FEATURES : COLUMNS : REVIEWS : NEWS : FILM & TV : FORUMS : UGO

ABOUT




New Doc Ock Hits Spider-Man
Have you seen the new Doctor Octopus, designed by fan-favorite artist Humberto Ramos? Click to dig the Doc.
Marvel Hires New Publisher
Following such rumors, Marvel today announced that Bill Jemas has been replaced as Publisher. Now read who took his job.
CrossGen's Solus #7
CrossGen thinks you'll love George Pťrez's new issue of Solus. And to prove it, here's a five-page preview.
Marvel Searches For She-Hulk
Writer Geoff Johns and artist Scott Kolins reunite for Marvel's Avengers as they search for She-Hulk.
Virtex Returns For Digital Webbing
A comic about a cybernetic cowboy that hunts outlaws riding dinosaurs? Where do we sign up? Read on and find out.
Marvel's Mutants Gains New Penciler
Marvel's New Mutants has a new artist onboard, and we've got a five-page preview. See if he's got the chops.
Image Rocks Out With Shangri-La
Are you ready to rock and roll? Image is, with their upcoming graphic novel Shangri-La. Read the details here.
Marvel Teams Up For A Good Cause
Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk team up for charity in a special December one-shot. Read all about it.
Davis' Marquis Returns In December
Guy Davis' sin-slayer is back in The Marquis: Intermezzo, coming from Oni Press. Read all about it.
Marvel Unveils '04 FF Plans
Marvel plans three Fantastic Four series for 2004, and we've got the details and preview art. Check this out.
2F2F DVD Contest
The hit street racing film 2 Fast 2 Furious is driving to DVD players near you. Win a free copy from Slush and Universal.
 








Opinion:
The Truth About The Truth
By Joshua Elder

01.16.03


Marvelís Truth: Red, White and Black generated a lot of controversy when it was first announced. Some people werenít comfortable with the idea of Captain America being tainted by racism. I wasnít one of them. America has a racist past and only by acknowledging it can we ever truly put it past us. Captain America, the living symbol of all that is right about our country, sometimes needs to be confronted by the things that are wrong. Truth promised to do just that, but it fell short.


Article continued below advertisement


In terms of sales, the book is doing alright. The first issue was ranked number 15 on Diamondís sales chart with subsequent issues coming in slightly further down on the charts. Though if the store I work at is any indication, the sell-through has dropped off significantly after the first issue. Many of the people who bought the first issue simply arenít coming back for the second. The primary reason is one of distribution. Truth is one of those rare comic book projects to garner mainstream media attention. It was written up in USA Today, talked about extensively on NPR and even made the subject of a New York Times editorial. There were literally millions of ďciviliansĒ who knew about this book. So where were they? Not in comic stores, obviously.

Which shouldnít come as a surprise. Most people donít know where the comic book stores in their area are and arenít willing to make the effort to find out. And even if they did make the trek to the comic store for the first issue, what are the odds that theyíll come back every month for the next six months to buy all the subsequent issues? Slim to none. The serial format pamphlet format is a dinosaur in many ways, but especially so in the case of high-profile projects with mainstream crossover appeal. Truth should have been released as an original graphic novel simultaneously in bookstores and comic shops. That would solve the problem of declining single issue sales for the comic shops and get the book to a much wider mainstream audience while it still had some heat on it.

Of course poor distribution isnít the only reason Truth is failing to light the world on fire. Part of the blame must be placed squarely on the shoulders of writer Robert Morales (editor of Vibe Magazine) and artist Kyle Baker (Why I Hate Saturn). Morales demonstrates an excellent ear for dialogue and a deft hand when it comes to characterization, but his plotting and sense of pacing leave a lot to be desired. The book moves at a glacial pace and Moraleís story of four black servicemen from different backgrounds who struggle with the idea of serving a country that treats them as second class citizens is a good one, but this isnít the story of the Tuskegee Airmen. This is a story about Captain America, and he is nowhere to be found. Truth would be far more powerful if it involved Steve Rogers from the start. How does a man whose entire existence is defined by service to his country deal with a revelation like this? How does the country at large, Americans both black and white? These are the big questions raised by Truth Ė too bad Morales doesnít seem interested in answering them.

Then thereís the implausibility of it all. When Morales has the U.S. government sending hundreds of black servicemen off to what is, for all intents and purposes, a death camp, he loses a lot of credibility in my eyes. The Tuskegee syphilis experiments which clearly inspired this story were abominable and truly unforgivable, but America in the 1940s was not Nazi Germany. Even if there were enough rabid racists in the military and political structure to approve measures like these (which I sincerely doubt), it would be impossible to keep the disappearance of hundreds of servicemen Ė black, white or anything in-between - a secret. Real life isnít the X-Files and there arenít enough men in black in the world to stop a story like that from getting out.

And the art...Kyle Baker was the wrong choice for this book from the start. Iím a big fan of the manís work, but his style only really works for comedy Ė and this is no comedy. Itís like getting the Farrelly brothers to direct an adaptation of Howards End or putting pickles in ice cream. Some things just donít go together. It doesnít help matters that Baker is putting out the worst work of his career. The line work is sloppy, the colors garish and the backgrounds non-existent. Truth looks rushed and amateurish Ė not the kind of work one expects to see on such a high-profile project.

Thereís nothing I hate more than wasted potential. Truth could have been one of the great Marvel stories Ė a superhero story with relevance and importance that could actually get mainstream America to sit up and take notice. Instead itís just another comic book.

 

 
E-Mail Author  |  Archive  |  Tell A Friend

 

 



 
Sword of Dracula
Slush launches our Halloween countdown with the first in a series of spooky reviews. First up? New series, Sword of Dracula.
John Byrne's IMO
This week John points out that fans cannot read the minds of creators, although you wouldn't know that by listening to some of them.
The Dead Zone
Flesh-eating zombies battle the last remaining police officer in Image's new series, The Walking Dead. We review the first issue.
Steve Niles Interview
Slush interviews Steve Niles, the acclaimed writer of 30 Days of Night, who tells us about the relaunch of Fused.
A Spidery Preview
Have you seen the new Doctor Octopus, designed by fan-favorite artist Humberto Ramos? Click to dig the Doc.
Kill Bill Review
Slush reviews the first installment of Quentin Tarantino's kung fu slasher masterpiece, Kill Bill.
Viper Interview
Slush takes a look at new publisher Viper Comics, and interviews the guys behind two of its hottest books.
Peanuts Collected
Cartoon fans rejoice. Fantagraphics is reprinting the entire collection of Charles Schulz' Peanuts. Read on for details.


CHANNELS:  Features | Columns | Reviews | News | Film & TV | Forums | Slushfactory.com

Copyright © 2003 Slush Factory Entertainment (E-mail)
All Rights Reserved : No portion of Slush may be reprinted in any form without prior consent