When Bill James was going to write Captain Marvel, then Harlan Ellison


Tom Prefort Celebrating 25 years as editor in chief Avengers He wonders who can match his length in any one book in an editorial capacity. But he also took the opportunity in his newsletter to remember Marvel / Captain Marvel / Ultimate Adventures U- decide disaster. We remembered that recently with the death of Ultimate adventures clerk Ron ZimmermanAnd it’s still one of Marvel’s most unusual projects. We knew some of them, some we didn’t really know.

It all started when Marvel was raising the price of poorer selling titles from $2.25 to $2.99, Captain Marvel Written by Peter David, who also wrote the widely read column But I Digress for comics buyers guide, Announcing this decision publicly and offering alternatives. Things didn’t go well at Marvel. But it could have been worse, like a Marvel publisher back then Bill James He planned to fire Peter David and write Captain Marvel himself as a result. Brevoort recalls;

And in fact, Bill’s plan for the hot minute was that he would fire Peter off Captain Marvel and write the series himself. I can remember he came to my office with the first draft script of what would become Marvel #1 in his hands, illustrating this plan. It was initially written with the character being “The main one is a new iteration of Captain Marvel. But cooler heads prevailed here, and Joe in particular saw a promotional opportunity. So he and Bill came up with the idea of ​​promoting U-Decide. Put simply, it was this: Bill would write his new series.”

Before we knew it, he relaunched Marvel Captain Marvel #1 Written by David at $2.25, but also launched 2 new titles, Marvel Written by James and Ultimate adventuresusing one of Joe’s favorites Ron ZimmermanThere will be a competition to see which one can sell more.

“After the first six issues come out, the bestselling title will win and go on. Plus, the loser will be sitting in an immersion tank on behalf of the Champion initiative at some upcoming convention. I would say this was a fun promotion, but it was really anything but. This is an opportunity to publicly humiliate Peter and his work, he has been in control of all the tools of power in the organization, so he always had an unfair advantage.Meanwhile, Joe saw this whole thing as a way to get more eyeballs on a project he really loved, ULTIMATE ADVENTURES, It was done by comedian Ron Zimmerman and artist Duncan Fegredo that satirizes the story of the super hero sidekick.”

No, there was no immersion tank. Because Captain Marvel It won at number 34 in the charts for that month. Ultimate adventures It was a very bad experience for Batman and Robin with some good artwork and it came at number 46. And Marvel It was the worst collection of jokes that made Bleeding Cool seem available to the general public that not even MD Bright art could memorize, coming in at number 75. Brevoort adds;

“After a number of people told him that no one understood half of what he was referring to in the case, Bell added an editorial page to explain the jokes early on.”

When Bill James was going to write Captain Marvel, then Harlan Ellison

I’d like to point out that as a reader who’s never heard of Ted Turner, even with the explanation, I still haven’t gotten a lot of “jokes” and I still don’t know. The series has also attempted to include an entirely new origin of Wolverine as a prehistoric teenage mutant otter in an effort to increase sales.

When Bill James was going to write Captain Marvel, then Harlan Ellison

Peter David was portrayed as a homeless man.

When Bill James was going to write Captain Marvel, then Harlan Ellison

Make Iron Man almost use the N word and play Kingpin by Spike Lee.

When Bill James was going to write Captain Marvel, then Harlan Ellison

Things got worse, and they got better when the story just fizzled out, exchanged with pages of text saying Marvel didn’t have enough good writers to write all their books, so readers should go. And with Marvel’s proof alone, they might have a point. It’s the worst written comic book Marvel has ever published. Captain Marvel has maintained its sales compared to others that have fallen off the charts, but Marvel Dropped over everything. Marvel No. 6 was a Marvel bestselling book apart from Eden Trail7 was the worst sale ever. Brevoort recalls;

“But I have to tell you frankly, in my opinion, MARVILLE has been one of the most inept and narcissistic projects the company has ever undertaken. It was bad in a way that defied description, as the only audience for the material seemed to be Bill himself. He was the one I felt most sorry for in these. The whole adventure is the artist MD Bright, who ended up plotting the entire path.Bright was hard to work and willing to do what he had to do, but he couldn’t get much satisfaction from working on this series.In a later issue, he’s unhappy with the work he did With Bright, Bill made the crazy choice of printing his dialogue in full text format on top of all the completed artwork. I don’t know if he thought he was emulating the style used by Brian Michael Bendis on ALIAS issues or what, but the end result was unreadable as well as disrespectful to Bright And the work he put in. But at this point, Bill was the absolute boss and there was no one who could easily say no to him, especially not on his vanity project.”

