We’re one month into 2011 and already it’s been a blockbuster in comic book news:
- The demise of the Comics Code Authority
- The immediate cease of Wizard Magazine
- The Death of Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four
So much negativity. Let’s tackle each one:
DC came out and said it was dropping the Comics Code Authority in favor of its’ own Rating System. The biggest surprise was that the CCA was still in existence! Really, what is their role in the market today? DC, Marvel (who dropped the Code in 2001) and other companies seemingly publishes whatever they want with sex, violence and profanity, and it’s now incumbent upon them to monitor themselves. But don’t worry; there will always be parents, like myself, to monitor what they publish so the wrong book doesn’t fall into the wrong hands in my household. I suppose there was a time for the CCA, but that day has long past and is now puts closure to the Werthem Age of Comics, 1954-2011.
Once Upon A Time…I went to college. While stuck in mid-Michigan in a small town, with no comic book store I got interested in girls and beer. I had more success with the latter. I seldom bought comics when I returned home for Christmas or the summer, but after I graduated I found myself in an office building with a comic store directly across the street. How did I get reintroduced and get caught up with comics? Answer: Wizard Magazine. This, of course, was before the internet and besides chatting it up with the owner of the store, was the only way to get up to speed on storylines and comics that I may have missed. For what it was – in the mid-1990s – it was a good magazine. I especially enjoyed the section in the back where it had a short comic price guide to see what was Hot and what was Not. Wizard, however, did not change with the times and sites like Newsarama and Comic Book Resources took over, not to mention Blogs and Podcasts. As far as the business end goes, it’s a shame because Wizard already had a loyal customer base, staff and most importantly, brand. They shot themselves in the foot by not converting to a web based model. Will the hoarding of conventions work for them? Only time will tell, but their reputation may out weigh their vision and all we’ll be left with is, “Whatever happened to Wizard World Paducah”?
Oh, poor Johnny Storm. I was really hoping it wasn’t going to be you. I was secretly rooting for Reed to bite it. But here we are, left with only fond memories of one of the most iconic heroes in all of comicdom. After all, Johnny was the second Human Torch and the first notable Golden Age character to be reborn post Amazing Adventures #3 (August 1961). FYI, The Silver Age Namor debuted in Fantastic Four #4 (May, 1962) and Captain America in The Avengers #4 (March, 1964). I always felt sorry for Johnny. In the early days Stan Lee made it a point that Human Torch and Spider-Man would be at odds with each other, but it was Peter who was the real jerk, not Johnny. He had similar life issues as Peter because he, too, was a teenager and sometimes Reed, Sue and Ben wouldn’t take him as serious as they should because his superpower reflected that of his personality – Hot Head or Daredevil. So much so, this unredeeming quality is showcased in the major movies and animated series of today. I’d like to think that Johnny has grown over the years to become more of a leader and not the adolescent punk to so many has taken him for. Johnny is a strong character and for as long as he is gone, he will be missed. I, like many of you, expect him back in 12 months when Fantastic Four #600 is published next year. But what if he doesn’t return? What will be the fan reaction? I’d like to think that once a character is dead, he stays dead, but not in Johnny’s case. I’d like to see him return. But for now, “Flame Off”.