A true Game Tape may or may not happen for the next two weeks. It’s a lengthy explanation, and I’m sure you don’t really care. Suffice it to say, my local comic shop is either moving or shutting down. Verdict will be rendered in two weeks. No books came yesterday, and today we found out why. Damn it. I really like this store.
Instead tonight, a few thoughts on Geoff Johns and “Blackest Night.”
I’ve got some real issues with the issue that came out last week. This whole deus ex machina of deputizing people for 24 hours is pretty weak. It also forces the rest of the story to be nicely resolved in a day’s time. Tommyrot. Luthor and Scarecrow are really going to work for the betterment of the universe as team players? That a black ring can be over ridden and destroyed by one that appeals to the wearer’s truest or best self? Whatever.
The thing is, I’ve grown to like Johns. When he’s on, he’s on. The guy can find interesting and new facets of a character. He can even tell a good story. When he’s on. The problem comes when he’s stretched too thin and writing too many books. Everything becomes watered down and weak. That whole return of Barry Allen mini that Jesse was on about at Thanksgiving is exactly one of these times when he’s too busy to write a good story. Bow ties and Prof. Zoom pushing kids down stairs is what we were stuck with.
You want to have creative control and say over the whole of a comic book universe? Fine, be an editor. Work with people who can consistently tell stories to shape a universe. Collaborate with other creators. Don’t stretch yourself so thin “creating” stories over five or ten books. Individual titles, readers and characters suffer when you try to do it any other way. How do I know this?
Because, as a fair yarn spinner once wrote of the New Gods, “Our story has always been a generational one.” Prophetically, he could as easily have been speaking of writers on one of his better known titles. This yarn spinner is none other than Mark Waid. They guy didn’t invent Wally West as the Flash, but he might as well have. Waid wrote Flash off and on for about a decade. He’d write some really good arcs, trickle down to some adequate ones, to some meh stories. Then he’d leave for a while. This became a cycle, and you could start to predict when he was going to leave for a break. It always came about three months after you started seeing his name in more than two titles. He becomes EIC at Gorilla Comics in the early part of the last decade, and it’s not long before Flash gets a new creative team. Comes back, later starts writing for Marvel too: time to move away from Flash again. And so the off and on romance goes.
Johns, take a page from Waid. Know your limits. You’ve exceeded them. Write a few titles well or move to an editorial position if you want to steer the ship. Stop producing these merely adequate and lesser stories.