Hal Pictures Green Lantern Butt's FOREVER!: Whither JMS?

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Whither JMS?

As you've probably already read, J. Michael Straczynski is going to be quitting both the Superman and Wonder Woman books, which were lauched under his name with a fair amount of hoopla, and instead concentrate on a Superman: Earth One book. A number of people have covered this news, and with far greater accuracy and insight than I can offer. The gist of the thing however, is that JMS, (I refuse to keep typing out Straczynski!) has decided that monthly books are for the birds, and that trades are where it is at.

This news does not bother me in the least. While JMS can be a decent writer...in the same way that Judd Winick CAN be a decent writer, it is only when he wants to be. I do believe that he's actually a television writer, and not a REAL comic book writer. And therein lies the problem, as I see it. DC and Marvel each seem to hunger for a certain feeling of legitimacy, and keep trying to land REAL writers, as opposed to people who actually know how to write comic books. Joss Whedon is pretty decent, but slow. Jody Picault was a disaster. Weinberg was ok, JMS has his moments, and I'm sure that there are a ton more that I'm forgetting off of the top of my head, but somehow these little experiments never seem to pan out. Yes, they are REAL writers, in that they write for a larger audience tha comics provide...but that doesn't mean that they are necessarily as good when they try to switch genres.

It takes skill to write a comic book, and a certain mindset. The premise is that they are monthly...or at least supposed to be, with a certain amount of action and plot jammed into twenty or twenty-two pages or so, with a nice opening, and a decent cliffhanger at the end, to entice the reader to come back next month. As a superhero comic fan, there is a certain suspension of disbelief that is required, and lord knows that there can be some incredibly silly elements thrown in for good measure.

But please, don't disrespect comics as a medium. If you aren't capable of the work load, then don't say that you are, and then quit in the middle of a run. It isn't very professional for one thing. It's damned annoying for another.

On the other hand, I'm a bit giddy at the prospect of getting the REAL Superman back from his Pity Parade across America, not to mention getting the REAL Wonder Woman back. I'm hoping that she'll just wake up, and it will all be a dream or something.


So now other writers have to step in and clean up the mess. And apparently it is quite the mess, there are barely any notes, much less any completed storylines. Again, this strikes me as being unprofessional. So...enough with the Big Names from the Real World. Let's stick to people to actually love comics and know how to write them. Surely there are undiscovered but excellent writers out there, for whom writing a comic book isn't just a vanity project.

Man, I'm cranky today!


At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Far from being pleased with what JMS is doing I can't see where you are getting that there are no notes and it's a huge mess for other writers to clean up? The article linked below makes it clear that there are detailed notes for both the Superman and Wonder Woman arcs and he will be workiing with the writers who are writing the scripts based on his outlines.


At 1:39 PM, Blogger Saranga said...

hell yes!

At 2:01 PM, Blogger SallyP said...

That's not what I read, Anonymous. There are SOME notes, but certainly not the whole story laid out.

On the other hand, I don't really care. I just want whomever takes over, to do it right this time. Abandonig your job in the middle stinks...even if I'm not that enamoured of the plotlines.

At 6:43 PM, Blogger IADW said...

I was shocked at the drop mid-run too. It kind of reminded me of the reboot of Wildstorm lead by Grant Morrison.

Hopefully fans get behind the writers who have been called to step in, and who knows either could go on to have really great runs on either character.

At 7:39 PM, Blogger notintheface said...

I did a song dedication to JMS on my blog.

At 8:41 PM, Anonymous AE said...


At 3:00 AM, Blogger James Ashelford said...

So long as Grounded isn't taken over by the woman (I think it was a woman, her first name was an initial and her middle name was Willow, so a shrewd enough guess) who did the Lois Lane interlude and gave comics' most accomplished woman feminist guilts.

I think the answer to the bigger problem is to still have these "proper" writers for the audience grba but give them their own little sandboxes to play in like Marvel did with Whedon on Astonishing X-Men.

At 8:38 AM, Blogger MetFanMac said...

May I remind you of a certain man named John Rogers, who wrote the best superhero run I've read over the past 5 years?

At 1:01 PM, Blogger SallyP said...

Mac, I think that John Rogers must prove the exception to the rule, because his Blue Beetle was stunning. You will also notice however, that he didn't walk off in the middle of the run. He wrote it every month, and he brought the story to a cohesive and brilliant ending. He knew how to tell a monthly story, and he told it very very well.

Which just goes to show that it CAN be done. But you have to want to do it, as opposed to using it as a vanity project, or being distracted by the next shiny thing.

And James, Joss Whedon did do quite well with Astonishing X-Men, at least at first. And then it started getting later and later and later, and took months and months to finally finish, which is also a pain in the kazoo.

At 1:15 PM, Blogger notintheface said...

FYI, John Rogers co-created the Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle. His run on that title represented everything right with superhero comics.

At 2:00 PM, Blogger James Ashelford said...

Don't get me wrong about the delays with Astonishing, I found those as annoying as all get out I just mean that since it was a side-series it had the leeway to be late while the proper comics authors got on with the business of writing the core ongoings.

At 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is actually the first I've heard of this, and I'm cheering. JMS's Superman was to me at least not radically out of character in the moments, but the feel of Superman was missing. I've said before, I have no idea who this character is that JMS is calling Wonder Woman. I'll be glad to see Diana back in publication.

-- Jack of Spades


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