Daily Archives: February 5, 2009

McFarlane’s Past Comes Back to Haunt Comics

Todd McFarlaneTodd McFarlane has apparently run out of ideas when it comes to comic books. That’s surprising, since he’s really only had one or two ideas throughout his career thus far.

Image Comics announced a few months ago that McFarlane was going to return to comics storytelling with a new title, penned by Image partner/savior Robert Kirkman. McFarlane’s return to comic art is a significant development. After his meteoric rise at Marvel in the late 1908s/early 1990s, his style and popularity influenced comic art (and especially art on Spider-Man comics) for years to come, and he became the first of a new breed of rock-star-like comic-book creator. He and his fellow Image Comics founders brought creator ownership and profitability together in a way that no others have.

McFarlane’s actual involvement in comics storytelling — especially when it comes to artwork — has waned over the years, and these days, he’s really more of a toy tycoon than a comics creator. As such, McFarlane’s decision to illustrate a comic book again after so many years merits attention and presents Image with a legitimate marketing opportunity. McFarlane fans were no doubt eagerly anticipating what he had in store for them this summer. Unfortunately, it seems they’re getting this:

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Pilgrim Age

Scott Pilgrim, Volume 5: Scott Pilgrim Vs. the Universe original graphic novel
Writer/Artist/Cover artist: Bryan Lee O’Malley
Editor: Randal C. Jarrell
Publisher: Oni Press
Price: $11.95 US

God, I’m so fucking old.

This week’s release of the latest episode of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s pop-culture fantasy series is already cause for celebration throughout the industry, and O’Malley seems poised to be one of the big stars and stories of this weekend’s New York Comicon. His Scott Pilgrim books have been almost universally praised as genius, as a breakthrough concept and as a success, both in terms of storytelling and sales. I definitely see the appeal. This book, like the others before it, is irreverent, frenetic, ambitious and kind of sweet at times as well. And while I enjoyed it, I have to be honest: I don’t completely get Scott Pilgrim. And I think it’s ’cause I’m so fucking old. At least, that’s how I felt as I read Scott Pilgrim Vs. the Universe. Of course, it doesn’t help that a birthday last month left me just two years shy of 40. (My wife tells me I’m not old, but her assertion is easily dismissed as she needs to believe I’ll be vital father figure to our yet-to-be-conceived children.)

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