[identity profile] starwolf_oakley.insanejournal.com posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Many new series involve a superhero going bad. IRREDEEMABLE, THE MIGHTY, ABSOLUTION. THE LIFE AND TIMES OF SAVIOR 28 is a mini-series where a superhero goes good. Too good. So good that his friends and fellow heroes are convinced he has to be an evil duplicate.

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF SAVIOR 28 is written by J.M. DeMatteis wrote about a kind of Superman/Captain America/Spirit pastiche named Savior 28. It is narrated by his former sidekick, Dennis (who looks like Jack Kirby), who used to be his sidekick, the Daring Disciple. The first issue revealed that Savior 28 was assassinated by Dennis using special bullets.

The series so far is Dennis recapping Savior 28 (real name, James Smith) and his "Save the World" movement.

After accidentally killing his worst enemy (Savior 13) and his first girlfriend (Samantha) dying of old age, Savior 28 hits rock bottom. After the World Trade Center attacks (which happen on September 12, 2001, for some reason) Savior 28 is on a World Peace kick. He's even telling other superheroes that fighting isn't solving anything.

Naturally, the other superheroes are suspicious. So they captured Savior 28 and are interrogating him. Harshly. Their thought: Evil duplicate.

The Life and Times of Savior 28 #4 - Page 5

DeMatteis is poking a little fun at his classic "Kraven's Last Hunt" story with Kraven impersonating Spider-Man during the "black costume" phase.

The Life and Times of Savior 28 #4 - Page 6

Dennis is the only one who is certain this is the real James Smith. Heroes like Captain Crystal and Blackrat III aren't convinced.

The Life and Times of Savior 28 #4 - Page 8

The Life and Times of Savior 28 #4 - Page 10

Dennis is not only certain that's the real Savior 28, he arranged his capture, torture and "mind-sifting" or whatever that screen is showing.

The Life and Times of Savior 28 #4 - Page 11

The death of Savior 13 was in the first issue. And it was an accident. The fight with Ms. Jupiter was in issue #2 (I think). Being a villain and all, she attacked him at a peace rally. Savior 28 tried reasoning with her, then threw a tree at her in frustration.

The Life and Times of Savior 28 #4 - Page 12

Whoops, misplaced word balloon.

The Life and Times of Savior 28 #4 - Page 13

"... when 3000 people went down with those two towers."
Jimmy admits that part of this "plan" was because of guilt, as well as feeding his ego by a "Grand Gesture." But Jimmy is certain this idea can work. Even if it is a delusion, it is better than "telling the same old story."

Dennis lets Jimmy go, warning him about the assassination we already saw happen. Then Jimmy is rescued by two anti-heroes (or anti-villains) who agree with him. That doesn't end well either, but Dennis doesn't want to "rush things," as this is *his* eulogy as well.

I'm very curious where this mini-series is going.

Date: 2009-08-13 09:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arbre_rieur.insanejournal.com
(who looks like Jack Kirby)

Isn't that a bit... disrespectful?

Date: 2009-08-14 08:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] geoffsebesta.insanejournal.com
I'd call it "perceptive."

Have you read Kirby contemporary with the Vietnam War? He was not at all sympathetic to protesters. In fact, one might say he was starboard of John Wayne on that one.

Date: 2009-08-14 09:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arbre_rieur.insanejournal.com
That's disappointing. I wouldn't have suspected that of him given his New Gods work. Do you have any links?

Date: 2009-08-14 10:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mania21.insanejournal.com
So Kirby was not a hippie supporter? I can understand that, I for one was rather disgusted with the hippie/Anti-war crowd, and the stunning hypocrisy that was its true legacy.

J.M. states my own feelings on the most recent war very well here. This is reality, and the only way we can remove something like war from the board is to completely remove people's ability to choose evil over good. This would be the beginning of a move towards a world I would want nothing to do with.

Date: 2009-08-14 12:30 pm (UTC)
ext_376821: [a wreathe of Kryptonite for Superman] R.I.P. - From, The Mafia (yellow mask ending)
From: [identity profile] galateus.insanejournal.com
Wait, wait, wait--you think Dennis is J.M. DeMatteis's mouthpiece in this story?

Date: 2009-08-14 06:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] geoffsebesta.insanejournal.com
When you read it you are between disappointed and sympathetic for what someone who was, after all, a very badly traumatized combat vet. Sorry, I have no links -- try the library or Barnes & Noble.

Date: 2009-08-14 04:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] halloweenjack.insanejournal.com
I'd be interested in some citations for that claim. At any rate, Kirby, who served in WWII, would have a little more credibility for being a hawk than the Duke, who dodged the draft in WWII, not even serving as an actor in propaganda films the way that Reagan did.

