Comic Fodder

DC (Delicious Comic) Turkeys

It's Thanksgiving weekend, and for me that equates to watching the Macy's Parade so I can catch a glimpse of the Rockettes, a traditional meal with the family, and then a lot of napping with the dull roar of football (both college and NFL) in the background. I don't tend to get many opportunities to sneak away and read comics until at least Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, and I doubt this year will be much different.

Speaking for Comic Fodder, I'm going to wish every a very Happy Thanksgiving. And I'm also going to keep it short.

Turkey isn't just a delicious bird, or the fuel which will secretly get me through Thanksgiving. It also describes something that's gone terribly, terribly wrong.

And every once in a while, that's what happens in the comic industry. Editors and creators with the best of intentions cook up an idea and, for whatever reason, it just doesn't pan out.

Amazons Attack and the first 30-odd issues of Supergirl:

This mini-series/ cross-over event came out on the heels of 52 and was intended to feed "Countdown", and already its been as swept under the rug as one could imagine. DC Editorial stacked the deck with a full rosted of both JLA and JSA participants in an event which relied 100% on readers either having no knowledge of Wonder Woman comics, or else hoping that the readership was so dulled by the misfire of One Year Later that they wouldn't notice every single character (from Hippolyta to Batman) in the series acting completely out of character given 20 years of continuity.

The art was very neat, and I suspect that's as far ahead as anyone thought. Yes, Pete Woods is a great artist, and it WOULD be cool to see mythical beasts tearing up a major metropolitan city, but there were probably at least two dozen ways they could have cooked up a storyline in which that happened that didn't require upending the Wonder Woman titles and the worst deus ex machina ending in the history of mini-series. (The story implications of making all the Amazons amnesiac haus-frau are almost as bad as what it says about editorial.)

One of the oddest and gravest mistakes took place in either the mini or the Supergirl title (I don't even remember anymore), when Supergirl and Wondergirl DOWNED AIR FORCE ONE. Look, I'm no genius of national security, but after you DOWN AIR FORCE ONE there aren't a lot of options left for you that don't end with some shadowy government agent putting a kryptonite cap in your @$$.

I have no idea what DC was thinking, and they sure as heck missed an opportunity for story material which could have made such an act a turning point for the character where she has to get her act together or simply be labeled a villain (which seemed like the logical extension and where I thought they were going). Unfortunately, nobody at DC apparently thought things through to that degree.

Since that time, DC has placed Gail Simone on the Wonder Woman titles in order to clean up their mess and given Supergirl over to Geoff Johns protege Sterling Gates. But, hoo-boy. Over the months of Amazons Attack I went from dismay to laughing in disbelief at the utter badness of the series. Unfortunately, these events do leave ripples in the DCU that can take years to tidy up.

Countdown (to Final Crisis) and the onslaught of Countdown mini's:

At this point, Countdown is felt to be so utterly disjointed and unreadable, many DC readers consider the series to have taken place outside of continuity. I don't, as there are simply too many things to consider, but that doesn't mean the series was worth the cost the staples that held the pages together.

Seeing dollar signs on the tail end of 52, Didio ignored Morrison's request that The New Gods go off the DCU map for a good, long while so he could lead up to 'Final Crisis" without worrying about continuity issues. Instead, Didio bought into the "52" weekly buzz, and unable to pull together his "52" crew or any of DC's name writers, put his Yes-Men squad on a series which had no blue-print or plan. But it did have shiny marketing posters promising us a search for Ray Palmer, Jimmy Olsen would be threatened by the Joker (which lasted one issue. One.), Darkseid would be a problem, and DC would pretty much irreparably damage Mary Marvel.

Oh, and we'd get the "buddy criminal" fugtive story, which nobody knew how to end, so they wrapped it up early by needlessly killing off a viable character in the most grotesque manner they could dream up.

