Tuesday, August 08, 2006

IN MEMORIAM OF WENDELL VAUGHN, 2006 EDITION: Yes--Quasar died for the twenty-first time in the last issue of Annihilation: Nova. He went out like a punk, as usual, since the quantum bands are only the most powerful objects in the Marvel Universe when Mark Gruenwald is writing them. But: in this Dave's Longbox thread devoted to Infinity Gauntlet #4 (which contained another of Quasar's deaths) Tim O'Neil links to his own appreciation of Gruenwald's Quasar, which is worth reading if you're a Quasar doubter (I understand from Dave's thread that there are many) and essential reading if you're a Gruenwald fan. Tim picks up on something I've been thinking of lately: Wendell Vaughn is Marvel's version of Morrison's Animal Man:

Some of the most memorable moments from Quasar were moments like those, dedicated basically to exploring the unenlightened corners of the Marvel Universe, and exploring the very nature of fictional universes. How are fictional characters created Â? and at what point do characters take on a life of their own? Shades of Animal Man! How do Gods Â? or at least near-Gods Â? die? Who mourns the passing of cosmic beings? How about the birth and creation of cosmic deities? How are comic book universes structured Â? what separates mere alternate realities from entirely separate multiverses, like the Marvel Universe and the New Universe? Some of these questions might seem a bit wonkish, but GruenwaldÂ?s enthusiasm for these cosmic questions was truly contagious. As preposterous as it sounds, he believed every bit of it, he believed that it mattered, on some level, and that by answering one deep question of comic book lore he only asked a dozen more.
Kind of Morrisonian concerns, you know? This of course means Gruenwald wrote the Marvel versions of Watchmen AND Animal Man--probably an irreproducible creative feat.

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