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

  1. Hunh, I knew MCA Hogarth was involved with MUDs way back when, didn’t realize Cat Rambo was as well.

  2. RE: Marvel and DC.

    The Captain America thing seems to have been planned to stir up controversy and get people talking about Marvel and NOT DC’s launch of Rebirth on the same day (and they seem to have succeeded).

    Yes, Superman (a Superman) is dead again. But the real (pre-Flashpoint/New 52) Superman is back! Basically, Rebirth is Geoff Johns admitting that the New 52 change was a mistake and we’re sort of restarting things over again (with added Watchmen). In other words, more convoluted continuity on top of the existing convoluted continuity. Nevertheless, as a long time DC fan, I’m looking forward to what they are doing.

  3. I never found Preacher that edgy. I hated Jessie Custer for being a violent, arrogant asshole and got pissed off at the comic when they turned Cassidy, the one person I really liked, into an even worse asshole. The last half of the series was boring and something I had to push my way through.

  4. (14) INFLATION STOPPED: Also, a few “Space Bigalow” jokes probably should be inevitable here. Possibly even (for someone up for the task) a parody of this Ebert classic.

  5. Speaking of the Hugo packet, will there be one for the retro Hugo materials? Does anyone know? I’ve bought the ones that I can find a ebooks. I would rather not have to buy a bunch of dead tree versions. I already have bookshelves in every room except the bathroom.

  6. Today’s read was the last of Lavie Tidhar’s The Bookman series which the first novel, The Bookman, comes out here in the States next month. Imagine a world in which giant lizards from outer space have by the lVictorian Era rules The British Empite for centuries, so that Queen Victoria is the Lizard Queen. Further imagine that every character that’s a fiction in our universe is real there from Harry Flashman to both of the Holmes to well, pretty much a cast of hundreds. Tidhar uses them in ways that subverts what we expect them to be.

    It’s a delightfully madcap adventure with multiple stories that all (sort of) come together in the end. Airships and pirates, sf zombies, Martians, alien tech in weird ways — all told in breathless narrative that allows little time to think about the absurdity of the story. Highly recommended.

  7. Now I’m feeling all nostalgic for MUDs and MOOs. I met Mr. Jnfr on a Muse back in ’93 and we loved scripting room events and bits of random settings and descriptions and the like. A world with tidal cycles and day/night cycles to hook scripts into sounds like wonderful fun.

  8. 1) No surprise that Marvel did this to Captain America. It is called “pissing on your audience” and it’s what happens when you hate your own customers.

    No surprise people are very angry.

    This hatred of the audience is why my basement is full of comics, all of them pre-1994. I won’t pay for stuff like this, and it’s been going on for 25 years now.

  9. I thought that Vox article was a good explanation of the Puppy mess and of how trying to make use of Tingle has backfired hilariously on the Puppies.

  10. Kip W. 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!

    Scrolls of Pixels Past?
    Age of Apocascroll?
    The Night Gwen Stacy Scrolled?

  11. Ghostbird said, while talking about Zoe Quinn:

    She was already a Tingle fan and was talking about writing a game with him.

    I’m sitting here trying to picture what a Chuck Tingle game would look like, and how you might win it.
    I’m scared, and need someone to hold me for a while.

  12. I’m sitting here trying to picture what a Chuck Tingle game would look like, and how you might win it.

    I’m thinking it would have a classic Atari 2600-style joystick. Operated without your hands.

  13. (I typed most of this up earlier and then internet took a holiday for a few hours.)

    I was never that into Captain America, but at some point I went back and checked out Ed Brubaker’s run with Michael Lark’s OH MY GOD SO GOOD art. I recall the huge internet storm over the Winter Solider storyline and the sheer typical comic book cheapness of bringing Bucky back and the grimdark (not that the term existed then) of making him a brainwashed KGB assassin. And yet it’s a lauded run, Bucky’s an established character and the story formed the backbone of one of the best of the Marvel films and he’s a fan favourite, making him one of two very popular Marvel characters who spent a significant amount of time murdering people for one of the few regimes arguably worse than Nazis. So when decrying shoddy comic book gimmicks and things turning dark it’s always worth considering that you don’t always know if it’s going to work until it’s done, or at least well underway. And when insisting that there are conditions that mean that this time the violation is completely different and worse than all others, there are people who say that about literally all of them.

    Jim – well, there was a big kerfuffle with the cube (that’s what it’s called The Kerfuffle With The Cube) that got wound up last month, so CA 1 picks up on plot leftovers from that, which was replete with dire warnings of the dangers of messing with reality, so assuming that’s what it is, it does follow on a bit from that. If I’m guessing correctly cosmic cubes are part of the Civil War 2 thing building up, so Nazi Cap may be part of that? How the sweet hell did I end up knowing so much about what’s going on in sodding Marvel continuity?

    BUT LISTEN – if all of this seems designed to turn you off corporate superhero comics forever NORMALLY I”D AGREE but there is awesomeness not only in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, but also Howard The Duck (written by Hugo winning artists of Sex Criminal Something Zdarsky!) and Patsy Walker: Hellcat. These are lovely, lovely comics. For something altogether darker, try Tom King’s The Vision which is a weird and disturbing psycho-thriller about the robot guy from the Ultron film and if you’re wondering about them turning Cap Nazi just as he’s all big and popular with movie people, boggle at what they’re doing with Vision. Except it’s brilliant.

