Saturday, October 20, 2012

Behind the Scenes -- A BAB Editorial Meeting

Karen: We sometimes joke around about our BAB "editorial meetings" -- basically, the emails that fly back and forth between Doug and I where we plan the blog's content. After several years now of this dog and pony show, we seem to have our act together, although life does intrude from time to time. But we manage to agree pretty well on the overall content. It is getting a little harder to come up with new books to review, but that just gives us a reason to buy more trades and back issues. But we thought it might be fun, and possibly enlightening, to share a recent exchange we had with you all, to let you see how we decide what to run, and when, and how those conversations meander.

D: Since the end is in sight for Monsterpalooza, do you want to set the order for the Kirby month?  I can set the posts up if you tell me how you'd like to run them.  Thanks!

K: Geez, I was just thinking on the drive in this morning whether we were going to do Avengers Under Siege or our Return of the King series, yet forgot to bring it up with you! Getting senile...anyway, yes, let's get Kirby going. I was thinking chronologically might be cool -what do you think? I can figure out what that order might be as best as possible and we can do that if you like.

D: I'm open to the Avengers, too, if you feel more like a series after a bunch of one-shots.  Now that I think of it, we had discussed Kirby in December -- sort of a "Very Kirby Christmas" -- but since he was Jewish that's probably inappropriate!! 

I don't mind either direction -- you go with what feels like the most fun.  I haven't read any of those Kirby books (I always thought that I bought a lot of monthlies when I was a kid, but that simply cannot be true...), so I'm open for some learning.

I'll try to get to adding my comments to the Mummy post today or tomorrow.  Tigra is ready, and the Power Girl post is done (art has been added); again, get in on Power Girl only if you feel like you have time.  No worries!  But, really looking forward to your impression on the Tigra story (and art!).

K: Good point about Kirby and Christmas, we don't want to appear insensitive! So starting it in November seems the way to go. I went ahead and put them on the schedule. Cap came first, followed by the Eternals. Devil Dinosaur and Machine Man appeared to be published at the same time so I just went in alphabetical order. As I do have the original comics for Cap and the Eternals, I might try to dig those out and scan the covers, since everyone seemed to like seeing the real, beat-up comics.

I kind of wish we had access to his Black Panther stuff (do you?) but I've heard it's pretty awful...

D: I don't have any BP by Kirby.  I've picked up the tpbs to look at them a time or two and have always set them back down!

After our month of the King and his '70's writing, we will need to do a praise-worthy book -- would FF Annual #6 happen to be a favorite of yours?  It was reprinted in G-S FF #6 -- features Annihilus and the birth of Franklin.  We could do a partner review in between Kirby and the Avengers run if you would like.

K: We could review it...but we did already review it on the old Two Girls, etc. blog!

Don't feel bad, I can't remember what I had for lunch last week...

D: "FF Family Matters"!!  What a great idea!!


I'm not kidding -- I've had that G-S FF sitting out where I can see it for a couple of months now, thinking I'd review it as a "Favorite".  Never, ever occurred to me that we'd already done it.

That being said, have you ever thought of re-reviewing some of those great series, like "Celestial Madonna", again with our revised BAB-focused points of view?

K: Yeah, I have, particularly the Cap/"Secret Empire" stuff and the "Celestial Madonna" series. Maybe a little further down the road? Surely there must still be some Bronze Age classics we're over looking. We still have our X-Men continuing reviews to do.  Sadly, FF in the Bronze Age just wasn't very good, same for Thor. I really haven't gone back and looked at Hulk much, mostly due to the Trimpe art, but I may take a look. I keep adding things to my holidays to-do list, and  I know I will never get them all done.

D: For Bronze Age FF, about the only two longer arcs I'd like to do sometime are the Frightful Four farce when they held try-outs in the Baxter Building, and the Son of Doom arc shortly after the team had broken up in the #190s.

As to Thor...  I have some of the hardcovers, but haven't read any of those stories in ages.  I know people like the long tale with the camera crew in Asgard, and the mythical red-headed Thor.

We need to at some point get back to Amazing Spider-Man as well.

Hey, by the way -- I got out the Beast Masterworks a couple of days ago to leaf through the Rutland story.  Egad!!  I didn't mind Bob Brown much on DD, Batman, or even the Avengers -- he was tolerable.  But on this Beast story...  The Juggernaut looks like he needs to get himself to Jenny Craig!  He could have gone to the Rutland parade masquerading as a fishing bobber!  It's too bad for that series that the interiors were so badly drawn as compared to the covers, which I thought were overall excellent.

K: Those two FF arcs were actually pretty good, and I'd say the Galactus vs. High Evolutionary was fun as well. Also the earlier Roy Thomas stuff with Galactus and Gabriel and the Panther in South Africa (or its Marvel equivalent) were solid.

For Thor, I enjoyed the Celestials/Eternals story that Thomas started, but then he diverged into this re-telling of "The Ring of the Nibelung" that was just terrible. I mean, it was awful stuff with Thor standing in for Siegfried and Valkyrie for Brunhilde and it was plopped down right in the middle of this exciting story with the Celestials returning to make judgment on Earth. It seemed to go on forever and I gave up on it, and then at some point they got back to the Celestials, and suddenly all the Asgardians were dead, and it took me a few years to get issue 300 and find out what the heck had happened. The Celestial part was fantastic but the other stuff? Terrible. I can't say that word enough. I have the two trades it is collected in but I will only read the Celestial part. 

