Yesterday, Newsarama tried to make the claim “why not?” use Sam Alexander in a potential film adaptation. (See # 2 on this linked article) For anyone who has followed my blog, needless to say, I “somehow managed” to come up with a few reasons for them.
But, before I get to those, this current Newsarama click bait crap is kinda sad news for me as yet another major comic reviewer / internet site shows their true colors as in the back pocket of the Marvel/Disney “Industry of Cool”. Truthfully, I’ve always liked Newsarama and it seemed like they were a little more level headed and supportive of “us”. Yet…I guess I was wrong. I hope the check from Marvel clears.
Worse, Newsarama now finds itself attacking fans of a character who Marvel has pissed and shit on since December of 2010. For a bully, it’s an easy deal to kick folks who are already down, thanks for shitting on us some more.
Outside Cosmic Book News and our own (great) fan sites, we’ve got no mainstream media support and it looks like that continues. Through the years, Rich Rider Nova built up the kind of core / diehard fans a comic book company should want to have, not the kind you want to tell to “fuck off.”
So let’s get to it, “why not?” use Sam Alexander over Rich Rider in a movie?
First, such a move would bury Rider forever. Rider’s a solid character and doesn’t deserve that. Few would argue Sam has accomplished anything in comics or any of the media Newsarama mentioned to say he is worth permanently putting Rider in the gutter. Sure, the kid has been used in a lot of media, but most of its been very unpopular.
Admittedly, this is not the strongest argument. So far, the MCU has already been apt to use legacies over the original. For Ant-man, the Hank Pym call was odd, though I can understand the reason. Yet, Pym, a character who has been active under MANY names, was still a huge part of the “Ant Man” saga. My guess is, underneath it all, legal obsessed Disney/Marvel didn’t want the “wife beater” notion attached to the main star or just felt the Lang material had more of a hook.
Even in paper comics, the Scott Lang, material also never needed to put Pym in the dumpster. During most of Lang’s comic runs, Pym was usually still active or alive. Frankly, Scott Lang’s story as a huckster who steals/stumbles on the technology is actually a pretty interesting angle as well, and maybe this was a factor. Yet, Sam Alexander has no such material, that is, unless you like watching tie ins, generic arcs and dumpster fires.
For Captain Marvel/ Carol Danvers, it still remains to be seen how the film will be executed. Its rumored the film will feature Mar-vell in some torch passing scene, to what extent we will have to wait.
All told, the comparison is weak. Mar-vell had a more established exit from comics that sits in a far different light than Rich Rider. Further, Marv’s been reletively inactive for upwards of thirty years. Obviously, I think more fans were at peace with Mar-vell’s situation. His replacement was never as contrived or as overtly agenda driven as well.
Yet, let’s be frank, Carol Danvers or Scott Lang, NINO is NOT.
Marvel comics, empowered by an “eviscerator” excuse for a creator, Jeph Loeb, went for a misguided generic cash grab by force feeding a new zany “hip” version of the Nova character intended to grab the teen demographic. That is, the property was tailor made to attack the mythic “youth/teen” audience Marvel’s own creative EIC (Quesada) once stated was a “fantasy” and non-existent. With all things considered, the character is an unmitigated disaster.
Worse, the “creator” (Loeb) walked away from the book after five issues (vowed he would be back BTW, lol), and by issue #10 of his unplanned, poorly scripted series, fans had already seen a fourth writer and creative team. Writer Gerry Duggan did nothing to improve the series quality, tanking sales just like he did for HULK, and leaving the Nova property in the worst top 300 standing it may have ever been, clocking as low as # 161 in sales. Conversely, Rider’s last volume never came even close to such poor sales numbers. (Rider never left the top 100 w his near 40 issue run)
Let’s get down to this issue by taking the high road, meaning I’m not going to blast Sam Alexander, his character, the overall disjointed malaise of continuity that was his fan rejected Vol. 4. I’m not going to harp on the above rip of Sam, because truly I want to put those things behind us and move on.
Newsarama’s chief point in this piece, that Sam should be used in a film because Marvel has spent countless dollars and multimedia efforts to promote Sam is extremely marginal. If anything, these bloated efforts reveal a reason NOT to use the character. This effort to prop up Sam has been going for four years now. During that time, he’s been shoved down everyone’s throat in main events, Avengers and all the aforementioned media and has not connected with many people. Sales have struggled, and folks (en masse) still call for Rider to return…even five years later.
