The Sam Alexander Legacy: Truly Foolishly Unique.

 

Marvel fans are edgy, frankly marvel doesn’t legacy that often. In fact Joe Quesada, during his run as EiC used to openly mock DCs craving for taking existing , established heroes and making them “Legacies” in favor of politically correct versions. Quesada always made it seem like Marvel was above this, and frankly during his tenure they usually did not do this…instead developing new properties or promoting  older (less used) minority characters..That is, of course, if the Legacy argument stemmed about “political correctness” or minority related matters…which in the case of Sam Alexander it really does not. Sam Alexander has his own twisted set of unprecedented hallmarks, namely a commercial attempt to dupe an underutilized demographic marvel has historically had trouble reaching (IE Kids?)…

Some items I thought needed to be present for consideration:

1. Legacy had little to zero prior work up. (IE basically the hero didnt exist until he became the legacy)

2. Legacy contained a multi media spam promotional attack and was more heavily promoted than the original. (to include quality of creative teams as name draw)

3. Legacy was marketed to a different demographic than the original.

4. Legacy ignored or left the status of the prior title holder completely unresolved. (esp. for an extended period)

Hawkeye/Kat Bishop- Maybe hits up a couple of the items, but overall was just a flash in the pan and never really seriously held the namesake of Hawkeye…is a good character but not the new Hawkeye…and thats mostly always been clear.

Captain Marvel– The only one that slightly compares is Monica Rambeau, but really it does not hold up because of the completely resolved and settling death of Mar-vell.  So much was different, it never really seemed like a replacement.

KYLE RAYNER/HAL JORDAN – Many people are hooked on the Kyle Rayner example as a parallel to Rich’s plight. Not really a good one in my book. To be sure you have the usual similarities, book dealing with a lot of cosmic stuff, members of a “corps”, Origin story (Rich V Hal)- those things are all there. But Rich’s book had a much different flow to it than most of the Hal Jordan stuff. Most of Rich’s stuff was modeled after the Peter Parker archetype and not the adventures of an experienced hero..although to be sure the Annihilation era stuff was an experienced adult hero.

The main item however, was when Rayner was inserted as Green Lantern for Hal Jordan in the gimmicky sales stunt-fest that was the 1990s..it is impossible to argue the book had a major shift in its “intended”  core demographic. Sam Alexander is really a book made for kids with not a lot of complexity to the stories. It was a major shift in the core demographic of its intended audience, with only a few die hards like me left to muddle around. Rayner’s was still mainly on course for the same audience it had served, adults to young adults.

Not to mention the Green Lantern Corps had done a much better job establishing other supporting Green Lanterns. Most GL fans knew a  legacy was a strong possibility because they had seen featured corpsmen like John Stewart, Guy Gardner, Jade, Kilowagg…heck even Hal himself was technically a legacy to the golden age Alan Scott! Jordan was always a mainstay in Toys, Cartoons and JLA type books as well. It was never really like he was under promoted.

Ronnie Raymond, Firestorm. Nope…although Nova and Firestorm have been heavily compared before, both being late 70s Peter Parker ‘knocks…Raymond’s status as Firestorm was toy’d with several times beneath the radar in his Vol.2 series, most famously being replaced by a prof. Stein / Elemntal merger that was probably the worst Legacy character ever made (Yikes Ostrander!!). It was still a footnote in the swan song of Vol.2. Raymond was also a much bigger deal than Rider. Raymond got the “Saturday morning cartoon” treatment and the JLA membership and still couldn’t get those sales. Even though I’m a huge fan of Raymond- he didn’t really have a “pot to piss in” when Jason Rusch came along. And let’s be frank- DC just went crazy with legacy heroes…ultimately legacy’ing their whole continuity! Raymond has long since returned and Rusch is still around as well…though i ditched on the dreadful new Simone new 52 stuff.

JAMIE REYES BLUE BEETLE The strongest case of all…still fails to compare.The closest one I can think of is more along the lines of Blue Beetle. Even this just does not compare.

