Pixel Scroll 5/26/16 You Got Your Scroll In My Pixel Butter

(1) CAPTAIN SPOILED. At The Mary Sue “Comics Fans Respond to Captain America’s ‘Big Secret’”.


If you read the new Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 that came out today, you already know: Steve Rogers and his mother had been recruited by HYDRA when he was a boy, and he’s apparently been a secret operative for HYDRA this whole time. Again, I say: Uh … whut?

Apparently, issue #2 will give us a better idea of what actually happened with Cap, and how he’s managed to be a HYDRA operative for this long. Naturally, fans were unnerved, and Breevoort’s already started getting emails:

“The idea of Captain America means something very primal and very strong to the people of this nation, and they have a very visceral reaction when you get to something like that,” Brevoort explains. “You want people to feel and react to your story. So far, so good.”

Sure, you want them to feel and react to your story … but what exactly do you want them to feel? A good writer knows exactly what they want to say and evoke, and it isn’t just strong feels for the sake of strong feels.

Whatever writer Nick Spencer and the folks over at Marvel are trying to evoke, Captain America fans are not having it….

Actor Chris Evans doesn’t like it either.

(2) I SCREAM YOU SCREAM. Scott Edelman enjoys a serendipitous dinner with Maria Alexander in Episode 9 of his podcast Eating the Fantastic.

During the recent StokerCon in Las Vegas, I did what I always do during conventions—slip away as often as possible to chow down and catch up with friends. One of those meals took place in old-timey ice cream parlor Serendipity 3, and was recorded (as so many convention meals will be from now on) as an episode of Eating the Fantastic.

My dinner companion this time around was Maria Alexander, whose debut novel, Mr. Wicker, won the 2014 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. But in addition to being a novelist, Maria’s also a poet, screenwriter, games writer, swordswoman, and so much more—and I attempted to explore all those facets in this episode.


Maria Alexander

Maria Alexander

(3) HERE’S MY NUMBER AND A DIME. According to The Verge, “Samsung made a Batman-inspired Galaxy S7 Edge”, though it’s only for sale in a limited number of countries.

Samsung has made a Batman-inspired smartphone … really. In true ludicrous Samsung fashion, it’s called the Galaxy S7 Edge Injustice Edition, and it features the superhero’s logo in gold on the back. The device is commemorating the third anniversary of Injustice: Gods Among Us, and it’s being produced in partnership with Warner Bros. The package appears to include a Samsung Gear VR headset, as well as a real gold-plated Batarang and a rubber phone case modeled after Batman’s armor.


(4) UNDERSTANDING THE TINGLE. “Satirical erotica author Chuck Tingle’s massive troll of conservative sci-fi fans, explained” at Vox (the megasite, no relation to VD.)

Tingle announced that if he won his category, Quinn would accept the award on his author persona’s behalf. This was undoubtedly anathema to many members of the SFF community who overlap with Gamergate; Quinn is essentially Gamergate enemy number one, and one of the women who has experienced the most harassment at the hands of angry men on the internet.

And now TheRabidPuppies.com is the latest volley in Tingle’s game. Realizing the domain was up for grabs, Tingle snapped it right up.

Tingle didn’t just seize the opportunity and the sudden spike in attention to taunt the Puppies, though; he’s using the new website to drive traffic to three of the Puppies’ most reviled enemies and their projects:

  1. Quinn’s support network for online harassment victims, Crash Override
  2. Jemisin’s acclaimed novel The Fifth Season, which is currently nominated for the Hugo for Best Novel
  3. Fantasy writer Rachel Swirsky’s crowdfunding campaign to raise money for LGBTQ health resourcesTingle’s inclusion of Swirsky is significant. Her short story, “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love,” is a surreal, jarring allegory for dealing with identity-motivated hate crime and violence. Its inclusion as a 2014 Hugo nominee was widely touted by the Sad/Rabid Puppies as being the ultimate example of how “SJWs” — the shorthand for “social justice warriors,” a derogatory term many in the “alt-right” use to refer to progressives and intersectional feminists — had invaded SFF culture.

