The Intermittent

Why Are You Still Here?

Wednesday, April 28, 2004


God, I can't title posts for the life of me. Ah well.

Anyway, John Jakala points out how...huge Daredevil is as drawn by Joe Quesada, which observation spurs some back and forth on artistic license. On the whole, I think this isn't even really worth discussing; the art doesn't strike me as at all dissimilar from Miller's depiction of Batman, and no one complains about that. The invocation of Liefield as a critique seems wrong, because Liefeld can't draw at all, and both Quesada and Miller can. The latter two knowingly break the rules, the former doesn't even know what the rules are.

So can Sam Keith, for that matter. And since I'm running on about art, I'm going to take a second and point out a neat effect he achieved in Epicurus the Sage. In ETS, all the day to day characters are drawn in a very loose, cartoony style. Even looser than Kieth's normal style, if his style can ever be called normal. The gods though, are drawn in an almost photorealistic manner; for Zeus Keith shifts into full on Alex Ross mode. The effect is to make the gods more concrete than the mortals; it points up in the art how different, more substantial the gods are in comparison to regular folks. And this artistic effect in turn give the stories something to work against; it allows the stories to at once present the gods as fallible (by their actions) and grand (via the art). Neat trick.

Epicurus is worth checking out, for the "unclean numbers" joke Epicurus pulls on the Pythagoreans if for nothing else.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004


The feast of Walleye ends today, as I finished off the soup I made. Sad. Since Saturday, I've fried Walleye, baked Walleye with plum sauce, and put it in Thai fish soup. I'd blame a fascination with Iron Chef ("the secret ingredient is.....WALLLLLEYEEEE!"), but really, it was more a function of having defrosted waaaaaay to much fish.

In any event, it was good, and I'm sorry to see it go.

Look at the Marvel previews for July. Go the Icon section. Look at the bottom of the page allotted to Powers one. See that at the bottom? See the copyright notice indicating that Powers is owned by Jinxworld? Right. Now go look at the page for Kabuki. Look at the bottom of the page. See anything?

Neither do I.

So the question becomes: copy mistake, or something more? This would be a great question for an enterprising comics journalist, if such a thing existed.

Monday, April 26, 2004


Via Graeme McMillan, we find out that Micah Wright is a protectionist:

""The thing that no one has realized about Manga yet, though, is that the more it spreads, the more chance it has of accomplishing in American Comics what Anime has accomplished in American Action/Adventure animation: utter devastation and decimation of the [American] talent base. "

Maybe instead of reintroducing text onto Stormwatch covers, Wright should have just slapped a big ol' Buy American sticker on them. Or perhaps we can impose a manga tariff; hey, if we're protecting catfish, we might as well protect comics. Though the idea of a cultural tariff might be a bit too...French for this administration. But clearly, something needs to be done. If American comic creators go out of work, our children are vulnerable to the depredations of foreign imaginations. It's a national security issue!

Or not. Really, it would be sad if Micah Wright made less money than he thinks he deserves. But it would even sadder if kids weren't allowed to read the manga they want in order to ensure that Micah Wright makes the money he thinks he deserves.

I found Matthew Rossi's site via Marc Singer Post after post of lucid alternate history, paragraphs of wild ideas, any one of which could be nurtured into something strange and beautiful. Clearly, this man has far too many thoughts in his head to be allowed to wander freely among us.

Anyway, this is fantastic post on Roanoke, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Atlantis. Seriously. It's elegantly written and well researched. It even takes a brief digression to visit the School of Night; in that, and in other respects, it reminds me of Nicholas Christopher's Veronica. And that is high praise indeed, since that book was a brilliant step into a world of imaginary maps, jazz, reincarnation, and the secret histories of both New York and London; Paul Auster by way of Tim Powers.

Rossi evidently has a book of his own, a book that's going right on the wishlist.

"Specter was used to stating his opinion as law, a practice known as Dworking. He'd utilized it to clear a guy who'd shot a hundred people near a gun shop. Citing American military procedure, Specter proved the slaughter was a preemptive strike."

Slaughtermatic by Steve Aylett. If only the remainder of the book was as good as that line.

Friday, April 23, 2004


While I'm willing to grant that my opinion on Kill Bill is solely my opinion, I will state, catagorically and for the record, that Cheaper by the Dozen is an appalling film with an incredibly offensive take on family. Even by the standards of schmaltz it's bad.

