First up this month is a letter that arrived a bit too late to make last month's column.
Hey, just wanted you to know great site! With its informative stories, articles and the great in-depth article on Elongated Man. It just makes the DCU soo much better.
Keep up the good work!
Next is a note from Jennifer, keeper of the Bird of Prey Homepage, Winner of last month's FANZING'S Best of Fandom Award.
Dear Mr. Hutchison,
Wow! Thank you very much. I've posted the award on the site's main page (BoPHome) and have linked it back to your site as requested.
Now, comments on last month's Elseworld's issue:
Sorry this letter is just a collection of unconnected comments on the latest issue and not a proper letter but here goes :
The Logos - Great idea for a feature . They're such an important part of a books/characters image but one that I'd never particularly thought about before . I agree that the best are usually the simplest, the Flash Logo is probably the one I find myself doodling most when I'm not listening to lectures as closely as I should (not that that happens much , mind you :) ) . Oh , and I think that Guy's logo was meant to make him look like a wazzuk .
My girlfriend (Hi Kate !) recently read the Leatherwings story and wants to know why he kept the irritating love interest around instead of feeding her to the sharks . Any suggestions ?
Would the results of the poll have been very different if all the Kingdom characters were included as one option of a wider range? I wanted to vote for The Gaslight Batman but he wasn't there and I think The Nail universe would be fun to explore .
Congrats on another fine ish, particularly the interview, and keep up the good work .
See you in 30.
David Brunt, Lancashire , England
Hyper-opinionsHowdy one and all.
I would like to start off by saying that I really appreciate your site and that it has brought me a lot of enjoyment over the several months I've been reading it.
Now, on to the point.
I just finished reading your March article on Hypertime. As usual it was a good read and you brought up a number of interesting points. I hold a slightly different outlook on the matter, however. First of all, a little background.
I really first "got into" comics around '86-'87, during the first years of the post-Crisis DCU. I went back and picked up Crisis, bought Legends, religiously got every issue of Millenium, eagerly awaited each new installment of the Invasion, and so on. I must say that even to this day I find some of those to be greatly entertaining stories, especially Crisis and Invasion. I think around '88-'90 DC was having one of its best times story-wise that I've seen up until now. Then things started going downhill, IMO. By '94 things had just gotten sad. I was still buying books, but more out of habit than anything else. I had to know what happened to the characters even though no single issue had excited me for quite a while. Eventually a complete lack of disposable income made me drop comics altogether, with very few regrets.
Continuity. I actually like continuity, probably because of the time I came into the DCU. Everything was being explained for the new people and it was the starting point for many characters and storylines. I knew nearly every issue I owned and exactly what happened in them, I probably even knew the names of most of the GLC. But it did get to the point where very little could happen in any given issue because so many plot threads had to be dealt with there was hardly had any time to advance the story. A lot of Superman's power comes from the fact that he is arguably the most iconic character in comics. When he has to also think about deadlines at work and the responsibility of being married he is much less powerful because he is much more human. Add to that the countless people he's seen die over his lifetime and it's hard to keep that stiff-upper-lip cheerful optimism and confidence that's part of the character. How can a man go make witty comments while putting down a bank robbery right after he's seen an entire city erased as a direct result of his actions of the past? If he can there's some seriously bad psychological stuff going on inside of the Brain of Steel.
As I've said, I like continuity, but I think it has its place, as well as a time limit. I'm all for local continuity, I don't think that if Bruce Wayne loses all his money at the end of an issue that he should be vacationing in Paris at the beginning of the next one. Also, continuity is much more workable in a smaller universe than DC has. Take Cerebus by Dave Sim for example. There is heavy continuity going on there, as well there should be. That is a single writer working on a single universe of his own creation. If you want to go and find out everything that's happened you go back and buy the trades. A bit expensive, sure, but do-able. It's much different when you come into something like the DCU. Their history consists of tens of thousands of books, many hard to find and few collected into trades. And again, it all comes down to "Yeah, I like this stuff, but how long can they keep publishing Hourman if the only people who still read comics are the ones that started several years ago, with very few new readers coming in."
And as for new readers, how will they feel when they do try to learn some backstory and see that it's inconsistent? I don't know. I can only say that I came in during a similar time and it didn't bother me one bit. These are not novels, they are comic books. That does not make them any better or worse, just different. It's hard to write a novel in comic book form, they're just not quite compatible, but if you instead try to write a damn good comic you can surpass what you could have done in another medium, although in different ways. And, getting back to the point, if that's the intention of Hypertime, I'm all for it.
I'm not naive enough to think that Hypertime won't be abused. It will be. There will be several crappy Hypertime stories. But as for the concept itself, I think it's a great idea. First off, it's not as cheap as it sounds. There is serious scientific evidence that we do actually live in something very close to Hypertime. The fact that there were flying people in The Kingdom #2 is much harder to buy from a scientific viewpoint than Hypertime itself. It all goes down to the behavior of matter at a quantum level, which is so contrary to common sense that it does sound like something a hack comic writer came up with to cover up holes in his story. There are even quantum computers, early prototypes of which actually exist, that perform computations by manipulating data in more than one universe. From this view, it's no more of a shaky concept than anything John Broome or Gardner Fox came up with during their sci-fi Flash, Green Lantern and JLA stuff. Sure, it's taking it farther and making it more wondrous than it would be in current reality, but isn't that what comics are supposed to do?
