Things Guaranteed To Angry Up My Blood!
I normally like to balance out my criticisms with things I love about comics, but it’s still early in the year. So, there isn’t a lot for me to praise this year while the comic industry keeps doing things that frustrate me to no end. That being said, with the recent announcement of a new Defenders comic I decided it was an opportune time for me to talk about the thing that’s at the top of my list of ‘Things Guaranteed to Angry Up My Blood’, namely when comic companies change the contents of their comics to fit movies and TV shows.
Ten years ago I read Doctor Strange: The Oath from Brian K Vaughn and Marcos Martin published by Marvel. It’s a magnificent comic all around and great for first timers to Dr. Strange. After finishing it I decided to get really into Dr. Strange so I hunted down all of the ongoing series with his name on it and The Defenders, the team he’s most associated with. The Defenders have an interesting ethos to them because they were Marvel’s team for characters that wouldn’t want to be on a team.
As such the new Defenders comic is going to feature Dardevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. If you’ve been watching the Netflix shows you might say, ‘But those characters have barely interacted with each other and even then it’s only been Cage and Jones.’ You would be correct about that, but that’s precisely my point. Luke and Danny (Iron Fist) had a book together in the 1970’s and currently have one now. Jessica and Luke are married and have a daughter together. When Daredevil was in Europe dealing with some stuff, Danny was posing as him during Marvel’s Civil War event. These people know each other in the comics, they are not a team of loners brought together because some serious world ending hoodoo is about to go down. These people are the Heroes for Hire, not the Defenders.
And I do not have this animosity toward the Netflix series. I am overjoyed that I will get the chance to see all these characters interacting, especially Luke and Danny as that is one of the great Marvel friendships. The press releases for Defenders have also been showing that Patsy ‘Trish’ Walker (one of only two complaints I have about the Jessica Jones show is that Patsy goes by Trish), aka Hellcat, one of the longest serving Defenders is going to be on the show and by God I hope she gets into the cat suit for this.
Because the way I treat the movies and shows is that it’s another universe and they are free to make changes to things. Spider-Man has organic web-shooters: fine, it includes the ability without bogging things down with how he built them. The X-Men wear black leather: cool, they look good and there’s just enough hinted at from their comic costumes that you can see the logic in the update. But my goodwill to changes stops when some writer or editor thinks that “Well, it was popular in the movie, so it will be popular in the comic.” No. No, it will not be popular and if you think making this change is a good idea because people will be flocking to the comic book store after the movie ends and if you don’t change things they’ll get confused, well guess what: they will still be confused, because wearing the same costume doesn’t mean their story lines are the same.
After Civil War Spider-Man wore his black costume because his aunt was dying and he was being emo. Why would he wear a costume that would remind him it was an alien trying to kill him, especially when your aunt’s dying? Well, Spider-Man 3 was in theatres. But when the last time Parker’s life got so bad, the Clone Saga, did Peter put on the black suit? No, because that would be silly even for the Clone Saga.