To add to the fun, DC simultaneously ran multiple "Countdown" mini's that went absolutely nowhere. "Salvation Run" seemed to be pointing toward something actually happening in the DCU with the villains, but instead fizzled out within the first few issues, and wimped out entirely on items like the death of Grodd or any lasting impact. It's fairly certain the series will never be mentioned again. Ever. Starlin's embarrassing take on Kirby's "Fourth World" characters in "Death of the New Gods" demonstrated a complete misunderstanding of the Fourth World, and created some seriously bizarre contradictions as to what was going on between Countdown, Death of the New Gods and Final Crisis. All released within a few weeks. This, of course, created a Fanboy Furor, which didn't really calm down until Morrison went public, telling the audience to please ignore "Death of the New Gods" and "Countdown".

Countdown seemed aimless and floundering, with occasional bursts of hope for the readers who thought maybe there was a point to all this. But by week 40, it became pretty clear that Countdown was just going cross the finish line wheezing, coughing, and refusing to finish the marathon with anything resembling dignity.

Add in a bunch of mini's nobody was really crying for (Lord Extreme Havok or whatever it was called), and the "brand" of Countdown became not just diluted, but toxic.

All in all, it was an utter trainwreck, and its only because Didio's bosses don't actually read either the comics he prints or the internets upon which he relies that the man still has a job. Any other producer or publisher would have been shown the door.

Crisis on Infinite Earths and the fall-out thereof

Oh, boo-hoo! Whatever, fanboy. I hear you. You sure liked Crisis when you read it back in the 1980's, and how could anyone ever say something bad about Crisis?

Well, I suggest you go back and read the thing. Or, better yet, try to get any of your friends who don't spend 20+ hours per week on the DCU to read the comic from cover to cover.

Bloated, messy, lacking in anything resembling a coherent structure, mistaking unending fight scenes for cliff-hangers and providing a real downer of an ending, Crisis is unmistakably one of the best drawn comics you can have, but it makes no sense.

Moreover, because DC refused to show any top-down editorial leadership post-Crisis, the DCU's continuity became so horrendously muddy that by 2006, they had to explain the inconsistencies away with another Crisis, and that Superboy Prime was "punching the walls of reality".

Fans feel nostalgic for Crisis, which debuted just after I became a comic collector, but which I did not read until around 2000. By current standards, the book simply doesn't hold up very well outside from the art, and the sea-change at DC left many creators miserable misanthropes decades later as they saw their work brushed aside with a whole new DCU. Many tried to force old continuity back into place, and other books such as Superman turned into an endless match game of "how can we use pre-Crisis elements, such as Supergirl, but keep the rules we defined post-Crisis?", which, of course, satisfied nobody.

Really, there were so many ripple-effects and had so many fa-reaching unintended negative consequences, I may declare COIE a Turducken.

So what's your favorite Turkey, DC or otherwise?

What do you feel was a mega-bomb dropped upon an unsuspecting comic reading populace?

Superman: For Tomorrow?
Broken Bat?

What have you got?

Questions? Comments? Hate mail?

Come on, I can take it.


Ryan is an Op/Ed columnist for Comic Fodder. He keeps his comics and himself in Austin, Texas where he manages the long running blog League of Melbotis.

He likes Superman.

You can reach Ryan (aka: The League) at

I was with you up until COIE. Do not taint my childhood memories with your blasphemy.

-- Posted by: Simon MacDonald at December 1, 2008 8:48 PM

I second Simon's motion! COIE must not be insulted, or we will ret-con your (censored).


-- Posted by: tpull at December 2, 2008 12:48 AM

I throw down the gauntlet.

I challenge each of you to get (1) a significant other, and (2) a non-comic reading friend to read COIE cover-to-cover. (I've subjected my wife, brother-in-law, and other friends to COIE. None gave it a positive review.)

And no matter what, you have to admit, DC spent a lot of time and effort fixing all the problems they didn't catch with COIE right up til IC.

-- Posted by: Ryan at December 3, 2008 12:12 AM