But Tom also shares early plans for that Captain Marvel A relaunch from Peter David who was also looking to win, which could have gone quite differently;

“Peter was inevitable to win it, despite the fact that the group was stacked against him. So his initial idea was to reach out to his close friend Harlan Ellison and see if Harlan was willing to write the story with him, help me with promotion etc. And he came up with Harlan to a presentation of a story – a story that Peter himself hadn’t told me, but that could only be passed on to me by Harlan himself.So Harlan called on time, and put up a story for me that included the fact that, a few years earlier, it was Rick Jones (who was still switching Molecules with Captain Marvel in the current series) is the Hulk. What Harlan envisioned was a story that was revealed sometime during those bleak periods of Hulk, Jones as the Hulk had some woman pregnant somewhere and gave birth to a hulk baby. Now that child will return to wreak havoc on the life of the Hulk. Rick, and thus Captain Marvel. You know what Peter thought about the idea, we never really discussed it, but I suspect maybe he wasn’t keen on it himself, but after asking Harlan for help, he felt an honor to move forward. But there was no Any way I can shed light on the story of the Hulk was, even if as a Other than Bruce Banner’s hulk, a rapist who bore a child. I tried to find some sensible alternatives, but Harlan felt it was crucial to what he had in mind that Rick should have done the deed without his knowledge of the Hulk, and so when that wasn’t possible, he got off the project safely. “

Could it be consensual with the Hulk? He was with Marlowe and Kyra. Tom says in the comments: “I asked Harlan similar questions, Matt, but according to him, as for the story he wanted to tell, ‘it should have been.'” Anyway, that was a long time ago.

“At one point we all had a conference call where each of the principles described the book they were going to try to make it look attractive to readers and especially retailers. I can remember, after that call ended, Bill and Joe felt quite confident about how they would Things went well – they felt Peter had come across as an idiot as usual, and they totally smoked him. This continued until articles written about the press event began appearing, and everyone seemed to have good things to say about Captain Marvel’s plans Peter, while he wasn’t sure about the other two projects They overlooked the fact that Peter had been working for years on Marvel’s marketing team and knew how to talk to the press and retailers in the language they would understand. (I actually advised Peter that he should leave the book one point, feeling that the group was completely stacked against us. But Peter He replied that he would not resign while they were still paying him, he would do his best, which I think was an excellent response and excellent advice overall.)

Then this is where he became more Trumpy than he was when he started.

“For a brief day or two, like something out of modern politics, Bell decided he would send out a press release declaring his victory—there was some semi-hidden nonsense about how Jo Qiu sent the next day a similar press release about ULTIMATE ADVENTURES etc. But it didn’t happen. Any of this. In the end, everyone simply stopped paying attention, the whole effort dissolved with no sort of winner or loser and no one ended up in a flooded tank.”

I can still put up with that sinking tank, Bill! Also, from Marville, Marvel launched a new line, Epic Comics, aimed at publishing the work of new writers. There have been some good books out of that, and most of them are bad. Remember a problem? Would this have revealed that Peter Parker was actually the illegitimate child of Aunt May and Uncle Ben, and was conceived when they were teenagers? Yes, this. It’s a period that Marvel did its best to forget.

Marvel It was not collected in commerce, and it was not published digitally. I suppose it will never happen. But there is a footnote, you see, after Marvel Finished posting, Bill James approached me and asked if I wanted to write Marvel after him.

Which I thought was weird but I wouldn’t go that far. It’s not like I can write anything worse than Bill. I actually wrote a script that would have seen the character KalAOL kidnap Alan Moore, put him in a cage, and shave him like a sheep as a show for Joe Quesada. The god Gelcon ended up attacking New York to free his pupil. But I didn’t hear back from Bill. In the comments, Brevoort recalls “I’ve heard there’s been talk of you taking over the series, but I’ve never seen any script or any evidence that it went beyond mere bullshit.” Which may be all for the better.

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