A KC Column by KC Carlson
I love being a comics detective. No, not like Jessica Jones, Slam Bradley, or Ben Urich… or even Detective Chimp… those are real (well…real fictional) detectives, solving crimes or murders or missing persons cases. My detective work is in reading upcoming comics news and advance solicitations, using a little brain power (mostly based on an unhealthy amount of comics history/trivia lodged in my noggin), and then maybe bribing unsuspecting loose-lipped comics company interns for information.
For example, yesterday, I was reading a brand-new DK Marvel “facts and trivia book” (Marvel: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know…) and discovered that out of the 240 total pages in the book, the space allotted to the mega-popular X-Men — a group of literally hundreds of characters — amounted to just two pages. Let me repeat that… TWO pages! With a grand total of seven characters pictured, and an additional 16 or so mentioned in text (six of them villains), this seems like an incredibly poor showing for what was once, by far, Marvel’s most popular and biggest-selling team.
WHAT THE WHAT?
Hmmm… could this possibly have anything to do with the long-rumored (but incredibly short on hard facts) feud between Marvel and 20 Century Fox? It’s supposedly based on the “fact” that Marvel is not happy with the way that Fox has developed their X-Men films (including the core X-Men, X-Men First Class “prequel” films, and the solo Wolverine films), despite them making apparently boatloads of money for everybody. Marvel Studios has reclaimed the film rights for the properties that were licensed out before the Disney acquisition (or come up with sharing deals, as in the case of Spider-Man and Sony), except when it comes to Fox (who also has rights to Fantastic Four, and you know how well THAT turned out). So Marvel, the gossips say, isn’t interested in promoting anything that they’re not making all that sweet movie money from.
Now this Death of X four-issue “event” just popped up in the August (for October) solicitations. Sounds pretty vague so far, other than some Mutant vs. Inhuman conflict that has been hinted at in some All-New, All-Different Marvel titles over the past several months. Death of X was also showcased over the last four weeks or so in a series of 20 variant covers (three of which are going to be incredibly hard to find) — all of which either depicted tributes and memorials to fallen mutants OR graphically illustrated death scenes the likes of which would probably make your sainted aunt spin in her grave.
Is it possible that all three of these things are connected somehow? To quote a popular American philosopher (and wascally wabbit): “Mmmm… Could Be!”
OF COURSE YOU REALIZE, THIS MEANS WAR!
So here’s the other odd thing about Death of X. In the current solicitation copy, it says it takes place “eight months ago”. Assuming that’s “Marvel Time”, that would place it in that quasi-limbo that Marvel put between the end of Secret Wars (or at least when it was supposed to end) and when All-New, All-Different Marvel began.
(In our real-world publishing time, the long-delayed finale of Secret Wars actually appeared after ANAD started. But I don’t think Marvel wants us to remember that. Perhaps they’ll use that discrepancy to dream up some new future event to explain this discrepancy away. Maybe thirty-some years from now, one of Kurt Busiek’s kids will write this story/event. Heck, maybe Kurt’ll write it himself! Jeez, I might even still be here to read it…)
Anyway… the real point I’m trying to make here is that if Death of X (including all the rumored mutant killings) actually happened eight months ago, Marvel Time… that would mean that many of our favorite mutants are already dead, and we won’t hear anything about it until October (or November), when the comics are actually published. And Marvel can “rightly” say (after all of the probable agonized fan complaints), “Hey, we killed them almost a year ago. Why didn’t you complain about it then?”
And that’s when all the millions of Marvel fans around the world descend on NYC this October (or November), travel to 135 West 50th Street, New York, NY 10020, and physically (or psychically) push the building over.
Or something like that.
Gosh, I just love to stir up trouble…
KC CARLSON: CONSPIRACY THEORIST wants to remind you that Marvel has already created doppelgangers of many of the most popular X-Men. These include the time-displaced teenage versions of the classic X-Men “First Class” characters (Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Iceman, and Angel), who were first introduced into current Marvel continuity in 2012 in All-New X-Men. Also notable is the “death” (or, at least, “encased” status) of Wolverine from 2014. He’s been replaced by two heroes — himself as a time-displaced “Old Man Logan” (um… so how did he get old if he’s dead?) and X-23 (aka Laura Kinney, his superheroine clone). And I’m not even going to try to explain Sabertooth (mostly because Marvel won’t either…). Wow, I think I actually just made things worse by telling you all this… I believe my job here is done.
KC AGAIN: Hey, Brian Hibbs’ long-running Tilting at Windmills column about comics retailing just changed its hosting site. It now appears at The Beat. This week, Brian is also writing about Marvel Comics — in a highly different way than I just did — but you should check it out if you want to learn some of the secrets of current comic book retailing. I was very proud to have published Brian’s first Tilting at Windmills columns way back in Krause’s Comics Retailer magazine, and he’s still delivering great and informative insight about comics and retailing, lo, these many years later. Check it out — and bookmark it!
WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you. Is there anything in this column that didn’t irritate you, at least in some way?
Obnoxio the Clown cover from the Grand Comics Database.