The Marville Horror Part 2: Take Us to Poor People!

March 9th, 2009 Posted by guest article

Article by Fletcher “Syrg” Arnett.

Note this classy cover by Greg Horn. We’ll be covering those in the next update, don’t you worry. But when we last left Marville

Ah yes. I also forgot to mention there is no love plot. There is no pining or anything. I don’t know why the hell they added that to the blurb, probably because almost nothing from the first issue is going to carry over into this one and they needed to fill space. Also space-filler: the Kingpin blurb, but we’ll get to that.

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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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The Hulk Hogan Manga: Hulkster, I Choose You, Brother!

May 25th, 2007 Posted by guest article

Gavok note: We have a special guest appearance by SDShamshel, who reviews the bad wrestling comic I won’t read for the simple fact that I can’t read it. Enjoy.

Japanese comics have always had a strong relationship with the world of professional wrestling. In its heyday, Kinnikuman was read by every young boy, and both Tiger Mask and Juushin Liger started off as manga characters before their personas were adopted for real-world squared circles. However, as great and exciting as those wrestlers may be, this article is about something greater.

Yes, that’s right. It’s Hulk Hogan THE MANGA. Published by “Special Volume Ace Five Comics,” Pro Wrestler Superstar Biographies: Hulk Hogan tracks Hogan’s life from the beginning of his career to his time in Vince McMahon, Sr.’s World Wide Wrestling Federation. The comic utilizes an interesting version of kayfabe (the wrestling term for “the fourth wall”), with events in Hogan’s life both inside and outside of the ring depicted with the utmost seriousness one expects from biographical comics about pro wrestlers.

As the comic begins, we find Hulk Hogan as the lead guitarist for a band. He flashes back to a time where as he was watching a match, a man approached him and suggested that Hogan become a wrestler. A mustache-less Hogan decided against it, and even tried to instead become a professional boxer. However, after the concert, as he’s watching a televised match between Muhammad Ali and Antonio Inoki, Hogan’s life changes forever.

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Guest Words: Civil War Revamped

February 21st, 2007 Posted by david brothers

My infinitely patient buddy Mark Poa sent me an email all the way from the Philippines about a guest article on Civil War. He points out quite a few things that Marvel could have, and should have, done differently. Check it out below!

My friend asked me: “I remember you saying in an LJ post that you were on the side of Tony Stark in Civil War. Fair enough, I think that some sort of regulation is probably required in the case of superhumans, myself. But the burning question is, how do you think this should work? The way Tony’s been doing things is certainly not the best.

Ah, I do so love comic book type hypothesis.

Why is Superhero registration necessary?
1. People with superpowers are similar to special skills. CPAs, lawyers, doctors, and other professionals are registered so that their skills can be monitored and standards could be set for their use. I see superheroes as going through this route… registering as professional superheroes.
2. Registering would mean having standards. Training, education, special tests… all to ensure that activities would be regulated and that special provisions can be made for the use of special skills.
3. It’s a failsafe in case a superhuman goes rogue. Real names are registered

What did Iron Man and the pro-regs do wrong in Civil War?
1. Antagonize Captain America. Really, between Iron Man, Antman and Mr. Fantastic vs. Captain Freaking America… I know where the heavier symbol is.
2. Make it seem like registering would mean revealing your identity… and actually forcing Peter Parker to reveal his identity. Bad move in terms of getting other heroes to join.
3. Forcing heroes to register. Which inevitably turned it into an Us vs. Them thing.

How would I approach it better?
1. Convince Captain America to support the move from the start. Address his concerns. No forcing of registrants? Check. No drafting of heroes into S.H.I.E.L.D .? Check. Get him as a spokesman. Pronto!

2. I liked She-Hulk’s Dan Slott’s attempt to explain this by having She-Hulk say that no one is forced to reveal their identity to anyone except S.H.I.E.L.D. It sounds logical. No one but your fellow heroes would have to know your identity. Also, there should be measures to address fear that the database of S.H.I.E.L.D. would be hacked. I don’t know… keep all the information in Aaron “Machine Man” Stack or something? Just assure the registering heroes that their identities would be kept safe.