I'm sure all the rest of you, being the smart folks you are, already knew that, though.

Thursday, April 22, 2004


Ken Lowery, Rick Geerling, and Neilalien all respond to my post on advertising from last night. All of them make cogent points, and are well worth reading; all three more or less argue that more advertising would be a good thing.

And hey: they might be right. I certainly can't sit here today and say that advertising wouldn't make a huge difference in book sales. My gut says it might not; but my gut is often wrong. I could be way off base on assuming the average fanboy gets as much information as it seems. The people I observe may be real outliers. All very possible.

This points up, however, a problem with the industry that Sean Collins alluded to: the abject failure of what passes for comics journalism to actually provide substantive analysis of the business of comics. We rely instead on conjecture and analysis via anecdote--and in this, I'm certainly as guilty as anyone else. This makes it difficult to properly diagnose why good books die, or really, why anything happens in this business. We have no idea as to what effect advertising actually has; what effect X amount of money spent on promotion yields on book sales. If one dollar in promotion yields on average only fifty cents in extra sales, we face very different challenges than a world in which one dollar in promotion yields a dollar five in sales. We have no way to measure comparative effectiveness of promotional tools. Is web promotion as effective as intra-book ads? What about discounted jumping on points? Wouldn't a survey of direct market consumers tell us a lot about what they want? About what comics they're aware of?

I don't expect publishers to give us this information, assuming they have it. This kind of data is usually pretty protected. But a good journalist can get it. And in other industries they do. There are auto trade reports that look at comparative sales, advertising campaigns, consumer demographics. Hell, even Variety provides this for the movie industry. Comics though....we've got nothing. And its killing us.

SIDENOTE: In my original post, I was talking about advertising to existing direct market customers. Neilalien points out that advertising to "civilians" could be a very good thing indeed. And I agree, wholeheartedly; based, of course, on my hunches and conjectures as to the market.

UPDATE: Ken adds his thoughts on comics journalism. It's dogpiling time!

It's distressing when two people whose opinions you respect start throwing mud back and forth at each other. Civility is a minor casualty of war, but it is a casualty nonetheless.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004


I'm old enough to remember when there was no comics advertising to speak of. No internet. No Wizard. News alerts were limited to Bullpen Bulletins. New comics were discovered on the stands by happenstances.

Comics sold really well then, evidently.

Today, by comparison, we're drowning in information about comics. There are multiple magazines devoted to medium. There is a semi-credible set of folks who publicly review comics. The blogosphere. Diamond information is available months ahead of time, and many comic shops make hard copies of the Diamond catalog available to customers. Information is out there. And the comics fanbase--aging, mostly computer literate--should have easy access to it.

So how can it be a failure of advertising when good comics die? How many of the hundred thousand or so regular comics readers out haven't heard that Sleeper is a good comic? Can there really be that many? This isn't snark; I'm really curious. Is the problem really, pace Steven Grant, that folks aren't finding out about good comics....or is it that the people who make up the bulk of the direct market simply have very different ideas then the comics cognoscenti as to what constitutes a "good comic?"

I suspect it might be the latter. And this is not a slam on the direct market; the market is what it is. And while I'd love it if tons of others shared my loves, I don't see divergent tastes as evidence of moral failure. Different strokes, and all that. But pinpointing why a book like WildC.A.T.S. v. 3.0 didn't sell is important, if only so its mistakes can be avoided (assuming that's possible). Maybe a lack of advertising really is to blame, at least in part. Before we accept that as recieved wisdom, though, let's make sure it's true.

UPDATE: Of course, even if it fanboy attitude rather than fanboy ignorance which drives home the knife, advertising could still be a good and helpful way to keep books alive. Comics, to the extent it does ads, does them poorly in comparison to essentially all other media. This is largely a function of money, or the lack thereof, I think. But ads for other products don't simply advertise the product--they advertise a lifestyle with which the product accessorizes. Fantasy sells better than goods and services. Comics ads just sell comics. This is a problem. And I have no idea how to fix it.

Once more unto the breach, my....

Oh, fuck it. We all know what we all think we know, at this point. And if the last twelve iterations of this debate haven't changed any minds, I can't see any utility in having it again.