Per my criteria, i think Reyes could easily be argued to meet all but one (#4). But I really don’t think it hit #2 as well..and essentially Blue Beetle had no prior ongoing comic for years.

First off, Ted Kord got shot point blank in the head. He was “dead dead” from the word go of Reyes’ series.

Secondly, readers did not get this huge spam of Blue Beetle Jamie Reyes everywhere, at least initially.To be sure, fans pissed and moaned how they loved Ted Kord. Its understandable…but Reyes caught on and then started to appear in Teen Titans and cartoons..which was probably in some sort of plan from the start but seemed to have a less pretentious decadent approach. Keith Giffen and Maguire basically forged the whole Beetle/Booster Gold greatness of the prior area , so seeing Giffen was involved with the forging of the new Beetle instantly gave the venture credibility, which won over many core fans.

 

Reyes caught on (Because Giffen/Jones actually wrote a good comic). Also Kord, was by no means coming off the level of success that Rich Rider was as the “star” and POV character of Annihilation, which was recently voted as the #9 Marvel story of all time by the fans on Newsarama.com( http://www.newsarama.com/21074-10-best-marvel-comics-stories-of-all-time-according-to-you-the-readers.html) . It could be argued, Kord was a “bigger” character overall, being a JLA/JLI (and I personally loved that stuff) staple for much of the early 90s, but not in terms of his ability to support a solo book.

But let’s also be clear, Keith Giffen  and John Rodgers had a much better “plan” while they were tasked with bringing this new character up..they did a hell of a better job than Jeff Loeb/ Zeb Wells. DC got the right guy in Keith Giffen to do this legacy as well. Giffen basically created Ted Kord and was a huge part of the character’s prominence in the first place, it’s much like if Marvel would have got Marv Wolfman (or even DnA) to do this. That lends tremendous credibility to the core fans. In my biased opinion, Keith Giffen is the consummate comic book  creator and creative talent…he delivers great new directions and continuity, he doesn’t eviscerate them and leave them in ruin (Loeb)…and marvel had this guy in their fold!!

Whats worse is there are so many similarities to Sam Alexander in Jamie Reyes (also half Hispanic, which has been very low key with Sam). It simply had to be discussed! “What they were thinking ?” with their choices and subsequent decisions is beyond me.

SO I won’t go into some other prominent DC legacies like Atom, Batwoman, Question etc.. Frankly none of these fit the Sam Alexander template anyway.

To answer the question I personally could not find one Example that matched my criteria. Making the “Sam Situation” truly unique and frankly foolhardy. Here’s my quick list on what marvel should have kept in mind, and why this pitch was so foolish.

1. Look to the past to see what has worked. Which is not to say don’t be afraid to be profound and innovative…but clearly the quick rip off the band aid legacy characters have rarely worked. The characters who were eased in and developed have a much better success rate

2. Address if the replaced hero is dead, taking a break..not a good idea to leave his status hanging for too long. Don’t wait four years to resolve this, especially if it just was to perma death the old character..that’s atrocious writing…and horribly disrespectful to core fans.

Further “BTW In regards , to item (1)”  DO NOT BRING BACK THE (other) CHARACTERS the PRIOR CHARACTER WAS KILLED WITH… and provide NO EXPLANATION FOR WHERE THE LEGACY’D CHARACTER WENT!

3.  Don’t unnecessarily aggravate the old core fans. Some fans will just never accept a legacy. I can’t very well say “Don’t promote your new venture”..in fact that’s the right thing to do. But you gotta factor if the old character ever got that same fair shake…if your answer is “no” why do you have to use his or her Legacy?

4. Trust your own direction instead of the “quick credibility” an established name can bring. If you want to legacy something…look to some areas where Marvel has done all they could to promote a certain property and nothing had worked…be  honest with yourself (as to why what was done didn’t work) and don’t do this “half assed”. Be incredibly transparent with fans and lay it all out for them right away. This WAS NOT the case for RIDER!! If you can’t convince yourself their is truly a reason to Legacy then do not do it. Re invigorate the old character or create a new property entirely.