On a tangent… Not that secret identities mean much in Marvel anyway. The only hero I think that had a pretty intact and decent secret identity was Spider-man and look what happened. :P

3. Highlight the benefits of registration rather than forcing people to register. Registering would mean special status in society? Okay! Special training? Okay! Clearance from police agencies and access to the S.H.I.E.L.D. resources and labs? Okay! Get them special tax privileges in exchange for registering and following the rules? Right on!

That’s how I see it anyway. Sadly, I think the Marvel U’s level of distrust would prevent formulating any kind of “win-win” situation.

What do you think, sirs?

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Round Up

October 28th, 2006 Posted by david brothers

It’s been a minute! Let’s chat.

-Did I tell you guys I’ve got One Volume Bone? I’ve got the first four colorized volumes, and I may continue to buy them, but I’ve got the big phone book now. I’m waiting before I start to read it, though I’m not entirely sure why. Anticipation?

I also scored Doom Patrol v4: Musclebound. Volume 5 is being solicited in January, and I’m hoping that Flex Mentallo trade is right around the corner!

Gavok still wants artists! Show us your funny bone and art skills!

-Stephanie Brown died in War Games, the Crossover That Blew. Her treatment was pretty shameful, and some would like to see a Robin memorial case dedicated to her. I’ve thought hard about this issue (no lie, i think about things sometimes!) and I just can’t agree. My argument, boiled down to its basics, is that “Steph wasn’t ever really Robin and she doesn’t need a Robin case.” That’s selling myself short, however.

Johanna Draper Carlson made a post on this subject a couple days ago and I ended up responding. I make an appearance in the comments thread and try to articulate why I feel that way. I really do have (what I think is) a well-thought out and reasoned point, so give it a look. I wonder if I could expand it into a better-edited post for here…

-Anyone else playing Marvel Ultimate Alliance on 360? If you’re not a jerk, add hermanos to your friends list and we can get our game on. The cast list is spectacular, Sue Storm is ridiculously good, and Deadpool is hilarious. Solid game all around and I wish I could’ve reviewed it in the magazine.

gtahgm.jpg-Speaking of the mag! HGM17 is out and about and ready for downloadin’. Our site is at Hardcore Gamer and here is the direct link to our magazine download page. Want to pay money for a print copy? Check out our subscribe page!

Go forth, my children, and make me rich read my magazine. We’ve got a dope Grand Theft Auto: Vice City cover story (complete with foil cover, no lie), a gaggle of galloping previews, some great reviews of video games due out soon, and a couple of sweet features. I think the Lost in VR feature ran this month, which dealt with VR in games. Check it out!

-More content later! I’ve got a Wildstorm post half done for you and those guest articles I promised before my business life exploded. Stay tuned, true believers!

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4l is for… dark silhouettes.

October 9th, 2006 Posted by david brothers

No, seriously. This can’t just be me.

I love outlines. I think that they’re an awesome storytelling trick. I am not a huge Superman fan, but one way to get me interested in a scene featuring him is to put him in all black with only his glowing red eyes or chest emblem visible. The chest emblem makes no sense on a lighting level, yes. I know. I was going to go to art school before I realized that I was good at words, not pictures.

But, isn’t it cool?

This spread is from Ed McGuinness, JLA Classified #2, I believe. The JLA are out in our world, the real world, and have been trying to maintain the status quo. They get info from the new Squire that things have gone bad on DC-Earth. What does the JLA do?

They use a boom tube to get back to their universe.

I love it.

I don’t know why Aquaman is back there, though. You can tell that Ed McG had an awesome scene in mind until he realized, “Oh, wait… Aquaman has to be in here, too! :argh:”

I am still crazy-go-nuts swamped with work. I’ll deliver you guys some content by the weekend, I promise. Tomorrow, all things being equal, we’ll have a guest article, or perhaps a guest reprint up from my old buddy Mark Poa. Stay tuned, true believers!