I have that Beast/X-Men Masterworks but only thumbed through it because the art was, indeed, wretched. Most of the artwork on the Beast series was by Tom Sutton I think and it made my eyes hurt. I'll have to look at this Bob Brown artwork. Most of the time I find him acceptable but no better than that. Fishing bobber! Lol.

Doug:  So there you have it -- a "day in the life", so to speak.  We hope you enjoyed your All Access pass to the BAB...  Shoot, we could have our own reality show!  Enjoy your weekend!


Humanbelly said...

Your own reality show?
Well, sure, except that neither of you are shallow, self-absorbed, and/or pathologically demanding of external validation. ALSO you both clearly missed the education requirement by staying in school past 7th grade or so (as evidenced by your ability to string five words together in a clear, entertaining sentence). I mean, I don't want to crush yer dream or anything, but I just don't think you guys have what it takes. . . (heh).

Man, I am once again massively impressed with the time, effort, and thought that you guys invest in this blog. It's certainly the very definition of a Labor of Love, and I'm sure I speak for all of us in saying how very much we appreciate reaping the rewards it gives. Thanks a million, guys-!


Terence Stewart said...

I have to say, having two contributors makes Bronze Age Babies one of the most distinctive blogs around. The differing viewpoints keeps things fresh, and this look at what goes on 'behind the scenes' was great.
Looking forward to the Tigra post.

david_b said...

Whaaaat...?? No name-callin'..?

No drag-out fighting..?

No 'Ah, your mother wears combat boots'..?

Beloved, faithful BAB followers, we have peeked into the Inner Sanctum of all things Bronze, we have peeked at the Wizard behind the Oz curtain.

And it's a treat.

Thank you both for all you do. I'm also thankful to ALL regular contributors here for keeping our beloved hosts honest and on their toes..

(I also get a kick out of watching the spinning globe on the side to see who's all watchin'....)

Edo Bosnar said...

Pretty much everything HB said, except the remark about people who only have 7th grade educations; both my parents stopped going to school after the 7th grade, and they exhibit considerably more intelligence than your typical reality show participant...;)
Otherwise, thanks for sharing your behind the scenes conversation - I'm looking forward to all of the upcoming posts.
However, I have to disagree a bit with Karen about the FF in the Bronze Age (I assume you're talking about the '70s here) - there was a few arcs I remember liking pretty well, like the story that led in to FF #200, and also that sprawling space opera that ran for about ten issues (#204-214).

Fred W. Hill said...

Thanks for the inside look, Karen & Doug, as well as for your work in keeping this fun site ongoing. I think there are still plenty of interesting Bronze Age comics you haven't gotten to yet, although some of them may be too obscure or difficult to obtain, mainly those that have never been reprinted for various reasons, including Master of Kung Fu, a great series caught up in copyright limbo due to the nefarious Fu Manchu! I rather liked both the FF & Thor as a kid back in the day, but, yeah, compared to the days when Kirby was in his prime on both titles and the later work of Byrne and Simonson on them, the period in-between was often not so keen, even when graced with great art by John Buscema. The Amazing Spider-Man, in the mean-time varied from good to ghastly in the late '70s (post-Conway). Maybe you could later cover some of those big epics of the late '70s that didn't really come off all that well and try to analyze what went wrong, as well as the better ones and what was good about them (of course, there's likely to be some disagreement about what was great and what was so so if not horrid.

david_b said...

Edo, agreed on Bronze FF, I loved the little-appreciated Buscema arcs, such as the Miracle Man two-parter, Shaper, Franklin being zapped, the entire Reed-Sue separation, I loved all these Bronze stories with fantastic Buscema FF art.

Please, requesting more on these.

david_b said...

Er, sorry, not sure why the double-post. Please ignore.

Karen said...

It's taken care of, David. Glad you guys enjoyed the post today. It's fairly typical of our give and take on where to go with the blog.

I'm not down on Bronze Age FF per se, but I do think by the 70s, the best years of the book were behind it. But then, we're talking about the Lee/Kirby years, which defined not only that title but one could argue modern comics in general, so those are big shoes to fill. The Bronze era FF had good runs and bad runs but I seem to recall long stretches of mediocrity.

Fred, I have been picking up some Master of Kung Fu issues here and there. I'd like to amass a dozen or so before I really start reading.

Our coverage of Jack Kirby's return to Marvel this November should result in some lively conversation no doubt! I'm looking forward to reading everyone's thoughts on those reviews. Thanks again to all of you for making our 'work' here so rewarding.

Doug said...

I spent a little time on Cover Browser while watching college football today. I found some nice 3-5 book arcs in Amazing Spider-Man, FF, and Thor, so who knows -- we'll have another editorial board meeting and see where we land once February rolls around.

We could easily run a month of really stupid one-shots, too, including that one in the FF with the biker gang. Duh...


Anonymous said...

Hmm Juggy was never svelte anyway ... maybe the Cyttorak dimension is full of Hostess twinkies! LOL :)

- Mike 'starting to look like fat Juggernaut too' from Trinidad & Tobago.

david_b said...

Actually, Doug it was a two-parter with the 'bikers' and Shaper, ishs 136-137, the 2nd part being MUCH better than the first..

But, I agree whole-heartedly..:

Not all FFs can reach the intellectual Lee/Kirby pinnacle of Tomazooma,the Walking Totem Pole.

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