Date: 2009-08-14 06:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] geoffsebesta.insanejournal.com
Check Thor and Captain America and tell me what you think.

I've mentioned it before, but my all-time favorite issue of CA came out in 1968; the first appearance of Dr. Faustus. In this issue Cap keeps having flashbacks to the war and going into insane, uncontrollable rages. After a while he figures out it's his psychiatrist, who is evil and plotting against him.

Jack Kirby was not a well man. We forget, since we have enshrined him, that part of his appeal was seeing what random, lunatic shit he would come up with next. I read an interview with him once (sorry, no citation) where he said that he research his comics by watching people walk by and trying to figure out how to beat them up.

Another thing they don't mention much was his legendary temper.

But that's neither here nor there -- the point here is that Kirby strongly believed, like da Duke, that young folk should register and fight for their country, and if they did not they were morally reprehensible. Again, I think his Thor issues have the best illustrations for this.

By the time of Forever People he was more-or-less over the political and had moved on to the cosmological, so look for earlier stuff.
(deleted comment)

Date: 2009-08-14 07:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] geoffsebesta.insanejournal.com

I see.

You think Stan Lee wrote Jack Kirby's comics.

Well, then there's nothing more to say, is there?

Date: 2009-08-14 07:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] halloweenjack.insanejournal.com
Oh, good lord, now you're going there. I've previously made the case that Kirby was the main driving force in that collaboration, but your implication that Lee had no influence on their partnership is simply bogus.

Date: 2009-08-14 07:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] geoffsebesta.insanejournal.com
So if we can't even agree on what Kirby actually wrote, discussing his politics is going to be impossible, right?

IMO, it would be a little strange if Stan Lee, who never was in a war, wrote a story about PTSD. But, whatever.

Date: 2009-08-14 08:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] halloweenjack.insanejournal.com
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof; you've got one story in which there's a psychiatrist as a supervillain, some random quote from Kirby that could be interpreted as him wondering how he'd fit someone into a fight scene, and an apparent belief that Lee contributed nothing to the books that he was co-credited with, something that Kirby himself never claimed. You can believe whatever you like, but you're going to have to make a more convincing case than that on a public forum like this one.

Date: 2009-08-14 08:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] geoffsebesta.insanejournal.com
Out of curiousity, have you read the Thor or Cap comics from the late 1960s?

Date: 2009-08-14 07:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] halloweenjack.insanejournal.com
...you do realize that Kirby scripted neither Thor nor Captain America, right? Before you make assumptions about either his general mental stability or his political views, I'd suggest either reading a decent biography of Kirby or just noting that Stan Lee (in one of the Origins books) took complete responsibility for the severe anti-commie tone of the Marvel books.

Date: 2009-08-14 07:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] geoffsebesta.insanejournal.com
You edited this out from under the thread, but yeah, I don't agree with you and I seem to be proceeding from the same knowledge base, so I think we should let this drop until we arrive at some mutual understanding of what Kirby did and did not do.

Date: 2009-08-14 11:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mania21.insanejournal.com
Truthfully, as much as I respect Jack Kirby, I don't think that he would be as near as much as a towering figure today without Lee. Say what you will but looking at his 70's work, I think Kirby wasn't near as good a writer as he was an artist, world creator, and designer. Kirby had excellent "ideas" for stories but probably had trouble putting them down on paper.

Date: 2009-08-14 02:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cmdr_zoom.insanejournal.com
God, this is bleak. A look at how icky black-and-white superhero morality, where the resolution to any problem eventually comes down to punching someone, gets when applied to something like the real world. And if you try to move outside that jingoistic, might-makes-right binary paradigm - when you're no longer a Good Guy - then you're obviously a Bad Guy, since those are the only two possibilities.

Date: 2009-08-14 12:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] daningram.insanejournal.com
Yeah, but comics have ditched that morality for years (though it seems to be creeping back). So it's hardly ground breaking.

Date: 2009-08-14 10:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jlbarnett.insanejournal.com
anybody remember Edith Keeler in Stark Trek? That's what they're worried about him Savior 28 being. An influence on all the well meaning people to take up peace, while the bad people keep being bad.

Date: 2009-08-14 02:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] daningram.insanejournal.com
Meh, not impressed.

That line about Bin Laden seems especially stupid to me. He's not a damn hydra, and the idea that you'd just let someone go who killed 3000 people because 'it continues the circle of hate' just boggles the mind. That's not justice. I mean, come on, even the Pope admitted that the invasion of Afganistan was just. It's called self defense.

Besides the fact that seems to denounce a style of writing that's not been around in years, it's as narrow minded as those that it denounces.

Instead of acting like violence is the only response to a situation, it should show why violence is an incomplete response in and of itself. Have Savior 28 rebuild the buildings he destroys, do community work when he breaks up a gang, etc.

