Showcases for just one writer: Good or bad idea?

May 31, 2004

By Avi Green

I thought to take a look at the recent spate of canceled books from DC and Marvel, such as Supergirl, Black Panther, Young Justice, Martian Manhunter, Captain Marvel, The Spectre, plus one that’s still been saved from the axe, Spider-Girl, and maybe one or two others, but this is about what I know of for now.

Now it's a real shame that they've been axed. But what's really surprising when upon closer inspection is that just about all the aforementioned books had only one, single writer helming them all along! Peter David wrote Supergirl, YJ and CM, Christopher Priest wrote BP, Tom Defalco [still] writes SG, J.M. DeMatteis wrote the current Spectre's book, and John Ostrander wrote J'onn J'onzz's book.

So here's what I'm trying to figure out: is one of the reasons for the downfall of all these books because the companies lack faith in the characters/material, and have no interest in expanding them into serious franchises? If so, then writer's talent notwithstanding, it would seem as if they’re just being published as a showcase for the writer’s talents, regardless of whether they can make them successes or not, and making them into a real franchise matters little.

Nothing against the writers, whom I most certainly do respect a lot, but, if they can’t bring in the goods in spite of great writing skills, does anyone think they should be taken off the book and a new writer with fresh visions and styles should be brought in to take over? Two books I know of that had different writers following the departure of the previous ones are Aquaman’s previous volume from the 1990's, and also Impulse, even though both were books that tanked sometime after the first writer left the book. But while admittedly, they may have gone down because the successors didn’t have what it took to keep the series entertaining, the difference is that they did have a change in writers.

To say the least, it’s not really the writers that should matter but the characters and their books, and turning them into a popular franchise that could run for at least a decade. And if they’re only going to be published for showcasing the writers talents and so that they’ll have a place wherein to present their own creative freedom as writers, then seriously, where’s the fun of reading in that?

However, now that I've thought of it, in the case of YJ, as it's turned out to be, it's not all that bad: the junior superheroes who starred in that and now in the latest volume of Teen Titans are exactly what the latter word in the title describes, and that is but one of the reasons why TT, as now written by Geoff Johns, works as well as it does.

Which is why, when it comes to that, now that I've realized, I'm not bothered in the least. In fact, quite the opposite, I'm very VERY impressed.

Copyright 2004 Avi Green. All rights reserved.

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