by Mike Sangiacomo
Following my retirement from the Plain Dealer, I took home a huge box of stuff I had squirreled away around the office.
The box contained dozens of my early comic columns from the 1990s. I was nervous to read what the much-younger me had to say, but was happy to find that, for the most part, I agreed with him. I mean, me.
I was a lot tougher on comic writers and artists back then, (sorry guys,) but I was spot on when I talked about the trend toward ridiculously over-muscled men and hyper-sexualized women, usually carrying guns the size of Volkswagens. It was the Image-ification or Rob Liefeld-ization of artists, named after Image Comics and the king of “big” everything, Rob Liefeld.
It was a pretty grim period where art was more important than the stories and comics were little more than a series of pin-ups, each more testosterone-fueled than the next.
I was happy to see that I challenged the bad art as often as possible.
And, as if to justify my premise, I recently picked up a trade called Avengers: Ultron Unbound which contains some fine Ultron stories from West Coast Avengers and a horrible Vision-Ultron mini-series form 1994. Seeing them mashed together is the perfect proof of clashing art styles.
The first stories are nicely written by Roy and Dann Thomas and perfectly drawn by David Ross. The second series is written by Bob Harras and horribly drawn by Manny Clark. It’s hard to say what the writing is like because the art was so bad I could not follow the story.
Fortunately, the era of big bodies, big guns and big everything did not last and comics returned to normal. Or as normal as comics get.
On another subject, I’ve come to the conclusion that if Marc Andreyko said it, I agree.
I’ve known Marc for a long time, ever since the days he hung around with Brian Bendis in Cleveland. He was the first of his group of comic writing friends brave enough to move to Los Angeles to pursue fame and fortune in the comics industry. His gamble worked.
These days Marc and I keep in touch by Facebook where Marc remains the only Facebook friend I always agree with. I agree with his politics (he’s even more radical than I am), his love of animals, and foremost, his compassion.
You can see it come through his writing, and that’s a rare quality.
Marc is now writing the best Supergirl stories in decades, making her a character to care about and far superior to the character in the television show. In Supergirl 31 and Superman 12, out next month, Marc gets to once again work with Bendis on a cool crossover that started this month in Supergirl’s title.
What’s so great about Marc on Supergirl? He gets it. He understands the whole alien on Earth thing, the assorted problems faced by a young (super) girl in the modern world.
But most of all, Marc knows every girl needs a dog, so he paired Supergirl with Krypto.
I’m a sucker for the superdog, who is my favorite character in the DC universe. Other writers screwed up the dog of steel, making him too smart, thinking in full sentences. Marc treats him like a dog, in a good way.
Krypto is protective, loyal and smart (for a dog) and most of all, he’s a good boy. The art by Kevin Mcguire is perfect: just the right amount of whimsy, yet steeped in realism.
While I think DC missed the boat not making Krypto Jon Kent’s faithful companion, Marc and Kevin are making up for it.
Michael Sangiacomo can be reached at email@example.com.