If you want to get into creating comics, it’s a GREAT time to get on with it.
It seems Marvel’s “Architects” plan is dying with barely a whimper. Are you surprised? Consider this ill-conceived idea for a moment: You take a bunch of very talented writers– praise, wine and dine them, promise more work than they can handle, solid pay and health benefits, tell them they will all get their choice of the best books and characters Marvel has to offer… And that you are going to promote them as “Marvel Architects”.
Then, little by little, you start telling them what to do: What they have to write, how their characters are going to act and how their comics will have to conform to certain editorial mandates– including being constantly interrupted by inane crossover after inane crossover event.
Is it any wonder the “Architects” are fleeing like smart rats on a sinking ship? Thanks for the solid pay, the healthcare and boosting our professional profiles, Marvel– but we’re outta here… Moving over to a still surging Image Comics– where we can publish creator-owned books that sell aces because of all the Marvel Hype. There seems to be little or no ill will. Most everyone is bowing out gracefully and simply moving on.
Which brings on a whole new phenomenon: A virtual gaggle of new writers entering the Marvel Halls. People I’ve never heard of– writing titles previously reserved for only the biggest names (or, at least pros that have already proven their talent in the indie comics market). It’s a little shocking, but not really. These new writers will be cheaper, eager to please and much more welcome to having their carefully constructed plots bulldozed by crossover inanity.
Good for them. I hope they do well, make tons of new fans and lots of money.
I just wonder when critics are going to start calling Image Comics
“The House That Dan (Buckley) and Joe (Quesada) Built”?
100 Bullets Vol 3 HC
Adventures in Cartooning Christmas Special
Artemis Fowl Vol 1
Captain America and Hawkeye
Daredevil By Mark Waid Vol 3 HC - Recommended
Dark Country HC
Deadpool Vol 10 Evil Deadpool – Own the Hardcover
Doc Savage Double Novel Vol 61 - Recommended
Doctor Who Dave Gibbons Collection – Own the Hardcover
Eerie Archives Vol 11 HC - Recommended
Fear Itself Secret Avengers – Own the Hardcover
Green Lantern Corps Vol 1 Fearsome HC
Hypo Melancholic Lincoln HC
Invincible Iron Man Vol 10 HC
John Carter Gods Of Mars
Journey Into Mystery Vol 2 Fear Itself Fallout – Own the Hardcover
Legion Lost Vol 1 Run From Tomorrow
MMW Atlas Era Tales Of Suspense Vol 4 HC
Penguin Pain And Prejudice
Punisher By Greg Rucka Vol 2 - Recommended
Rough Justice DC Comics Sketches Of Alex Ross
Savage Dragon Invasion
Secret Of The Stone Frog HC
Shadow Double Novel Vol 64
Slaine Treasures of Britain
Sonic The Hedgehog Select Vol 6
Spider-Man Spider-Island – Yeah… No.
Superman The Black Ring Vol 2 – Own the Hardcover
Uncanny X-Men By Kieron Gillen Vol 3 HC
Vampirella vs Dracula
Venom Circle Of Four
Winter Soldier Vol 1 The Longest Winter - Recommended
Wolverine Goodbye Chinatown – Own the Hardcover
World Of Warcraft Pearl Of Pandaria HC
X-Factor Vol 15 They Keep Killing Madrox – Own the Hardcover
X-Men The Wedding Of Cyclops And Phoenix – Reprint of a reprint of a…
Attack On Titan Vol 2
Berserk Vol 36
Cardcaptor Sakura Omnibus Edition Vol 4
GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class Vol 4
Higurashi When They Cry Vol 19 Massacre Arc Part 1
House Of Five Leaves Vol 8
Jack Frost Vol 6
Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys Vol 22 - Manga Pick of the Week!
Omamori Himari Vol 0
Raiders Vol 8
Sailor Moon Vol 7 Kodansha Edition
Tale Of The Waning Moon Vol 3
Until Death Do Us Part Vol 2
Yotsuba & ! Vol 11
Thief of Thieves Vol 1: I Quit!
Story: Robert Kirkman
Writer: Nick Spencer
Art: Shawn Martinbrough
We’ve got so many cool review columns on IMJ now, I knew we were doomed to overlap (see Locusmortis’ thoughts on Thief of Thieves in Previews Hits & Misses™ and Tom Devine’s excellent review of Issue #8 in IMJ Capsule Reviews™).
But given that we live/laugh/cry in a hobby often filled to the brim with swill, it’s important to keep pointing out the good stuff… Even if we end up being a little repetitive. And Thief of Thieves is very good.
Kirkman’s story is a solid high-stakes heist tale. Spencer’s script is tough, playful and goes sideways at just the right moments. Thief of Thieves is also miles above Spencer’s other noir-flavored series– the highly regarded Shuddertown. (Which sadly, I can’t recommend due to stilted photo-realistic art that literally looks like the artist used a light box to poorly trace the features of very famous actors onto almost every page.)
Having read virtually every comic written by Robert Kirkman and every book written by Nick Spencer– watching them work in tandem has given me a little more insight into both men’s strengths. I think Kirkman is an excellent concept/story man and Spencer is better at dialogue. Kirkman has a very distinct way he writes character speech. His dialogue is often wordy and overly expository. Which is fine… As it’s his “voice” as a writer. Spencer’s words, especially for this book, just seem more lyrical. His thieves talk the way we expect thieves to talk. You can actually hear the words being spoken the way Spencer writes them.
Which is exactly why I think Tom found this first story arc to be “…very cliché, with all the standard tropes of an average heist story…”.
Let me explain: While reading this collection, I got the very distinct feeling Kirkman and Spencer were writing a two-hour script intended eventually as a television series pilot or a film. (Which makes sense, given Kirkman’s current Walking Dead success at the AMC Network.) The script truly does read that way. Like Tom also said, the comic has all the standard characters too, “…The Players, The Money, The Law– and even featured the worn out twist of a main character who just has to pull off one more gig (Conrad).”
We’ve seen it all before– which is why Thief of Thieves will make a perfect TV series. Networks like to take chances on slightly different concepts featuring comfortable characters. Which is why I am not surprised AMC has also picked up the comic with the intent of developing it for television. Kirkman is hot now… And AMC would like to keep His Hotness happy and in their corner.
After saying all that, does it sound disingenuous to also say I still really liked it? Cause I did. Shawn Martinbrough’s art is as exceptional as Locusmortis expected it to be. Martinbrough’s sense of action and timing is as impeccable as the script he is translating. Beef up the narrative with a few more scenes here and there… And Presto!, Martinbrough has essentially storyboarded the first few episodes of a Thief of Thieves television show with this comic.
I will say this about my thoughts “versus” Tom’s: I had the luxury of reading this story arc from beginning to end all in one sitting. I know this made the comic much more satisfying. If I had to read Thief of Thieves episodically, waiting a month between each small story spurt… I would have lost track of the familiar sounding plot and characters… And I know I would have felt exactly the way Tom did about these first six issues too.
Which is why I sometimes say it’s better to read certain comics as Trades… Even if it’s nowhere near as much fun to discover the good stuff after everybody else reads and reviews it.