This would probably be a better story if it was just about Savior 28 getting tired of the good fight, but it really don't seem that way. It just seems like some lame moral lecture.

Date: 2009-08-16 06:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] psychop_rex.insanejournal.com
I don't think 28 is saying that Bin Laden shouldn't be punished, simply that simply flying over and squishing his head is a reactionary action that would do no good, and only serve to galvanize his men. If you don't want to encourage the sort of chaos that Bin Laden thrives on, then you must bring him in alive and have him tried by the law.

Date: 2009-08-16 03:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] daningram.insanejournal.com
That certainly doesn't seem to be the impression that they're trying to convey in this scene. Savior 28's renouncing all forms of violence, which is fine character wise but terribly naive as a message, IMO.

Date: 2009-08-16 08:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] psychop_rex.insanejournal.com
Renouncing violence doesn't preclude simply finding and arresting someone - and I don't think he's necessarily renouncing violence absolutely and completely, just saying that one should not depend on it the way he's been doing for most of his life, and that nonviolence is infinitely preferable and should be sought out whenever possible. That's my take on it, anyway.

Date: 2009-08-14 04:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] halloweenjack.insanejournal.com
This is so heavy-handed that it's almost like a parody of the whole superher-deconstruction microgenre.

Date: 2009-08-14 04:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] halloweenjack.insanejournal.com
Er, superhero.

Date: 2009-08-14 10:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jlbarnett.insanejournal.com
It's actually meant to be a Captain America story that was cancelled. Back in the 80's a writer was going to have Cap give up violence and get assasinated. In in that book "Comic Book Mysteries Revealed."

Date: 2009-08-15 04:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cmdr_zoom.insanejournal.com
Yeah, you can tell because of the ref to the fickle and gullible civilians of 616.

Date: 2009-08-16 03:00 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Hi, Mike Cavallaro here. I'm the artist drawing THE LIFE AND TIMES OF SAVIOR 28. I thought I'd throw my two cents in here.

I've been asked in interviews about a lot of the design work on S28, including the character design for Dennis McNulty. Here's how it went ...

J.M.'s script notes frequently mention actors of various periods when trying to communicate the general look of a character. The notes regarding Dennis basically said, "Think elderly James Cagney / Leo Gorcey." And that's what I did.

A studio mate of mine walked by my desk one of the first times I was drawing McNulty and said, "Hey, is that supposed to be Jack Kirby???"

It hadn't occurred to me before that, but once pointed out I could see the resemblance.

I couldn't help thinking of all the old photos I'd seen of Jack. There's a few where he's wearing a smart looking suit with a wide brimmed fedora, and his resemblance to people like Cagney is noticeable. I would speculate that figures like Cagney must have been a sort of role model for guys of Jack's generation. Again, I'm speculating.

So yes, Dennis does kinda look like Jack Kirby. But he also kinda looks like James Cagney with maybe a little Leo Gorcey, which is what I was really shooting for.

No attempt was made by either J.M. nor myself to draw any connection between Jack Kirby's beliefs and those of the character, Dennis McNulty.

I'm a huge fan of Silver and Golden Age comics and those that created them. I probably read as many interviews with cartoonists of those generation as I do comics themselves. I really love what those guys accomplished, the way those comics used to look, etc. etc.

Obviously, Jack Kirby is one of my artistic heroes. I love almost everything he drew. I don't really know what his personal beliefs were regarding hippies, politics, etc. etc. I'm sure it will make interesting reading at some point, and I'm also sure that regardless of how near of far his views fall in proximity to my own, it will do nothing to diminish my respect for him.

Hope that clarifies things.
Dennis McNulty is not a stand-in for Jack Kirby. Reading S28 from that perspective will only mislead you.

Finally, thanks so much to anyone who has been reading along. I've already completed work on the series, and I still can't believe I got to work with J.M.D., another one of my heroes.
If you ever get the chance to meet him at a con, don't hesitate. He's truly one of the nicest, most encouraging, most genuine persons I've met in comics.

Date: 2009-08-16 06:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] psychop_rex.insanejournal.com
I'm wondering - is this supposed to be set pre-Obama? 'Cause this may be coming out now, but it seems like a very Bush-era comic to me. Savior 28's actions and the words of his interrogators would make a lot more sense under a reactionary administration like Dubya's.

Date: 2009-08-16 03:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] daningram.insanejournal.com
Bush era, but not something they'd ever dare publish during it, sigh...

Date: 2009-08-16 08:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] psychop_rex.insanejournal.com
I dunno - there was some pretty outspoken stuff coming out during the Bush era, especially near the end of it. I could see this coming out then.


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