5. Value your company’s continuity. Rich was built up to be something…in fact, this is why he was so strong of a character. Over 36 years, there was a lot of great creators hard work on Richard Rider. Not to mention, his pinnacle came in 2006. This was not 30 years ago, this was recent. In fact, Thanos Imperative was written in 2010 and many consider it the masterpiece of DnA.

6. If you are going to deconstruct something, stay the course to build it up. In other words, “Write a good Book!” ..say what you will about Bendis..he destroyed Avengers but he built it back up and left in a much better place. Not the current “MO” of Jeff Loeb, who suddenly specializes in eviscerating things and leaving them roughshod.(see anything he’s done at marvel) This was promised to us as “career defining” by Axel Alonso..if anything it just defined Loeb’s career at Marvel as one huge joke.

 

CBR is nothing more than a commercial tool of marvel

EDIT: I’ve cooled down from this somewhat but i still am disappointed with CBR and how they seem to treat people who visit the boards. I’m going to take a long break from the boards and evaluate this further.

So I got banned yesterday from CBR (comic book resources) for 24 hours (I will not be back) simply for talking about Rich Rider on the review thread for Nova #18. Mind you this was the lead in issue to the expose on Rich’s dad Jesse , and #19 cover where two (2) Nova centurions appear to be fighting each other…which marvel full well is utilizing the fact they have not explained Rich’s status and whereabouts…is certainly utilizing Rich’s legacy to attract attention. There have also been an assortment of clues that Jesse may be Rich Rider…

Rich Rider was Nova for 36 years, everything about him is relevant to a review of what this new Nova is…if marvel didn’t want that they should have called him something else! Not to mention despite the book’s hackneyed efforts to appease fans of the old series, they have utilized at time some mythos from the old series or Rich’s legacy. Duggan utilized Cosmo (who mentioned he missed the old Nova) and a flashback to Rich W/ Beta Ray Bill. Loeb utilized Diamondhead in the most superficial ways, Terrax, an old New Warriors foe was featured in Waid’s digital work. There have been continuous references to Rich in some token ways..It is always relevant…especially when Marvel lets an explanation go of his disappearance slide for four years!

CBR has let a few posters, honestly folks who simply do not even want the name Rider mentioned in any Nova thread claim that threads get “derailed” by any mere mention of Rider, even when fans are being respectful and cool. CBR’s allowing these small few to rule the roost is a clear sign of its status as a defacto Marvel propaganda site if ever there was one..and I’m done with it.

It sucks because there were some good Nova fans on there who cared about what we were trying to do out there. I’ve posted there for years as THANOSRULES, and never had any problems or even come close to getting banned.

Part of me wonders how far Marvel or Disney would go to prop up this character and discourage any dissenting opinion. I’ve noticed the Sam Alexander wikipedia page patrolled by Disney themed names (mickeymouse10) who quickly edit out any reference to controversy on the page, even if its phrased respectfully. Whoever that force is, would Marvel/Disney plant goons in CBR boards to complain about Rider talk , just to help prop up Sam? I do not think its out of the realm of possibility.

I encourage others to leave the site and stop posting there. We can get our message out in other ways than deal with that propaganda site.

Why is Richard Rider so great?

 

He’s been around for awhile. Rich premiered in 1976, he also was a big part of the New Warriors, a prominent (and beloved) book in the 1990s for several years. He’s grown in popularity over the years. He’s got a huge history and lore. It is NOT “small”. Rich may not have been a part of many long lasting books, but he’s been a core member of several great runs.His best story was in 2006..Rider has touched a lot of generations and has fans of all ages.

