Tags Matching: Sandman

Jim Will Always Be Jim

Let’s forget for a moment that none of us can afford this. Let’s also ignore the fact that there is nothing remarkable enough about it to justify the asking price. Put that in the back of your mind.

Instead, let’s discuss the value of knowing your role versus the need to expand beyond it. We can all agree it would be unreasonable for Shaq to wake up one day and insist on playing forward. Or for Tom Brady to suddenly feel compelled to play defensive tackle. Being good at one thing isn’t a cause for shame, it’s a necessity. This isn’t Dungeons & Dragons where there is tangible benefit to being “well-rounded”. This is the real world where being freakin’ awesome at ONLY one thing will get you millions of dollars and a model for a wife. With that in mind, do I praise this Jim Lee vision of Death from the Sandman series? He has made Death a Jim Lee creation. This doesn’t look a thing like the original character. If we stripped the ankh off of her, I would just assume this was Deathblow’s girlfriend or some shit.

Is it a crime to have your own style and never expand on it? Is it wrong to pass over continuity for the same of your own visual consistency? I don’t know. But it’s worked for Jim and a number of other 90s creators who are always in demand. My commissions aren’t selling for 3k, so I’d probably defer to Mr. Lee on this one.

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When Tigers Fight

So (further) verdict came down the other day and it seems that Neil Gaiman is entitled to royalties from use of characters he created for Todd McFarlane’s Spawn book and their subsequent (in the court’s view) renaming and continued use by Todd. This isn’t good for Todd because that millionaire’s company is struggling with bankruptcy as result of the “Tony Twist” case. I’m not a Spawn reader or a lawyer specializing in intellectual property, so instead of speaking on matters I don’t fully understand, I thought I’d give our readers the heads-up on auctions for some books from the key players in this thing.

For most of my youth Neil had the same sort of following Anne Rice is plagued with. You knew he was a good writer, but you didn’t want to be “into” him, you know? Cerebus was for the artier-than-thou kids who pretended they understood it, manga was for the spazzes, and Neil’s Sandman series was for the mopey loners. As it turned out, the series was great. But for my money, I thought this spin-off limited series was a creative high-point for the writer.

Here’s the issue that started the protracted legal dispute. Neil came up with some characters, Todd eventually didn’t want to pay, so he made characters that are nearly identical. I’m not picking sides here, but I thought creating nearly identical characters is central to comics? Regardless, I’m gonna be straight-up about this: Why anyone, even if money was at stake, would want to claim ownership of these characters is beyond me. I didn’t like Spawn when it came out, and I don’t like it today. I respect anyone who commits themselves to world-building and runs with it, but man, the Spawn universe is a world I could do without. Mercenaries, hellspawns, evil clowns… I know that probably sounds like fun to a lot of people, but it was entirely too Juggalo for my tastes. That said, Todd has made comics history a few times. Here’s another example, though it may not be history he cares to revisit.

What does Erik Larsen have to do with any of this, you ask? Well, Erik was the head of Image when the initial ruling against Todd came down (2002, maybe?). So this whole thing probably has some residual sting for him, but moreover, he’s an outspoken dude who didn’t shy from comment on the subject, then and now. His Savage Dragon book didn’t keep my interest long, but I’ve recently revisited it and while I’m still not a regular reader, his commitment to the book impresses me. I think he’s going for a Dave Sim longest-single-person-narrative-in-human-history sort of thing. This issue was apparently during Obama’s town hall meeting tour of comicland, because he was in every damn book for about two months.

And here’s an issue of Marvelman, er, Miracleman. Why do I include this? Wikipedia it. A lot of this Neil/Todd beef has overlap with the incredibly complex ownership entanglement over this British property Neil used to work on. Marvel Comics says it owns it now (that’s their reward for bankrolling Neil’s lawsuit… read the wikipedia entry), but who’s to say? If they told me Dr. Dre had majority shares in it, I would believe it at this point. Maybe I own it. I chose an Alan Moore issue of the book because I liked the insane asking price; Neil’s work came later.

If you want to watch professionals take shots at each other in a public forum, I urge you to follow as many of those involved as you can on Twitter. It’s like pro-wrestling but just slightly more literary.

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Late 60s/1970s Sandman: A Fashion Don’t.

Sandman, Sandman. What were you thinking?

This was NEVER a good look for you.

I know you were trying to step your game up by moving away from the street level, Spider Man attention getting crimes and into the upper echelon of villainy by going up against the Fantastic Four and the Hulk, and I know the whole deal with the suit was that it was supposed to boost your powers, but really man, who’s gonna take you seriously when your costume makes you look like a leaky ant farm?

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Happy Prezident’s Day.

It’s President’s day, and what better way to celebrate than by reading the adventures of a young, idealistic President voted in by an unprecedented out pouring of young voter support, trying to reign in the big businesses that got him elected?

No, don’t go reading the news, that’s just gonna bum you out.

I’m talking about the 4 issue DC series Prez, where an teenager manages to get elected President, then proceeds to fight corporate interests led by Boss Smiley, who basically has a flesh colored smiley face button for a head…

Definitely a weird comic. I mean it had equal parts satire and whimsy, but mostly it was really freakin’ weird. The character has showed up a handful of times since the abrupt cancellation of the series, most notably when Neil Gaiman pulled the character out of mothballs for a hot minute during his Sandman run. But even with the general weirdness of the Sandman series attached, that story still wasn’t as weird as some of the stuff in the original 4 issues… his FBI chief was an Indian who lived in a tee-pee in the woods with a crew of animals that included a gorilla and an elephant, and issue 4 had legless vampires. Seriously.

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