Thursday, December 22, 2005

AQUAMAN: DISPOSABLE PROP OF ATLANTIS?!?


The most convoluted twist in serialized popular fiction history had to occur in AQUA-country... yes... as the Powers That Be at DC felt like making a distasteful substitution in the AQUAMAN book - replace the title-character by, of all highly improbable things, a lookalike harboring a SWORD... underwater! Short daggers such as a dirk would be more malleable underwater - anyone knows that! Anyone except DC it seems...
The newbie, who bears an artificial resemblance to the genuine article, is flanked by two less-than-trustworthy shady characters as his cohorts and traveling companions - the villainous "King Shark" (at right) and the mysterious "Dweller of the Depths" (at left) whom I suspect to be Poseidon himself...
Of course, I had to protest this latest infamy perpetrated against my childhood hero who sees himself ousted from his own book now in favor of a clone... following are excerpts of what I posted on the DC MESSAGE BOARDS themselves - and what the new author of AQUAMAN: SWORD OF ATLANTIS had to say to me (not much, as you'll see... WARNING: tis not the best writing that either me nor Kurt Busiek ever came up with - his typos are really perplexing too - but then, this is "debate writing" not creative writing! Join it, "in progress"...)

"I do not "assume" - I resume! And what I have resumed here, after a lengthy break, is denouncing the company policy here at DC!

And to be absolutely fair - the problem is not just DC per say - but at the Warner Bros. level...

A tale of a son of Atlantis who "wins everything he ever wanted" would have long been the perfect plot for a MOVIE version of Aquaman... but it seems that, despite the Titanics and the Abysses on one hand... and despite the Star Wars and the Mortal Kombats on the other... WB still does not think an AQUAMAN SWORD OF ATLANTIS-type of MOVIE would find an audience... Instead, they try an umpteenth return of Batman, of Superman, a lame Catwoman and a substitute (i.e. cheaper) JLA - the LXG!
(Not to mention Constantine...)

That attitude is substantiated by the comic-book performance of AQUAMAN... or is it? If AQUAMAN has been a disappointment, it is simply because, in his very own book, he is not allowed to make a big splash! All he has gotten are the scraps from the DCU - the only "big-time" villain that I recall being "lent" to him was Dr. Light! Batman's Rogues Gallery is off-limits to him - even though AQUAMAN could wipe them all out in less time than it takes Bats to out-think the Ventriloquist!

Batman is allowed to look good - up against weaklings such as the Penguin and Scarecrow - but not Aquaman... noooo! Killer Croc is a better match for AQ - but Bats wants to keep him, because it makes him look good to CHEAT in order to win against a big scaly guy... instead of matching muscle with him! Of course, if Bats tried, he would be on the D.L. again - like that time he tried with Bane, eh? But they made Bane pay a terrible price for that too - he was relegated to mere henchman status in the lamest Batman film in years... Hmm... Bats on the D.L. again - maybe we would then get Azrael Begins on the silver screen... and Azrael, Sword of Gotham the monthly series... All-Star, of course

From THIS perspective - I don't "assume" nothing will change... I KNOW nothing will change! DC will never treat AQUAMAN, any one of the Charlton or Fawcett heroes of equal stature or anybody else THE SAME AS THEY DO BATMAN.

The character (AQ) has "won everything" in the past in a context that NOBODY CARES ABOUT - oh, he defeated the Thirst... who (or what) is the Thirst? That's not the Joker - the Joker is cool! Not the Thirst! (That is the layman's thinking here - NOT my personal opinion!)

AQUAMAN winning the throne of Atlantis, Mera and the whole shebang would be great - as a MOVIE... in the same vein as Kull, LOTR, Gladiator, Clash of the Titans, Jason And The Argonauts... The Golden Voyage of Sinbad!!! In serial four-color fiction, he should have NEVER won it all - and be ever on his quest to retrieve his rightful position. That way, he could be an active member of the JLA - which he should have led more than once, by the way... If DC was too dumb to know that, they deserve to be "disappointed"...

