Super Bloopers

It's a shame that there are plenty of cases wherein the writers really goof off with the dialogue they write for their subjects in comics and even in the world history. Yet, some of these things can be entertaining in retrospect (in showbiz, that is), and here now is a list of all the foul-ups in dialogue throughout the ages.

So to begin, here's a really embarrassing moment in Captain America's career in dialogue department during the Lee/Kirby era:

"Only one of us is gonna walk out of here -- under his own steam -- and it won't be me!" -- Captain America, in Tales of Suspense #92, 1967

Ouch. Not a very good moment for poor Steve Rogers, is it? Yet not as embarrassing as this classic howler done by Rob Liefeld back in 1988:

"He's pulled a Lazarus Gambit!" -- The New Mutants, 1988

"When Mark Waid took over writing the Flash, Wally West was one more "realistic" jerk in a field obsessed, since the mid-80's, by rapists, serial killers and tormented, unshaven "heroes" doing tormented, unshaven, and repetitive things." -- Grant Morrison, from introduction pages of The Flash: Born to Run TPB

No kidding. Given what Mr. Morrison's been working on since the mid-90's, including such examples as his miniseries called The Filth, which are very much similar in tone to what he desrcibes from a decade earlier, and even his "take" on the X-Men from 2001-04, surely that doesn't render his argument there more than a bit hollow?

Figures. Though it's nothing compared to how Morrison then goes on to insult the reader by using the word "fan-thing" in the intro, and I shouldn't have to point out that that was simply in poor taste.

But if it's really bad taste you're looking for, take a look at this big shockeroo spoken by artist John Cassaday in an interview with Shotgun Reviews, one of a couple of establishment loyalists I don't think very highly of:

"I was traveling in Europe when it was released, our military was already sweating through Afghanistan, and the book got the full range of responses in Europe and back home. Many Europeans felt it was easily labeled right-wing propaganda, then I'd get the responses from people in the states that seemed to come out of nowhere on the other side of the argument. In fact, film reviewer, Michael Medved, wrote a review on it. He claimed our Captain America was a "traitor" and sympathetic to the terrorists! There was no winning! But I loved that about it. We produced a book that affected people and had them talking. Maybe the times were still too volatile, but I couldn't be happier with the results. It's one of the books I'm proudest of. I get tons of fans telling me that they started reading Cap again because of our run and that it's their favorite. Cap was and is my favorite superhero because there is something very relevant and timely about him. And that was the point." -- John Cassaday on Shotgun Reviews, June 3, 2004

Wow. I'll say this much, and it's that Cassaday make a really good parroter alright. Not to mention potentially oblivious to the fact that he's insulting more than a generation of people worldwide whose lives were destroyed by terrorism. And that he's just perfect for taking off my list of favorite artists too at that (I've already dropped his website from my list of external links long ago). Insulting our favorite captain, Mr. Cassaday? Tsk tsk tsk. Jack Kirby would be so ashamed. This man really knows how to give the reader a challenge of reading the book he pencils for the entertainment and characters, and not for the artists themselves.

Statements like these are also a leading example as to why the comics industry is failing so badly - because, in contrast to most movie people, who're usually wise to avoid stooping to such insults and contempt for the audience, comic book people, it seems, are going surprisingly out of their way to alienate audiences, probably because comics don't get the same kind of attention that movies do. And if so, then it's an utter shame that writers and artists along the lines of Mr. Cassaday don't seem to care the least bit that they're helping bring about the downfall of our once grand industry.

As for Michael Medved's take on Cassaday's big dud, you can read all about it right here at this link.

"You're full of s***. You're so full of s***, your eyes are brown." -- John Constantine, in Hellblazer

Where in the blue blazes do some writers get the idea to use perverse statements like that? And while Constantine may be more than enough of an anti-hero already as it is, that's still pretty bad judgement to have used that kine of a line. I just hope it only got used when Hellblazer moved under the Vertigo label at DC, that's for sure!

"Pay attention class, as I pass gas and knock your professor unconscious using chemical warfare. Then I'm going to Macarena, because if we all just line dance think how much better off we'd be." -- Deadpool #2

"Speaking of gettin' things, Cyke -- Yer gonna be gettin' me a new bike! I lend ya mine fre one day and ya leave it parked in another dimension. So start raiding the cookie jar, bub, 'cause the old Canucklehead's gotta have a set o' wheels!" -- Wolverine, the Adventures of the X-Men #4

Two very lethargic looking ones uttered by Emma "White Queen" Frost, and two reasons why I realized that she was not on my level as a character.

