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Saturday, March 17, 2018 

Some words of wisdom from Jim Zub for a change

Here's something sensible Zub's had to say about screenwriters who want to interlope on comicdom for all the wrong reasons:

This is just the argument that should've been delivered to J. Michael Straczynski when he first got tasked with writing Spider-Man in 2001. And Garth Ennis, Mags Visaggio, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Reginald Hudlin, Dan Slott, Nick Spencer. And even Steve Orlando and Vita Ayala for exploiting Supergirl for their own social justice agendas. They should've stopped while they were ahead.

They're also not an excuse for making video games ostensibly better than the stories they're adapted from, and any comics stories from the 1990s written specially so developers would have something to draw from were completely unnecessary; the gamemakers should be able to conceive a plot and game all by their lonesome, simply by looking at the best material from the Golden/Silver/Bronze/Iron Ages and thinking of what could suit their new game best. Also, the publishers shouldn't restrict them in which characters and other elements they can use, because to my knowledge, when Capcom was developing Marvel vs. Capcom in 1998, they may not have been allowed to use Iron Man in the player roster, and were only permitted to use War Machine. Which is fine in itself, but it should be the choice of the gamemakers, not the publishers.

Speaking of that game, there's something else that irritates me - the final boss is Onslaught, the bizarre combination of Xavier/Magneto's brainwaves that became a sentient lifeform. I'm sure it's no accident Marvel's contributors in the late 1990s came up with such idiocy, which in hindsight did not have to be, just so they could have an idea for a character to use as the boss villain. If I were in charge and they needed a larger than life character other than Apocalypse, I would've given Capcom the green light to use Galactus (who actually was used as the boss in Marvel vs Capcom 3). Some Marvel fans today may have to look back at a game like that and figure such commercialism is just what contributed to the harm the MCU underwent in that decade.

Trouble is, there's only so many would-be comics writers today who don't go through a very good period of learning. That is, to understand what makes superheroes and other escapist fare work.

A lot of readers have already experienced the same, as both Marvel and DC foisted repellent visions upon what was supposed to be entertainment first and foremost.

He may have a ways to go before getting the hang of it, but there's a lot of lazies out there who aren't even trying. One of those is Dan Slott.

J. Michael Straczynski didn't try to find that out, and he's one of those kind of writers whose audience, if any, only cares about what he writes, and not others. That said, I don't think I've heard of him in the comics medium for at least a few years already, so he's probably washed up, as he should be.

Maybe they didn't make them for fast bucks, but Liefeld sure wasn't doing much to prove he was worth it. Millar wasn't either.

This is certainly an improvement over the last times Zub tried to play expert, suggesting he may have taken the time to ponder the mistakes he made last year, but to be sure, he's still got a lot of work to do in proving he can think for himself, and not be a drone serving the bad apples in charge of the Big Two. Only that way will he truly demonstrate some leadership and wisdom it takes to heal the medium.

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I've seen quite a few artists who are approached to draw up someone's script but almost always asking the artists to do so gratis and be paid once the book becomes a hit. In which case the proper response is to tell them to put up or shut up.

OTOH, if they're willing to create their own company, pay good artists the going rate, pay for printing and advertising, and take the financial risk, what's yer objection?

Zub was talking about dilettantes who look down on comics as inferior to film and are only slumming in the medium. But that is not Straczynski or Slott, who have invested years of their lives in writing for the medium. They are like Arnold Drake, who wrote film scripts while writing for the comics, or like Brian Vaughan and James Robinson, ditto.

All of the writers you identify are ones I would have thought you liked and are in sympathy with. Straczynski, as best as one can tell from his veiled comments, left Marvel and walked away from writing three of their top titles because he did not like the endless crossovers that required characters to act against their core personalities. Coates is writing about a small nation in uneasy tension with its neighbours and threatened by a population that used to live in its territory and wants to violently reclaim it for its own, a nation that survives by being more scientifically advanced and smarter than the nations around it. Israelis should be able to relate. And if you don't obsess about Slott's tweets and instead look at his stories, he is a good writer.

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