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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later. Support Elizabeth on Patreon.


  1. Tom
    June 26, 2014 @ 2:52 am

    Not that I'd disagree about Hickman, but I find it amusing that it's this particular issue of New Avengers that has triggered your rage, after the issue where the fighters are introduced, the issue where the fight scene is previewed on magic TV, the issue where they get ready for the fight scene, the issue where people talk about whether the fight scene is going to happen or not, etc etc. Though those issues had more good Namor being a dick moments, which is the main comic-to-comic appeal at this point…


  2. Heath
    June 26, 2014 @ 5:55 am

    I appreciate the unabashed take on comics. (I know "this is not a review site") but too many review sites just play into the comic propaganda machine, with only superficial criticism, serving to inflate the value and importance of many lack luster issues.

    I would be very interested to read your take on the influence of TV on comics, as I've historically viewed the phenomenon in the reverse. By which I mean, stringing comics out into 6-issue arcs or 12 issues 'seasons' has been the norm in comics for decades, yet television has really only been doing this (or doing it skillfully) in recent years. (Doctor Who of course being a trailblazer with its 4 or 6 parters with designed cliff hangers)

    Comics and TV are quintessential serialized media, and I see TV (from shows like Veronica Mars that mastered the one&done that tied into a season long plot) being just as influenced by comic formatting as vice versa..


  3. elvwood
    June 26, 2014 @ 6:38 am

    Even though I no longer read many comics I enjoy reading your thoughts. I also hadn't realised that the industry had become so niche! Are you going to provide any info on when and why that happened, either here or in the later stages of Last War?

    I saw the Guardians of the Galaxy film trailer for the first time the other night, and it made me realise quite how out of touch I am. I'd been looking forward to renewing my acquaintance with Vance Astro, Yondu, Martinex et al., who I fell in love with back in their first ever appearance (mumble) years ago. Then I saw…who? Starlord, not Starhawk? Rocket Raccoon? Gamora and Drax (though without Adam Warlock, so perhaps he's dead at the moment)? And, um, Groot. Don't know him.

    Not so excited now. 8(


  4. Jack
    June 26, 2014 @ 6:43 am

    I've often wondered how Hickman reads from issue to issue, since I've only ever read him in collections, and as someone said on Amazon in a review, Hickman tends to write not for the trade but for the omnibus. And he's writing two books that are clearly meant to be read together, since they're basically ruminating on the same theme of building and saving worlds, which means you get double the long term fun. I get the sense that issues like this-which admittedly is far from the best Hickman can do-are ones that look better when you pull back to the macro distance and take the longer view.

    I wonder though if I had been reading Infinity and the two Avengers books that make up the Infinity collection as singles if I'd occasionally had gone "what the hell is this?" over it, though.


  5. Tom
    June 26, 2014 @ 7:08 am

    The division of comics into discrete arcs seems to have been a result of the rise of the TPB, which started in the 80s but didn't really hit full steam until the 00s. The Invisibles, for instance, wasn't being collected in the order it came out or with any great speed, and big trade paperback lags for all but the most prestigious series were common. The situation now, where even the shoddiest, lowest-selling comic gets put into trade, is relatively recent (it's probably a result of the popularity of manga – as are a lot of 00s comics trends). So you got decompression, "writing for the trade", etc – the stuff people complained about in the early 00s – but at that point the big extra-comics cultural influence on US mainstream comics storytelling and how stories were structured was still blockbuster cinema: the "widescreen" ideal of Morrison's JLA, Ellis' Authority and artists like Finch or Hitch. There's definitely been a shift from that to TV thinking, I think.

    Really interesting point re the two-way influence tho – the big shift into continuous storytelling at Marvel (picking up on seeds sowed in the Lee/Kirby FF run) was in the early 70s – Starlin, Englehart, etc developing the concept of the authorial 'run'. I dunno what TV was like then – was it "soapy" in the same way? I always assumed TV influenced Claremont's X-Men storytelling, for instance – but the thing his run was most compared to (Hill Street Blues) didn't start until well into it.


  6. Daibhid C
    June 26, 2014 @ 7:32 am

    As with most of Marvel, I'm over a year behind on Spidey, since I get Marvel UK reprint mags, so I'm right in the middle of Superior, and enjoying it a lot more than I expected. I agree that Slott's take on Spider-Man is a Stan Lee homage, but disagree it's a conservative one; he seems to delight in keeping the spirit of Stan Lee while shaking up just about every aspect of the status quo that previous writers seemed to see as sacrosanct. The obvious example is that J. Jonah is no longer running the Bugle, but my favourite is that someone has finally said that a guy who studied science at university, even if he never got his doctorate, probably shouldn't still be working at the freelance photog gig he took as an after-school job when he was 15.


  7. BerserkRL
    June 26, 2014 @ 9:10 am

    ironclad rule: never, ever use the solicited premise of a comic as the cliffhanger

    You must hate that British tv show, what's it called, Doctor Who.


  8. BerserkRL
    June 26, 2014 @ 9:11 am

    Mark Waid needs to be better about asking himself if his captions are actually necessary

    Reminds me of so many movies in which the narration tells us what we are already seeing on the screen.


  9. BerserkRL
    June 26, 2014 @ 9:16 am

    They aren't new characters, though. Groot, e.g., was created by Lee & Kirby in 1960. Yondu does have a brief role in the movie.


  10. elvwood
    June 26, 2014 @ 10:58 am

    Yeah, sorry, rereading my post I can see I wasn't expressing myself too clearly – I recognised all the characters (except Groot, and even he might have guested in something I read but not left an impression); my "WTF?" moment happened because they weren't members of the Guardians of the Galaxy…in the outdated Marvel Universe that sits inside my head.


  11. Elizabeth Sandifer
    June 26, 2014 @ 11:02 am

    Yes, I was consistently in favor of the tendency to have stories called ____ of the Daleks end with cliffhangers revealing the Daleks, wasn't I?


  12. Anton B
    June 26, 2014 @ 11:57 am

    I had the same reaction Elvwood, but probably about a year ago when the publicity started and Karen Gillan was cast. I loved the old Vance Astro Guardians of the Galaxy but actually I can't remember why. Wasn't it written by Steve Gerber round the same time he was doing Howard the Duck? Now I'm wishing I hadn't sold my comic collection.


  13. elvwood
    June 26, 2014 @ 12:44 pm

    There's a memory! Yeah, Steve Gerber – and, having looked it up, it was exactly the time he was also writing Howard the Duck.

    This being a time when my access to US comics was still pretty ropey (both because of unreliable UK distribution and reliably too little pocket money), I actually read one issue in French first. Couldn't figure it out that well, and I remember when I finally got the issue in English, several years later, I found the opening dialogue included "cakewalking down a beam of light! This, folks, is spelunking in style!" – and thought it wasn't too surprising I was struggling.

    Part of me also wishes I hadn't sold (95% of) my collection. The larger part thinks "where would I have kept it?"


  14. timber-munki
    June 27, 2014 @ 10:57 am

    I;ve got no way of confirming it but I always thought the original publishing schedule of The Invisibles was to do with the death of Diana in1997. Given that one of the storylines in Apocalipstick & Entropy In The UK deals with the plan to have the Royal Moonchild use Diana as breeding stock to bring into our reality the Cthulu-esque entities of the Outer Church I don't see DC corporate going for their release in 1997/8 after the release of Say You Want A Revolution in 1996.

    Whilst it was never his intention to get the story radically re-worked I've never forgiven Rich Johnson for putting X-Statix on the Daily Hate's radar…


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