Clearly, Newsarama is unaware of the latest news/rumors that everyone else is aware, that Kevin Feige and the TV division are not exactly bosom buddies. Josh Whedon is rumored to have a history of creative conflict with Jeph Loeb/ Marvel TV folks. At first, sources have cited Whedon was clearly not supportive of the direction of SHIELD and their call to resurrect Agent Phil Coulson.
Feige appears to have butted heads with Ike Perlmutter as well. Above all, Sam Alexander is wholeheartedly Loeb’s character. So, since the Feige and Loeb dont seem to be “best of buds” what better way for Feige to stick it to “Loeb-ish thorns in his side” than to use Rider?
Next, we must ask; what sense does a zany teen hero make when Marvel now has Spider Man back in the fold? Spider man will fill the “teen” role in the MCU and in the Avengers films. We don’t need a cheesy teen hero.
The strongest reason for using Rider over Sam; content.
Simply put, Sam has no material even remotely as cinematic as the Annihilation Saga. Undeniably, even Conquest and Thanos Imperative trump any creative material Sam has developed for a potential movie. Rider’s material is much more developed and ready for a film. Albeit, we must acknowledge some of the Fox/Marvel rights with that story are potentially problematic, but creative tweaks could be made to deliver a very good tale. In fact, the DnA / Giffen material has already delivered a multimillion dollar hit, don’t you go with the material you trust?
Expanding on Rider’s content, I’d argue Rider has been a firm part of two “quintessential” Marvel epics, New Warriors Vol.1 issues 1-30 the first, and the Annihilation Saga- Thanos Imperative era (aka the Giffen/ DnA era). Both those incorporate about 100 issues of solid content. (!) For the latter, Rich Rider was the absolute defining POV character, who as I stated represented all the best values of the era and time that still resonates with folks. (and would probably resonate with MORE people if he had been marketed right) Later on, Rider was a part of another solid New Warriors arc, The “Star Lost” Saga in New Warriors.
Sam Alexander, not so much. Truthfully, Sam’s first five issues read like some overt cash grab movie attempt and a generic version of every 80s sci fi low budget movie ever made. Clearly, Loeb was writing a script there, and clearly it was not up to snuff. The book bled readers right away, and you’ll find few folks who found the material solid. Sam’s best arc was probably the “Beta Ray Bill” arc circa issue 15.
The final reason Marvel should use Rich Rider is more obvious; Rich Rider is the fucking man.
Flat out, the original blue blazer is a strong character and deserves to come back. I’m not talking about some “passing of the torch cameo” I’m talking about your star. He personifies all the values of the Gulf War 2 period of guys like Chris Kyle and other veterans or 9/11 workers called on to action without notice. He’s part rock and roll, part tactician, part the guy you want to watch your back and have a beer with. He’s the teen in over his head. He’s the slacker who got it together. He’s the grown leader who knows his shit. He’s the boy who grew up. All things considered, he was never as incompetent or goofy as Sam and he was never as young and immature.
I’m gonna flat out state the goofy 15 year old fighting alongside grown men/ women comes off far better in paper comics than on film…in fact, on film it looks fucking stupid. But that won’t happen with Rider…because , as I said, Rich is the fucking man.
He’s a forty year (FYI 2016 is Rider’s forty year anniversary) old Marvel character who was never sold to fans properly by its company or was marketed correctly. He was never a main Avenger, never given a cartoon, never given big toy status. Rider’s paid his dues and been a part of a quintessential comic book runs. If enough folks saw the real Rich Rider in the right situation and stage, the property would have limitless potential.
Sure, Rider fans have been uppity and vocal. I get that some folks are annoyed with still hearing our voice. Truthfully, though- I don’t really care. We don’t leave anyone behind, just like Rider or the REAL Star Lord (who’s still stuck in the cancerverse with Rich) wouldn’t. We’ve waited five years for our character to come back, and the new stuff has failed.
Let’s all come to some sense and take a shot at giving us back that great character in new adventures….because we ain’t going anywhere. So “Dear Newsarama,” how about you rediscover some common sense and support old school core fans instead of dollar signs?
Long Live Richard Rider!