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Saturday, January 11, 2014 

Ron Marz admits he goofed with Thor, but still won't admit he loused up on GL

Marz gave an interview to 13th Dimension, and he still remains pretty sugarcoated about his Green Lantern run. First, what does he say about Thor:
On the flip side, what work of yours would you rather nobody ever see again?

Certainly, my run on “Thor” didn’t turn out quite like I wanted it to. That’s one of my favorite characters and mythologies, and I don’t feel like I did it justice. But even so, I look back at those issues and find some things I like. Both my “Thor” and my “Silver Surfer” runs were learning experiences. I was figuring out how to do this job while I was writing monthly comics for Marvel, which I realize is a rare opportunity.
I wonder how he feels about the possibility for now that his work on GL won't be seen again at ease, if DC stopped printing trades of his work there? When I looked them up on Amazon, I found only 4 at best, and they don't seem to be in print any longer. If not, it could be a long time before they do turn up again, yet I don't get the feeling enough people care today.

Interesting he admits he never pulled off the job on Thor when he wrote it at the time, but maybe that's just because it lasted for only a year at best. On the other hand, he still doesn't seem too bothered about his GL run:
Let’s talk a little about Green Lantern. Everybody knows that nothing in comics lasts forever. But what goes on in your mind as a writer, working on something like “Emerald Twilight,” which had vast, serious consequences for the DC Universe?

You know, when that assignment was handed to me, we had to hit the ground running because the book was already behind schedule. So I didn’t really have time to think about the consequences, I just had to roll up my sleeves and get to work. That’s why the three “Emerald Twilight” issues were drawn by three different artists. They were all worked on at the same time. I still feel like the fact that we were on such a tight schedule was ultimately a good thing. We didn’t have time to wring our hands and endlessly second-guess ourselves.
Yeah, that sounds like someone who still doesn't have regrets. Too bad. And while nothing in comics may last forever, that's still no excuse for drafting up such an embarrassing story.
Following up, you set up a story that’s hard to reverse and then it indeed was reversed, in a manner of speaking. What’s that like as a creator? Fans go bananas. What about you?

Everything in superhero comics is temporary. Or maybe a better way to say it is everything in superhero comics is cyclical. I don’t think you as a creator can get too caught up in what happens on a title after you leave it. We borrow somebody else’s toys for a while and play with them. Creators are ultimately caretakers for these corporate-owned characters. The best you can hope for is to tell stories you’re proud of, and leave your mark in some way.
And some things in comics are stilted too, and not in a good way. Like when he needed to add a female co-star to replace Alexandra deWitt, and the only ones he could think of using were two established superheroines, Donna Troy and Jade. I don't see how that makes organic storytelling. It only reduces them to second fiddles, and why should they need established characters to bolster a brand new one? Furthermore, if he was really a caretaker, he sure didn't do a good job on his part. Come to think of it, neither did Kevin Dooley as the editor, nor the chief editors, for that matter. Yeah, some "caretakers" alright.

A funny thing about Marz is that, for somebody who still sounds pretty self-congratulatory about his run on GL, he's never sounded like he cares much about whatever characters he'd worked on there. Maybe it's because Kyle Rayner was, in a way, a committee creation.

His take on the severe editorial mandates at the big two is a little better, but still doesn't tell the whole story:
What’s the worst thing?

I think there’s less creative freedom when working on corporate characters now than there has been in the past. And I wouldn’t even say it’s the “worst” thing, it’s just a different paradigm. In a lot of ways, it’s understandable, because a lot of the characters have transformed from mere comic properties into billion-dollar, multi-media franchises. The more money at stake, the more control is going to be exerted. The doesn’t mean the job isn’t still fun, it just means you’re more likely to be telling an editorially driven story than your story. It’s about working within parameters, which is part of the job.
Well isn't that something, he's willing to admit - probably because they all but lost interest in employing him as a writer - that creative freedom has gone to pot at the corporate department. Yet he's not willing to acknowledge that, when he was working with DC, he worked under a form of mandate himself, one that decreed Hal Jordan be turned into a mass killer and that it'd be a status quo for a decade, one that still hasn't been fully repaired.

And he doesn't have a full grasp on the real situation at hand. Have the corporations like Time Warner and Disney given a damn about how the editors/publishers in charge of the comics have gone about their business so poorly, either tarnishing the heroes as seen in Identity Crisis and Avengers: Disassembed, among other scrap piles, or even just telling stories that are otherwise unappealing to wider audiences? No, they haven't, and if they did, we wouldn't see all this weird, pointless "experimentation" running rampant while being defended by shameless publishers.

Is there money at stake? Only in how the movies are crafted, not the comics per se, though I will say that if some modern comics stories are being scripted just so that the screenwriters have something to go by, that's a pretty laughable way to handle things, and we've already seen how far the Jonah Hex and GL movies got with that. But control over the comics by editors, yes, there is that. It's just not for the reasons Marz thinks. It's only because today, we've got some juvenile headcases running the companies, dictating what only they think makes the best stories for superhero and adventure comics. Not many businesses owned by conglomerates undergo as much neglect as comics companies do.

Update: Marz even gave an interview to ComicBook about his work on Witchblade where he said:
ComicBook.com: It definitely feels like you set a status quo in the first issue only to set it on fire this month. Is that a fair assessment?

Ron Marz: The nature of drama is change. We established Sara’s new life, and new surroundings, and then turned it upside down. My job is to make people care about the characters … and then do terrible things to them.
That's what he did with Alexandra deWitt, and at the time, it was in very poor taste. Even if he's not making the same mistakes with Sara Pezzini, the way he makes that remark is still very awkward.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I do not know if I'll ever be as good as him, but I do my best.
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