Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Englehart: The Point Man and beyond

Great interview with Steve Englehart over at Newsarama today by Zak Smith, and I wanted to highlight it so that people will know that not only is the Point Man going back into print, but that the sequel, 30 years in the making, will be out next month.

Englehart is one of the great lights of the 1970's comic movement, and while less flashy than a piece of Jim Starlin or Mike Grell art, his stories, along with Steve Gerber's and Don McGregor's helped to truly take the next step from where Marvel was in the 1960's with Stan and Roy. People are still going on and using his concepts, especially his ideas for Captain America. Brubaker is his soul mate with the series that he's been writing for years now. His Batman, in both my eyes and in the eyes of DC Comics obviously, remains definitive.

Its comments like this that just confirm what we thought about how they approached the comics "back in the day":
The last stuff I did for Marvel and DC had way too much editorial back-and-forth. Once upon a time, editorial said, “These are your books, do whatever you want to do.” The story I’ve told a zillion times is that Roy Thomas said, “We’re giving you Captain America – if you can make it sell, we’ll keep you on, if not, we’ll fire you and we’ll get somebody who can.”

That was the sum total of the editorial influence! What I did and what Steve Gerber and those other guys did came from that. Now, editorial says “Here’s what we’re going to do with the line and the major books, and we’ll just get people to fill in the blanks.”
And from an editorial standpoint, I can see how that would make sense when you're doing a huge Secret Invasion crossover. From a writer's standpoint, that would simply suck unless you were the one behind Secret Invasion. Its one of the reasons that the only Marvel comics worth looking at are ones that are divorced from the current continuity: Guardians of the Galaxy, Nova, FF. They even ruined the fun read that was Thor. Thanks a lot guys. You had me there for a little bit.

I still have my copy of the original pressing of the Point Man, and while its a bit tattered from the years, its still a fairly good read. I followed Steve to the paperback market after his Avengers and Batmans and enjoyed the novel. Not perfect, but i kept thinking, "That was just the first book, wait til he hits his stride." But he never did another novel until now. I'm looking forward to it.

1 comment:

Todd Miro said...

Now, editorial says “Here’s what we’re going to do with the line and the major books, and we’ll just get people to fill in the blanks.”

This sounds like classic corporate odecision making. Why let artists make creative decisions when you can have bean counters do it...