(5) GRANDFEMMES FATALE. “Five Fantasy Grannies You Don’t Want To Fool With” at Suvudu.

Augusta Longbottom, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter

You’ve got to be a bad-ass to stand up to the Death Eaters, and Augusta Longbottom isn’t anyone’s chump. She is stern and demanding, but she isn’t heartless, as her grandson Neville eventually learns.

(6) SHORT ORDERS. At the upcoming Bonhams/Turner Classic Movies Drawn to Film auction, says a Hollywood Reporter story, “’Snow White’: Rare Concept Art of Rejected Dwarfs to Be Auctioned”.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) was Disney’s first feature-length animated film and the animators worked to give each of the seven dwarfs a distinct personality. The concept sketches (see above) include such familiar ones as Doc, Grumpy, and Dopey, and the not so surprisingly dropped dwarfs, Deafy and Baldy. Other unused dwarf names included Jumpy, Wheezy, Tubby, and Sniffy. The estimate for the sketches is $3,500-$4,500.

(7) REAL ESTATE CLICKBAIT. Every so often there’s a speculative article like this – “Macmillan Publishers weighs leaving Flatiron Building for a new HQ”. (In 2009 there was a story that an Italian investor was going to turn the building into a hotel….) By implication, if Macmillan ever gives up the space, Tor Books will be moving to a new home —

Macmillan Publishers, the sole office tenant in the Flatiron Building, is considering relocating its headquarters when its lease expires in a few years.

Should that happen, it would give the property’s owners a blank slate to work with for the first time since the building was completed more than 100 years ago.

Macmillan, parent company to publishers like St. Martin’s Press and Henry Holt & Co., has been in the iconic tower in some shape or form for about half a century. Now, it occupies all of the office space — nearly 176,000 square feet — in the roughly 180,000-square-foot building at 175 Fifth Avenue.

The publisher’s longtime broker, Leon Manoff of Colliers International, said the company is considering all options for when its lease expires in a few years, including staying put or relocating elsewhere in Manhattan to a new, 150,000-square-foot headquarters.

Andrew Porter adds, “Admittedly the office space is constrained by the unique shape of the building. Doherty’s office is in the ‘prow’ of the building, with windows on the east, west, and north. Here’s my admittedly not well-lit photo of Doherty in his office:”

Tom Doherty in Flatiron office. Photo by and (c) Andrew Porter.

Tom Doherty in Flatiron office. Photo by and (c) Andrew Porter.

(8) RAMBO INTERVIEWED. Rachel Swirsky conducts a “Silly Interview with Cat Rambo Who Plays in the MUD”.

  1. Although you write stories in other venues, you have at least two persistent worlds. One is Tabat where your novel takes place. Can you talk about the world and how it came to be?

Tabat started with a game concept. A friend was working on a MUD (a text-based multi-player game) where each administrator would create their own city, and I decided to do a seaport. One of the cool things about the game engine was that you could add tags onto room, so there were bits of description that only appeared under certain conditions, including things like time of day, season, moon phase, tide, and so forth, including things like if the player was carrying a specific object or had particular spells on them.

I went nuts with it. I built a city where you smelled fish when the tide was high and the wind was coming from the south, and where the tiles of the great Moonway shifted in color depending on whether the moon was full or lean….


  • Born May 26, 1913 – Peter Cushing
Peter Cushing

Peter Cushing


  • May 26 is World Dracula Day in honor of the publication date of Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 1897.

(11) STAR TREK TOURIST TRAP. Dave’s Geeky Ideas recommends that the vacant Houston Astrodome be repurposed as a life-sized Deep Space Nine.

Right now the folks in Houston are trying to figure out what to do with the Astrodome, which has been sitting vacant for several years. Many plans for the dome have fallen by the wayside, including this multi-use approach which I really like. I’m going to throw my esteemed hat into the ring and declare that the Astrodome be converted into Deep Space Nine.

That’s right: a mega Star Trek tourist destination in the very city where the Space Program resides. This resort would look and feel like the space station seen in the show.

