Friday, December 17, 2004

It's a Christmas/ Superman-related miracle!

In twenty years of comic fandom, I have never written in to a comic publisher before. But just this last week I sat down and wrote to DC Comics. Why?

Action Comics, DC's oldest comic still in print, and the home of Superman, was being written by Chuck Austen. Austen had written a semi-successful miniseries with Metropolis as a background last year, but it hadn't been my favorite series. I loved the art, but, truthfully, the story was meandering and unstructured.

When the Superman comics relaunched several months ago, Chuck Austen was given Action Comics. I knew from internet trolls complaining about Austen's run on X-Men that he could be a controversial figure, but I wasn't really clear on WHY so many readers didn't like his work.

As Austen's run on Action neared, interviews with the writer showed up online and Austen publicly stated that he didn't think Superman was interesting. Nor did he feel overly excited to be writing the comic. He found Lois Lane boring, and thought Superman should be more "proactive" or something along those lines.

When the comics started showing up, they were the action packed comics Austen ahd promised, but no single issue contained the hint of a coherent story. Ivan Reis had taken over art chores, and the guy does incredible work. But Austen seemed to be flailing through a backlog of Superman villains and supporting characters. Plotlines were being introduced and never carried out, villains appeared but failed to ever reappear in order to complete a storyline.

Further, Superman just didn't act like Superman. Some folks say he was acting more as if Austen were writing Spider-Man, but I didn't see it. I felt Austen was trying to interject humor into the Superman comics and simply wasn't very good at writing comics that way. Also, Superman would loudly declare superlatives such as "I am the best!" Uh-huh.

The whole thing had simply an awful sense of mismanagement about it, and Suprman fans were staying away in droves.

At any rate, yesterday DC Comics announced Austen is now off of Action Comics. The comic, which has been published since 1938, should be treated as a flagship comic, drawing the industry's best and brightest. And I think DC went into their agreement with Austen believing he would deliver a comic he proved himself incapable of producing.

The odd part of the entire deal is this: the new writer on the comic is JD Finn. Nobody has ever heard of JD Finn before. Nobody. It is assumed JD Finn is a pen name of some sort for an established writer as new writers usually aren't handed the reigns on a franchise book like Action Comics. I'm looking forward to seeing what the true story is and how "JD Finn" ties up Austen's confusing and ill-devies plot threads.

You read up on the Austen leaving Action Comics here.

Meanwhile, I totally encourage readers to pick up "Adventures of Superman" by Greg Rucka and Matthew Clark. Also, Azzarello and Lee's "Superman" is still holding my itnerest.

Oh, ANd David Goyer is making a move to take The Flash to the big screen.

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