  14. @Hampus Eckerman I never found Preacher that edgy.
    I read the whole thing in collected volumes and mildly enjoyed it as a piece of post-2000AD Magazine grotesquerie, then found it left a nasty taste in retrospect and got rid of the lot. I still like Bob Glover the Sexual Investigator, though.

    @The other Nigel
    I may have misread, but I think the game may actually be happening. Gay unicorns have been mentioned a few times.

  15. I liked Preacher when I read it as it was coming out. I hadn’t run into anything quite so cheerfully nasty before, and I was new enough to comics that I still had a warm fuzzy glow around my vision. They hadn’t nuked me with too many Shocking Twists yet, and I was reading Books of Magic and Preacher and devouring them both with equal joy.

    But things kept on stretching out and out and I didn’t pick my comics up during a move and I didn’t notice I hadn’t and I just…stopped really caring. And then I moved to the South, which would probably color my view a bit now, and got my fill of nasty which would color it even more.

  16. The Captain America thing seems to have been planned to stir up controversy and get people talking about Marvel and NOT DC’s launch of Rebirth on the same day (and they seem to have succeeded).

    That’s my FLCS gal’s take on it, too, except that it’s only succeeding in creating clickbait. She’s seeing much more excitement for Rebirth where it counts: at her cash register.

  17. @The Other Nigel I’m sitting here trying to picture what a Chuck Tingle game would look like, and how you might win it.
    I’m scared, and need someone to hold me for a while.

    Have a hug

  18. @aaron

    I’m wearing a rainbow colored he man shirt. I’m pretty easy to pick out. Feel free to say hi!

  19. @Will R. – that appears to require iTunes, one of the most destructive computer viruses known to humanity, so I’m avoiding that. Shame.

  20. I enjoyed the Vox article about Tingle but it got a lot of details about the Puppies wrong. The Puppies actually started the previous year; they weren’t *joined* by Beale, they brought Beale in, that kind of thing. I suppose the reporter was in a hurry and didn’t do their homework very thoroughly.

    On the other hand the more I hear about Tingle the more I like them. :-). And I’m kind of looking forward to reading his contribution to the Hugo package packet, I meant packet. I don’t usually do out-and-out silly stories but for Tingle I am prepared to make at least one exception.

    Regarding Captain America:

    Cannon patch downloading…
    Cannon patch appears to contain malicious code; do you still wish to install? Y/N
    Cannon patch declined by user.

  21. The Apple iBooks Store uses, well, iBooks. iTunes isn’t involved in the process, on either Mac or iOS.

    (iTunes has become a bad program, but honestly, if I were ranking the most vexing programs I’ve been forced to use, I’m not sure it would crack the top five.)

  22. I love Preacher the comic series. It mixes westerns, scifi, and fantasy with a darkly comedic and extremely juvenile sense of humor. That hits nearly everything I like in one package. Reread it last year.

    The pilot of TV show I disliked a lot though.

  23. @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).

    Same here. Captain America was one of those characters I always disliked in the comics (and he was an irritating Besserwisser), back when I still read them (I stopped in the early 2000s), which is why I’m surprised how likeable he is in the movies. This is also why Marvel’s stupid Hydra Cap stunt annoyed me so much, even though I no longer read the comics and therefore don’t have a dog in the fight (and twenty years of reading comics told me that hardly any shocking twists are permanent). Because now that I’ve finally come to like Steve Rogers, it turns out he was Hydra all along (and not the Hydra I remember from the 1980s/90s, which was led by Viper and mostly consisted of attractive women in green bathing suits who tended to have doomed romances with Wolverine, but full out Nazi Hydra).

    Come to think of it, I never cared much for the Avengers in the comics anyway – I was always more of an X-Men/Spider-man fan and mostly saw the Avengers only when there was a crossover or they were fighting the X-Men. But the movies have made them all a lot more likable than they ever were.

    As for Preacher, I kind of liked the comic back in the day, though it was always interspersed with bits that were clearly intended just for shock value. Like many Vertigo comics of the 1990s, my memory of it is rather foggy and I remember little beyond the three leads and that a lot of the plot seemed to be cribbed from the same non-fiction book as The Da Vinci Code.

  24. Re (6): Still no Sleazy, dammit.
    How about “A Sleazy Scroll, A Pervy Pixel” for the next one containing discussion of appropriate content in the Hugo packet?

  25. Yes, Tingle is definitely a force for good in this uncertain world: long may they continue!

  26. I actually reread just the last two collections of Preacher recently (I have all the old ones except Salvation, which is seventh of nine, so I had re-read the first 6 then stalled for years to hunt for the missing segment. Finally just gave up and jumped on – my memory of the specifics might have been a bit fuzzy but I knew the gist of the missing bit.