This is made possible by building the central hub and encircling promenade in the middle of the field, with three bridges that connect to the existing concourse in the Astrodome. The dome’s circular shape is quite handy here!

(12) MIXED MOTIVES. Andrew Liptak recalls the nomination of Hubbard’s Black Genesis in “Gaming the System: The 1987 Hugo Awards” at Kirkus Reviews.

Following the publication of Battlefield Earth, Bridge Publications had begun to heavily promote its author. Hubbard and his publisher were pointed in the direction of a flaw in the Hugo Award voting system, particularly by Charles Platt, a science fiction author and editor. In a 1983 issue of his publication, The Patchin Review, he plastered a banner on the front page: “Vote for L. Ron Hubbard!” In his introductory editorial, he lamented that the Best Novel Hugo was “merely a measure of how personally popular a writer is among a small clique of science-fiction fans.”

He also noted that there were things that fans could do to change this: “Hubbard is no hero to the people who usually vote for Hugos. If he won, would it bring about a reformation of the Hugo system, or even its abolition? There’s only one way to find out.”

He wrote to Hubbard and the Bridge, noting that “anyone may nominate and vote. All you have to do is become a supporting member of this year’s world Science Fiction Convention. You do not have to attend the convention itself.”

Hubbard and the Bridge seem to have followed this advice, either coming to this conclusion on their own, or through Platt’s suggestion. Hubbard had established a major story contest, Writers of the Future, and had begun heavily sponsoring science fiction conventions in the mid-1980s. Writing in a fanzine, David Langford authored an essay that described the efforts of the publisher, noting that “it seemed that a large number of fans had become similarly, cumulatively bothered by the grotesque scale of the L. RON HUBBARD promotions,” during the 1987 Conspiracy Convention. The organization had begun promoting the books and sponsoring covers to get Hubbard’s name out before readers.

(13) A HAPPILY DISSATISFIED CUSTOMER. Dr. Mauser claims credit for the Three-Stage Voting (3SV) idea but feels others who have embraced it lack his human touch.

The problem, and it’s a problem common to most folks of a particular political vein, is that they’re trying to counter human behavior with Mathematics. This never works. But the other problem is that they’re ignoring the SOURCE of the data they’re feeding into their formulae — the Fans. The Fans are an incredible resource, and a solution to their problem that they are afraid to make use of, because fans are a Wild Magic, and unpredictable, and hard to control. Math is Safe, math is predictable, but math can’t tell you what is good SF (The Cold Equations notwithstanding).

Even with the Three Stage Voting idea, they’re coming at it all wrong. Some proposals involve “Negative Voting” which they want as a way of getting a gang together to knock out entries they don’t like (They do love them some of that No Award veto power!). They propose empowering the administrators to add or remove entries, or even remove individual voters they don’t like. It’s like they still don’t trust the fans to vote the “right” way. And let’s not even think about the canned Medusa’s head of their mathematical Slate Detection dream, which they swear would NEVER generate a false positive….

(14) INFLATION STOPPED. The ISS expansion isn’t going smoothly. The BBC reports, “Flexi-space room expansion suspended”.

The deployment of a new, expandable “room” on the International Space Station was suspended on Thursday when it failed to open up as expected.

Astronaut Jeff Williams began inflating the module, but controllers eventually told him to stand down after 3.5 hours of extremely slow progress.

Installed in a compact form, the vessel is supposed to stretch to 4m in length with a volume of 16 cu m.

But as Williams squirted air into the module, it stretched only a few cm.

Engineers on the ground will now review the data with a view to resuming the expansion on Friday.

The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module is a demonstrator for the type of habitats that may be used to build future orbiting labs.

(15) ABIGAIL ON APOCALYPSE. If you’re looking for a nuanced review of X-Men: Apocalypse, Abigail Nussbaum delivers.

