(Soundtrack: The Smiths — Meat is Murder)

***now with new materials…scroll down until you see stars***

1.Eric Olsen links to (and excerpts from) a PETA interview with Morrissey

best moment: “Nobody can come up with a good argument for eating animals – nobody can.

Eric and his commenters then attempt to do the impossible.

2. Over at The Basement Tapes, Fra/Cas laud a Grant Morrison intro. to a Mark Waid Flash TPB from the late nineties for its “everything old is true again” value–but the thing that strikes me about this quotation:

When Mark Waid took
over writing THE FLASH, Wally West was one more ‘realistic’ jerk in a
field obsessed, since the mid-80’s, by rapists, serial killers and
tormented, unshaven ‘heroes’ doing tormented, unshaven, repetitive

is how poorly it suits the event which occasioned its utterance… I mean, was it just that Morrison wanted to say these things, and this was the only opportunity that he got? What other explanation could there be? Bill Messner-Loebs’ Flash was a bit of a jerk, of course, but he sure as hell wasn’t a “grim, gritty” jerk… Superhero comics make strange bedfellows, and I can see why, given the situation at the time (and now, I suppose), Morrison might want to ally himself, in the name of “fun”, with the Mark Waids of this world…but the thing is–Mark Waid isn’t fun! (not for me, anyway)… And the even worse thing is that Messner-Loebs was! This is the guy who brought back Rex The Wonder Dog for God’s Sake!

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And it was smart, emotionally-engrossing fun too… I haven’t read much of Waid’s run on Flash–but I saw enough! Hey (30 year old) kids! Back to square-jawed heroism! And here’s the ghost of Barry Allen to show you the way (and kick your ass if you step outta line…yeah, yeah, it wasn’t really Barry Allen–but, for all (of Waid’s) intents and purposes, it was… if I had actually been reading comics at the time, I would’ve been far more disturbed by this Silver Age-revenant thing than I had been a few years earlier, when I noticed that a new Punisher mag was coming out every week…) The problem now is that the “grim revisionism vs. iconic fun” (see Identity Crisis vs. New Frontier) binary has so successfully taken superhero discourse hostage that a writer like Messner-Loebs (or Roger Stern) gets lost in the shuffle…and that’s grotesque! I guess I should just be thankful that Morrison has survived–but it’s a shame that he was forced to feed Loebs to the lyin’ in the process!


If you have money, please give some to Bill Messner-Loebs! (or, better yet, bombard DC with demands that he be reinstated forthwith) (see Greg M.’s comment below)

also in the comments–Cole Odell discusses Mike Baron’s Flash, which was, indeed, somewhat gritty, in a good way (his Vandal Savage was particularly nasty), but let’s not forget that it also featured moments like this (p.s.: oops! Loebs wrote this issue too…but trust me, Baron created those three crimson cut-ups, and he had fun with them too!):

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oh yeah–and Greg Burgas (who should really get on the Simply Comics Update Thing) discusses Stern & Romita JR’s classic ASM #229-230the Juggernaut story… I love that spider-period–although these particular issues don’t interest me nearly as much as the return of Mary Jane, in the mid-240s!

Also! Scott Tipton, a very brave man, makes the following assertion, during the course of his Firestorm chat: “Gerry Conway, ladies and gentlemen: the smartest man in comics? In 1980, I’d have to say yes.”

Good Day Friends!



  1. Messner-Loebs’ version of Wally West came on the heels of Mike Baron’s, which relaunched the Flash book after Crisis. Baron’s version was closer to what Morrison seems to be talking about; under Baron, Wally *was* an utter jerk; self-centered, demanding payment for his services, treating women terribly–and it was great comics. It made perfect sense that Wally might act that way, essentially running away from the rigid, unattainable moral code of Barry Allen and the Silver Age in the wake of Barry’s death.

    Messner-Loebs softened and deepened Wally’s character, making far more use of his estranged parents, reintroducing some characters from the old Flash series and growing him up considerably. This set the stage for Waid to bring Wally full circle back to an essentially generic, square-jawed dogooder. Waid adopted the tone of the Superman Family of the 1960s, eliminating nearly all of the non-super-powered supporting characters and restoring a Silver Age-style, self-satisfied “decency”. Taken overall, it was an interesting, plausible character arc; unfortunately, it was in the direction of making the comic utterly boring.

    You’re absolutely right that Messner-Loebs puts the lie to the absolute dichotomy between naive sunniness and sadistic gloom that has grown up lately. Geoff Johns tries to mix the two in the current Flash, I think, and occasionally comes close.

    Cole Odell

  2. Greg–you’re right, I should’ve mentioned this (even though I’m certainly not in any position to help–I’ve got ten dollars left and payday is two weeks away…and I haven’t even read We3 #3 yet!) but I just figured that enough people with wider readerships had already gotten the word out about B M-L’s troubles…

    Cole–I wish you had a weblog!

    I agree that Baron’s run was excellent too (and even Baron mixed up the “grittiness” with inspired fun stuff like the Chunk and “Kapitalist Kourier”) and yeah, I can see the logic behind Waid’s decisions, even if I don’t like ’em… I don’t certainly don’t think Waid is stupid–I’m one of the biggest fans in the world of his editorial reign on Secret Origins… (and I’m gonna address your very interesting thoughts on New Frontier as soon as possible!)


  3. Have you read M-L’s run on the !mpact Jaguar? It strikes me as being the sort of thing you might like — the protagonist was a female Catholic college freshman foreign exchange student, yeesh. Straightforward all-ages action adventure with a gentle touch, totally out of step with its peers in the hypertrophied, scowling DeathMetalBloodForce early ’90s.

    Greg M.

  4. I haven’t Greg–the period between 1991 & 2003 constitutes my “comics dark age” (although it was pretty great on most other fronts!)… I suspect that I will never quite get up to speed either (at least as far as superhero comics go…you can’t do the “corporate universe” thing half-assed), but I’m trying! And The Jaguar does sound good!


  5. Well, opinions are split on the !mpact line — personally I view it as a doomed noble effort in a hostile marketplace, although there are plenty of others who will tell you “juvenile crap.”

    Do you give out your mailing address? I have something like the first dozen issues of Jaguar gleaned out of quarter and dime bins. I’d be happy to send them to you if you’re interested.

    Greg M.

  6. Greg–man that’s a great offer!

    here it is:

    David Fiore

    129 Highland c-2

    East Lansing, MI


    and thanks alot!


  7. Don’t worry, Dave, I think those years represent everyone’s comics dark age, even those of us who tried to keep reading them.

    -Dan J

  8. David: Thanks for the advice — and the link. My next comics “criticism” (if I can be so bold as to call them that) will be about the first part of the Hobgoblin saga (238-251). Those might be my favorite issues of Spidey around.


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