I just can’t do it.
Oh, not the Karnak story…as Sean W. predicted, I’m now deep into the plotting of issue #4 of my six-issue Inhumans miniseries entitled “The Mirror And The Lamp”…so no fear there…and also, ai ya, what is wrong with me…?
No, what I can’t do is finish the very big and intensively geeked-out post I was going to call “Of Spaceknights And Fortress-Keepers”…and that’s a shame, because I was quite enjoying it. Lots of looney stuff in there about the great unrecognized virtues (and unrecognized meaning) of Neil Gaiman’s 1602, about the intentional and unintentional design features of the Marvel multiverse and how the tension between them makes good storytelling possible, and about Blackbeard and Rama-Tut and the problem of family Bibles, the Watcher and Roy Thomas and the necessity of time wedges, and most of all about the epic battle in my head between The Sentry and ROM (yes, Keeper – you read that right), which ultimately saves the Marvel Universe from being…well, a place that lately just goes from bad to worse, let’s face it. Lots of stuff, too, about the measurement of “time” and “space” in the inter-multiversal manifold, about the uniqueness of Uatu among Watchers, the wonderful spirit of homage that was embedded in the post-Crisis DCU (and which is finally re-emerging now, thank goodness), the real secret of The Sentry (hint: he and The Void are NOT the same person, ha HA!), the three different types of time-travel that are possible in the MU, the Dire Wraiths, the Marvel Zombies, Superboy-Prime, Chris Claremont (have you talked to Jon J. Muth about that Curse Of Chalion comic yet, Chris?), Brian Michael Bendis, Tony Stark, the Legion of Super-Heroes, Animal Man, Geoff Klock, Warren Ellis, Captain Thunder (!) (you’re damn right!), Wizard magazine, the Baloneyverse, Ultimate Extinction (!!!), Wanda Maximoff, Civil War, Pariah, the Matter Mobilizer, Ragged Robin, Terence McKenna, Alexander Luthor, Geoff Johns (well, like Alex Luthor and Geoff Johns aren’t the exact same person anyway, I mean really), the naturalness of intercompany crossovers of whatever type or species, and finally the psychological origins of the staple fantasy-literature conceit known as time-travel.
Oh, and Watchmen.
I’ve been working on it for about four months. Off and on. I was actually eager to test the limits of what WordPress would accept in a single post, as well as the limits of my own geekiness, to see if there might not be a correlation between the two.
But, that’s all over now.
Well, because I just needed to look one thing up about the old Mark Gruenwald history of the Eternals, Titans, and Inhumans. I’m actually pretty familiar with most of the features of the Gruenwald Gymnastics, actually. I mean, I don’t really enjoy them. But I know my way around them. For my, y’know, sins.
But…I mean, I kept up, or tried to, in the post-Gruenwald days. Infinity War? Check. Hyperstorm? Sadly, check. Abraxas? Okay, well let’s not dwell on it overlong, but…check. I even suffered through the, how shall I put it, LAME Nineties reification of Starhawk. I did think I had it all pretty much taped out.
But I was SOOOOOOOOOOOO WRONG!
I arrived at Wikipedia somewhere around eleven o’clock last night. Innocently (naively?) typed in “Inhumans”.
And, what the fuck.