Tuesday, April 20, 2004


I'm behind the times. Sad but true. Hell, the last issue of Daredevil I read was fifty; I'll get around to reading this next arc sometime next year, I'm sure. I've already blocked out the time. It's right after the period I have reserved to finally listen to Speakerboxxx/Love Below, and right before the time I allotted to finally watching the Sopranos.

Anyway. Since everyone else is talking up Kill Bill Volume 2 (the diminutive of which is KBV2, I've given to understand), it's about time I got around to talking about KBV1. Short version: I didn't much like it. The long version is below.

I went in very much wanting to love--not just like--KBV1. I mean, I love kung fu movies. I sat through week after week of DOC Films' various Hong Kong film nights. Let's put it this way: I was upset at the way Disney cut Iron Monkey. And I've enjoyed every Tarantino film I've ever seen. Like I said, I wanted to, expected to, love this movie.

I didn't.

And I think I know why. But first, a brief taxonomy of the two kinds of enjoyable kung fu/exploitation films. With any luck, this will be as coherent as J.W. Hastings exposition on caper films; though, with my track record, perhaps I'd bet short on this one.

Enjoyable kung fu movies come in two types. The first is enjoyable because it is schlock, it knows it is schlock, and its only goal is to entertain, either via action or goofy humour. Think, say, Fong Sai-Yuk, or the oeuvre of Jackie Chan. Good clean fun.

The second type is played straight. Which is not to say realistic; but it takes its own absurdities very seriously. It doesn't wink at the audience. And because it takes itself seriously, it can reach for something beyond simply entertaining an audience. Its lunacy becomes contagious; it can aspire to narrative power. Think about (not a kung fu movie, but the point remains) John Woo's Hard Boiled. It makes, frankly, no sense at all, either in its narrative or its physics. It's honor/betrayal paradigm shouldn't really work, given what its yoked to; and explained to people who haven't seen the film, it often doesn't. But as a works. Oh man, how it works. It works because Woo never doubts that it should work, or lets on that he knows it shouldn't. Woo never admits that his films are cartoons, and his belief that they aren't transmutes them from cartoons into something more.

KBV1 fails because it can't decide which kind of film it wants to be. Tarantino clearly wants the audience to feel it; for the plight of his characters to resonate. But he can't play his story straight. He winks at the audience continually, starting with the invocation of Star Trek that starts the movie. He tells us, over and over, that this is all in good fun; that it's a cartoon. He invites us to appreciate it as spectacle instead of asking us to believe in it as a story. Which is fine; I like spectacle. Just don't then ask me to take seriously the morality of murdering Vivica Fox in front of her child. Don't ask me to feel anything for the characters other than a rooting interest of the "Go Good Guys!" variety. Tarantino can't have it both ways. He can't ask us to take his movie seriously yet at the same time treat it as a big pop cultural joke. You can't have a breakdance fight scene and still ask me to care. You can't present characters as grotesques and ask me to find depth in them.

Why this happened, I have no idea. Neither Pulp Fiction nor Reservoir Dogs shared this flaw. Both were played essentially straight; what winking there was was deeply camouflaged. Perhaps now that he has something to lose--a reputation to maintain--he lacks the confidence to tell a genre story straight. He's afraid to simply ask us to accept ninjas and swordplay and Technicolor assassination squads; he knows that these are not the kinds of things that serious filmmakers are supposed to be about. The wink is his way of playing it safe; it's all kitsch, see? Good fun. "I don't, you know, really care about this stuf, members of the Academy"...But this is sheer speculation on my part. Unnecassary speculation at that; why he crippled his movie isn't really all that relevant. The fact is, he did. It limps around, provides some entertaining moments. But it never made me care, and took efforts to keep me from even trying.

It should be noted, again, I haven't seen part two. Seen together, maybe the film feels different. Check back with eight months from now, after I've seen KBV2, and I'll let you know.

The Fine Print: As used above, the word cartoon is intended to be pejorative. And yes, I know that there are lots of cartoons that have emotional depth and heft. I'm not talking about those. Also, this is just my take. It's by no means intended as a definitive piece of film criticism, or as establishing a definitive taxonomy of kung fu movies. This post is not to be taken internally, and is void where prohibited

Rose alludes to some of these same points, and, as per usual, does so in much elegant fashion than do I. See also here and here.

Monday, April 19, 2004


Joe Sacco is appearing in the Washington Monthly doing political strips. I don't necessarily agree with the politics, but it's nice to see a comic in a magazine endorsed by former Presidents.

