Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tales From The Quarter Bin--Mark Millar's Doctor Strange?

As I mentioned last week, in 2000 Marvel ran a tiny, self-contained event:

It's a cute little premise--show us what the comics actually published inside Marvel-616 look like.

It should be noted, that this is in direct opposition to the Moore-Gibbons hypothesis, that a universe with actual super-heroes in it would have no market for super-hero comics, and would instead gravitate to pirate comics, or skateboarding comics, or whatever...

With the Fantastic Four, the concept is a no-brainer: everyone knows their identities, and they've actually licensed their adventures to Marvel Comics-616. We've seen their interactions with the Bullpen numerous times.So we great a pretty straightforward FF adventure, as "narrated by" the members themselves.

With the other heroes, things get a little more tricky. Since their identities, their origins, and often their very powers aren't publicly known, and they don't have licensing agreements giving Marvel Comics-616 access to the true stories of the adventures, what do the comics do?

In the case of Captain America, Marvel hires "celebrity writer" Rick Jones (and the story is penciled by up and coming artist Steve Rogers). Clever (and really done by Peter David, Ron Frenz & Mark Bagley).

In Thor, though, we see them just start to make stuff up--they (and in fairness, probably a good portion of the Marvel-616 public) don't believe the "he's really an Asgardian god" jive, so they present him as a hero pretending to be the actual Thor, using a super high-tech hammer for all his feats. (Of course, with Asgard now hanging above Oklahoma, people might me more receptive to the whole premise).

And then the concept begins to run off the rails a bit, as we start to look more like Elseworlds books than "this is how the Marvel Universe looks at their masked men." Spider-Man, for example, is presented as "urban horror," and he's more of a Man-Thing type character, a man transformed into a silent, inhuman creature. He's hunted by a fictional paper (The Daily Clarion) and his foe is Professor Squid. It's not like there would be any dearth of publicly available pictures upon which to base their stories--why change him so radically? Why the fictionalized elements--is Marvel Comics-616 afraid of being sued? Afraid of being retaliated against by vigilante or super-villain?

When we get to Daredevil, things get even weirder:

What?!?

Again, there would be plenty of information available on Daredevil--no secret ID, no definition of his powers, but enough to know that he was a human acrobat, not a flipping demon! Do people in Marvel-616 actually think DD is from Hell?!?!?

And then we come to the X-Men, by Mark Millar. We've completely lost moorings from anything here, so grab on to something...

The Weapon X program is run by the U.S. government and Colonel America. Who??

O....K....? That's all the explanation we're given.

Anyway, all mutants are wanted terrorist criminals, all condemned to die for being mutants. Except...

And yes, they all have devices implanted in them so they can killed if they run or disobey. So not at all like Suicide Squad.

Their mission: an experimental Tony Stark-built nuclear weapon was stolen (and Iron Man captured) by:

So, Doctor Strange is an evil mutant?

A very evil mutant, I guess...

A genocidal evil mutant.

And when Mastermind is captured and brought before Strange...



So, Doctor Strange is a cannibal genocidal evil mutant. How very Millar...

And as various fighting break out...


Remember, this is supposedly how the Marvel Universe views these characters...

Anyway, Wolverine sacrifices himself, and...

...blows up the whole freaking island, along with Strange and his mutant army.

Hey, how about a nice eulogy, Colonel America and Cyclops?


Oh my...

6 comments:

actionmoviefanatix.com said...

That artwork from the X-Men book looks horrid! I'm not saying I could do better or anything but... I could probably do better.

snell said...

It's Sean Phillips on pencils and Duncan Fegredo on inks. I have no problem with the art, but Phillips' style probably isn't best suited to the super-hero genre...

SallyP said...

Urrghh.

googum said...

It is an ugly book, in more ways than one. I did like the Spider-Man one, though.

CalvinPitt said...

I'm guessing Colonel America was a dry run for Millar's Ultimate Captain America.

Dale Bagwell said...

Damn that X-Men one by Millar is dark as fuck! What's Millar's problem anyways? Red Son and Superman Adventures were ingenious, but his stuff after that is so dark and needlessly gritty and twisted. He's become a one-trick pony now.

I did buy the Daredevil one myself. The art's good and so is the story, even though yeah, it has absolutely nothing to do with Matt Murdock at all.

Crazy series that reaks of aping/"borrowing" from the Vertigo-style.