...It also emphasized an official fixation on "universe building," conveniently forgetting that the most successful "universe" in the history of comics, the Marvel Universe, really came about by accident and accumulation, by people like Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and Roy Thomas and various others throwing this idea or that out there without much concern for the big picture. Somehow in the past couple decades The Big Picture has become the pre-eminent concern of the comics companies, and between micromanagement and the big picture has developed an increasing rigidity of approach, style and content, where individual inspiration is gifted, not expected.
-From Steven Grant's latest Permanent Damage.
That is so correct, and the blame can be laid at the feet of the grown-up fanboys, people my age and older, who came of age reading Marvel and DC comics of the 60's and 70's and seeing how neat and cool it was when the Fantastic Four asked the Avengers to help them find the Hulk, or when the Justice League hooked up with the Fawcett heroes to save the world. And then of course, when they came to be in positions to create comics themselves, it was far too easy to succumb to the tendency that dominates nearly all media these days- the Law of Bigger Better Faster MORE...and now we have the current mess that is dragging the Big Two down aesthetically if not necessarily sales-wise.
I'll get down off my soapbox now and let you know that the new LAST CALL is up and ready for you to peruse, if you so desire. In it, I write a line or three about THE KING, SURROGATES #1, BANANA SUNDAY #'S 1 & 2, NEIL GAIMAN'S NEVERWHERE #3, SEVEN SOLDIERS: SHINING KNIGHT #4, SILENT DRAGON #2, B.P.R.D.: THE BLACK FLAME #1, SOLO #6, THE LOSERS #27, and JLA CLASSIFIED #11. I also got CATWOMAN #46, ASTRO CITY: THE DARK AGE #3, and POWERS #12, but time ran out on me last night and I didn't get to them. I'll cover them sometime this weekend over here, along with a preview of Oni's POLLY AND THE PIRATES, and the latest self-published effort from Brian Clopper, FAR-FETCHERS.