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Rants in E Minor


Alysha McKinney


Whoís this bimbo?

I suppose I should introduce myself, seeing as youíre taking the time out of your schedule (or, if youíre more like me, lack of schedule) to read my ramblings.  Why youíre doing this, Iím not quite sure.  Actually, I am sureÖyouíre probably one of my relatives or someone Iíve coerced to read this.  If notÖwow. 

My name is Alysha, and Iím an alco-wait, wrong group.  My name is Alysha, and Iím a comic book geek.  A FEMALE comic book geek, but thatís a completely different rant that Iíll be getting to at another time.  And I was lucky enough to be asked to write this column by Andrew.  I donít think he knew what heís gotten himself into, but heyÖchacun a son gout (Iím not Gambit, so Iím not going to be translating for you.  Go to babelfish if you need to.).

Not only am I a comic book geek, but Iím a wannabe comic book WRITER.  I just heard all of you sigh. I know, I did too, but wait!  I wonít be forcing any of my comic-related writing down your throat here anytime soonÖunless you want me to.  I mean, if you ask, I wonít deny you.  I take requests.

Iím also in the process of creating an online game that goes along with the same story as the comic Iím writing.  The game came first, and Iíve been bouncing around for about 4 years with ideas in mind.  Just finally getting them down in 0ís and 1ís.  Howís that for typical Gen X slacker?

Like Cth (if you havenít read his column, go NOW!  Iíll wait.), Iím a regular at Brian Michael Bendisí message board.  This has gotta be one of the coolest places on the web, because we all find the weirdest shit to discuss.  If you donít hate me, or hell, even if you do, stop by and say hi to me some time.  Iím the spooky fangirl on the left wearing black and reading Powers.  Hair color may vary.

So you can get a real feel for me (Hey!  Get your hands offa me!  I didnít mean that kinda feel, you perv!) and my eclectic tastes, let me tell you about what Iím reading and listening to these days.  Reading: Powers, Sam and Twitch, Hellspawn, Ultimate Spidey, Punisher, the core X-books, Poison Elves, Daredevil, Linsner books when he gets around to putting them out, and Kabuki.  Listening to: Cherry Poppiní Daddies, Reel Big Fish, Wheatus, INXS, Alice in Chains, Nerf Herder, Megadeth, and Matthew Sweet.  Playing: Hmm, good question.  I need a new Playstation game to take up the non-online, non-working, non-comic book writing time.  Gimme suggestions at  Thereís only so many times one can beat Legend of Dragoon before going stark raving bonkers.

Anyway, thatís me, and if youíve made it this far without falling asleep, congratulations.  Read my other stuff.  This may be just another column by someone who digs comics, but heyÖthis is a column about comics by a female who reads them in the bathtub while naked.  If that doesnít spark some sort of interest, I donít know what will.

  (and now Gray Haven proudly presentsÖAlyshaís first column)

Death of an X-Fan

Okay, so apparently I'm smoking crack.

Judging from some of my recent comic book conversations online, I must be.  There's no other reason.  I'm not crazy -- at least not legally -- so someone is slipping me crack cocaine.  I mean why else, according to everyone I've spoken to, would I like Chris Claremont's current run on the core X-books?

Now, let me preface this by saying that it took me a long time to come back to Marvel.  For years I was an alternative comics snob.  I'd only read things by indy publishers -- hell, to this day, I have a rather large collection of Boneyard Press books.  And Marvel?  Fuck Marvel!  Well, at least until I saw David Mack was going to be writing a Daredevil story-arc.  And we all know that chicks dig David Mack.  We can't help it.  Just as I was enjoying this (off and on, of course, with the DD publishing schedule being so erratic) the bomb was dropped on me -- Claremont was going back to the mutants, and just in time for me to be hyped for the X-Men movie.  Sa-weet!  I went out and bought some Uncannys in the meantime.  What?  Cyclops is dead?!?  I was going back to my little fangirl roots, drooling over And-er, Ada-er, whichever one it is (Pick a Kubert, any Kubert) and Lenil Yu sketches for the new direction of the books.

The books came out and I was floored.  Claremont's writing was the same slow burn I loved from the old days...I could almost feel the smoldering catch and spread.  The crescendo would be huge, I just knew it.  But then I saw the opinions online, which relate to my earlier-noted crack smoking.

I've seen a whole spectrum of complaints; anywhere from Claremont writing in accents to being ungodly verbose.  Now, the accents I can see some complaint with, since no one translates what they just said.  I mean, in the heat of battle, Gambit says something (or is that someting?) in French.  Because he's a great guy, he then translates it for everyone.  I can see where the realism veil is lifted there, and it happens often enough to be noticeable.  I'll give the nay-sayers that one.

But...and here comes the big but.  Being verbose?  That's something I think I need explained to me.  Comic books are meant to be read, correct?  So you're not just supposed to crack them open and look at all the (hopefully) purty pictures contained within?  Oh, there's supposed to be a STORY there too.  I just donít understand why people have a problem with some writers using large amounts of dialogue.  For example, Brian Michael Bendis uses very dialogue-driven stories, and no one has a problem with that at all (especially me, I love his writing).  But Claremont?  Please!  God forbid a character utter more than a few words at once.  Apparently his characters are supposed to speak softly and carry big sticks.

Other people have a problem with his slow storytelling.  Donít these people remember classic Claremont stories like the Dark Phoenix saga?  Claremont needs a long time to set up stories, and then, all of a sudden, BAM!  Everything comes together and blows your mind.   I really donít six months was enough time to decide on that.  Sure, itís going to be a little slow at firstÖthe man needs to try and fix the damage thatís been done over the years.

Lastly, people have complained that Claremont has kept Cyclops dead and Professor X out in space during his run.  And this is a bad thing?  I mean, come on, how many Cyclops stories have been told over the years?  I think itís time to give ole Slim Summers a break for a while.  Of course, Iíve never liked the whiny goody-goody anyway.  As for Professor X, people have been saying that itís just not the X-Men without him.  Huh?  Heís been away many times in the past, even killed him off for a while, and no oneís minded.    I think these are just excuses to go back to the familiarÖyet another Cyclops story. Yay.

Iíve recently heard that Grant Morrison is going to be taking over at least one of the X-books, and Claremont is going to be given his own title to tool around with.  Thatís brightened things up a bit for me, but I still donít think Claremont was given enough time on the core books to really be able to do anything with them.  Hopefully theyíll give him a chance this time on his own book, and let him use all the underrated mutants he writes so well.  Hell, if the man can make me like Kitty Pryde for the first time in eight years, the man can do anything.

Copyright©2000 Alysha McKinney