– He’s grown and developed over the years. Rich may have been the same as Sam Alexander, IE the “Luke Skywalker meets Peter parker” template…but he grew over the years to Steve Rogers meets Luke Skywalker. He was taken from an inexperienced kid to a “man called Nova” Prime. Rich was one of a hundred “peter parker clones” that spammed the comic market all over the place in the 1970s…but he worked because of his growth into something different.

He was relatble. In the 1990s, I could identify with Rich because he represented a underachiever from Long Island who had a ton of potential. being a high schooler with mediocre grades and stuff, I found this really identifiable. The moment when Night Thrasher dropped old Rich off a building was the moment everything changed…and Rich was already a seasoned hero by then. And also on this note , see the next item for me:

He was a veteran. Technically, Rich was a vet of several intergalactic Wars as a member of the Nova Corps, but the Annihilation War was visceral and intense.(yet ignored and unknown here on Earth) If you missed the DnA stuff about Rich coming home after this war in the early issues of Nova Vol. 4..then you missed some of the most relatable stories marvel has ever written for US Military veterans…fuck Tony Stark man! After 13 years of war…this has meaning to many veterans marvel! Veterans need stories like this right now.

He was the star of Annihilation– The classic comic tale which was voted the #9 Marvel story of all time by fans on newsarama..and frankly it blows away a few of the stories in front of it on this list. I’ll take Annihilation over Civil War ANY DAY. This was 2006 Marvel..

He’s got morals and depth of character. Rich was the kind of guy you always wanted to fight beside…a brother in arm for many. Rich Rider had your back. He wasn’t perfect , he had some faults, and made plenty of mistakes over the years- but the end result… the man who was Nova Prime- was a great leader that was still identifiable and not “holier than thou”. In short, a fucking interesting guy to read about who was in no way capped or peaked. He jumped on the grenade for us all with the Cancerverse and sacrificed himself to live in a fucking horror movie and fight Thanos in a world where no one can even die..that’s pretty damn honorable (don’t fuck this up Bendis)

He’s the underdog. He’s never got much of an Avengers shot , Saturday morning cartoon role, or top creative talent interest…but he’s relatable none the less. Marvel seemed like they wanted to replace him right away with this oddball what IF? comic, the 1980s Gartaan Saal and Frankie Raye characters, even the DnA stuff seemed to tease his death or a legacy every other week. But Rider kept getting back up. He represents the best of us in this day in age and media commercialism. ..

 

He banged Gamora, the most dangerous woman in the Universe…and she came back a knocking..again, eat shit Tony Stark. Rich left her in bed.. (and he banged her a lot more as well)

 

’nuff said!

 

Sam Alexander’s problems and issues

1. There are no bad characters..only bad writers. In other words, Sam has been mostly written poorly. Sam Alexander was introduced somewhat well in AvX, Point One, and Waid’s AvX digital only issue.  Loeb’s work really fell off and was poorly written in his first 6 issues of the main series. His dialogue was zany cliche camp and his supporting characters were cliches of the worst sort. The dialogue was so out of touch with the teen demographic, it sounded like a 50 year old writing about a teen, not the “career defining” book for Loeb we were promised. His youthful mistakes lacked the “with great power comes great responsibility” moment…and the book suffered as we never got clear looks into Sam’s character or moral heroism.Wells compounded this poor characterization in a series of forgettable cross-overs and the obligatory  “teen hero book Spider Man cross over” tale. When Loeb ditched and Wells was brought in for a “gun for hire work”, we already had three writers (4 counting Duggan in a couple more months) deal with Sam in less than a year. Not exactly a good plan! Right then, Sam was written as a bad character after 10 issues.This is more than most characters get. This was a killer to the new Nova book.  So, for nearly a YEAR, Sam was a poorly written character and that hurts my impression of him. He seemed every bit  “Poochie from the Simpsons”

2. Sam is too young. He’s only 15! That is too young to be wielding such a dangerous weapon and engaging in such dangerous behavior.  Loeb and Marvel wanted to make this book “Good clean Fun” but this makes the fun seem very irresponsible..especially in this post Columbine, Newtown and Aurora world. Marvel took “Good clean fun” heroes like the New Warriors and eviscerated them in front of their biggest stage in Civil War. You cant go back to this shit.