I promise, at some point I’ll go back to writing about things that aren’t superheroes.  Though that would require Hollywood to stop blasting superhero stories at us in such close succession (I haven’t even written anything about the second season of Daredevil, though you can get a sense of the existential despair it plunged me into from the thread starting at this tweet).  Coming at the end of that barrage, it’s perhaps understandable that the third (or sixth, or eighth) X-Men movie should be met with a muted, not to say exhausted, response.  And some of the reviews have gone further and been downright brutal.  I’m here to say that both of these reactions are unearned.  X-Men: Apocalypse is by no means a great movie, and it has some serious problems.  But I still found myself enjoying it a great deal more than any other work in this genre since Deadpool.  Perhaps this is simply the relief of a superhero story that is not about grim-faced men taking themselves very seriously, and which instead tells an unabashedly silly story in a totally committed way.  Or it might be because alongside the flaws, there are also things to praise in X-Men: Apocalypse, things that hardly any other superhero works are doing right now.

(16) 1975 HUGOS. Fanac.org has posted video of the AussieCon (1975) Hugo Awards Banquet on its new YouTube channel.

AussieCon, the 33rd Worldcon, was held in Melbourne, Australia in 1975. This video includes the Hugos Awards (presented by John Bangsund), the First Fandom Award, The Gandalf Award and the Big Heart Award. Bob Silverberg, Ben Bova, Fan Guests of Honor Susan Wood and Mike Glicksohn, Rusty Hevelin and others appear. Thanks to Kathi Overton for 2016 video editing.


[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, Will R., Andrew Porter, David K.M. Klaus, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day RedWombat.]

94 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/26/16 You Got Your Scroll In My Pixel Butter

    It’s a stunt. Obviously.

    But one that goes so far against the grain of how that character has been depicted for decades that fans have reacted accordingly. Yes, it’s got people talking, but in this case, that’s not necessarily a good thing.

    Feeling the tingle.
    Embracing the tingle.
    This comment has been brought to you by the word “innuendo”.

    It’s a kitchen-sink movie; they threw *everything* in. Also, Quicksilver remains awesome.


    Arrrrrrgh, missed it. 🙁 Bloody hell, I was only searching for the perfect day for my Vampire Movie Marathon.

  3. (1) CAPTAIN SPOILED. – BrB, am having Clone Saga flashbacks. (never a good idea to dick around with *that* much of a characters backstory)

    (15) ABIGAIL ON APOCALYPSE. – enh. Ten years ago this would’ve been a good superhero movie. As it is….it’s not bad exactly, but it’s certainly not good.

  4. (1) I’m a little bewildered by the vehemence of reactions. As far as I understand, it’s obvious we don’t have any context or background for the “Hail Hydra” yet.

    Don’t we know better than to take cliffhangers at face value? Wouldn’t it make sense to, ummm, wait for the next issue and understand what’s ostensibly going on?

  5. @Standback Wouldn’t it make sense to, ummm, wait for the next issue and understand what’s ostensibly going on?

    When we can be outraged and offended today? Are you kidding? Where is the fun in that?

  6. Standback:

    Wouldn’t it make sense to,[…]


    But since when did superhero comics, or fan reaction to them, have to make sense?

  7. Wait, Peter Cushing was born on the same day as Dracula was published? Talk about being born to play Van Helsing…

  8. Today’s read — Vermilion, by Molly Tanzer

    In a fantasy Old West, a psychopomp-for-hire investigates a series of disappearances. This was a pretty good book, in some ways a modern riff on nineteenth century dime novels in the same way Tanzer’s The Pleasure Merchant was a riff on eighteenth century popular fiction. There’s a lot of ideas here, a bunch of interesting characters, and a great depiction of a truly, truly messed-up relationship. Ultimately the novel suffers from some pacing problems; for a long time it ambles along and then Everything Happens The End. Still, I’ll give it a thumbs up.

  9. Standback on May 26, 2016 at 11:27 pm said:

    (1) I’m a little bewildered by the vehemence of reactions. As far as I understand, it’s obvious we don’t have any context or background for the “Hail Hydra” yet.

    Don’t we know better than to take cliffhangers at face value? Wouldn’t it make sense to, ummm, wait for the next issue and understand what’s ostensibly going on?