Found while kicking around Kevin Drum's new digs. If this was noticed before, sorry.

UPDATE: Turns out that Fanta in fact pointed this out a while back. Also, it was on Long Story Short Pier. It's obvious I haven't been writing much; turns out I haven't been reading much either, at least not on the web. Huh. What have I been doing with my time?

Thursday, April 15, 2004


Via John Holbo, the bestest action figures in the world, ever. Sad that there is no "Work Ethic Weber!" though.

I'm very certain that Locke really looked like that, by the way. If four years at Chicago taught me anything, it's that Locke was ripped. Also, when he really wanted to think, he turned his whig around like a switch. When the switch turned on, he felt like, like a philosophical truck of some sort.

So, the big news is no more Wildcats (and yes, I know that the "wild" portion is an acronym, but I feel silly typing it. So I'm not going to). This is sad, inasmuch as I was reading that book. Sadder: that I was reading it in trade format, meaning I now will have to hunt up back issues to get the remainder of the (truncated) story. I suppose I have the blood of little 'Cats on my hands now, as a wait for the trade guy. If only I'da bought the individual issues....

Should folks who were waiting for the trade feel guilty? Actually, probably not. According to ICv2, Wildcats: Full Disclosure sold 1,749 units during the month of February. It hasn't charted since. In August, 2003, the first WildCats v. 3.0 trade moved 1,766 books. It never after that cracked the top ICv2's top fifty, which means it was selling between fifteen hundred (the general bottom point of the ICv2 charts) and zero units for each month after August 2003. Note also that this only tracks sales through Diamond, so maybe there is a huge number of bookstore sales I'm not seeing. Though I doubt it.

Anyway. If the roughly 1700 people who rushed out and bought both trades had been buying the book on a monthly basis, would it still be around? Hard to say. Let's look at the comparative sales numbers, kindly collected here at the Pulse. Wildcats' sales were generally in the fourteen thousand issue range, though it was bleeding readers. Adding another seventeen hundred readers would put it, to be charitable, at maybe seventeen thousand issues sold per month. Or, in other words, it would still be selling less than Aquaman, Thundercats, and Legends of the Dark Knight. Upside: at seventeen thousand, it would be selling more than Tom Strong, Hellblazer, Losers, Lucifer, or Fallen Angel (no wonder Peter David is twitchy). Of course, these comics have other things going for them, respectively Alan Moore, a movie, a much more successful trade, a series of successful trades, and...well, I got nothing for Fallen Angel. Sorry.

Given this, I can't see how waiting for the trade killed Wildcats; it looks much more like want of audience was the case. Bear in mind that this is pure speculation on my part, by someone with no special knowledge of comic book retailing.

I wonder, though, what the magic number is for viability. What number of trades have to have been sold to keep the book afloat? What if trade sales were low but steady month to month? At what point do the curves intersect so as to make publishing the book viable for DC? As Brian Hibbs notes, trades can be evergreens. I wonder how soon DC can tell if the tree is taking root....

Anyone out there with more knowledge want to take a go round at this? About all I can say with any confidence is that Johnny Bacardi should sleep the sleep of the just; you didn't kill the Wildcats. Beyond that....I'm guessing.

(Aside. After making somewhat of an ass of myself in public going at it with Hibbs earlier, I really should have noted that this later essay is very, very good.)

Simon, at Ringwood Ragefuck (and for some odd reason, I very much enjoyed typing that), to people who think that comics fans are uniquely blinkered in their tastes:

"To you types, I invoke John Grisham, Michael Crichton, Meg Ryan, Michael Bay, Bruce Willis, Dave Barry, Top 40 radio, the romantic comedy formula, and a host of other people, story structures, and repetitive media we see churning out pretty much the same product year after year after year. And people buy or otherwise patronize them. Why? Because people know what they like and they seek it out. Not everyone is an entertainment adventurer looking for new thrills every single time they go to the theater or bookstore. And I'm not going to be the kind of cultural fascist that suggests everyone should be. I don't have that right, and neither do you."

Damn, it's nice when people make sense.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004


If President Bush is still insisting that we might, you know, someday, maybe under a rug somewhere or in the glove box, find WMD's in Iraq, we're pretty much fucked, aren't we?