And yet, the true reason that makes their disappointment well-deserved, is another one entirely... They still have not understood (and neither have many aqua-fans) that it isn't who writes and who draws AQUAMAN that matters - it is the magnitude of the stories that really captivate an audience. The tales PAD weaved had scope - take away the PAD faithful, and the readership would have still been sizeable. AQUAMAN was a big-time player - PAD portrayed him as CAPABLE of tackling almost ANYTHING. What have we seen since that time...? Second-rate threats... no wonder people at large view AQ himself as second-rate himself! DC has treated AQUAMAN as a two-bit loser unable to tango with the big boys - how can they possibly complain and show "disappointment" when the alleged King of the Seven Seas - monarch of 3/4 of the planet - is portrayed as weaker than a guy in a bat-suit who has no powers to speak of, hmm?!? Powers of persuasion do not count!

Thus, although the creative process is what I value entirely, it is the publisher's perspective that I am almost always talking about here - and that's what truly is the source of major annoyance for me.

As a fan
(I used to be one anyway)
As a creative mind
(it is most insufferable to see such lack of creativity - or, to be fair, creativity hampered by company policy! Thank YOU - DC P.T.B.s!)
And as an industry observer...

I am glad you are not planning to "off" the true Aquaman, Kurt...

Send my regards to Lurene"
(Lurene being Lurene Haines, author of A WRITER'S GUIDE TO THE BUSINESS OF COMICS, that the new Aqua-Scribe had to mention on a previous post, in response to someone else's question about the sorry state of affairs in the business...)

To which the new Aquaman scribe replied:
> Hmm... speaking of foreigners, have you ever heard of a certain New Zealander aquatic hero, much neglected too... God Knows why... hmm?

Too allusive for me, sorry.

> For a scribe who hops from one dimension to another with the greatest of ease, while juggling three dozen characters in the process, your lamentation at my leaping between perspectives leaves one... perplexed!?

It shouldn't. Switching from dimension to dimension is a matter of fiction, changing the context of a stement and expecting it to still mean the same thing just doesn't work.

But ultimately, Luce, it seems that you're amused by your own wordplay more than you like to communicate. If that's all you want to do, that's fine -- I'll stop trying to figure out what your various allusions and hints and unclar references mean, and let you at it.

If you want answers to questions, though, I can only recommend that you ask them more clearly. I'm going to skip any further posts if I can't understand what you're getting at.

As for a classic-arc Aquaman movie, I'd like to see one too, but I don't see much reason to rage at DC for not having made one a reality so far.

> Send my regards to Lurene

I don't think I've ever spoken to Lurene.

kdb

To which I had to reply:
Hmm... my allusion to another DC character goes by you (all you need is a an old copy of DC's Who's Who - stick to the groups entries and look for a green guy) but you claim that "changing the context of a stement" is a problem?

The thing is I never meant for "it to still mean the same thing" - DC spin doctors can say what they will, these drastic changes of direction for AQ (and the revolving door for creative teams) is a result of company policy and not giving it their all if the character is neither Batty nor Soupesy.

So - the "he's a winner but we have to start over with a guy who hasn't won anything yet" explanation doesn't wash with me... sorry...

Oh - and forget about the MOVIE - or the unofficial Smallville spin-off that isn't a spin-off... GET HIM RIGHT IN THE COMIC-BOOKIES FIRST! Aquaman's potential has never been fully tapped - I think NO ONE AT DC, past or present, can deny that fact...

I was not asking questions, Kurt (save for the cryptic reference to a member of the Global Guardians there, if it needs to be any more clarified - what am I supposed to be here, a Clarica agent? *lol*).

I was just being my most obstreperous (in luminous fashion though - wordplay is key, yes) on the message boards of a company that has it coming - and deserves it all... and more! But I will leave it to someone else to continue to deliver the punishment here...

No further questions - after all, this thread's title is not Questions For Kurt ...

Good luck with the new series, Kurt


Kurt Busiek would leave the series mid-way through his very first story arc, as it was...

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