    Marvel’s marketing strategy is to heavily push* the “Yes, this is real Steve and he is sincere” line. So that creates context for the cliffhanger and outrage. Also it’s a weird and extremely stupid way to market comics.

    *Sadly link contains an abomination of science auto-playng video.

  10. I’m presuming that when Steve Rogers got de-aged again his timeline got messed with, or something like that. In the Marvel universe, where Thor is now (gloriously) a woman and Sam Wilson is also Captain America and Rogers himself died, came back, aged and de-aged again, where Wolverine died but now there’s a female Wolverine AND an Old Man Logan wandering around, and there’s a whole other set of young versions of the X-Men stuck here from the past, suddenly turning Cap into a Hydra agent is hardly anything particularly out of the ordinary.

    There seems to be the view that, though everyone knows that it will turn out that he is NOT a Hydra agent, OR that his timeline will be saved (spitballing – Sam Wilson demonstrates to Cosmic Cube Girl everything that is and has been awesome about Cap and everything he stands for and she is moved to fix things, reiterating and reinforcing the awesomeness of Cap) but that this idea for a story is somehow by its very nature out of bounds. His creators were Jewish and he punched Hitler – well I’m not sure the men who helped shape modern US comics would be adverse in principal to a nicely melodramatic shock twist, and, of course, it wouldn’t be a twist if he hadn’t been the great US symbol of anti-Nazism.

    So, in essence, people are taking issue with the writer taking a creative risk with a corporate property, largely because, I think, lots of people are invested in the big screen version not to mention lots of love for the idea of a fan-fic Cap-Bucky pairing, and this spoils it for them. But honestly? There’s a fairly high chance that this story will involve Captain SJW Sam Wilson saving Steve Rogers from fascism. Might work, might not, but people shouldn’t look down their noses at the storytelling tropes of the Marvel Universe, where time and space are malleable and magic and science both drive pulp narratives and characters are reinvented every few years. These aren’t justifications for crazy twists and turns, they’re how it works. And they regularly leads to appalling car crashes, of course, which this could well turn out to be, though there’s a far greater chance it’ll just end up being forgettable.

    (The writer Nick Spencer does some funny stuff in the Ant Man ongoing and had a series about low-rent low-life villains whose name escapes me that was hilarious and clever – whether he can pull off something like this I’ve no idea.)

  11. > “Yes, this is real Steve and he is sincere”

    Ah, but which Steve? Haven’t we already established that there’s an infinite number of each superhero in an infinite number of universes, and sometimes they can cross over? Or is that just DC? I’m sure I saw all the Marvel superheroes turn into zombies not too long ago, yet somehow they continue their non-zombie existence.

    People love to freak out about changes to these characters, but somehow it seems that if you just wait long enough, some future writer will find some way to retcon any major changes out of existence if they’re too unpopular.

    Meanwhile, I’ve still got the Marvel Zombies t-shirt! 🙂

  12. Xtifir – I think they’ve ruled out alternate Caps, but ostentatiously left the door wide open for time-travel mischief or cosmic reality-altering shenanigans.

  13. I do think that Cosmic Cube girl fixing this, on Sam’s instigation, is a plausible path to fix it. The investment of people in the big screen version mentioned above is a good one.

    I remember when Superman “died” in the comics some years ago, and that was shocking. But consider if we had this Captain America plot twist then–first, people would have to have Hydra and a lot of his story explained to them. Thanks to the movies, everyone knows who the Red Skull is these days and how Hydra’s heads grew out of Nazism…

  14. This may be a thing that everybody knows, but I spotted NK Jemisin’s second Broken Stone novel Obelisk Gate pop up on Amazon UK for preorder. Since it’s there a third less expensive that Fifth Season this strikes me as a price that won’t last forever.
    Now would MidAmericon like to put the pack out so I can see if I need to buy the first?

