Friday, March 03, 2006

Falling On My Sword

Okay, now that the first issue of Sword of Atlantis is out, and you've all had a chance to read it...

here's your opportunity to tell me that I was very wrong and that it was great and that you loved it.

Anyone.... (not you, Kurt!) ? I promise I won't say a word!


Anonymous said...

It was okay not the best work from Busiek but not the worst.

Iron Lungfish said...

Well, that was relatively painless. I'll check it out.

k26dp said...

It was enjoyable enough to get me to buy #2. Busiek introduced a pretty good blend of mystery and familiarity.

It's still too early though to see if Scipio's knee-jerk reaction was right or wrong though.

Steven said...

I LIKED it! I honestly geeked out over the last panel, the Justice League of Atlantis (particularly the Marshy Manhunter) and throw away mentions of Kordax.

But I agree with k26dp that's it's too soon to tell.

Jeff R. said...

Well, it's certainly ambitious. Kurt has outlined a very long and interesting story that, unfortunately, I sorta doubt he'll be given nearly enough time to finish. I'm giving it issue-by-issue probationary status for now.

But when are we going to get your take on the Earth-8 Aquaman?

Tom Foss said...

Meh. I was unimpressed and a little confused. I might pick up the trade eventually, but I don't think I'll continue buying the floppies.

joncormier said...

I figured I'd be banned from this place if I liked it and said so publicly. But I also publicly admitted this was the first ever Aquaman comic I bought.

kalinara said...

I still think he'll turn out to be regular Aquaman, just with amnesia and having created/fantasized an alternate history for himself. :-)

Even if I'm wrong though, it wasn't bad. "Oceanscape" is still a very awkward word though.

Derek B. Haas said...

The dialogue style isn't my favorite, but Kurt's usual excellent plotting and Guice's magnificent pencils (plus some ungodly good coloring) made this book one of the highlights of last Wednesday. I'm having a problem deciding if I want to get the monthly pamphlets, of wait for the proper trades for my bookshelf, though.

The Fortress Keeper said...

I was sorry to see the Arcudi/Kirk run end, but Busiek and Guice laid out an interesting story. I wouldn't call it a knockout, but as a first chapter it was fine. I'll stay tuned and see how the story develops.

P.S. Earth 8 Aquaman. Heh.

The Eyeball Kid said...

It caught my attention, mostly for the same reasons that k26dp cited. I'm looking forward to the 'everything old is new again' twists on Arthur's history that are hinted at in the prophecy. This almost feels like this sci-fi 60's Silver Age revamp that Aquaman never really got.

My guess is that squidbeard is our old familiar Aquaman, who is is a fugue state after a particularly traumatic event. Hence the fuzzy memories and the blue hand in the final panel.

Kurt Busiek said...

You were very wrong! It was great! I loved it!

me not kurt

Kurt Busiek said...

Glad so many people liked it. Especially that last guy!


Anonymous said...


As I've already said elsewhere:

"Lets say that apparently during the one year gap Aquaman and Topo got really close."

simon said...

"Oceanscape" isn't even the right word for such an environment, properly termed a "bathyscape."

H said...

I put up an entry joining the chorus of it was okay enough to try the next issue. But if Atlantean sorcery or barbarian swordplay become the focus, I'm jumping ship.

Busiek does it make it clear that he respects the history of Aquaman - that's a good sign.

Kurt Busiek said...

>> "Oceanscape" isn't even the right word for such an environment, properly termed a "bathyscape." >>

I think using "bathyscape" would be pretty confusing, since we use that term -- from the Greek "bathus" and "skaphos," literally meaning "deep boat" -- for a kind of deep-sea exploration vessel.

It'd also be wrong, since the "scape" in landscape doesn't come from the Greek "skaphos," but from the Dutch "scap," meaning state or condition. The Dutch "landschap" originally meant "region," but came to be used in art, as well, and we back-engineered it into other compounds like seascape, icescape and even oceanscape.

