In This Issue: Usagi Yojimbo Mourns for a Fallen Hero From Another Company

A few people have asked me what I think of yesterday’s exciting development in the Fantastic Four, where seven more Things have been added to the venerable supergroup:

No, actually, they killed off a member of the team.

Before I answer the question of how I feel about that, let me ask YOU a question: how do you feel about the new Lady Antebellum album?

For most of you I can answer that: you were unaware of the existence of a new Lady Antebellum album, or of any of the old Lady Antebellum albums, or of the band Lady Antebellum who, for all you know, I’m making up the name of to make a point. That’s because you’re not a fan of the band and don’t keep up with what they do and any new albums they put out don’t touch your life even one bit.

And yet, you claim to enjoy music!

My point here is that I have no opinion on the events in Fantastic Four, deaths or otherwise, because I don’t read Fantastic Four, or any Marvel comics, or any other superhero comics from the big two. I don’t hate them or anything, that’s just not my bag. I’ve never read Fantastic Four except for some reprints of the first few issues I picked up cheap a while back. I’m sure they’re fine, fine comics, but they’re just not something I’ve ever gone for.

Still, it’s assumed that since I like “comics” I perforce have to take an interest in these events and, additionally, have an opinion about whether the death is a cynical cash grab that will be undone in a few months or a moving portrayal of logical events evolving from a quality storyline that will be undone in a few months. I don’t know. I don’t care. There are people who read the comics and who have opinions and you should talk to them about it.

The thing is, it does no good for people like me to say, “Folks, ‘comics’ is much more than just overblown cape dramas from the big two” if, when something like this happens, we all then go, “OH SHIT A OVERBLOWN CAPE DRAMA FROM THE BIG TWO THIS CHANGES AND IMPACTS EVERYTHING”. It doesn’t. I don’t believe that these events or, for that matter, ANY events from Marvel or DC will have any effect whatsoever on the comics I read.

I’m not saying this to be elitist and turn my nose up at those comics. I’m saying this to illustrate just how huge the medium of comics is. I know you only ever hear about superhero stuff from Marvel or DC, but there’s so much more. We don’t live in a world where only two companies control the fate of all the participants. Claiming that no matter what comics you’re into, THIS IS IMPORTANT gives these guys far more power than they actually wield.

In fact, this is especially true in the world of comics where, if you’re doing something that isn’t a Big Two Cape Opera, you’re used to being ignored by the media, the comics press, the shops, and the fans.

There are plenty of people who enjoy mainstream superhero comics and more power to them. This event may rock their world. It may have some effect on what they read, even if they don’t specifically read Fantastic Four or Marvel comics. But its relevance, whatever it may be, doesn’t extend much further than that. Not only is it a tempest in a teapot, the teapot it’s in is not that big and is well isolated from other teapots. Folks drinking tea over here won’t notice the tiniest zephyr.

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5 Responses to In This Issue: Usagi Yojimbo Mourns for a Fallen Hero From Another Company

  1. Blasterhappy says:

    So let me get this straight….you don’t read Fantastic 4 (or a little less Fantastic 3)? HAHA!

  2. googum says:

    I like the Fantastic Four, but often go long, long stretches without reading it, because it can either be good, or utterly terrible. I got a pile of Hickman’s issues out of the dollar bin, and the new issue, and they’re pretty good. But, you can’t hype up a comic by saying “hey, we made FF readable again.” The only thing anyone knows how to do now is waving and yelling, “THIS ISSUE: SOMEONE DIES!” Duhn-duh-duhn!

  3. Jon Cormier says:

    I find it interesting that I keep seeing Essex County listed as one of the top books of the decade of essential Canadian Literature as part of the Canada Reads program, and not anything from the big two. That’s the comic news I get and filter in, the rest is corporate advertising, and until something is consider on a wider level as “important” you’ve nailed it – tempest in a teapot.

    The question should be “is this worth reading?” and if your personal answer is “yes” then great, good for you. This isn’t being held up as anything other than advertising – this isn’t exploring anything, isn’t asking any questions or challenging the audience. There is no rich tapestry of theme and plot to bring in the audience, just Hey Hey Kids, Someone you like dies and like Sherlock Holmes, he’ll come back for more adventures.

  4. nigel says:

    As long as it doesn’t matter to Space Cabbie, it doesn’t matter to me.

  5. T. Derscheid says:

    I bought my nephew a bunch of Ultimate Fantastic Four at a quarter a pop this summer out of the dollar bin (they had a sale, everything in the dollar bin was a quarter, roll with me a while on it).

    I think the $2.99 price rollback experiment from DC is a lot more meaningful than Johnny Storm taking a dirt nap.