NOTE: orognally posted when i dropped my marvel pulls in 2014, I reposted this from over a year ago..with some edits, modifications and updated comments. I laughed re-reading this today and thought it deserved more light. Warning that there is some rough language in here for those who don’t do cussin’
On the cusp of Bendis GOTG #18 I just wanted to reflect on where the Nova situation is as of now. (EDIT: And still is)
For one, I just hope we get Rich back. (EDIT: Didn’t) I fully beleive, Rich was a great character that should be a cornerstone of Marvel comics. In many ways, the character should be right next to freakin Steve Rogers and Hulk on every Marvel splash poster. I should see little kids running down the damn street with Rich Rider T-shirts. An actor should be dressed up like Rich in Times Square Toys R Us selling dang action figures to kids. He’s just that (IMO ) solid of a character.
In my opinion, Rich spoke to many people of the era. Much of what Rich Rider stood for represented the best of the post 9/11 America. He was a self-described loser from Long Island who answered the call for his people when the bell tolled. He was also a normal joe who came back from a brutal conflict in a faraway land, only to find his home strangely alien and distant. Through his career, Rich was a man who galvanized his friendships by actions. Even more important, he showed all his comrades he could be counted on. Rider was a man who would charge first into the fray so that others would be safe and wouldnt have to.
Turned out, Rich was the guy who would lock himself in hell itself, just so that innocents could sleep easy at night and not have to worry about horrible things.Rich , above all , was a guy who truly knew that “with great power comes great responsibility”.(an iconic moral lesson of all Marvel comics) Truly, he represented the best of what Marvel Comics can teach us.
Rich Rider was never lame either. Sure, he made some mistakes, he needed help sometimes and was a prominant character in an era many folks see as “cheesy” (the 90s).
Yet, when he needed money he got a job flipping hamburgers. (not chasing radioactive gold nuggets in space) He wasn’t always perfect. He was not always the smartest guy aroud and threw a few back now and then. Worse, he’d put his hair in a silly ponytail and wear ample sleevless shirts for a bit in the 90s. I guess he did a stupid reality TV show. (though I personally disavow that miniseries) But , overall, Rich was down to Earth and real. Better, he devleoped. Just like every one of us, Rich grew up and matured through the years. (EDIT: This was such a strong reason he worked)
Rider may have got knocked back down a few times, but eventually he grew from a unremarkable “peter parker knock off” archetype, to a man of professional ability and dignity. In no uncertain terms, Richie was the kind of guy you would want watching your back when fucking Lovecraftian nightmares were at your front door.
Then Marvel killed him off…but why? (EDIT: See my post on the lack of reason for Rich;s death) Was he stagnant as a character? No. Was he considered lame? No, not by many. Was his death some profound irreversible “Mar-vell-ian” model? No, again.
The answer to all the above is NO. Thanos Imperative (his last story) was one of his best stories! There were hundreds of (relevant) Rich Rider stories left to tell. No, I’m sorry he was not dull either. He banged Gamora after all. (a few times as well, and unlike Tony Stark, she appeared satisfied).
And to the last point, that this death was “too profound” for undoing.. nope. It was not some profound death, especially when post TI it was made utterly pointless. A few months after the series, Thanos, Drax, and Star-Lord were all back and kicking with no explanation. In fact, in almost 20 issues and nearly 4 years later (check that to 30 issues and 5 years) we have not gotten an explanation for what went on in the cancerverse. I’d even argue that with the comics that followed, it hardly is even noticeable that whatever happened in the cancerverse was even important or had any weight on the characters involved or gave Rich Rider the legacy he deserves. (Note : The lack of Rich’s impact on the characters he served with make the current versions of Quill, GOTG, and Nova hollow , cheap and vapid facades of their former selves. jesus, even COSMO hasn’t mentioned Rich!)
And why do I say that? Annhilus was already back, cuddling with Johnny Storm and serving on some sort of fucking committee. Ultron’s days invading the Kree and using the Phalanx are basically forgotten. The United Front is just something Bendis seems to think he has to donate a quarter to on Halloween. (BTW check out Sam Alexander, the New Nova, “Trick or Treating ” with the X men this Halloween!) (EDIT: Check out Sam in his soon to be canceled new series written by Sean Ryan! Yep, the guy who already wrote a garbage Nova series of one shots that made fun of DnA fans!)
So WHAT WAS IT ABOUT!?
The answer of course is : $$ CASH MONEY MAN!!…new GRILLS and fat STACKS $$.
Marvel killed Nova because they saw a (possible) opportunity to make money. It would be an “all fronts” attack.. “full in” multi media prop up of a character, the likes of which Rich Rider , or few new Marvel characters would ever see. The recipe was easy.. a zany contemporary teen, a perceived “everykid”, who would bumble and stumble his way to heroic goof ups and misadventures and become beloved and engendered by all in the process. Who wouldn’t want that? Oh, and of course, Sam will be “multi cultural”, “Half Hispanic” is a good enough compromise, but don’t worry… the book won’t actually touch on any aspects of multi culturalism. (BTW how many token “Half Hispanic” characters have been created in the last few years? Its frankly so transparent as a marketing stunt it’s insulting to Hispanics everywhere)
But something happened on the way to cashing in the commercial Sam Alexander dollar signs:
Most fans just didn’t like it! (EDIT: And 2015 was especially brutal as the series dribbled down to very low sales, and spent over a year outside of the top 100, in fact a few months in 2015 saw the book nearly at the bottom of the top 200!)