If we were to go back to a strict Dutch construction, we'd wind up with zeeschap, oceaanschap or diepschap. As such, "oceanscape" seems defensible. "Seascape" suggests to me more of a view from above, and "deepscape" is land-centric; when Atlanteans refer to the Deeps or the Depths, they usually mean places deeper than they are.

And I'll note that I haven't noticed many people objecting to the word outside of here, but if we get the sense that it's an awakward word to a large portion of the audience, we'll find some other term.


Kurt Busiek said...

>> I put up an entry joining the chorus of it was okay enough to try the next issue. But if Atlantean sorcery or barbarian swordplay become the focus, I'm jumping ship.>>

Let's hope you make it through next issue, then, which has a big ol' whackity duel at the heart of it. The following issue has drinking, sex, property damage, obscure DC continuity, the Sea Devils, the return of an unexpected cast member and a mystical version of Google, so that may suit you better...


Anonymous said...

How about "benthoscape":

benthos |ˈbenˌθäs| noun Ecology the flora and fauna found on the bottom, or in the bottom sediments, of a sea, lake, or other body of water. DERIVATIVES benthic |-θik| adjective ORIGIN late 19th cent.: from Greek, ‘depth of the sea.’

Kurt Busiek said...

If you're going with Greek roots, benthoscape would mean a boat for undersea flora and fauna. There's even a kind of bathyscape called a benthoscope. Also, nobody would know what it means.

The point of "oceanscape" is to remind people that the sub-sea lands and peoples aren't a single nation or entity -- that it's a vast area than can have a lot of different stuff in it.


Anonymous said...

Any comic thats got the Sea Devils in it has my dollar. As long as it is not them preaching about the enviornment.

k26dp said...

Are you kidding? Hot preaching action is the whole reason I read "Ultimates"!

Scipio said...

" the Sea Devils"

The REAL Sea Devils? Not that tragic little international mod squad of stereotypes that appeared recently?!

The REAL Sea Devils possess vast totemic power....

Tom Foss said...

Sea Devils?

Gosh darn it, I might have to buy the next issue. Curse you, Kurt Busiek!

Kurt Busiek said...

>> The REAL Sea Devils? Not that tragic little international mod squad of stereotypes that appeared recently?! >>

Mix and match, actually. Some of the all-new multi-cultural Sea Devils are dead, some have quit, but some will still be around. Some of the originals will be back as well, but I'm leaping at the opportunity to not have a guy named "Biff" in the team...


methane said...

I'm pretty sure I've read stories that have used 'oceanscape' somewhere along the way. I've also heard of 'seascape' and (of course) the TV show 'farscape'.

So it's not really a new construction, at least in sci-fi/fantasy stories.

Anonymous said...

No Biff!!!! He was my favorite Devil, I always felt he was DC version of Ben Grimm. Dane on the other hand. Lets just say I would not complain if Dane meet with an untimely spear through his chest.

Kurt Busiek said...

Dane's staying. Biff is pursuing other opportunities in the exciting world of marine salvage. Sorry, but his name is "Biff."

The DC version of Ben Grimm is and has always been Cliff Steele.


Anonymous said...

The Sea Devils is the Fantastic Four under the Sea without the super powers.
Dane is Reed Richards - The brains of the group.
Biff is Ben Grimm - The musclehead stud who is a street thug (60's version of a gangbanger) and ruggdely good looking. My type of man.
Judy Walton is Sue Storm - The love interst of Dane and token cute girl.
Nicky Walton is Johnny Storm - Judy's tag a long brash bother.

In otherwords the leader, tough guy, girlfriend and tag a long kid brother. A classic Fantastic Four model. Hence Biff is one of the many version of Ben Grimm floating around in the DC universive. Rocky of the Challengers of the Unknown, Bulldozer Smith of Cave Carson fame, and Jeff Smith of Rip Hunter fame also come to mind. However you are right Cliff Steele is the only Thing floating around in the DC univerese. (Okay you could argue Vibe was hunkier version of the Thing and the only thing acceptable to replace the man meat that is Biff is to replace him with a hunky Latanio like Vibe.)