    I always thought the story could have used a bit less freakshow antics and grotesquerie and violence. This time, I noticed just how badly its worst excesses weakened the base story; we’re being shown people being shot and maimed in horrible ways, but the ‘bridge too far’ for Cassidy (Aiso, incidentally a vampire who occasionally kills to live – and sure he kills muggers, but…) is that he gets a woman hooked on drugs and dependant on him? Look, the latter is EVIL, don’t get me wrong, but the scale of evils that get a pass from Jesse Custer, or occasionally an aid and abet, before he decides that this is the worst thing ever are so awful it just leaves me thinking, “What? How does that scale of bad deeds work?’ Similarly, when we finally see Cassidy’s eyes, after everything we’ve seen get done to the villain, after the entire books’ worth of poor Arseface we’ve seen, there’s a definite “that’s it?” moment.

    It would be a stronger book with less of the shock, because there is some damn fine writing along the way.

  27. @Will R.: Darn, that’s a U.K. thing (not totally clear from the article). I mean, I have VanderMeer’s omnibus, but I wouldn’t mind the digital version for portability. Ah well.

    @Various: The Cap thing is such a silly gimmick that will get fixed or turn out to be a triple cross or whatever. I’m surprised anyone on the ‘net’s bent out of shape about it, like they’ve never read some of the goofy OMG TWIST! things out there. Like the old X-Men #142 cover – “This Issue: EVERYBODY DIES!!!” Never believe it. 😉

  28. @Dex: “There was a lot of stuff in 90s Vertigo that was gamechanging at the time, but doesn’t necessarily age very well.”

    I’m gonna be the resident heretic and put The Sandman on that list. I didn’t read it at the time, and a friend of mine boggled at the lack and has thus far loaned me the first four compilations. After reading them, my reaction has pretty much been “meh.”

    Oh, don’t get me wrong. There are some neat moments in there… but so far, that’s about it. The setup of The Endless, the story of Dream’s capture and escape – I can get behind that as good worldbuilding. But then there’s stuff like a convention of serial killers and the big arc that amounts to “Lucifer retires, a pair of unwilling angels take his place, and Dream admits that having a woman tortured for ten thousand years was maybe kind of a dick move.” I find myself enjoying the single-issue stories and the mythos more than the sweeping arcs and My Aren’t We Stylish posturing. The rest… well, honestly, I think my first considered thought after reading either the first two or first four volumes was, “okay, so this is what those annoying goth kids were copying.”

    (And I’ve got a pretty high tolerance for gothy posturing. I bought Vampire: The Masquerade as soon as the first printing of the first edition hit the shelves. Stuck with it right up until they made a third edition solely to address the sweeping changes required by the metaplot they swore they weren’t going to impose on Storytellers. But I digress.)

    Maybe the series picks up after volume four. I don’t mind reading the rest of them, but I am by no means in abject awe of The Great Gaiman so far.

  29. As someone who does like the series, I don’t think your opinion is likely to change much with the later volumes — the voice of the series is pretty much fully formed by volume 2. The story arcs tighten a little later on, but they’re still more based around moments than overall structure.

  30. I think THE great gamechanging Vertigo title was one of the first – the great, underrated Enigma by Milligan and Fegredo. I loved Preacher (which came along much later and, no, doesn’t age all that well) Sandman, The Invisible, but Enigma wrestled with ideas of identity and sexuality, reality and obsession and a single great trick that teaches a fundamental truth almost too trivial to state – how perspective determines outlook. A lot of the long-form Vertigo series that I loved were uneven or messy, but Enigma is six issues – perfect graphic novel length -tight as a drum and utterly remorseless.

    @Lenora – I think from the start, the Jesse/Cassidy thing was always a portrayal of a certain kind of toxic friendship with someone you click so strongly with you seem utterly incapable of seeing how obviously horrible they are until they’ve done terrible damage to you and those around you.

    For all the juvenile grotesquerie, the strongest piece to emerge from Preacher was, unexpectedly, The Story Of You Know Who, an unflinching, brutal but sensitive look at adolescent alienation. It’s one of the best things Ennis ever did, along with Heartland, a one-off spin-off from Hellblazer, a non-supernatural story about a family in Belfast. When he strips out the genre stuff he really can write brilliantly about family.

  31. @kendall Sorry about that! I’m in the UK, so when I went to try it, it worked, and I just assumed it was everywhere.

  32. Nigel on May 28, 2016 at 2:17 am said:

    I think THE great gamechanging Vertigo title was one of the first – the great, underrated Enigma by Milligan and Fegredo.


  33. Vertigo was always Hellblazer to me. Loved that comic, it had both heart and cynism. At somewhere closer to #200 they removed the heart and then it became awful.

  34. I may have had too much free time on my hands last night:

    Hail! Hail! We’re Hydra here,
    What the hell do we care,
    Whether we treat Cap fair?
    What the hell do we care,
    Giving fans a nightmare,
    Messing up good canon,
    Getting Marvel’s shame on,
    What the hell do we care, folks?

    (This parody stuff is hard. How do so many of you make it look easy?)

  35. @Will R.: Oh, no problem! I’m shaking my fist at Apple, though. I wonder if not enough people buy ebooks from them in the U.K. and that’s why they do this sort of thing there. 😉

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