"Finally, anyone wishing to complain to Mr. Logan about injuries sustained during yesterday's field expidition will, I'm afraid, be waisting his or her time."

"I'm a patient woman, but sometimes I wish all children had a single neck and I was knotting a rope around it!"

And the second one is really disgusting.

"I can't believe this. I actually have a crush on a hologram. I don't know whether I should talk to a psychologist or an electrician." -- Wildchild, X-Factor #124

I don't know how to say it, but this one really tanks. Though not as bad as the next one, taken from Authority #14, written by none other than Frank Miller of Daredevil fame:

Villain called the Doctor:

"This isn't about money, oil, territory of any of the usual stuff you're regularly assembled to kill for. The kid is the actual spirit of the next hundred years and you're jeopardizing an entire CENTURY if you so much as lay a finger on her."

Team's response:

"Well, what can I say, Cowboy? The interests we represent don't like the uncertainty of the twenty-first century. Cracking open that baby's head and making a brain-omelette is the best hope we have of guaranteeing the good times last forever."

Aww, isn't that sweet? To be given a lecture by a murderous nihilist of a "crimefighter", and garunteed to offend just about every patriotic American (and even Israeli, to be quite frank), if it weren't so over-the-top already with all of its overbearing conspiracy-mongering.

Much as I admire and respect Mark Gruenwald as one of the best Captain America writers during the Bronze Age, even he wasn't immume to flubs, such as this perfectly awful one here, taken from Captain America #391's "The Superia Stratagem", in which the title villainess plotted to turn Cap and Paladin into women (I am dead serious here):

"If being the superior sex does not expand their particular horizons, then I will simply have to remind them---that their one hope in regaining the gender they were born with resides in me, and if they were smart---they'd AVOID invoking my legendary WRATH!"

Good grief, where's Oprah when you need her?

And, from the wildly overrated Kevin Smith:

"Be thankful it wasn't Batman you exploded all over. Try combing that overly meticulous guy's costume for any kind of human detritus." -- Spectre to Green Arrow in Green Arrow #8 Vol 2.

Please, would someone please be so kind as to bring back John Ostrander and even Chuck Dixon! (And if it weren't for some pretentious writing Mike Grell did when he was assigned to write Iron Man during 2002, I'd be happy to give him some genuine mention too.)

"'Go Away Liefeld!' Do you have any idea how mayt times that I've heard that phrase in my 16 year career? If only I had a nickel for every time some internet hack with a phony screename uttered that fearful phrase...I could finance my own 200 million blockbusters." --Rob Liefeld at

Another horrible misuse of Captain America:

"A man has been murdered here today, without benefit of trial or jury. Is this what you wanted, Namor? Is this your Atlantean sense of 'justice'?" -- Captain America, in The Invaders #0, July 2004

Spoken after the title team - which includes even his onetime replacement, USAgent - kill a middle eastern dictator, what's irritating about it is the fact that it was done as an anti-war statement against the war in Iraq, even from an allegorical viewpoint, and another bad thing is that it ends up making Captain America look like he's taking the side of such an argument too. Let's be clear: if anything, Cap, when written right, does not blindly defend evil, and whether or not the Invaders are on the right side of the tracks here, that does not excuse the character assassination being inflicted on Cap, and even the Sub-Mariner (whose character rendition here, believe it or not, almost makes him look like a sumo wrestler), which is simply unbelievable. As for USAgent John Walker, if only he'd get some better characterization already.

And whatever be the approach of the story, it fails on every level nevertheless, living up, er, down, to its number.

"I think a mistake that a lot of writers make is that, even though they may be 'my' children while Iím writing the book, they donít stop being 'everyone's' children at the same time." -- Brian Michael Bendis

Only problem is, Bendis has made that mistake too many times! Or at least to write the stories slow in many cases. And he sure hasn't respected that the corporate-owned characters he's writing are other people's creations, no matter who owns them today.

In fact, lest we forget that incredible foul-up in Amazing Spider-Man, in which writer J. Michael Straczynski slipped in what was presumably his own viewpoint, this in spite of the fact that he may have claimed otherwise.

