It was reported yesterday that comic book legend Steve Ditko passed away at the age of 90. Most of his online tributes talk about how Ditko was the co-creator of such legendary comic book icons like Spider-Man and Dr. Strange. Others will talk about how Ditko shunned notoriety and just wanted to draw comics. Even others will talk about how he was a devotee of the Objectivist philosophy. Instead, I’m going to talk about how Steve Ditko indirectly influenced me into the writer I am today.
I’ve been a fan of comic book heroes since I was young. From watching the Batman ’66 reruns to the Super-Friends cartoon to picking up my first copy of The Flash from a 7-11 in the 70s, I’ve always been a fan on the superhero genre. In the late 80s as a young adult, I came across a comic at my local comic shop that caught my eye because of the protagonist’s aesthetic. It was Hub City’s trench coat and fedora-clad vigilante, The Question as written by another comic book legend Denny O’Neil and drawn by gritty artist Denys Cowan.
For those who may not be familiar with the character, news reporter Vic Sage dons the faceless visage of The Question to get the answers a journalist just can’t get. While Ditko wrote him in the 60s as a vigilante with a black and white moral code, O’Neil took the very unique approach of writing The Question as a Zen detective dealing with various shades of gray. While O’Neil’s take was a far cry from Ditko’s, he stayed true to the character’s core principle of an insatiable need to find the truth.
I first got on the internet and started creating websites back in the late 90s before blogs were even a thing. Back then mostly everyone used screen names to protect their identity. Influenced by The Question, I chose the name of TheTrenchcoat. (Not a typo, all one word with two capital Ts.) As many of you know, when Columbine happened, this led to me being confused with the so-called Trenchcoat Mafia. This was the impetus which got me into writing about crime online since I wanted to dispel many of the mistruths of that fateful day, which many are still told today. You might even say that I had an insatiable need to find the truth. The rest is history.
As I posted on social media yesterday, had it not have been for Steve Ditko creating The Question there probably would not have been the Trench Reynolds you see today. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you, Mr. Ditko.
I haven’t done one of these in a while. Don’t expect them regularly because I suck at keeping schedules, and there aren’t really that many good comics worth noticing out there right now. Plus I have space to fill since a lot of the crime content has been moved to Social Mayhem and Crime Classified.
However, I have been a little disappointed with the character since the New 52. I’d rather see him as DC’s version of the Punisher than another member of the Bat-Family.
I still read Red Hood and The Outlaws since Jason Todd is still one of my favorite characters. The most recent issue isn’t spectacular or groundbreaking, but it made me laugh when Lex Luthor threw out the following quote after promising to heal Bizarro.
If that quote doesn’t ring any bells, it’s a quote from the horrible movie adaptation of the video game Street Fighter. The only saving grace of the movie is when Raul Julia, playing M. Bison, turns to Ming-Na Wen, playing Chun-Li, and says…
For you, the day Bison graced your village was the most important day of your life. But for me, it was Tuesday.
Here’s the entire scene for reference.
And for that reason alone, issue #13 of Red Hood and the Outlaws is my pick for comic of the week.
I just wanted to do a quick blog post about DC Comics’ new universe reshuffling called DC Rebirth. I know it’s only been happening for two weeks but I’m really enjoying it so far. It seems that Rebirth is correcting a lot of mistakes that the New 52 created. I mean I still get choked up every time I see Barry Allen pull the original Wally West out of the speed force. It also seems that we’re going to get some good storylines out of the new reboot as well.
I’m also intrigued to see not only how they’re going to bring the Watchmen characters into the main DC Universe but what they’ll do with them once they’re there. I’m not one of those people who thinks that Watchmen is some sacred cow that can’t be built upon. I actually enjoyed a lot of After Watchmen.
So far two of my three wishes for the reboot have already been granted, the original Wally West is back and Ted Kord is alive. Now if only we can get Vic Sage back to being the non-magical Question.
As an aside since DC’s parent company, Warner Brothers, came into ownership of the Hanna-Barbera properties I thought that they could make an interesting comic book universe with such characters as Space Ghost, Birdman and a few others. Not only is DC Comics now doing this with the title Future Quest but they’ve also taken the old Wacky Races cartoon and made it into an adult post-apocalyptic Mad Max style comic.
In case you haven’t heard by now at the end of Marvel’s new comic Steve Rogers: Captain America #1 it’s revealed in the very last panel that Cap is supposedly an agent of Hydra. The series’ writer has even gone on record as saying, he’s not mind controlled, he’s not a Skrull, he is Steve Rogers. Personally I thought it was a great reveal and I’m looking forward to see where the story goes from here. I haven’t been this excited for a Captain America storyline since the USAgent days.
