Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Jeph Loeb

So, Jeph Loeb will now be Marvel's Executive Vice President & Head of Television.
That's a pretty similar role that Geoff Johns has currently at DC Comics, meaning supervising and controlling directly any future comic book to TV adaptation. (while Johns also supervises movies, which Avi Arad do at Marvel)

In case you don't know who is Jeph Loeb, he is a well known popular comic book writer. One of my favorite writers. And one of my least favorite ones as well.

How's that?!? How can it be?!

Lemme introduce you properly to Loeb's work...
(this is an overview of course, the guy did a ton more!)


Warning this will get a bit more serious at 3/4s
The early great Loeb-DC era...

Jeph Loeb was a DC writer since the early 90s, where he wrote the amazing 90s run of the Challengers of the Unknown. Then he worked on Batman, Catwoman and Superman early years in Year 1-type of comics. Like Batman: Haunted Knight, Long Halloween, Dark Victory (my favorite), Catwoman: When in Rome, Superman: For All Seasons...etc..

Those count amongst some of my favorite comic books ever!
Very clever, brilliant. It's very dark (Bats) or light (Supes) serious and realistic takes on those classic iconic DC characters. The plot is amazing and that's when Loeb started working with the artist Tim Sale.

I truly recommand any Sale-Loeb collaboration! The Catwoman one (not picture here) is a nice parallel story to those Batman books up there and also works great as an introduction for the character!

The classy Marvel colors era...


Then, Loeb went to Marvel were he, basically, did the same with Marvel characters instead.
His "color" series is basically Year One takes on Marvel character.
Spider-Man: Blue, Daredevil: Yellow, Hulk: Grey, Captain America: White...

Like the DC books, those were done with artist Time Sale once more.

It's fantastic takes on the early days of Spidey, DD, etc..
The Captain America one was done some years later, it doesn't capture the same "magic", but works the same way.
Hulk: Grey (not picture here, cause I couldn't get my hands on it) is probably my favorite Hulk book if not my favorite Loeb work! Great introductions, highly recommanded~

The final Loeb-DC era...


Back to DC.
Around 2002, Loeb went back to Batman with the now classic Batman: HUSH storyline. He introduced a new great villain and changed the Bat-status quo a bit. This time with artist Jim Lee.

Then he created one of my favorite DC books, Superman/Batman. A very fun view on Batman & Superman's relationship. Not quite friends all the time, more like the brothers they never had, it's stories, light hearted stories, with lots of action, great and original plots. (not that different from the current cartoon Batman: the Brave and the Bold)
It helped shine some screentime on some obscure characters while developing Supes & Bats character as well.
It's a fantastic comic book series! From Loeb's work came out many new current DC elements, such as the modern-day Supergirl, two DC animated features (soon)... And even the non-Loeb's arcs are pretty recommended! (all the writers keep the early Loeb's structure of the book, the same narration-style.. Great writers! Like Deadpool writer Joe Kelly, etc..)

Loeb collabored with artist Ed McGuiness on the first arc and again on his last story arc (issues #20-25).

Then...
 

June 17, 2005 at the age of 17,  Sam Loeb, Jeph's son died of cancer.

Sam would surely be a great writer someday, just like his dad I'm sure.
He was working on his writing debut for Superman/Batman #26, with artist Pat Lee on the illustrations.

It's a very sad event.
Many comic reviewers or websites try to ignore it, but nobody should.
His son's death had a very deep impact on Loeb forever, and it 's perfectly human.

The issue was finished with many guest artists and writers' own tribute to Sam. Brian K. Vaughan, Rob Liefeld, Geoff Johns, Joe Kelly, Art Adams, Jim Lee, Ed McGuinness, Tim Sale, Michael Turner and even Joss Whedon and more...
The issue never got released in the future Superman/Batman paperbacks and became a "special tribute".

Marvel, now...

After that, Loeb instead of taking a break, continued to write. His stories became darker, more tragic and more sad.
He went back to Marvel, helped with the Civil War event (choosing his own town to be destructed).
He wrote Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America. He killed Captain America and made a story-arc about the five stages of grief (denial, anger, depression...).


...

Now, Jeph Loeb is doing a bit better in his life.
Of course, it was tragic, but life must go on...

Now he's back full-time writing on-going series again.
He's currently on the comic series HULK. Where he introduced the character of Red Hulk with an on-going "plot" and mysteries about the Rhulk secret identity (finally revealed not long ago!).
The book sells a lot, makes a lot of money for marvel and his on a lot of geek's top lists... But... It's not the same anymore...
He doesn't write the same quality as the early Marvel or DC books... No more clever plot... No more clever structure... Even with all the mysteries thrown at the reader's face, it's not the same type of "detective" atmosphere...

The current Hulk is bad.
Just looking at previous recent Hulk books (the Planet Hulk saga or the on-going series of Banner "on the run" just before the Planet Hulk...). By Hulk standards, it's brainless action scenes after brainless action scenes... And by Loeb's standards... is there a real scenario in those books? I mean, apart from the POW! CLASH! HULK SMASH! RHULK SMASH HARDER! KAPOW! BA-OOM!

To be realistic, I kinda like and follow those books, because I'm a fan of the Hulk character. But... Not a fan of Loeb's current writing..
I'm not trying to be bad against Loeb.. but it isn't the same anymore..

I hope he gets better (in his mind, heart and writing..)
Currently he writes "insane" stories not that far from modern-day Frank Miller.... (but that's another whole different story)
The dialogues are kinda stupid, the story makes almost no sense (Betty is...back?! how? and what's with the totally new personality?...), everybody's out of character, mysteries and fake clues here and there, plot twist which contradicts early details... -sigh-


Now that he'll be directly working with and for Marvel Animation I hope to see him back to clever ideas and light hearted fun.
I mean, animation's for kids mostly, I hope he can stay away from the sadeness and tragic a bit.
Oh and he will be directly involved with live action stuff as well, he's already talking about a similar tv show like Smallvillle but for Marvel. (Oh-ho...)
He did write for LOST, so I guess we shouldn't worry about that... (or do we?)

2 comments:

  1. Oh my! When I first saw this headline, I wasn't sure what to expect. And I too liked his work on the Batman and Superman/Batman stuff. I sure do hope this works out really, really, REALLY well. Or at least helps him a bit more, maybe.

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  2. It's really sad what happened to Jeph Loeb..
    And now, looking back at his two disting writing "eras", it's like 2 different altogether writers...

    I hope he does a good job as new Executive Vice President... (but if he goes into the Smallville-stuff...)

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