"Perhaps we tell them we are sorry. Sorry that we were not able to deliver unto them the world we wished them to have. That our eagerness to shout is not the equal of our eagerness to listen. That the burdens of distant people are the responsibility of all men and women of conscience, or their burdens will one day become our tragedy." -- Amazing Spider-Man #36, November 2001

They say TPTB were pushing him to do this issue, and maybe they're right about that. But even willing to take on such a job when it's not neccasarily obligatory still needs a bit of that famous argument from the premiere of Spidey, that being responsibility and a true sense of caring for others, and this simply wasn't it. Whatever their opinions be, it's just not a good path to inject one's political opinions into mainstream comics like these, especially if and when the industry is doing as badly as it is. Will that lesson ever be learned?

Nothing against Chris Claremont, but this line, from JLA #95, well...

"No...willpower...worth...speaking of..."

Spoken by Green Lantern, though with John Byrne having co-penned this dud, the Tenth Circle, I guess it can be said that Claremont can't be entirely faulted. Byrne however, can, now that it's turned out this was all just an excuse to come up with a new Doom Patrol that reeks Byrne's own Spider-Man: Chapter One, an attempt to rework history and continuity to no avail. Speaking of which, here's a quote from an intro letter that Byrne wrote in this new Doom Patrol's first issue:

"...So we invite new readers to jump in with both feet. There is nothing here you need to worry about, no backstory that you are suddenly going to trip over as a reference is made to something in a story from five, ten or forty years ago. You are on the ground floor, and the elevator is only now begining to rise." -- Doom Patrol #1, volume 4

Sorry, no sale. With all due respect for Byrne, we the audience aren't going to just leave our reservations at the [elevator] door just because the writer says so.

It gets worse. Here's another something that Byrne in poor judgement, from his own boards:

"Those who complain about the plastic nature of comics are either selfish, or ignorant, or both. They would rather wallow in a stagnant pool they completely "own" than risk a free flowing stream they would have to share." -- John Byrne, on his website's forum, July 6, 2004.

Oh dear. If it matters, Mark Waid later responded to Byrne by saying the following at Joe Quesada's forum(registration required):

"This, by the way, never happened, even though it's become one of Byrne's new favorite anecdotes.  I'd gladly refute it more directly at the message board on which it was posted, but--at least in my experience--those who attempt to correct John's delusional statements and borderline libels are quickly booted." -- Mark Waid

Having checked out Byrne's site myself, not only does he completely - and shamelessly tailor the forum to his own likings, he also requires everyone to sign up with home browser based e-mail accounts, not online ones like Hotmail and Yahoo. And since I'm smart enough not to use my home based address when going online, that's one more reason why I won't be bothering with Byrne's silly site in the near future.

He's not the only though. Even Quesada tends to bias his own board to a certain degree, and sometime it required his own approval to sign up. One more reason why I don't forsee myself as visiting his board in the near future either.

Speaking of which though, here's another classic goof from Quesada's former boss, the one, the only, Bill Jemas, uttered during 2002:

"Joe (Quesada) and I told the Comics Code Authority figures that we felt comics are supposed to be about having fun and making money and we didnít see how the Code was going to help us achieve either goal. DC, Dark Horse, and Archie said they needed the Code to protect them from their own American government. They told us that they were afraid of everybody from the son of Senator McCarthy to the PTA and the Cub Scouts." -- Bill Jemas, on Newsarama in 2002.

Must be quite a Springer fan, eh, Bill? Isn't it wonderful that since then, the madness has more or less come to an end?

"Hear me, X-Men! No longer am I the woman you knew! I am fire! And life incarnate! Now and forever... I am PHOENIX!" -- X-Men's Phoenix storyline.

Yep, you saw correct. It's NOT in the great quotes section, but rather, in its rightful place -- HERE.

Truly, what use do I have for such a stereotypical storyline anyway?

Looks like Marvel's EIC's taken another needless jab at rival DC again, in a statement that simply makes me yawn:

"And as for who would win, Iíve always said that DC books are so dull you canít even get a paper cut off of them." -- Joe Quesada on who wins in a knife fight between Marvel & DC.

It's so blatant it's not even funny. Not to mention something that does not serve the industry well in a time when unity is needed.

It doesn't get any better with this...