When we get better and more cogent grand strategy from Canadian comics-bloggers than we do from our government, we're pretty much fucked, aren't we?

Jamie Rich:

"When was the last time you heard someone like Dave Eggers was going to stop writing his personal novels to write a book about Tom from The Great Gatsby?"

New York Newsday:

"The Escapist will come out quarterly; future stories are to be penned by...Dave Eggers."

The Escapist is presumably owned in whole by Michael Chabon, who was not Dave Eggers last time I checked. Presumably, talented though he is, Eggers can not simultaneously write both the Escapist and his own fiction.

In all fairness to Rich, I still have not heard of any plans on Eggers' part to write "The Continuing Adventures of Tom!"

Chabon link via Thought Balloons.


Bill Sherman and Johnny Bacardi look at AIT/Planetlar's The Couriers volumes one and two. Which means my devious long term plan to become a trendsetter is working, because I looked at those books waaaaay back in March. Score one for me, which puts me only six thousand eight hundred and twelve points behind the rest of the blogosphere.

Monday, April 12, 2004


It appears that the great blogosphere debate over the validity of superheros as a genre has finally died down; or rather, the two sides have simply gotten tired of the carnage and retreated from the field. Which means we can turn our attention to the exact same fights happening among....Dr. Who fans.

Turns out that Dr. Who fans are all up in arms over, wait for it,continuity, and whether or not the good Doctor should be marketed to kids or adults. Remember, now that it's not happening to us, it's funny instead of tragic.

Slightly higher up the food chain, Anne Applebaum laments the divide between high and low literature; and this dispute, in both vitriol and longevity, makes a mockery of the similar debate between superhero and indie comics fans. Money quote:

"Popular culture now hates high culture so much that it campaigns aggressively
against it. High culture now fears popular culture so much that it insulates itself
deliberately from it."

High is high and low is low and never the twain shall suffer to meet, apparently. Link via John Holbo.

Friday, April 09, 2004


Next time, before I send an email appraising someone of a spelling error, I should probably make sure I don't make the same exact error, huh? That would be the smart thing to do, I suppose.

Also, I should probably make sure that the email is, you know, coherent. Not missing key words. To that end, the email posted at The Hurting should read like this (new words bolded:

Thanks for the link; and you're right, I wasn't really trying to poke holes in your larger argument regarding the industry, only the smaller argument relating to whether good art can look at the world through a fantastic lens. I hope I was clear on that...I mean, I love Gravity's Rainbow, and can't imagine trying to force Pynchon into a straight retelling of World War II, but I wouldn't want all books on the war to ape Pynchon. So, in any event, assuming I'm not missing some snark, thanks for the fair handed treatment of what was intended on my part to be some fair handed criticism.

Right then. As always, we here at the Intermittent are committed to brining you half-ass, semi-coherent thoughts for you to puzzle over or ignore.

Thursday, April 08, 2004


So today I get links from both the big timers and the smart set; and yet, when I try and look at the site, I get nothing. A big page of whiteness. Damn you Blogger, damn you to hell.

Side note, special to Tim O'Neil: Thank you for the Damage Control cover (scroll down). When Epic was still peddling snake-oil to the fanboys, I very seriously considered submitting a Damage Control proposal; because frankly, the world needs a good comic about bureaucracy and construction management. I'm dead serious here. Really. Though, I can't promise though that it would have been faithful to the original intent of Dwayne Mcduffie, so perhaps it's for the best that I never got my act together and got the thing written. I'd hate to incur the wrath of Darwyn Cooke.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004


Guilty confession time. I've never liked Hawthorne. Never. Even after reading really smart examinations of his work, like this and this. Granted, I only ever read The House of the Seven Gables and The Scarlet Letter, but....ah, I'm just going to have to live with being a Philistine, aren't I? Though on the other hand, if Dave Fiore gets that much out of the Blithdale Romance, more power to him.

In other literature news, I've been reading Peter Ackroyd's Hawksmoor. It's a tough book to summarize; it shifts between first and third person, the eighteenth century and the twentieth. At heart it is about the how evil is imprinted onto the landscape and how it echoes through both time and space, with special reference to Christ Church Spitalfields in London; in this, it is a worthy companion to Moore's From Hell. Which is no surprise, really, as Moore acknowledges it as an influence on that work (and both Moore and Ackroyd were in turn influenced by Ian Sinclair). Interesting books to read together in any event; Ackroyd alternately give more depth Moore's work and seems derivative of From Hell. This latter is tribute to the power of this latter work, in that it subsumes its influences into itself. More on Hawksmoor later, when I finish.