  15. I think I should also say, I don’t think this is a BIG CHANGES EVERYTHING thing, it’ll be a discrete story with a beginning middle and end, maybe ten or twelve issue. So talking about other writers fixing it and retconning it is probably jumping way ahead. Lots of repercussions, sure, but if this hasn’t been begun with the resolution and Cap back being Cap already in the bag I’d be very surprised, largely because these things seem more writer-driven than the sort of horrific messes that went down with, say, Spider-Man. Having said that I religiously avoid any and all publisher hype about comics beyond who’s writing and who’s drawing and I cannot really understand people who do, so they could be saying all sorts of crazy nonsense about this story for all I know.

    Oh and Superman’s dead again.

  16. I do find the fan assumption that creators only want to smash them in the face with rocks a bit wearing. It’s a story. Read it. Don’t read it.

  17. nickpheas on May 27, 2016 at 3:22 am said:

    I do find the fan assumption that creators only want to smash them in the face with rocks a bit wearing. It’s a story. Read it. Don’t read it.

    While I agree with you on this, Marvel creates the impression of “wanting to smash fans in the face with rocks” by figuratively screaming “Captain America is a Nazi! Surprise, mother@#$%^s!” from rooftops on Wednesday before most of us could even read the damn thing.

    I feel that this approach to marketing is the bigger problem here and misguided (and/or moronic) anger at the creators is its direct consequence.

    ETA: Also it’s only Friday and I am already tired of all the “Actually Hydra isn’t Nazis” stuff.

  18. All this LETS CHANGE EVERYTHING ALTERNATIVE THIS THAT DIMENSIONS FUTURE TOTAL CONFUSING SCRAMBLE is what made quit reading Marvel. First it was the X-men, then the Bob-In-The-Shower-Dallas-Twist for Spider-Man. And somewhere around that, I decided they weren’t worth it anymore.

    Still read some DC, but I avoid absolutely anything to do with the large story lines and crossovers.

    When I was a kid, we had our own publishing of DC. A comic book was around 64-100 pages and was often a mix of several american comics. So you only had to buy one comic and get most of what was interesting and you needed to be up to date with. I miss that time.

    Regarding Captain America, it boggles me how the movies made him likeable and sweet. I mostly remember him as an irritating besserwisser (I have maybe 20 years of Captain America at home, but stopped getting them for free in the middle of the 90:s).

  19. @nickpheas

    Fifth Season is published by Orbit, who has been unwilling to include the full novel in their packets in previous years.


    Glorious filers, I hope to see some of you there this weekend. My only definite events, at this point, are Mike Underwood’s reading at 5 PM today, the Masquerade tomorrow night, and the Dinosaur Guy on Sunday Night, but I’ll be circulating the whole weekend.

  20. Missed edit window: People flinging insults and death threats at the creators is still the biggest problem though. But it’s possible to publish comics without deliberately provoking this shit.

  21. Fifth Season is published by Orbit, who has been unwilling to include the full novel in their packets in previous years.

    Agree it’s unlikely, but I’ve enough things to read already paid for that I can wait a few more days to confirm. Did enjoy the preview I downloaded though, so paying, if required, is not onerous.

  22. (4) Vox.com was one of two liberal websites that I wouldn’t have expected to provide coverage of the Hugo Awards controversy, in this case due to the potential for confusion in trying to denounce Vox Day.

    The other site which I would have expected to stay out of this story, for similar reasons, is Slate.

  23. (1) CAPTAIN SPOILED. I take the point of all the people who say, “Look, this is a story that’s going to get reset and we don’t know where the author is going yet.” And if there’s been a reboot, things are more fluid. (Otherwise, there have been literally decades of thought balloons belying any claim that Cap was always a Hydra agent.) But some shocking reveals really are just cheap. And the very exit strategies suggested – Cosmic Cube etc. – indicate that it’s unlikely either the twist or the untwist will constitute organic revelations of character or vivifications of them.

    (6) SHORT ORDERS. On the other hand, here is an obvious parody article that has come to life in the real world, so that seems related somehow.

    (12) MIXED MOTIVES. That nice Charles Platt who did the interview books? Darn.

    (13) A HAPPILY DISSATISFIED CUSTOMER. The excerpt is an awful lot of throat-clearing without even an implicit promise he’ll eventually get to the point. A lot of “moderate Puppies” are stuck writing this way because it’s the only way to bridge the “I am not Vox Day” / “I am effectively endorsing his program” gap.

