Sunday, February 07, 2010

Celtic Pride, Valiant, Crossgen & Mountain Dew....

Raise your hand if you ever watched Celtic Pride.

*looks around*

Okay, so maybe my hand is the only one up.  Here’s the thing, in Celtic Pride there’s a moment when Akroyd and Stern identify one of the guys who they know from sporting events around Boston as ‘the bad luck guy.’ No sooner have they made their rather sketchy case for assigning this status to the guy than all of the rest of the fans in that area of the stands literally berate and jeer the man until he leaves the area.  Why?  Because nobody likes the ‘bad luck guy.’  He’s the guy who is the kiss of death for your team.  He’s the guy who says, “Watch this guy get a hit and break up the no-hitter” right before that actually happens. 

When it comes to comics, I’m the ‘bad luck’ guy.

It’s true.  Case in point; I liked Valiant Comics. I was on board right from the start, and I enjoyed the revisiting of classic Gold Key characters from the fifties and sixties.  The company effectively stabbed Jim Shooter in the back, outed him, and then floundered through mediocrity until it died.  Acclaim took it over, did some rather good re imagining of some of the characters all over again, and then… guessed it…..died. 

Not convinced?

How about Defiant?  That was Jim Shooter’s next company.  When Valiant forced him out of the company he helped to found, he went on to launch Defiant, working with a number of the other talents that helped get Valiant off the ground. He did some terrific work there, and created an entire universe around the concept of quantum reality.  I liked Charlemagne, Warriors of Plasm and especially Dark Dominion, where Steve Ditko reigned supreme. The concepts were fresh and the story telling was timeless.  There wasn’t anything repetitious about it, yet for some reason the company once again faltered and died.  I can’t remember what the reason was, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that it had to do with a corporate battle with Marvel over somebody.  Do you know how many times they have sued a small comic company?

You can’t possibly still think I’m NOT the ‘bad luck’ guy can you?

What about Broadway comics? I really enjoyed Broadway comics, and its very different ideas about femme fatale characters. I liked the story path that was being written for Fatale, Knights On Broadway and Star Seed, but this company too went away under the burdens of fighting law suits with corporate monsters like Marvel.  It never had time to really round out its place in the market, and that is a damn shame.

On the off chance that you could still be a doubter, I have one final, sensational example.

Crossgen Comics.

I liked Crossgen.  I did from the very start when I found out that Mark Waid had signed on to write a story for them about the lost civilization of Atlantis, and where it went and what that would mean to the rest of the universe hundreds of years in the future. I gave them a try with all of the titles they did, and while I liked some more than others, I loved that they spanned a full scope of titles with only one book taking place on Earth.  Scion, The First, Meridian, Sojourn, Crux and others were all tremendous stories that were told in a wide array of genres, with terrific artwork that really complimented the stories.  There was an underlying link between all seemingly dissociated books in the universe, that came in the form of a sigil which gave powers to the key characters of each series (except for one!) and yet all of the series could be read as stand-alone adventures.

Crossgen was a company that didn’t get enough love for the quality of the books that it put out.

For me the very best of the stories was called Negation, and it was written by Tony Bedard about a focal character who didn’t have any power, or a sigil.  All he had was an ornery will to live, a military mind and terrific leadership skills.  Lost in another universe he rallies unfamiliar people to his cause and sets out to overthrow, effectively, god (or Satan depending on the way you look at it.)

As with the other companies I mentioned, this one died before we could get to the climax of their first major cross-over event, which was to reveal the true origins of the universe to us.  It was infuriating, especially considering how many people I had lured into buying the books and gotten hooked on them.  All you have to do is ask around to find people who remember that time and you will find all the confirmation you need that I’m the comic ‘bad luck’ guy.

And all we’ve talked about is companies.

I should tell you about the series I have loved, and the way they have been cancelled!

As a side note……a cereal I loved was canceled (who cancels cereal?)  I converted to buying almost all of my comic bags and boards from a specific manufacturer, which went under 2 months later.  I thought that Surface had legs as a television series, and I’ll never understand why Mercy Reef & Global Frequency pilots are amongst the most downloaded things on the net, but they can’t get green lit for production.

And I liked Mountain Dew Code Red; no longer available locally.



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