God, I’m Such A Nerd

First of all, I would like to issue a very large public thank-you to webcartoonist David Willis for this particular Shortpacked! strip. I’ve not been a big fan of Marvel’s Civil War event, which has had the odd effect of making Marvel’s tragically hip, uber-cynical “Ultimate” universe seem like a happy, carefree place.

But the decision to make one of my favorite characters the bad guy, the front man for oppression – that has bugged me the most. I can even envision the story conference – “What do people hate more than Big Government?” “Big Business! Tony Stark! Of course!!!

If anything makes DC’s earth-salting of long-standing characters like Barry Allen and Hal Jordan seem like small potatoes, it’s Marvel’s dynamiting of every interpersonal relationship in their stable. I’m going to admit that the very definition of drama is to maroon your main character at the top of a tall tree and then throw rocks at him… but the results of the rock-throwing have not yielded much in the way of actual entertainment. Most of my Marvel titles have become a joyless slog of late, and really, only a really crazy-ass ultra-complicated plot to take down the Red Skull, Hydra and AIM once and for all, or Franklin Richard’s warping reality once again is going to insure my continued readership.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, good for you. Continue living your life, blissfully unaware of the stripmining of a popular subculture. Well, unless you’re a fan of the original Star Wars trilogy, then you may understand what I’m grumbling about.

And I won’t be embedding that very popular Video of the Moment, the Dramatic Hamster. I have some standards. That, and it’s a prairie dog, dammit.


  1. I stopped the day they killed Doug Ramsey. Seriously, that was it. I had been collecting comics since I was 4, for heaven’s sake! I had not only the giant-sized Spider-man/Superman crossover, I had it *signed*! T-shirts, you name it – I had it.Then they took the Doug Ramsey character and killed him off. With a throw-away villain. Who used a gun. Doug wasn’t protecting anyone, wasn’t saving the world, nothing.Just a trite ‘guns are bad’ moral tacked on because…. No one knew how to write the character.Painful to realize that Wolverine is so heavily promoted because the writers can sympathize with a perpetually-immature rage monkey.

  2. Leave it to me to comment on a comment <>over a year later<>.Well, only because I found this quote by writer Louise Simonson:“As for killing poor Cypher…I did that for several reasons. (There was a rumor at the time that he was killed because the artist hated drawing him. Another that I hated him because I had to keep twisting stories to find some instance where there was language that had to be translated.)The real reason was…I know you’ll find this hard to believe… there was a write-in campaign from LOTS of readers who hated him and thought he was boring and wanted us to get rid of him. Preferably…they wanted him dead. We got LOTS and LOTS of these letters.So I decided to call these readers’ bluffs and do exactly what they were asking for. (On the other hand, I never kill a character without knowing exactly how I’m going to bring them back…if I so choose. It is comic books, after all! With Doug/Cypher, the way was obvious.) Sooo…I decided to have him die a noble death of loving sacrifice, saving his dear friend Rahne. And (surprise, surprise) we started getting LOTS of letters asking, “How could you? Doug was my favorite character?!!!” (My favorite letter… and I think one of the most honest… said, “I used to hate Doug and thought he was boring and wanted him to die, but now that he’s dead, I’ve realized he was ALWAYS MY FAVORITE CHARACTER!”) Lots of folks missed Doug … after he was gone.”

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