"I think the 8-year-old comic reader is a myth. It's not a concern to me. A year ago, when I took that job, that's what I was concerned with. I heard comic-store owners saying 'Where are my 8-year-old readers?' You know what? I don't think they were ever really out there." -- Joe Quesada, again

Man. Is this how far low we've gotten? That the EIC of one of America's two biggest comics publishers would shamelessly shun a part of the audience, that, contrary to what he claims, still does exist? Sigh.

Another artist damages my ability to respect him more than I do:

"If nobody really cared, that's an insult to us. . . If they hate it, that's great. If they love it, that's great. But if they are like, 'Ehhh...So what? No big deal,' those are the ones that would bother us." -- Rags Morales on MSNBC/Associated Press, in discussing Identity Crisis.

One more thing to indicate that this is little more than yet another tired publicity stunt. And when are artists and writers alike going to learn that insulting the audience just doesn't pay off on the whole?

On a side note, I can only wonder, were the rumors reported on Comic Book Resources about DC employees punching the walls just publicity stunt tricks as well? Tsk's a real shame if DC mimicked Marvel's tricks of yore.

Andrew Smith, who writes the Captain Comics column for Scripps-Howard News Service, has turned out quite a few turkeys in his time, but the one to follow may be the foulest yet (next to the one he wrote about Identity Crisis, of course):

"And finally, the "Get a Life Award" goes to the folks who got bent out of shape over the "k" word in Wolverine 131 in October, and the omission of the word "Jew" in Superman: The Man of Steel 80-81 this summer.

"In the former instance, a spell-checker mangled the word "killer" to render the ethnic slur alluded to above, which was pretty obvious when read in context. Marvel promptly recalled Wolverine 131 and apologized, which is all you can expect. So knock it off with the letters of outrage, already. It was an accident, and of the sort that will happen more frequently as people depend on electronics instead of education for spelling accuracy.

"In the second instance, DC didn't mention Jews specifically in a sequence wherein Superman fought Nazis in World War II's Warsaw ghetto because they were being TOO careful. Yes, the Captain feels DC was being spineless - but they were NOT being insulting. And again, DC offered a prompt, abject apology - which is all they could do.

"In other words: Get over it. Save all that outrage for targets who deserve it." Ė Andrew Smith, in a column from December 27, 1998, Scripps-Howard News Service

You are so right, Mr. Smith. I wonít waste my outrage on DC and Marvelís little mistakes. Au contraire, Iíll spend it onÖyou! After all, youíre the target that deserves it, for a] acting as an apologist for the big two, b] telling the socially concerned that theyíre wrong to be protesting what they feel is an injustice, and c] acting as if a simple apology is enough!

Letís be clear, DC and Marvelís representatives alike should all know and understand that they have responsibilities to the public regarding these issues. Just like even Hollywood should. And they should be able to inspect their own property to make sure that nothing wrong went on while printing and publishing. And for heavenís sake, isnít the whole dumb argument put over by DC back then that they didnít want any children running out and saying bad things against Germans going a bit far? Not to mention insulting? Why would anyone whoís lucky to get an education just go out and start slamming the communities whose forebearers were guilty of obscene crimes against humanity without a single second thought, without even trying to determine if said community representatives are as bad as their forebearers or not? Gee, is it really that hard even today?

And when Mr. Smith goes on to say such a thing in the foot of the column as ďCaptain Comics, who cannot tolerate intolerant people, writes this column for Scripps Howard News Service,Ē well, one can only wonder: does he mean the supremacists who were the focus of the Man of Steel #80-81, or, does he mean those who were rightfully offended by those deleterious monstrosities of 1998?

The gimmick Mr. Smith resorts to in journalism isn't new. It's been used time and time again by many dishonest journo-talkers in many ways: to claim and/or pretend they're not being discriminatory when in fact, they are, and worse, they're doing the know-it-all routine. The New York Press did something like that themselves later on when they tried to whitewash Columbia University's acts of obnoxious discriminations against the members of their faculty.

I only began reading his columns several months after this was published, so as a result, I missed it the first time around. But it's a good thing I know about it more clearly now, since, had I known that he was capable of giving that bad an impression of himself when it came to acting as an apologist for the industry, I don't think I'd ever have been as enthusiastic as I was back then to read any of his stuff.

Now that I know, I intend to keep my distance from just about everything he writes.

Copyright Avi Green. All rights reserved.

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