3. Sam has been given the red carpet, Rider was not. I believe Richard Rider’s Nova Prime was an exceptionally strong concept that marvel mismanaged.Rider never got major roles in two (2) big Marvel events, he never got support from a major role in an Saturday morning cartoon, he never got top “rock star” creative uber talent, he never got anywhere near as many CBR or Newsarama plugs and backdrops, USA today articles, ad nauseaum. Rich never got a legit shot on a real Avengers roster or a cover of one shots with Avengers and X men. Is it so unreal to see why doing this with Sam is highly annoying to us? Rich got a “secondary” event that competed with another huge Marvel event, Civil War..his subsequent events almost always featured him less and less and tried to pump up other properties, and they almost always competed with another , more prominent Marvel event. He never appeared much in the larger 616 universe, especially ignored by Bendis and the sphere of relevance.

4. Duggan (and Yost) have , at least, salvaged Sam. (EDIT: This notion is , IMO shot.. Duggan’s book tanked in quality , he never followed up on the decent BRB arc, Yost’s New Warriors was canceled ) Duggan has finally showed Sam in some heroic moments of consequence, and he’s built a much more interesting supporting cast and teasing future story lines. There is so much more genuine passion and personal emotion in Duggan’s stuff compared with Loeb or Wells. I knew after about halfway through the BRB Arc, Sam can be a good character and the whole Nova concept can be stronger with him. However, we have some work to do with the character. Yost had him in a few good moments as well as Waid.

5. Sam and Rich can be stronger together. (EDIT: While I do think this could still be true, I am more dubious of the notion. Basically , at this point I am just a stubborn hater of Sam and I don’t think I could salvage him) I guess no one at Marvel ever read Rich’s stuff..like when Nova 0:0 helped out Rich become a better Nova.  Sam needs a mentor, Rich can do this and be the “Steve Rogers of Space”….Axel Alonso and Tom B always tout Sam as “Luke Skywalker meets Peter Parker” Rich was that already, and it didn’t work because marvel simply never promo’d Rich enough (until Annihilation not even on the level of Ronnie Raymond, Firestorm). Rich had , of course turned into Luke Skywalker meets Steve Rogers . With the Green Lantern corps, it wasn’t until DC embraced all the corpsmen and their place that the book turned into a top seller. Nova Corps should be embraced…not dismissed.

6. This (current) book has already failed. 20k sales..doomed. Sam Alexander (as it was) observed and rejected..we move on. Joe Quesada himself said you need to appeal to the core fans first, or else they will reject it…not if your Jeff Loeb and Steven Wacker I guess. Those guys didn’t and thus the product failed. It takes more than showing Diamondhead or Terrax in the intros, or mysteriously cameo Rocket and Gamora as perhaps Liaisons of the Black Nova Corps with no explanation.  Then throw in Speedball and Justice, suddenly after 15 years of being young adults making them look like they are 15 again. Not cool. This series needed more roots in the prior series…and it has been waay too slow, clunky, and plodding getting to Duggan’s improved stuff. (which has been well done). Duggan is writing a solid book…but Loeb and Wells (and the whole gamut of other issues) killed it.

7. This book glossed over a lot of better Legacy Nova characters that Nova fans had been introduced to. Ko-Rel (worldmind version), Robbie Rider, Adora Dey, Malik Tarcel, Garthaan Saal, Heck Even Frankie Reye (tongue in cheek) ..this book has not gone into much at all of past Nova Corpsmen in anything but the most banal sense. If you wanted a teen Nova how about Ko-Rel’s teenage Kree Son?

