I could wax nostalgic all day over “the good ol’ days” (which were for me the 1980s) and its pop cultural touchstones that no longer exist as such in our dreary modern world, and how said world is a sadder place for it. There are no more Saturday morning cartoons, since the basic networks are now required by law to air educational programming on Saturdays. Sure, some of those programs are pretty cool, the nature-based ones, and there are entire networks devoted to nothing BUT cartoons. AND all, or almost all, of those beloved series of yesteryear are available now on DVD, to watch anytime. Still, it isn’t the same. Kids today will never know what they missed out on.

Could these cartoons get made today, or has our homogenized, PC, nerves-on-edge, reactionary culture made that impossible? The TRANSFORMERS cartoon wouldn’t be able to get away with having its Arab villains come from a country called “Carbombia,” probably. And what about the SMURFS featuring black magic rituals that gave rise to claims that it was being controlled by Satanists? Claims that in-jokes in shows like HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE were some kind of homoerotic conspiracy, though, are stupid. They were just in-jokes. Would they keep the ‘toons from being made today? Um, hello, anybody ever heard of SOUTH PARK? Some of the cartoons mentioned by the article, though, like BEVERLY HILLS TEENS and RUDE DOG, I’d never even heard of. Are they sure those were made in the 80s?

I know I’ve been guilty of it, too, to some extent. We who make our livings by writing for the trusty ol’ Internet don’t get paid unless we get people to read the articles we post, and it’s a given that sensationalized or salacious posts get more attention. Also, the Internet has no kind of filter whatsoever, no levels or standards to which a writer must attain, as it is open to anybody and everybody, AND it seems much harder for people reading things on the Internet to tell what constitutes a REAL news item from what is nothing more than a digital WEEKLY WORLD NEWS puff piece–or worse, thinly veiled political propaganda, digital Fox News fare. I have never just “made up” stuff and posted it claiming it to be true. But I COULD. And I’ve for dang sure seen others doing it.

This here isn’t a fabrication, but it is a perfect example of a writer making hay out of nothing. Geoff Johns made a comment about DC not turning Superman into a Nazi. It was not a dig at Marvel and the recent SECRET EMPIRE storyline. Or if it was, it was a good-natured one. This article calls it a “pretty clear shot.” The only thing pretty clear to me is that it was a JOKE. And a case of a writer basing an article on misrepresenting it. But, hey, no harm, no foul, fellow Internet author. I know we gotta earn them clicks. And I DID just make my own hay out of YOUR post, so it’s all good.

IF Johns had made a dig at marvel, however, I would have had to point out that DC itself lives in a lofty house of fragile glass. Was Marvel making Captain America a Nazi really any more of a misstep than Red Superman/Blue Superman? Methinks not.

The first six pages of the upcoming DOOMSDAY CLOCK title from DC Comics were released at the recent New York Comic Con. This isn’t just the smash-up to end all smash-ups, though, with the heroes of the DC Universe meeting the characters from the WATCHMEN Universe. This is going to be in fact the official sequel to WATCHMEN. Some fans are way excited and some think it’s a terrible idea, that the classics should be left well enough alone and that, as Alan Moore is not involved in the project, it is somehow “dishonest.” While having Alan onboard would have been awesome, he has no interest in revisiting this property or of playing in the DC sandbox again. And the project has less of the feel of a simple stunt. Geoff Johns has been waiting, letting the story gestate, waiting until it was ready to be told.

It is ALSO a savvy stunt, guaranteed to garner publicity. At a time when Marvel’s stock has dropped–and I’m speaking of the comics, here; ironically the Marvel Cinematic universe has soared, its unprecedented success in direct proportion to the slump in sales of the comic books that inspired it–the time is perfect for DC to knock one out of the park. This may well be the big one that DC needs to put it back at the top of the sales chart.

…not where its DC properties are concerned, it doesn’t. Jared Leto and Leonardo Dicaprio are BOTH supposed to play the Joker? Say what, now? And they’ve made the announcement that future DC movies won’t be tied into the “shared” continuity of JUSTICE LEAGUE, basing that decision on the standalone success of WONDER WOMAN. Wait. WONDER WOMAN is an integral part of that shared cinematic universe. So the upcoming Batman movie may star Ben Affleck, who plays Batman in the shared JUSTICE LEAGUE universe, but may not be a part of that universe? And the WONDER WOMAN sequel won’t be a part if it? What the ever-lovin’ hell?! Maybe they mean they just won’t connect the films together too tightly, that they’ll all exist in the same universe but the characters won’t interact as much. That would be okay. But if they go and try to create a DC cinematic MULTI-verse, that ain’t gonna fly. I mean, technically they’ve already got one. The Christopher Reeve Superman movies don’t take place in the JUSTICE LEAGUE universe, nor do Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight flicks. But nobody tried to keep those different franchises afloat at the SAME TIME.

On a side note, Joss Whedon’s retooling of the JUSTICE LEAGUE film is said to have been more significant than we were previously led to believe. He cut Lex Luthor, Deathstroke, and even Darkseid from the film completely, if rumors are to be believed. All these moves, excepting Darkseid, make sense. Does the removal of the secret, primary villain from the film mean that WB is planning on ending the current continuity rather than continuing it? Does having no major villain waiting in the wings equal no plans for a sequel? If so, how the hell are they gonna explain WONDER WOMAN?

This article takes a rather grim position, yet it does speak truth. Marvel is in a sales slump. There are various reasons why this is so. There’s no one thing you can put your finger on. We can say with accuracy that Big M has been mismanaged these last couple’a few years. Revising the universe every month or three, relaunching titles ad nauseam. On a personal level, I can testify to the practice that has driven me away: the forced diversity initiative. Removing established characters and replacing them with new politically correct ones, just for the sake of having more female characters, gay characters, minority characters, yadda yadda yadda. Marvel, in trying to attract new readers, has alienated many of its old ones. And, like I said, that’s just ONE thing the company is doing wrong.

Over at DC, meanwhile, things are certainly, um, interesting. Whether you like the current storyline or you don’t, you can’t say it isn’t interesting. A whole slew of Bat-men. All evil. Why? Why not! Which one is your favorite? The Doomsday Batman is awful dang cool, I say. But the Joker Batman has my heart. And we’re getting ready to see Superman throw down with Dr. Manhattan from WATCHMEN. Yeah, right now DC is the one drawing my attention. Marvel should–and no doubt, will–take a lesson from it.