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Better Late Than Never?

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Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds finally comes to its conclusion. However, an encounter with George Perez points out a bit of hypocrisy in what would be Bill’s attitude towards lateness.

Back in February of this year, at the New York Comic Con, I had the experience of a lifetime. The Hero Initiative was offering an exclusive meet and greet with George Perez to 20 lucky fans. And lucky I was, as I was one of the first 20 who responded.

Suffice it to say, George Perez is my favorite comic artist of all time. He has been since I first started collecting comics. If it has his name on it, and I can afford it, I am buying it. So meeting him was a great thrill for me.

And the meet and greet was excellent. I found out that he was active in community theater, as I was, so we talked about that while he drew my sketch. See, George was doing three minute head sketches, time selected in honor of Hero’s Three Minute Sketchbook fundraiser of a year or two back. And the sketches were first rate. He didn’t shy away from tough to draw characters such as The Thing or Spider-Man either. And he usually finished with more than a minute to spare. Each sketch was gorgeous.

Later on in the meet and greet, I asked Mr. Perez how he could draw such great sketches in such a short amount of time. I was trying to determine his thought process, which area of the face he started with, etc.

George was more than happy to answer my question. Then he dovetailed into talking about his work on Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds, which comes to an end this week. He began to tell everyone there that the drawing was taking longer than usual because he was trying to make each member of the Legion look different from their counterparts on a different Earth.

Nuerotic as I am, I imagine he thought I was making a snarky comment about his lateness on the title. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I wasn’t trying to make any sort of comment on the title for the reason that it wasn’t an issue with me.

However, he does have a reason to be self-conscious. The issue that is coming out tomorrow was originally solicited for March. The series the title tied into, Final Crisis, has been off the stands for months. The series that is supposed to spin-off from it, Adventure Comics, has been pushed back to accommodate the lateness.

None of this really bothered me. This was strange, because all you have to do is look at the archives to this column and you will see my snarky comments about other late books and slowpoke creators. Why didn’t the delays on this title bother me as much? Well, because it’s George Perez who is late, that’s why. And that is why the problem of late artists and writers will never go away.

I consider George Perez to be such a genius that he could take five years to finish one issue and I’d still buy it. It will be beautiful and everything I would expect from him. And I’m sure fans of Adam Kubert, Jim Lee, Kevin Smith and the litany of other creators who have issues with lateness feel the same way.

But if you’re a fan that is irked by late books and the havoc they wreak on continuity and schedules, you have no recourse. These late creators will still get work and the books will still be late and the fans will still buy them because they like the creators so the creators will still get work and so on.

On the other hand, if companies took a hard line stand with creators who are late, we’d miss out on Perez doing some of the best work in his career on this title. This is the series that will set the new status quo for the Legion and it has been full of moments that make a fanboy like me squeal with glee. These moments wouldn’t be as squeal-worthy if anyone else besides Perez drew it.

I guess you can say I’m now conflicted. I don’t like monthly books that come out on a more than monthly schedule. But I do believe that creators the caliber of George Perez should be given a little more leeway. I am going to have to balance this out in my mind from now on.

Also out this week:

Dethklok vs. The Goon:
Many of you will know Dethklok as the stars of Adult Swim’s Metalocalypse, the series of 11-minute shorts which spoof death metal conventions and rock and roll in general. The show is so popular that real-life musicians such as James Hetfield and Kirk Hammet from Metallica and Mike Patton from Faith No More have lent their vocal talents to the show. The fake band has also put out CD’s and the creators have toured as the band.

Well, Dethklok has hit the big time this week as it teams up with The Goon. Both properties deal with humorous looks and the macabre and supernatural, so the partnership is a natural fit. This one shot sets the stage for a Metalocalypse series from Dark Horse later this year, so if you want to get in on the ground floor of the Dethklok comic experience, pick this one up.

Eric Powell & Brendon Small (W), Eric Powell (A), Dark Horse Comics, $3.50. One-Shot.

The Adventures of Digger and Friends #1:
I was watching TV the other day and caught the tail end of a commercial from FOX imploring me to visit the FOX online store to buy toys and clothing featuring an animated gopher named “Digger.” This caused me to ask, who the heck is Digger and why is FOX pushing him on me so hard?

Apparently, Digger is the mascot for FOX’s track-level, “Gopher Cam” they employ during NASCAR races (Yes, a camera placement has gotten a mascot. I was surprised too). FOX is merchandising the little rodent to no end, and the next stop is comics. IDW is publishing this miniseries to keep the Digger frenzy, if there is one, running at a fever pitch.