Ed, if you’re reading this, don’t type in “Inhumans” and start following links to the Eternals. DON’T DO IT, MAN! IT’S NOT WORTH IT! I simply can’t understand how Marvel’s cosmic landscape could possibly have gotten this…um, Byzantine? Baroque? Cubist? I’ll tell you how bad it’s gotten, how parasitical on itself it’s become: Thanos and Death are a freakin’ couple now, just as if they were on “Mad About You” (hmmm…), and Eternity’s like, some dude they know. And that makes my screwing-around with the Marvel Universe absolutely pointless. I keep treating the MU like it’s on Blogger, that’s my problem. Sometimes I step it up, and treat it like it’s on LiveJournal. Oooooh. Yeah. No. Things are quite past that point, and I’m a frickin’ dinosaur, already a fossil without realizing it. Because the MU is MySpace, now. It doesn’t have to make any sense, it doesn’t need my (ultimately) Roy Thomas-inspired Crisis-retcons, its continuity is now nothing more or less than a Friends list; and if it were a nerdy subculture it would be the Furries. No offence, Furries. But, some people think they’re a little bit “out there” because they carry a homemade tricorder around with them that they made out of an egg carton and some duct tape, you know? Some people escape by pretending they’re Luke Skywalker or the doctor from Babylon 5. These people, like me, are strictly linear thinkers. You folks (and God bless you for it) aren’t even content to escape by pretending to be Tarzan, or Mowgli, or even for the love of God real animals…somewhere out there is a Wolverine fetishist, gah! How ridiculous this man is! Let him come to one of your conventions and try to pull of some kind of tough-guy snarl there…because you are a seven-foot powder-blue angora Disney-style timber wolf! You read the Denny’s menu through a four-by-four nylon mesh stretched across your avatar’s throat! You make all other fantasy-escapists look weak-willed and impotent by comparison, as you order the grilled cheese; Han and Leia have got nothing on you and your lady, because you don’t have to make sense, you just are. And you’re the kings of this weirdness, my friend; honestly, no joke, I salute you. You make the rest of us look like conformist cowards. To you, watching “Trekkies” must be like watching Andy Warhol’s “Empire”: well, hour three, and so what? So let’s go and get a beer, or something, and say we watched it…yeah, oh yeah, it was so cool…I was riveted…hee hee hee…
Yes, I’m crazy: because I respect you as a better weirdo than me. But unfortunately, if weirdoes were continuities, you’d be Marvel. And I’d be, like, DC. Yes, even now. Even with what’s gone on. Did you know, Ed, that Eon had a child named Epoch? No, don’t look it up. You’ll find out more than you want to, I promise you. Remember that old Gruenwald Two-In-One with Blue Diamond? This is worse. It’s all worse. I’m simply shattered by it. It’s gotten out of hand. It’s turned into finger-painting. And I think I can dare to try and bring some sort of structure to it? Steve Englehart couldn’t bring structure to this thing; it’s become milfoil, and no propellor is safe from it. Any propellor that thinks it’s safe from it, is barking up the wrong elephant – yes, that’s how disgusted I was last night. At eleven o’clock.
When I gave up on this post.
Keeper, if you want to know the (rough sketch of the) circumstances under which ROM saves the universe and reverses everything since Disassembled, once the Watcher realizes there’s no such person as The Sentry and then the Marvel editors wait, biting their nails, for a call back from the relevant copyright-holder…
Well, just drop me a line, and I’ll let you know. After all, I did promise.
The rest of you can judge “The Mirror And The Lamp” when it appears sometime on Monday or Tuesday or so. Because it’ll take me that long to forget what I’ve seen! And forget it I must, because I’m determined that this year, we’ll get the Inhumans we deserve. Okay: at least I will. It won’t be Kirby, or even Gerry Conway for that matter. It might not even be good, in fact it probably won’t be. But, at least it won’t be all that stuff I saw on Wikipedia! Christ! My eyes! At this point I’d welcome the relief of being swallowed by a Kaptroid!
Meanwhile, expect the second part of the X3/Alpha Flight post sooner than that…fair warning, Erin. And also, expect me never again to look up anything Marvel-related on Wikipedia. Two words: snake pit…
And now, for some reason, it occurs to me that I’d really like it if Jack Russell were to become the Marvel equivalent of Dr. Thirteen…Azzarello, you there? Have you seen how Greg Land actually kills on his promo art for this? I know, I can’t believe it either, but it’s true, he really does…
It honestly may be the only way out. At this point. I mean if you go to Wikipedia and look up “Werewolf By Night”, you can at least understand what it says there.
So let’s try and cling to that, shall we?
Okay, more beer.