Swimmin’ pools, TV stars

February 18, 2006

The last couple of weeks of insight into Marvel’s fascinating diversity policies have left me with an unhealthy interest in the Joe Fridays column at Newsarama.

What’s on tap this week? Oddly enough, it starts off with Newsarama asking essentially the same questions about terrorists as they asked about gays last week:

“That said then, would or did Marvel ever consider a project where the threat of Al Queda is handled so directly?”

And would it have to be a MAX series?

There’s also some discussion of just why some fans might roll their eyes when Marvel makes a big deal about hiring a writer from another medium like television or film. Quesada dons protective gear for a bit of spelunking into the mind of the disgruntled fanboy:

“So, recently I’ve seen this trend of guys coming from the ocean and into our pond and suddenly fans are getting testy about it. Okay, I understand, they feel like we’re being invaded unfairly in some way or perhaps these guys somehow have not paid their dues or their debt to the comic’s society – which I’ve never understood because talent is talent. Perhaps some of these fans have aspirations to become comic writers one day and they see this as hurting their chances. Well, if that’s the case then that’s just silly and selfish.

“So, here’s all I ask folks to think about before jumping on these new talents, regardless of who they work for. Why are they doing it? Every one of these Hollywood writers – I’m using the term ‘Hollywood’ here as a general catch all for movies, TV and novels – can make infinitely more money doing something else. The week that they spend writing an issue of Wolverine is a week they can spend writing a script for TV, etc. and get paid so much more than comics. So, why, why dabble in this small pond? Could it be that these particular talents have an insatiable love for comics? I mean I could see fans being skeptical if there was more money in comics than in Hollywood, then I could at least buy into the logic that, hey, these people are only coming to comics for the money! But, that’s not the case. Guys like Whedon, Meltzer, Stracznyski, Heinberg, Lindelof, Verheiden etc. are doing it because they love comics and they love the characters and they love the universes. What more can you ask from a creator than love for this medium that we all in turn love as well. Not only that, these guys come to comics in complete awe of guys like Bendis and Johns and Millar. Now, why you would be in awe of Millar is a whole other thing, but you catch my drift. So, they’re taking a pay cut to work in a smaller field and they have complete reverence for those that came before and the characters and universe, why are we giving them a hard time?”

Oh, where, where, where to start? It’s like the platonic ideal of self-serving spin.

  1. “They’re just jealous.” I’m trying to picture the individual who might actually think, “Damnit! They hired that scriptwriter from 24! Now they’ll never buy my pitch for an Iron Man/Punisher mini! Stupid carpetbaggers!”
  2. “We should be grateful.” See, this is a bit closer to the cause of the eye-rolling, I think. Usually, it’s just an undercurrent of low self-esteem when Marvel announces a Hollywood hire. This time, it’s stripped nekkid. “These good people are sacrificing money and prestige to work with us, because they love Wolverine.” Think about that for just a minute.
  3. “Not only that, these guys come to comics in complete awe of guys like Bendis and Johns and Millar.” And isn’t that just what super-hero comics need?