Jack Brigio (W), Diego Jourdan (A), IDW Publishing, $3.99. Four-Issue Miniseries.

We Kill Monsters #1:
The words Sci-Fi Channel (excuse me, now it’s SyFy Channel) and “original movie and/or miniseries” would put you in the mind of schlock-fests such as Mansquito and Frankenfish. However, The Lost Room miniseries was an exception. It featured a top-rate cast, intriguing story, and nary a lame special effect to be found.

Now, the creators of that miniseries are coming to comic books with this tale of two auto-repair shop owners who discover monsters among us and are trying to take over. They do what any red-blooded guy would do—fight them off and kill as many as possible.

If this comic is anywhere as interesting as The Lost Room was, than this series will be a winner. If you have an extra $3.50 in your pocket tomorrow, give it a shot.
 
Christopher Leone (W), Brian Churilla (A), Red 5 Comics, $3.50. Six-Issue Miniseries.

The Warriors: Jailbreak #1:
If you thought that the Dabel Brothers picking up the rights to the 30 year-old movie, The Warriors, just to do an adaptation was crazy, they might have just agreed with you. It’s because they are not stopping with just the film. They are expanding the Warriors universe starting with this miniseries.

They are still using the original film as a guide. In the movie, a Warrior named Ajax gets himself arrested and is not seen again in the film. This event is used as a springboard for this series, which details what happened after he gets popped and what the Warriors do to be reunited with him.

So, if you were a fan of the film and wish it had a sequel, well, you’re getting one 30 years later.

Erik Henriksen (W), Todd Herman (A), Dabel Brothers Publishing, $3.99. Four Issue-Miniseries.

Citizen Rex #1:
If Los Bros. Hernandez only had Love and Rockets on their resume, then their legend would be set. That series was one of the best comics to come out of the 1980s and its rich artistry and complex storylines continue on today. It helped revolutionize the medium and inspired a host of today’s most famous creators.

But the brothers are not a one trick pony. This week, Gilbert and Mario unite on a gripping sci-fi mystery set in a dark future of robots, illegal cybernetic surgical operations and the gossip columnists that cover them. With the creators involved, this is pretty much guaranteed to be great. Whether you are a fan of Love and Rockets or never even heard of it, you should give this one a shot.

Mario & Gilbert Hernandez (W), Gilbert Hernandez (A), Dark Horse Comics, $2.99. Six-Issue Miniseries.

Doctor Who: Room With a Deja View:
As much of a cult favorite Doctor Who is over here in the States, it is a much wider cultural phenomenon in England. The British have grown up with the series, much like we Americans count Star Wars or Star Trek as a defining element of our childhood. So, for a British writer to be able to write a Doctor Who story is like George Lucas appointing some American writer worthy of writing about Han Solo.

English journalist and gossip columnist Rich Johnston gets his chance this week, and has crafted a Who tale with a unique twist—the Doctor has to investigate a murder on a space station of a race where time flows in the opposite direction as it does for us. 

Rich Johnston (W), Eric J. (A), IDW Publishing, $3.99. One-Shot.

Cyberforce/Hunter-Killer #1:
Hunter-Killers are a government organization whose mission is to bring in rogue ultra-sapiens. Cyberforce is the most dangerous group of Ultra-Sapiens around. Both teams are published by Top Cow. Therefore, it is a mystery why it took so long for them to face off against one another. Well, that will be taken care of tomorrow.

Yes, this is what Top Cow is calling the “Event of the Year” as the paths of the two teams finally cross. And Mark Waid, co-creator of Hunter-Killer, is back on board to pen the series. Fans of the Top Cow Universe shouldn’t really miss this series, and those unfamiliar with the universe can use this as a jumping on point.

Mark Waid (W), Kenneth Rocafort (A), Top Cow/Image Comics, $2.99. Five-Issue Miniseries.

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William Gatevackes is a professional writer living in Mamaroneck, NY with his wife Jennifer and daughter Vanessa. He also is a comic reviewer for PopMatters, has written for Comic Foundry magazine and is the comic book movie editor for Film Buff Online. Links to his writing can be found at his website, www.williamgatevackes.com.

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Comments

  • Eric Lindberg

    Eric Lindberg Jul 22, 2009 at 4:38pm

    Perez is definitely doing some of his best work on Legion of Three Worlds. I also didn't mind the lateness too much, as I'm a fan of his work and honestly, the Legion has one of the biggest lineups in comics. Add two alternate versions of it and a slew of villains and guest stars and I can see why this would be a nightmare to draw. I will be glad when it is over though, as it is starting to get ludicrous how many books are already referencing this one before we even got to see the ending.

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