  24. Is Zoe Quinn in on the Chuck Tingle thing? Does she support his repeated use of her name and does she actually intend to accept the award on his behalf?

  25. tofu Is Zoe Quinn in on the Chuck Tingle thing? Does she support his repeated use of her name and does she actually intend to accept the award on his behalf?

    Yes, yes, and yes according to her Twitter account. She was already a Tingle fan and was talking about writing a game with him. (And she’s changed her screen name to “True Buckaroo”.)

  26. @Hampus:

    Regarding Captain America, it boggles me how the movies made him likeable and sweet. I mostly remember him as an irritating besserwisser (I have maybe 20 years of Captain America at home, but stopped getting them for free in the middle of the 90:s).

    Thinking back, I believe my concept of Captain America came more from the Avengers books than his own series. And the movie Cap matches up pretty well with my Cap. (I’ve been trying to find the hate mail panels from Avengers 113, but no luck so far.)

    By the 1970s, Cap had been out of the ice for a decade. He had largely settled into his new world, though there were and are still occasional moments. The story I most remember from that period putting his idealism up against the realities of the Nixon administration. I only halfheartedly read the book in the 1980s because the writers didn’t seem to have any idea what to do with the character. He has always been the Platonic Ideal of a New Deal Democrat; the Reagan-era writers may not have known any.

    And of course there were the times Rogers retired and various annoying people took over. *cough*John Walker*cough* And the Cap from the Ultimates book.

    Modern comics are essentially fanfic about characters developed decades ago. Some are good, some miss the characters completely (oh John Byrne, no), all are unfortunately made canon. Until they’re not.

    I’ll second the people upthread who say that the marketing about the new Steve Rogers book is designed to piss people off. It’s stupid; my initial reaction was that they have finally found a way to make me gafiate from my core comics after forty years. I’m going to ask my FLCS if I can trust this writer to make a good story of it without destroying the character, or if I should just drop the involved books until it’s retconned.

  27. 14 Dr Chuck Tingle could probably help with the getting hard problem.

    Cap America – is there seriously a Cosmic Cube girl character? I’m assuming that her real name is unknown? MPDG? I don’t really do comics or superheroes, though did read X men back in the 90s which seemed to involve them getting their asses handed to them in a regular basis.

  28. OK now wikipedia research. Wow. Cosmic cubes seem to be a really really bad thing to leave lying around. Also a multiply recycled plot point

  29. I seem to have reached the state in my mental dissolution where I look at every new Pixel Scroll title and think, “Hey, didn’t I write that?” Not sure what exciting development is next. HULK SCROLL!

    Ah, the Death of Superman! Lots of comic shops made it big on that one. I went to a going-out-of-business sale at a somewhat overpriced shop in my town (where I got my cherished SPACE WESTERN comic with the sci-fi convention story). As I happily perused deep discount items, i couldn’t help noticing that there were boxes of the comic where Superman comes back and isn’t dead any more. Apparently, they went for it in a big way, and it killed their business. (A similar thing happened to the movie theater chain in the Georgia town we lived in. We came there after the owners had lost most of their theaters and were down to a couple of houses in Statesboro, because of the large faith the management manifested in the 1970s KING KONG project.

    Hampus Eckerman
    One gets tired of having the same leg yanked over and over. I bought Spider-Man from the late 60s until one day in the early 80s when I made my trip to the comic shop and browsed the latest issue on the stands. In this issue, I was informed, would be revealed, explicitly and with no room for doubt, the senses-shattering secret of the Hobgoblin! With exclamation points! I’d always regarded the Hobgoblin as a tedious wannabe and was happy to think that they might be putting him away fro good, so I read on. Spidey chases his foe through, I dunno, sewers or something, and it gets all foggy, and the lights are all strobey, and they’re playing amplified human heartbeats on the sound track, and just before they run out of pages, our hero makes a prodigious grab and manages to pull a piece of cloth from the head of the… now-vanished villain… and makes the SENSES-SHATTERING DISCOVERY that the Hobgoblin was… “Some guy in a m-mask!!!!!” Not sure, but I think I’ve bought maybe twenty Marvel comics new since then.