I’ve come to the conclusion that Sam and Rich are unfortunately tied to each other. Why? First off, comic book fans sometimes are an eclectic crew. Not only do we typically reject overt, transparent and obvious commercialism (especially in this day and age of corporate takeovers and corruption, Rider fans tend to sympathize with the B-list), but many of us, having just come from a generation of 13 years of WAR (and several teen/child shooting tragedies ) reject showing a 15 year old bounce around with a cosmic weapon of mass destruction , nearly killing people left and right. Not only, to have well established Marvel icons like Thor and Captain America tolerating such actions among them…. it’s just crap! I know this was meant to be light hearted fare.. but its light hearted suckitude. (Edit: I don’t know if Sam now seemingly haveing his father condone his activity really makes anything better)
Especially, in other comics where this has been brought down to earth by marvel (Civil War, Star Brand). Marvel spent much of the Joe Quesada era re-inventing teen heroes as something irresponsible, and our real lives during that time validated that message…therfore this stuff just comes off as banal and trite.
Secondly, I reject that Rich Rider, my favorite character and everything he was, had to be put down for THIS. I’m sick of fans acting like the Nova namesake and costume were so arbitrarily easy to legacy out just because Rich belonged to a corps. That was the situation in comics, sure…but the reality was Rich Rider made that name. Marvel’s Nova was Rider. He built everything the name stood for.. he made the name. We are rightfully upset that not only is his legacy tarnished by a 15 year old, but the whole series has had a massive demographic and genre change. There are legacy scenarios we would have accepted.. but not this shit show, and it took me far longer than most to realize this. (Marvel’s gotten worse with this , giving us Rael Rider, a whole Nova corps family and even a non cosmo)
Its crazy to think that Sam’s whole series rejects the source material that just made and produced a multi million dollar movie that in 3 weeks will probably make more money than the whole comic book industry will earn in a year.
I’m kinda tired of saying it doesn’t have to be about Sam Alexander. It kinda does and IS. He just has not worked out as a character. He has not demonstrated the growth of his morals nor had a feasible enough “With great power comes great responsibility” moment. He is a 15 year old child way over his head and the game has changed how I look on this. That’s a deal breaker.
So I’m dropping Nova after next issue. It’s something I’ve tossed around…but frankly I am just through making excuses. I can’t support this comic with my dime anymore. I don’t want to read about Nova “Trick or Treating” with the X-kids.
Frankly, I’m over even the potential for Sam and Rich to be some sort of duo. I’ve tossed around the Johnny Quest / Reese type relationship, but I just can’t take Sam. He’s too young, stupid, and he is going to get someone hurt. He needs to not be powered for a couple years. 15 is too young.
I know a lot of “Sam Fans” find us Rider fans annoying…fuck them! (EDIT: I’ve softened a bit on hating Sam. I no longer think it needs to be about putting either in the dumster) “Tools” like me (meaning Rider fans waiting to be tossed some god damn scrap) are what kept the shitty Sam series alive. Let’s see the book survive on 12k (Edit: it nearly got that low, and frankly 161 on the top 200 is atrocius) sales without the die hard Nova fans…but each to his own…I have been clear on this blog about the problems with Sam and the new series…let there be no mix ups, even though many of the Sam fans will say we have no logic, and that we reject Sam simply because he’s not Rich. I started this site just so these points would be saved and available to be seen.
If Sam fans can’t identify with Rich, it’s a bunch of horsh shit. Rider’s prime was only a few years ago. Buy a freaking back issue and read the books…maybe then you will see why we are pissed. (EDIT: And as the cancerverse arc just gave us more ham fisted lore, it would be nice if a writer like Duggan or Bendis could read a back issue as well)
Some of you will agree, some of you won’t. I’ve just had enough. I do hear some voices sounding off and I’m proud of everybody involved in the movement to bring back Rich…we all have our strategy and style. I encourage everyone to keep it up and to keep this fire lit.
And while I’m in Rant Mode (TM) can we get a fucking editor on these books? I mean what the fuck happened to Bug after Assembled? How can you spell Rider’s name “Ryder” and then spell it right the next page? It’s the worse editing job I’ve ever seen in some sort of quasi collected marvel effort. Where the hell is Andy Schmidt or Bill Rosemann when you need them? (EDIT: Yup, this is still dreadful)
At a minimum, the core of these titles (Rocket, Nova, GOTG, Guardians 3k , ) need a central editor worth a shit.(Sliver surfer is doing OK and seems on its own little island) (EDIT: Still don’t have one…in fact Nova is really a non-entitiy in GOTG’s world, aside from Black Vortex suckitude)
I love Marvel comics, and hope they figure this mess out…and fast. (EDIT: Still haven’t)