What do you have against the name Biff? It is a very manly name and sums up Ben Grimm archtype perfect. Did someone named Biff beat you up in school?

Kurt Busiek said...

>> What do you have against the name Biff? >>

It's not the 1950s any more, mostly.


Anonymous said...

By that logic Dane and Judy should no longer be part of the Sea Devils since no one goes by those names anymore either. The only Sea Devil name that is still popular today is Nick. Either you kill all of the 50's naming structure or leave it alone. I say leave it alone, it is not broken and if it is not broken don't fix it. Otherwise you end up with Kyle Rander and no one likes Kyle.

Anonymous said...

mystical version of Google

Damn. OK, Kurt, who told you about our goat-sacrifice-powered datacenters?


Kurt Busiek said...

>> By that logic Dane and Judy should no longer be part of the Sea Devils since no one goes by those names anymore either.>>

Not so. If Judy Walton is figured to be roughly 30, then her name was in the top 400 girls' names used around the time she was born. It's less popular now, though still in the top thousand -- so thirty years from now, it'll either be considered kinda dated, or it'll have resurged. Probably the latter.

Dane peaked in popularity most recently at 205 in 1985, but has been in the top 500 boys' names most years for at least the past 40 years, and is more popular today than the name Judy is.

Biff is a nickname, and thus doesn't get tracked, but it sounds terribly dated to me, while the others don't.

>> Either you kill all of the 50's naming structure or leave it alone. >>

I don't see why I'd need to do that. I'll pick and choose. There are no rules saying that there can be no Judys without Biffs.

>> I say leave it alone, it is not broken and if it is not broken don't fix it.>>

Were I to "leave it alone," the only original Sea Devil still active would be Dane, since that was the status quo last time we saw them.

I doubt I'd get rid of Biff merely because I think his name sounds like a relic, but since he's already gone, I feel quite comfortable leaving him gone, and only bringing Nicky and Judy back.

It ain't like I'm killing the poor guy. If someone else wants to use him, he's still out there to be used. But the current Sea Devils are Dane, Judy, Nick, Gideon and Sigourney.

Gideon, by the way, has only made the top 1000 boys' names seven times in the last 50 years. Sigourney's never made the top 1000 girls' names at all (in the US, at least). It's not how common a name is that makes it feel dated, but how resonant it is of a different era.

Biff worked just fine in the original run of SEA DEVILS, but I don't see why that would mean I have to bring him back (or else scrap Dane and Judy) any more that I see the need to bring back characters named Zelda or Dobie as 2006 contemporaries, or scrap all Sixties concepts along with them.

One of the great things about using comics history is that we can pick and choose, polish up one bit, set aside another, use a third just like it was originally... We can use Rose Forrest and leave Melba Manton behind, recast an Abner as "Abe," and gussy up those old spaceships with the steering wheels and gas pedals, instead of just recapitulating them.

And the original material still exists in all its charm, even if we make minor tweaks to contemporize the new stuff.


Kurt Busiek said...

>> OK, Kurt, who told you about our goat-sacrifice-powered datacenters? >>

I have spies everywhere.


Typolad said...

I liked it. That last panel was solid gold. I'll give it till issue 5 before I decide if I REALLY like it.

roel said...

I think this may be the 3rd longest discussion I've seen on whether "Biff is an appropriate name for a hero in 2006," trailing only Bendis's recent discussion on his message board and of course the legendary discourse launched by Dave Sim on his MySpace page.

The Fortress Keeper said...

I didn't know there were so many Biff fans out there. It may not be prudent to state such a preference here, but I was always a bigger fan of the Challengers of the Unknown.