    Jim Henley
    I want to see the character design for the dwarf, Biggo-Ego, who wasn’t mentioned in the excerpt (click on the what now? slow down, Son!).

  30. My thoughts (as collected on Twitter some days ago) were that this CaptainNazi schtick is a boneheaded move.

    Other people can argue morals and history far better–I’m looking at purely practical brand management terms.

    Superhero comics did not exactly cover themselves with glory in the 90s and beyond, when everything was SHOCKING TWIST and DARK AND EDGY and so forth, and readership numbers pretty much have reflected that. It eventually turns into stuff like the New 52, where the plan is pretty much to make existing fans spend more rather than bring in new ones. (Starfire, such potential wasted….sigh.) Superhero comics have been cannibalizing their core audience for years instead of doing solid outreach.

    And then, for a moment, a glimmer of hope! Squirrel Girl! Ms. Marvel! New readers!

    Then the movies came along and caused people to care about Captain America. A sudden influx of potential readers! Magic happened! You get big luck like that on a creative IP very rarely.

    And instead of saying “ok! We got a bunch of people who love Movie Cap, let us bring them into the fold by giving them more of what they love! Let us figure out how to claim this new potential audience!” they said HEY GUYZ LETS DO A SHOCKING TWIST, THAT WORKED GREAT IN THE 90S, DOES ANYBODY HAVE LIEFELD’S NUMBER IN THEIR ROLODEX?!

    Sigh. Universe handed them a pony and the only thing they could think to do with it was make pony steaks.

  31. “Cap America – is there seriously a Cosmic Cube girl character? I’m assuming that her real name is unknown? MPDG?”

    The character’s name is Kobik. She’s actually not a person so much as pieces of the Cosmic Cube that have taken the form of a small girl.

    Sort of like how that Senior Partner manifested itself to Gunn in Angel, when it was really an evil god-thing.

  32. RedWombat on May 27, 2016 at 7:44 am said:


    That could also get us a Captain America with many more belts & pouches on his costume; and an apparent complete misunderstanding of human musculoskeletal structure.

  33. @RedWombat: I think you make a lot of sense. I also think, alas, that nostalgia runs on a schedule and it’s the 90s time.

  34. Jim:

    I think if 90’s nostalgia rolls around in the comic book industry, it will be for things like Preacher and Ennis’ Constantine run and other Vertigo titles and less the superhero trends of the ’90’s, which modern audiences typically avoid like the plague.

    (In fact, I think the backlash against ‘grimdark’ goes a bit too far. Obviously things like the Confession and Tarnished Angel arcs in Astro City were not all puppy dogs and light, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that they were superior stories. The darker stories in comics were like any other literary trend. There was a smattering of truly awful stuff, a smattering of truly superior stuff, and a whole bunch of stuff that fell somewhere in the middle.)

  35. @idontknow

    I’m not so sure. About a year ago, I went back and reread Preacher, and the sheer amount of stuff that had been shocking and innovative when it first came out now comes off as silly, pointlessly crass or both. There was a lot of stuff in 90s Vertigo that was gamechanging at the time, but doesn’t necessarily age very well.

    That being said, The Invisibles has aged remarkably well.

  36. I agree Preacher hasn’t aged well. I think that popularity of that particular story was a confluence of the decade and Garth Ennis’ particular gifts (?) as a storyteller. However, I think that people who have a nostalgic streak will want to relive the experience that they had when reading Preacher the first time. I don’t even know if that’s possible, but it’s how you end up with what’s going on in that AMC series – where you have a show where characters are walking around on the screen with the same names as characters who were in the Preacher graphic novels, in locations with same names as in the graphics novels, but all of these things really aren’t the same.

    That’s not to say that the Preacher series can’t have good stories to tell. I just don’t think they’ll really resemble the stories we read except in the most superficial of ways.

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