8. Sam needs to earn his dues. Wally West and Bucky were around for decades before they got their real “shots”..these types of legacy replacements always seem to work better to me than the “other” instant handover types , like Jamie Reyes or Jason Ruschs of the world.  Sam comes off as a commercial “demographic gimmick” to many people, and, when it is analyzed closely, Sam Alexander is a very unique situation as a Legacy. I see Sam as a means to grab a certain population in the most commercially sensible way…and it’s not at all laid thin. Marvel miscalculated , for some odd reason, the base of Rider fans who would be pissed, especially when this much money and effort was dumped into Sam. That adds to frustration. I have No problem with targeting a demographic and going for it.. BUT why was the Nova name needed? If your going to belittle the core old school Nova fans as “Small but vocal” why did you need their namesake to be your flagship? Why couldn’t this guy just be “Pulsar Lad” or some such?  He (Sam) needs to grind for a few years as a “Kid Nova” type character before he sees this kind of role. Ease fans into liking Sam while pissing off the Rider fans less…that’s how this needed to be done. Make Sam the Johnny Quest to Rider’s Reese. (EDIT: Nah, just kill him off and make him go away!)Rich could show him the gateway right into a black hole)

ALL AGES HYPOCRISY FROM ALL HANDS ON DECK SAM ALEXANDER HOODWINK

So the latest news down the pipe in the Saga of “Sam Alexander” the new version of Nova is that he has been made a Disney character in the Infinite series.(whatever that is) Sam has also had a longstanding role on the Disney XD cartoon “Ultimate Spiderman” as we all know and is growing more So is it not a bit of hypocrisy that Sam Alexander is playing a pivotal role in the huge Marvel Summer Event Original Sin?

This is the event that is centered off a giant humanoid alien getting his eyes gouged out and various people fondling and carrying around detached body organs? Is this also the event that by the third issue featured a main iconic marvel super hero getting violently decapitated by a former teen sidekick? I wonder how Disney feels about this? An upcoming solicit for Nova has a picture of a black nova (presumably Jesse) sitting down at the dinner table with blood splattered all over his hands and arms..how pleasant and family friendly!

I’ve argued that Sam is not really the problem, and Duggan is writing a solid book ..I stand by that. But it is just so hard to forget that Rich was never given any of this stuff…and then this hypocrisy is mind baffling. Does Tom B actually think , as a sane and smart man, that Rich was given the same opportunities as Sam?

Look at this Fucking cover!!:

As much as it pains me, because it is great art there, it makes me sick knowing that should be FUCKING Rich Rider!! He deserved to be there. I just can’t avoid all these wrongs and hypocrisy tainting this new marvel cosmic stuff. It’s rough because Duggan’s a good writer and writing a good comic…and the art has been very good. But for Rider fans, we only get this :

In the made up land of What IF?

But fellow Rider Fans…we will Always…Always,  have this:

Chin up Rider fans…”this too shall pass”

How can Marvel, specifically Editor Tom Brevport, be a part of this “All hands on Deck” Multi media cash in that is “Sam Alexander”? Why do they continue to let Jeff Loeb run roughshoud all over marvel ? How can Marvel not see how fans of Rider and of the Keith Giffen/ DnA cosmic relaunch would be upset by what marvel and Loeb have done? Why (and How?) did marvel not give the Annihilation era cosmic relaunch a fair shake? What is wrong with the new Nova Series and why are fans rejecting it? Why is Richard Rider such a great HERO?

These are the questions this blog will focus on…stay tuned!

MISSION

This site is a dedicated fan page to Marvel Comics greatest hero, Richard Rider, NOVA.

All the posts on this site are opinion/editorial. When possible, citation will be used to link other’s ideas. Any artwork posted on this site and images of Nova are all owned by Marvel (or the artist). This site is intended for no material gain or profit and is a fan site intended for fans.

In the coming months I will be updating this site with Nova editorials on both classic Nova and on the current state of Nova. This site is intended to be an aid in the fan campaign to let Marvel know we WANT RICHARD RIDER BACK!