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Out of the Past

August 17th, 2006 Posted by david brothers

I’m not dead!

I’ve basically been grinding for the last week on a game for work. Check out Games Radar this weekendish for my Dead Rising guide. I had one short short deadline, so I went Quick ‘n’ Dirty with it. It’ll get you through the game and show you the highlights. Getting 100% is up to you.

Now that I’ve got this bear off my back (though I have another arriving in the mail later today! hooray for getting paid to play games!) I can get back to my labor of love: comics!

What happened while I was busy? Looks like Marvel let Civil War slip hard, pushing the ending back to Feb 07 at the earliest. Mark Millar says it’s McNiven’s fault and that he only had a few weeks lead time.

“So, what?” say the fans. “Why didn’t you launch later?”

Tom Brevoort gives an interview about it and says this interesting piece:

The whole infrastructure of comic book retailing is changing, and I think what you’re starting to see is the beginning of the movement away from a monthly magazine publishing model over to something more akin to a book publishing model. This is very distressing to a lot of people who’ve grown up with the monthly model as a bedrock concept. But ever since we retreated almost wholly to the Direct Market in terms of the basic comic book product, there’s no compelling reason for the monthly release schedule outside of the need for retailers to have a predictable cash-flow that allows them to keep their doors open.

Insult or nugget of truth? Probably both! I’d have no problem with Marvel switching to trades only, with multiple teams releasing multiple books staggered so that you get a new 128-144 page story every couple of months. It’d effectively kill megacrossovers, but you could still do event comics.

Make the comics industry behave like a real publishing industry and we’ll be on better ground.

And what’s this? Mark Bagley is leaving Ultimate Spider-Man with #110? Bags is one of the top three Spidey artists, easy, so I’m sad to see him go. USM has always been a good looking book and he’s leaving behind some huge shoes to fill.

I’ve got two drafts in the works. First is an examination of Superboy #91 and the second is my list of Top 5 Black Women, to go along with my list of Top 5 Black Men. Also on the docket is my love of Jim Lee and the X-Men. Gavok’s off for a week, so I need to throw 4l on my back and keep up regular updates! His What If countdown, which you should be reading if you aren’t, will return when he does.

However, I recently got the final volume of Ed Brubaker’s Catwoman. It’s the last book to feature Cameron Stewart on art and it’s called Catwoman: Wild Ride. Give it a look, if only because it features this classic scene from Catwoman 22 reproduced below (and without permission, I’m sorry!) with Robert Mitchum Slam Bradley. I tell you what, man, it’s the cigarette throwing what does it. Slam has style. If you like this scene, do yourself a favor and check out the rest of the series. It’s beyond excellent.

In the meantime, check out Slam going toe-to-toe with Batman and I’ll probably see you tomorrow once I get some sleep!

Catwoman 22 Cover Catwoman 22 Page 8 Catwoman 22 Page 9 Catwoman 22 Page 10
Catwoman 22 Page 13 Catwoman 22 Page 14 Catwoman 22 Page 15 Catwoman 22 Page 21 Catwoman 22 Page 22

(There’s a couple guys out there who’ve offered me guest articles… hop to it! I’d be glad to run them. Hoatzin/Rad, I’m calling you out, man. We need some Scrooge McDuck up in here! If anyone else wants to talk, the e-mail is at the top right!)

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Fanboy Masturbation: A proposal to Marvel Comics to retell Rom: Spaceknight.

January 25th, 2006 Posted by guest article

Little known fact– we take guest articles here at 4l. So, if you got something you want to harp on, explain, or just pimp out, fire off an email to 4thletter/at/gmail.com and we can get you hooked up.

Speaking of guest articles (how’s that for a segue?), we’ve got one from a guy we’ve known for a while, one A.o.D. He’s here to tell you that Rom the Spaceknight is still a viable character. Read on.
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