week 5: Day Four

February 27th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Yesterday showed the two powerhouses of the Ultimates Thor and Zarda duke it out over the streets of New York City as the 9,281st lightning bolt goes off right behind them. I’m wondering how any of these superheroes even hear each other over all the deafening thunder that must be filling the area. As the two slug it out, Iron Man appears in his special Hulkbuster armor out of nowhere. It seems enough to take Thor down and he has been trying to talk some sense into him. That brings us to this.

Thanks to ManiacClown for the help. Tomorrow the not-quite-Christmas story continues.

Day Five!
Day Six!
Day Seven!

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New Ultimate Edit Week 5: Day Three

February 26th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Ah, Day Two. The installment where Thor wrecked everyone some more and Zarda woke up and gave him a piece of her mind. It’s mentioned that Zarda really hasn’t been pulling her weight ever since joining the team at the end of Ultimate Power. But now it is Day Three, where their brawl continues and develops. How does this relate to that Clark Kent-like exit Iron Man did just a few minutes before?

Oh, Santa Thor. ManiacClown and I are going to miss writing you.

Tomorrow, Tony will continue his crusade to get through to Thor. What role will Loki play?

Day Four!
Day Five!
Day Six!
Day Seven!

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New Ultimate Edit Week 5: Day Two

February 25th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Yesterday started up the new week with a flashback where Thor and Loki kind of stumble upon a bunch of slaughtered dead guys like it’s just another day. Thor is still going all kill-happy and our heroes have no idea what to do.

Thanks to ManiacClown, who is the master of translating 80’s pop music into Thorspeak. We’ll be back tomorrow as the heavyweight fight continues. Then it becomes a triple threat.

Day Three!
Day Four!
Day Five!
Day Six!
Day Seven!

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New Ultimate Edit Week 5: Day One

February 24th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Welcome to the final week of Ultimate Edit. Boy, it’s been some ride, eh? It’s been just over three years with fifteen issues to its name, but it’s about time to bury it. I guess we were already “burying” it, but– you know what I mean.

So to sum up. A bunch of former D-list heroes have been amped up as villains and fight the Ultimates before being forgotten about completely. Then Loki and Enchantress come to Earth with a big troll army and wrecked stuff for a bit. Enchantress magically coaxes some of the female Ultimates to help them out and capture the staple members of the team. That way, the lesser good guys could look important by rescuing the heroes worth a damn. Valkyrie breaks free from the spell and gets herself killed by Loki, but then Thor shows up and goes on a rampage. He targets everyone and Loki’s all, “Haha! All part of the plan, beyotch!”

And now, the rest of the story…

Thanks to ManiacClown who wanted Loki and Thor to discuss how Hela looks like the ladies in mommy’s lingerie scrolls. We’ll be back tomorrow with some of those other characters nobody cares about. Don’t worry, they’ll be gone by the end of the week.

Day Two!
Day Three!
Day Four!
Day Five!
Day Six!
Day Seven!

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New Ultimate Edit Week 4: Day Seven

December 25th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

Merry Christmas! We end our penultimate week on a day about Jesus being born, Barney getting his Pebbles, Pre-Crisis Dick Grayson laying an egg and me getting both a Spider-Man chalice and tickets to Spider-Man Musical Deathtrap 2011. God bless us, everyone!

Last we checked, Loki got run over by a reind–er, Thor. Now he appears to be at the Ultimates’ mercy… or is he?! Forgive the lack of punchlines as it’s almost entirely Loki talking here and we really needed to move the plot forward, verbally.

And another issue bites the dust. Thanks to ManiacClown for putting up with my absolutely horrible holiday retail schedule. We’ll be back soon for the conclusion of the Ultimate Holiday Wars. In the meantime, enjoy Iron Maiden doing a cover of a Gary Glitter Christmas song.

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