Still, anyone who can work the Sea Devils into an Aquaman comic has my vote!

Anonymous said...

At this point it pointless to argue about weither Biff should or should not be in the Sea Devils. Whoever Kurt is does not understand the main concepts of what the Sea Devils are and about. Yes, you can add and remove people from the Sea Devils but as long as you replace them with someone of the same archtype. The Sea Devils is based around the Fantastic Four archtype for adventure groups. What Kurt is proposing by adding several new memebers and removing some of the basic ingredents is a different formula. In other words the Sea Devils of olden days are Sugar cookies and the Kurt's Sea Devils are Choclate Chip cookies. That is he removing the extra cup of sugar in the form of Biff and adding the choclate chips in the form of Gideon and Sigourney. Making the discussion of weither Biff should been in the Sea Devils or not pointless since it is up to Kurt to change the reciepe as he sees fit. I just hope he does not remove too much sugar and we end up with a Kyle Rander.
It is also kinda funny how I am complaining about how Kurt Busiek may change the Sea Devils formula in article about his bastardization of the Aquaman formula.

Kurt Busiek said...

>> Whoever Kurt is does not understand the main concepts of what the Sea Devils are and about. >>

Or, possibly, I understand it but don't think it's essential to preserve yet one more set of FF-archetypes, particularly not for a group that's been practically-moribund for almost 40 years.

On the other hand, maybe I don't, since I don't think maintaining that particular pattern of personalities is what the Sea Devils need to be about. Your cookie analogy is a good one -- I think one can modernize the Sea Devils without needing them to be restored to their original sugar-cookiness. They can work well as pecan sandies, and perhaps find a niche that isn't already occupied by better-known sugar cookies.

I will note, though, that I'm not "adding several new members." I'm actually getting rid of several of the previously-added members and restoring two of the originals who'd departed.

But time will tell if it works, I suppose. And if it doesn't, someone more sugar-cookie inclined can have Biff come back and kick those other two out...!


methane said...

Whenever I hear "Biff" I think of the stagehand from Letterman.

Steven said...

Whereas I think of Back to the Future.

Anonymous said...

Whereas I think Sea Devils

Kurt Busiek said...

"Biff was the fullback for Littletown High. He had dated Lorna for three years. Brinkley hated him. For years afterward, every time Brinkley was punching a crook or monster, as his fists boomed forward and landed on the villain's jaw, he would find himself grunting Biff's name."

-- Robert Mayer, Superfolks


Shane Bailey said...

It's THE SEA DEVILS. I didn't think there was some obsessive fan love about THE SEA DEVILS! I'm waiting for the save Biff club now.


The Blue Beetle Fan That Didn't Get Upset When Ted Died

Anonymous said...

Whereas I think George Costanza.

...Oooh, missed that one, didn't I? Late Comeback Syndrome strikes again.

Anonymous said...

When they came for Flash,
I was silent
When they came for Superman,
I was silent
When they came for Wonder Woman,
I was silent
When they came for Green Lantern,
I was silent
When they came for Blue Beetle,
I was silent
When they came for Aquaman,
I was silent
Now they come for Biff,
I can no longer be silent.

Kurt Busiek said...

"Biff is the grown-up son of Willy and Linda Loman. He has gone from job to job, never finding any lasting happiness or success. This displeases Willy, who, after never finding success himself, places the burden of success on the shoulders of Biff. Eventually Biff realizes 'what a ridiculous lie [his] whole life has been,' seeing that his father has immersed himself in nothing but illusions."

Maybe if we ever see Biff, we can find out he has a brother named Happy...


k26dp said...

This is clearly your next project, Kurt -- a updated comic book version of Death Of A Salesman. It being a comic though, the salesman would come back within a few issues and wacky hijinks ensue.

Kurt Busiek said...

No update, just the sequel -- Return Of A Salesman!

Or perhaps, Reign of the Salesmen?