Last point: it's really unfair to Eddie Campbell that I keep talking above as if From Hell sprung full grown out of Alan Moore's beard. I just reread Chapter Four of From Hell, the chapter that deals with the secret architecture of London and which has the most overlap with Hawksmoor thematically; and while Moore is in rare form, Campbell steals the show. His line work and use of shadows is just exquisite, and he at once conveys both the day to day reality of London and also the menacing mystical backdrop Moore seeks to impart to that city. However much credit Campbell gets, he should get more.

Sean Collins is allegedly on vacation, and warns blogging will be "light." And then he goes on to post more today than I have all week. Jerk.

Elsewhere, Sean argues that there is thematic link between Frank Miller and Quentin Tarantino, as evidenced in part by the fact that Miller and Tarantino will get co-director credit on Robert Rodriguez' allegedly forthcoming Sin City movie. I think that this is precisely backwards. One of those things is not like the other, and that's The Big Q. Rodriguez and Miller are both quintessential punk rock artists. One never gets the sense that they care about the approval of their peers; they just follow their impulses, damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead. They love what they love--in Rodriguez' case weird cheesy kids movies cross bred with the Seven Voyages of Sinbad, in Millers fantastically goofy pulp fiction--and don't care if anyone else thinks that its trash.

Tarantino, though; he cares. Oh yes he does. And his movies suffer for it; Kill Bill v.1 in particular. Tarantino asks us to look at his film from a safe ironic distance; he wants us to appreciate it as kitsch. True Romance suffers from this flaw as well, though oddly enough neither Reservoir Dogs nor Pulp Fiction do, though the latter teeters very close to the edge. Tarantino continually jerks the audience out of the flow; Miller pushes you into it, never pausing to consider how ridiculous his concepts really are. Sure, both guys may have a thing for female ninjas; but only one is embarrassed by it.

I don't make a habit much of perusing Den Beste, because, well, frankly, I find him scary, in an unhinged sort of Howard Hughes way. I sometimes get the sense that the war is his own Spruce Goose, a completely cockeyed bid for intellectual granduer concocted in a bathrobe far away from the troublesome outside world. Of course, having never met the guy, what do I know?

Anway, I've been cruising the warblogger sights since the recent battles. And Sean Collinsis mostly right; for war supporters it is again an example of Bushian genius, for doubters, more Bushian stupidity. Den Beste falls into this pattern. No surprise, really. And hey: maybe he's right. I'm not in Iraq, and have no way of knowing how deeply this insurrection has sunk its roots.

What I am sure about, is that citing a poll done in February (check the dates at the bottom of the piece--the sampling was completed as of February 28th) as emblematic of Shia attitudes here in April is....let's be charitable and simply call if flawed methodology. After all, there have been a couple of events of some signifigance since then, right? I mean, we hadn't even blown up our first mosque way back then.

Remember, internet punditry is all about getting the facts right. Or so I've heard, though rarely observed.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004


Tim O'Neill:

I believe that most people, if they want to read a book about inner-city crime, would much prefer to read a book on inner-city crime than a comic book with a man in black tights and a cape musing sullenly about inner-city crime.

A good point. And one that I think should be applied across media. So the question for various authors becomes:

Mr Pynchon, if you wanted to write about World War II, why not just write about it; why drag in a hypnotized octopus?

Mr. Rushdie, if you wanted to write about India, why not just write about it; why drag in superpowered children?

Mr. Garcia-Marquez, if you want to write about Columbia, why not just write about it; why drag in magic?

Mr. Murakami, if you want to write about Japanese atrocities in World War II, why not just write about it; why drag in evil twins?

Mr. Bulgakov, if you want to write about Russia, why not just write about it; why drag in the Devil and a talking cat?

Really, I think all these works would have been better if the writers had just gotten rid of the fantastic crap.

I really don't mean to prolong this particular brushfire war. Really. Also, note that I can be right that Tim's point above is misguided without invalidating his larger point: that a market where it is impossible to write without filtering everything through the lens of superheros is not a healthy market. Superhero's can be a viable genre and the market can still be well and truly fucked; and in fact, I think that it largely is.