On the other hand, the collective internet nerd outrage machine knee jerked all over this issue and said “How dare they make Cap into a nazi.” For those of you not familiar with Hydra they are a spy organization that was started under the Red Skull during WW II. In Marvel continuity the Red Skull was one of Hitler’s closest advisers, hence the Hydra-nazi connection.
To those people I would like to give a collective ‘Get Over Yourselves’. First off it’s a comic book. Yes, I enjoy them too but in the grand scheme of things they’re not all that important. Secondly, you have no idea what the creative team has planned. For all you know they could have a brilliant story arc planned for us that may have the greatest conclusion to it of all time. Next, what Marvel superhero hasn’t had his or her ‘dark’ phase? As they say in professional wrestling it’s hard to name a wrestler who was a face, or good guy, his entire career. Ricky Steamboat was but I digress. Lastly, do you honestly think that Marvel is really going to throw away 75 years of Cap’s history by making him a ‘secret nazi’? Who do you think is making this, DC Comics?
So relax internet and let the story unfold before dumping all over it. I know that’s not what the internet does but it was worth a shot.
Speaking of DC Comics you really should pick up DC Rebirth #1. It will get all that bad Hydra taste out of your mouth.
This is a great post from The Nerdist bidding a fond farewell to Mark Waid’s run on Marvel Comics’ Daredevil. Usually I’m not a fanboy to certain writers. I’m more inclined to avoid a comic if it’s done by a certain writer, for example anything written by Frank Miller after The Dark Knight Returns. However Mark Waid’s run on Daredevil for the past four years has not only made Daredevil my favorite Marvel comic but one of my favorite comics of all time.
As the post from the Nerdist points out Mark Waid took Daredevil out of his normally gritty and dark situations and turned him into more of a swashbuckler fitting of the Daredevil name. He was even able to take a bad Marvel crossover in Original Sin and make a really great Daredevil story out of it in one of my favorite single issues of all time.
So thank you Mark Waid for making one of the best comic series of all time in my opinion and good luck to the new creative team. Who knows, maybe the next writer can knock it out of the park as well and make me a fan of one more writer.
As a continuity crossover reboot crisis Convergence felt kind of underwhelming. It didn’t pack the gravitas of a Flashpoint or Crisis on Infinite Earths. It felt just kind of ‘meh’. While it was nice to see characters from various pre-New 52 universes it felt like you had to know around 40 years of DC Comics’ history to get all the references and plot points. I felt bad for younger readers who may not have known a good majority of these characters.
The one good thing about Convergence though, as I mentioned in my first impressions, is that the concept behind the New 52 reboot was a sound one. A lot of characters from before the New 52 did feel old and out of date and a fresh new take was needed. The problem was that the New 52 didn’t have a lot of good stories for these new youthful heroes and the new DC You doesn’t appear to be too promising yet.
While I haven’t been wowed by the Convergence storyline as a whole yet I really did like this issue.
Pre-New 52 Renee Montoya, the 2nd Question, had to watch the original Question, Vic Sage, suffer and die slowly of cancer. Now her father is close to the death because of cancer and he hasn’t talked to Renee since she came out to her family.
After having to deal with Convergence plot point she rushes to his side, they reconcile and Renee tells her father that everything is going to be ok and it’s ok to let go now.
While there was no reconciliation needed between my mother and myself when she was in bed dying of cancer and unable to respond I remember telling her that my brother and I would be ok and that it was ok to let go. She passed within the day.
I don’t think I’m dropping any spoilers but just in case you’ve been warned.
I Know it’s only the first week of DC Comics’ latest continuity crossover reboot crisis whatever but I’ve come away with two things from it so far.
The first is that the concept reminds me a lot of 2013’s Deathmatch by Boom Studios which is one of my favorite series of all time.
The other thing is that after visiting with pre-New 52 characters that we haven’t seen in 4 years maybe the New 52 isn’t so bad after all. A lot of the old characters felt just like that, old and out of date.
Recently it was announced that Marvel Comics will be rebooting their fictional universe with the upcoming Secret Wars storyline much like DC Comics did in 2011 with Flashpoint and the New 52,
At first, much like I did in 2011, I was worried that some great stories would become non-canon like the death of Gwen Stacy or Planet/World War Hulk. Then I realized that just because those stories may be retconned out of existence that doesn’t erase them from our memories. I mean why do we as comic readers worry so much about canon? Why can’t we just enjoy good stories without having to worry about how they all fit in the grander universe and timeline?
I think as comic fans we need to unbunch our underoos every time publishers try something new.
Except for One More Day. We were totally entitled to be pissed off at that steaming turd.