The Marville Horror Part 3: Like an African Fertility God

March 10th, 2009 Posted by guest article

Article by Fletcher “Syrg” Arnett.

Every time I see that cover, I keep thinking it’s Lockjaw, the Inhuman dog. Anyway. This time we get a recap page full of straight-up lies.

Shot 1 is actually them sending back the time machine, from last issue, sort of ruining the “last son” thing they were aiming for. Why they didn’t mention, “Oh hey Al has a time machine now!” is anyone’s guess. The origin thing I can’t really debunk, the love story is mentioned here for a second and final time (and is still using panels from issue 1 because it does not exist), and I don’t know how the hell Al got credit for capturing Spike Lee when he, uh… just walked out of the room, and left a confused Frank Castle to talk with the irritated director.

Now, issue 3 of Marville is entirely different from the last two. For one, they didn’t bring in an inker on this one, and the change actually gives it a look I like. This will, of course, be tossed out in an instant when this issue ends. The second is that there are no word balloons, thought bubbles, or for that matter, anything beyond “what will make this shot look the best”, no real in-between panels for motion in here. Dialogue and actions are conveyed in the script laid on top of the images throughout the issue. It’s almost like a storyboard.

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The Marville Horror Part 1: Better Sales Through Self-Immolation

March 8th, 2009 Posted by guest article

(Gavok note: Several weeks ago on the Something Awful forum, someone started up a thread asking for people to name five comics that are effectively worse than Countdown to Final Crisis. An interesting challenge, I filled out my list by mentioning Marville. I had never actually read it, but I’ve heard such horror stories. This led to two main reactions. Some suddenly remembered the series and angrily agreed with my suggestion. Another decided to test my suggestion by seeking out the book and reading it for himself.

That would be Fletcher “Syrg” Arnett, who was astounded over what a piece of shit the book was and readily agreed that it was easily one of comic’s greatest missteps. It only seemed natural that I’d try to convince him to put his knowledge to use and do a series of guest articles about the short-lived (not short enough) series. Sit back and enjoy his descent.)

You know how in high school, you can slowly start to see people form their opinions on alcohol? There are the kids who try it out, some don’t like it and stop, others become social drinkers and learn their limits, others just leave it alone for their own reasons, so on. But sometimes you see the ones who obviously haven’t had a drop in their lives trying to talk it up like they were getting shitfaced all the time. Odds are you know the guy I mean. Always telling stories that anyone who had ever had a drink knew were blatant lies, you just nod to his face, and laughed when he left.

All right, now if you run into that kid again, I want you to show him Marville, because this book feels like a drunk wrote it. I don’t mean that it’s puke-stained or anything, but anytime it looks like something is gonna start to take shape in this (like, say, A PLOT), it all gets thrown away for another tangent, like the guy lost his train of thought and just came back with, “So then this other thing…” Over and over again.

Let’s back up a second. Marville is based on a bet between then-President of Marvel Bill Jemas, and Peter David, who was writing Captain Marvel at the time. The most details I can find on why the bet came about has something to do with self-referential writing: Jemas claimed David’s book was too insular and thus its sales were plummeting. It kicked off a promotion called “U-Decide”. Captain Marvel would be renumbered to 1 again, David would make it more accessible to people unfamiliar with the character, and it would be put up against Marville, Jemas’ entry into a competition of sales numbers. (Ron Zimmerman somehow wedged himself into this contest with Ultimate Adventures. Not a single person knows why.) In the long run, David beat out his competition handily, going on to 25 more issues after the reboot, as opposed to a combined 13 (if I’m kind… technically it would only be 12, more on this later) from his opponents.

I tell you this story because the fact that Jemas decided to enter a sales competition spawned from an inaccessible book’s failure with Marville, a series which permanently lodged its head up its own ass about a page in, is irony in a painful to read format.

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