Again, only time will tell if this was ultimately a "good idea" or not, but it's bound to get more interesting, in whatever meaning of that word you want to use.
Thanx for your time,
Well, there I was, just mucking about on the internet, when I decided to take another look at February's FANZING. But it wasn't there; instead, I saw the beginning's of March's issue. So, for fun, I decided to start reading it.
As I read your "Thoughts at 3am" column, I noticed the call for artists (or was that pleading? I couldn't tell). Ironically, I was planning to inquire about submitting anyway; I had just finished reading the "Participate" section of the main page, and was shocked to see that apparently no one had claimed/turned in anything on the list for March.
Beyond this month's issue, I am still interested in submitting to FANZING in the future. I sent in an entry for the Art Challenge (the Alex Ross art GL poster), and want to do more. Despite what it may look like because of my entry, I actually can and do draw a lot on my own; I just like to play around with Photoshop for fun. Please let me know how I can become a part of the FANZING stable of contributors.
One more thing before I finish bothering you: I have a question and/or request to make. How can I get my link added to the "Multiverse" section? I have a website I just began devoted to the Animated-Style DCU. If you could, please take a look at it and see what you think. It's located at http://www.crosswinds.net/austin/~evilkat and called DCU ANIMATED.
Well, I think that's enough harassment from me for one e-mail. I'll let you go by saying "thanks" for putting out such a consistently great fan resource every month. FANZING is one of my favorite DCU sites out there (DCHQ! is the other), and I always look forward to the next issue. Keep up the great work!
PS- Definitely go with frames. I just started using them on my new site, and I love Elongated Man. They look really slick, and the code for stuff like popping open a new browser window for links is no problem. Show the frames nay-sayers who's boss!
Michael replies:Thanks! Be sure to check out the Line-Up page at http://www.fanzing.com/lineup.htm. You can join the listbot at the bottom there. I should point out that, if you'll commit to being a monthly or regular artist, you'll get a full section on the Staff page, including a link to your web site(s) and a picture.
No! Frames bad! Can't read bad frames! Bad frames! Bad!
When pressed for details, Norm responded:
Thanks for listening.
Michael replies: Thanks for the thorough feedback.
I'm not envisioning a very intrusive frame, just a vertical bar on the left which would allow people to access all the issues and/or individual articles. It would make it much easier for me, as I wouldn't have to shift folders around every month, and it would probably get more people to read the older issues. Another nice thing is that links going to other sites would open in a new window.
As I said, I couldn't really do a non-frames version but I could do an alternate version of the frame for people who don't like it. Clicking on each link would open that issue in a new window.
Of course, barring any individual technical problems, the individual user usually has the option to open a frame in a new window for easier reading just by right-clicking your mouse to open the drop-down menu.
There were other, dissenting views.
Yes, definitely go to frames. I like your site but navigation is terrible. Also my resolutions ar 1024x768
I just wanted to drop you a quick note to say how much I liked your drawings for the DCU: The Animated Series section. I think that these Metal Men designs may be your best stuff yet; they really, really work. My favorites are Dr. Magnus, Tin and Platinum- they exude a great deal of personality in the sketches. Your design for Chemo is really slick too, looking a lot like hyper-stylized Clayface- quite cool, in my opinion. I'm so impressed with your designs and Michael's proposal this month that I'm practically ready to go storm the offices at WB Animation and demand a Metal Men series. Great stuff, Bob.
On a different subject: Inspired by your work on the Adventures in the DCU website, I've started my own site called DCU Animated. It's basically a bunch of pictures of DC characters in the animated style, but I'm planning to toss in some other goodies later on. I hope you don't mind, but I included links to a few of your sites in my Links section. I can't help it, Bob, I've become a fan of yours. Anyway, if you want to take a look, my site is at http://www.crosswinds.net/austin/~evilkat
Well, I think I've pestered you enough for now, so I'll sign off. Congratulations again on the great job you did this month, and keep up the excellent work!
I must that "A Dooms Day" was very well done. Only one thing: where's the rest of it?!? I want to read more! Please, Shawn, continue with this!
I just finished reading Syl Francis' "My Girl". I'd like her to know I really enjoyed it - she shares Louise Freeman's happy knack of making a story interesting, and cute, without being nauseating.
Compliments to the writer.
Did you hear that, Syl? We aren't nauseating! What higher praise could any fan-fiction writer get? ;) Seriously, thanks for the input. You made Syl's day, I'm sure and I appreciate it, too. Another of Syl's dynamic stories is featured in this issue of FANZING, with more to come in the future. Hopefully Shawn will respond to your request, as well, Benjamin.
Last month's Springboard generated a couple of comments, as well
I've bought worse Elseworld Stories. Interesting twist, the monster angle hasn't been done. A little more diversity in the powers of the featured "heroes" might help the story
Overall, DC might ought to give it a try.
I really liked this story idea. This is the best one I've seen up there in a while. I'm partial to team books, and this has really unique ideas. I'd definitly shell out $2 to see where this one goes.
That's it for this month, and remember, lettercols are most fun when they contain actual letters! If something in this month's FANZING made you want to laugh, cry, scratch your head or throw up, we're waiting to hear from YOU!
Louise Freeman Davis