Bill Messner-Loebs!

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I didn't know he had one arm:

Chuck Tatum (Chuck Tatum), Monday, 31 January 2005 16:51 (fourteen years ago) link

Maybe Geoff Johns could loosen his strangle hold on half the DCU and give BML some work?
At least a JLA: Classified arc.

Huk-L, Monday, 31 January 2005 16:57 (fourteen years ago) link

I didn't know he was left-handed!

Jordan (Jordan), Monday, 31 January 2005 17:54 (fourteen years ago) link

Since writing on the Wedge about this a couple days ago I have been re-reading some Messner-Loebs and a) I still really really like his stuff, maybe even more now I'm another ten years older (wasn't he good with old people!); b) I can totally see why he doesn't get work anymore, deplorable though it is.

Tom (Groke), Monday, 31 January 2005 19:12 (fourteen years ago) link

I can totally see why he doesn't get work anymore, deplorable though it is.

Why, Tom? I'm not actually familiar with his work, I don't think.

Jordan (Jordan), Monday, 31 January 2005 19:46 (fourteen years ago) link

I'd say it's because he's Vertigo-quirky but in a mundane quotidian way (that is, not WEIRD & SHOCKING enough) and also doesn't possess the cache that most of the folks that came to the spandex through Vertigo (or Vertigo-via-2000AD, for that matter) have. I think Mike Baron suffers from the same thing (though he's got a few Image series going nowadays).

David R. (popshots75`), Monday, 31 January 2005 19:52 (fourteen years ago) link

He's very good at character work, and excellent at building up a supporting cast to really care about. But he's pretty bad at (or rather, doesn't seem to want to be good at) the whole heroes-as-icons thing that the big companies seem to be into these days - the supporting cast in his books tend to be as if not more interesting and effective as the hero and he just doesn't seem to be that interested in 'trad' superhero stories. He stopped getting regular work probably around the time of the Kingdom Come / Morrison JLA 'modern mythology' thinking which is very antithetical to his perception of superheroes as ordinary, not-particularly angstful, individuals.

He could perhaps have fitted in at Marvel under Jemas but there's a big quirky, whimsical streak to his work which I think is too soft-edged for them.

Actually Dan Slott reminds me of him, but Slott has a real love of continuity which Loebs never seemed to much. That said there may be hope and I'd love to see him do a monthly series again.

But even looking back I think it was amazing his Flash stories got greenlighted and published. Here you have one of a company's flagship heroes, recently relaunched with a new status quo and identity, and the stories involve turning into a porcupine beast, meeting Fidel Castro, palling around with an ancient non-continuity superguy called the Clipper, having your friend get possessed by an ancient spirit who then becomes a talk show favourite, dealing with Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy, months and months and MONTHS without a recognisable 'supervillain' and then when one turns up it's the TURTLE, and so on. These are wonderful stories, every other Flash run pales in comparison to the warmth, humour, humanity in them, but they're terribly low-key and largely marketing-proof.

Tom (Groke), Monday, 31 January 2005 20:00 (fourteen years ago) link

Sorta like Gotham Central, then?

Huk-L, Monday, 31 January 2005 20:05 (fourteen years ago) link

Well yes I guess (never read GC), but if Gotham Central was called 'Batman'. And actually even GC has a 'crime book' hook and identity.

One ideal project for WML it strikes me would be a soapy/sit-comish Metropolis book.

Tom (Groke), Monday, 31 January 2005 20:08 (fourteen years ago) link

Yeah, okay. I think I just meant the GC comparision w/r/t: " terribly low-key and largely marketing-proof."
I've had conversations about GC, and how can they get more people reading without fundamentally changing it's nature, and I don't think they can, because how do you sell a Punisher fan (or whoever) on 17 pages of character building, 3 of crime detection, and 1 of "That Batman always gets in our way."

Huk-L, Monday, 31 January 2005 20:14 (fourteen years ago) link

Sounds almost like the Seinfeld approach to comics (in terms of taking big icons away from the myths and into the mundane). Is that Flash run collected?

Jordan (Jordan), Monday, 31 January 2005 20:36 (fourteen years ago) link

No, none of it is. If you're on slsk and investigate one mymble3 though you might find some items of interest.

Tom (Groke), Monday, 31 January 2005 20:38 (fourteen years ago) link

Ask Tep about it. I hear he's got a full run of Flash from #1-200 in a gmailable format.

Huk-L, Monday, 31 January 2005 20:41 (fourteen years ago) link

The Loebs run is #15-#61. #1-#14, by Mike Baron, are good too and lay a lot of groundwork re. supporting cast, powers, limitations etc.

Tom (Groke), Monday, 31 January 2005 20:43 (fourteen years ago) link

God bless The Chunk.

(BTW, I'm changing my answer to the question posed above to Tom's.)

David R. (popshots75`), Monday, 31 January 2005 21:03 (fourteen years ago) link

Wow, poor Bill Messner-Loebs. I had no idea about his background.

I really liked his old Flash comics as a kid, but I can't remember anything about them.

Matthew "Flux" Perpetua, Monday, 31 January 2005 22:42 (fourteen years ago) link

I seem to remember his Dr Fate series being pretty good. It was Dr Fate in the 'hood, but somehow neither patronising nor awful. Still, I stopped collecting it around that godawful War of the Gods x-over -- wasn't that by him, as well?

Chuck Tatum (Chuck Tatum), Tuesday, 1 February 2005 00:34 (fourteen years ago) link

War of the Gods was Perez, I think.

Tom (Groke), Tuesday, 1 February 2005 00:55 (fourteen years ago) link

Did Loebs do Dr. Fate? I thought it was all JM DeMatteis...?

David R. (popshots75`), Tuesday, 1 February 2005 01:32 (fourteen years ago) link

Didn't he also co-write The Maxx, comic's great mystery failure?

Andrew Farrell (afarrell), Tuesday, 1 February 2005 12:15 (fourteen years ago) link

For me, Messner-Loebs' best work was his creator-owned series Journey, set in North America early in the 19th century. A wonderful, whimsical, magical-realist series that deserves book collection.

I must dig my set of them out and have a good wallow sometime.

David A

David Simpson (David Simpson), Tuesday, 1 February 2005 13:05 (fourteen years ago) link

Checking, I see they have two Journey collections for sale. Five bucks each, and well worth it.

David A

David Simpson (David Simpson), Tuesday, 1 February 2005 13:09 (fourteen years ago) link

thirteen years pass...

aw what the fuck :(

loved his long stint on the flash when i was a kid, really great superhero comics

seems like there's been a lot of activity on the severe weather network's gofundme in the last few hours, which is encouraging i guess

sir chesley bonestell, qc (bizarro gazzara), Wednesday, 28 March 2018 10:48 (one year ago) link

This is one of the great single-issue comics from DC in that period:

Chuck_Tatum, Wednesday, 28 March 2018 15:12 (one year ago) link

Journey is also a must-read.

Man he has had it tough for a long time now.

when worlds collide I'll see you again (Jon not Jon), Wednesday, 28 March 2018 17:51 (one year ago) link

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