Pipeline #1128: Avengers is a Comic, Too?

I hate to go all "Old Man Augie" on you right at the start, but I'm going to anyway.

The folks at Marvel have a campaign going to ask people not to spoil "The Avengers: Endgame."

That's very nice of them. I hope it works. I doubt it will, because I don't trust the mass of humanity, but it's a nice thought to start the campaign.

I'm sure there are people complaining about it, though. I haven't looked, but I'm certain there are those who are saying "tough luck, it's my right to talk about whatever I want to."


This is where I turn into an old man: The state of social media today makes this an impossible problem to solve.

15 years ago, when we talked comics on message boards, this was a relatively easy problem to fix. You had a separate board for spoilers and sent everyone over there. Everyone behaved on the other boards because they knew they could be kicked out forever if they broke the rules. And, besides, there was a place to discuss things with spoilers.

That doesn't exist on Twitter. You can't just write #SPOILERS at the end of your tweet and assume everyone is using an app that has a filter function.

Once again, the message boards were the right format. The Broadcast First means of delivery we have everywhere else today is not great. It relies on the consumer to do too much work in advance.

* * *

This is a really hard week to write this column. I stick to the comics. There's plenty of movie talk all over this site. You don't need me jumping on that bandwagon.

But I am pretty excited to see "Endgame." I just don't know when it'll be.

So please don't spoil me.

I'm wondering if I need to set up a hundred filters on my Twitter app to block me from seeing anything related to the movie in the meantime?

That would take a long list... Also, I'd miss seeing the Thanos Twitter emoji.

* * *

My favorite run on The Avengers comics remains the Kurt Busiek/George Perez era. I had read some Avengers comics before then, but didn't really get into them. Despite art by Steve Epting and one of the Kubert brothers, the team just didn't excite me.

In fact, when I first started reading comics in the late 80s/early 90s, I actually read more "Avengers West Coast." That was because I was a big John Byrne fan at the time and followed him everywhere.

That Busiek/Perez run was quality stuff, up to and including the classic Thor line, "Ultron. We would have words with thee!"

Thor says,
(Photo: George Perez, Al Vey, Marvel Entertainment)

That panel is permanently seared into my brain. It's such good stuff.

Alan Davis followed that on art. He's possibly my favorite comic book artist of all time, yet it's still the Perez stuff that jumps to mind first.

After that, the funniest thing happened and The Avengers took over from the X-Men the title of being Marvel's biggest team book. I never saw that comings. Brian Bendis relaunched things and started a new era there. (Various movie shenanigans, obviously, impacted that, as well.)

It eventually ballooned out of control, as all good things do at Marvel and DC. We had a series of spin-offs with new adjectival names, including "Dark Avengers" and "Mighty Avengers." There was also "Uncanny Avengers" eventually. I'm sure I'm forgetting a half dozen others here, but I could never give you the proper reading list off the top of my head anymore.

I bet even Avengers fans of the era couldn't.

* * *

That first Avengers movie remains my favorite superhero movie of all time. It's a great movie, first and foremost. But there was something more at work there.

Since I started reading comics in 1989, there was always talk of adapting superhero comics into movies and television shows. "Comics Scene" magazine devoted the final couple pages of every issue to covering which properties were signed up where, and what stage of production they were at. Like everything else in Hollywood, 95% of the projects listed on those pages never saw the light of day. For every "Fish Police" television series or "Incredible Hulk" tv movie with Daredevil, you also had Brigitte Nelson as "She-Hulk" or James Cameron "Spider-Man."

Fish Police animated series of the 90s on CBS
(Photo: Steve Mancuse)

I quickly learned that superhero movies were just never going to happen. Not enough people cared. The special effects would be too expensive. Nobody in Hollywood has ever written a superhero movie that isn't embarrassing to the medium. You'd get a new "Batman" every few years and some low budget schlock which might accidentally create a masterpiece like "The Rocketeer," but it was mostly a lost cause.

The 1970s "Superman" movie is the exception that proves that rule.

That first Avengers movie was a capper on all of Marvel's early successes. I had chills in the theater and a stupid smile on my face through most of that movie.

They did it.

They made the impossible movie. A comic book that grandiose could never be turned into a credible movie. Yet, here was Hulk smacking Loki around and Hawkeye firing arrows in rapid succession.

Captain America, Iron Man, Nick Fury, Thor, Black Widow, and the Hulk were not just in the movies -- they were in the same movie.

My brain had a hard time comprehending that they had pulled it off.

Today's kids won't understand that feeling at all. There have always been superhero movies for them, and they've always been super successful.

It wasn't always thus, though. And that first Avengers movie is the proof of that.

So, yes, I'm looking forward to "Endgame," even if I'm not totally caught up on my Marvel Universe Movie Watch List. I'm sure they'll fill in enough of the gaps for me...

I'm an old man, but I'm OK with it. I'm glad today's kids get that luxury.


Now if only they'd buy a comic book, too...

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