Category Archives: What Were They Thinking

What Were They Thinking?: DisConnect and Reboot

Last week on What Were They Thinking? (the place where we look at all of the stupidest, most ill-advised things in comic book history) we looked at the Marvel cycle, where Marvel eroded reader investment in their storytelling by overuse of large scale comic book events to change the status quo of their comics universe only to change the status quo back within a short period of time. This week though, we are looking at Detective Comics Comics Incorperated and their own, equally destructive variation, the DC cycle.

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What Were They Thinking?: A Series Of Meaningless Events

Here on What Were They Thinking? (the place where we look at the stupidest, most ill-advised things in comic book history), we tend to look at individual storylines. We have, in the past, looked at the effects of long term business practices, such as the turmoil caused by DC's New 52 or the battle for control over Archie Comics, but we hardly ever focus on how the creative directions of these companies affect not only their overall output, but their overall perception by the end consumer, i.e. you and I. Both of the Big 2, Marvel and DC have developed unfortunate crutches that they lean heavily on and have leaned on to such an extend over the last 20 years that they're starting to crack. This week we're looking at the Marvel Cycle (DC will come next week).

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What Were They Thinking?: It’s a bit Odd, y’see

You know, here on What Were They Thinking? (the place where we take a look at all of the stupidest, most ill-advised things in the history of comics), there are some storylines that we cover that are generally good ideas let down by stupid descisions, like including a rape and a suicide and victim blaming in West Coast Avengers: Lost In Space and Time, or the backstage feuds that cause the Hobgoblin saga to go off the rails. Other times there are storylines that are just terrible because the people involved couldn't do any better, such as the Image Babwatch crossover. And of course there are those times that see creators who appear to have near limitless talent (like Chris Claremount or Frank Miller) just go mental, and you end up with Whom Gods Destroy or Holy Terror. And then you have this:

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What Were They Thinking?: Car-tastrophic

There are some ideas in comics that are offensively bad. Storylines that make you say "why did they think that was ever a good idea" out of disgust and anger. But there are also other times where you say "why?" just out of pure confusion, because an idea that got to publication seems so pointless and so redundant that it should never have been given the go ahead in the first place. And it is the later we are dealing with one this weeks edition of What Were They Thinking? (the place where we look at the stupidest, most ill-advised things in all of comics history) as we are taking a look at The Spider-Mobile.

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What Were They Thinking?: Ultimate Stupidity

Here on What Were They Thinking we like to look at the stupidest, most ill-advised things in all of comic book history. And, as you might expect, cross-overs are always a good place to look for this kind of behaviour. They are the home of such "classics" as the reality punch, two year long clone conspiracies and wars between superhero teams. But which cross-over is the worst of all time? That is a hard question to answer, but I think we can all agree that the title would have to go to Marvel. I mean, they are the people responsible for Civil War, Avengers vs. X-Men and the subject of todays missive, the story which may just take the title of worst cross-over. I am, of course, talking about this...

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What Were They Thinking?: The Cheesecake Factory

Ok, to kick off this weeks What Were They Thinking? (the place where we look at all of the stupidest, most ill-advised things in all of comics history) I'd like to take some time out of the sarcasm and semi-mock-outrage to be a dictionary, and todays word of the day is Cheesecake. So what does the dictionary have to say about the word cheesecake? Well, cheesecake is a noun, the name of a type of cake that has a firm custardlike texture, that is made with cheese (usually cream or cottage cheese, sometimes both) and sometimes topped with a jamlike fruit mixture. I, personally, adore cheesecake, it's my favourite desert. However, there is a more pertinent definition of cheesecake, which is also in the dictionary. This definition is the informal definition, used to describe artwork (originally photographs but now also drawn artwork as well) featuring scantily clothed attractive women, also referred to as "leg art".

So, with the definitions part out of the way, lets move on to the main subject of todays missive shall we. Now, when talking about cheesecake in comics two things should come to mind immediately. Firstly, the 90's and secondly, Image Comics, because the 90's was an era famous for style over substance and Image was the most pervasive perveyor of such comics, so who else do you think we'd be talking about when we're talking about cheesecake (apart from Marvel, but we'll get to them at some other point). So, out of all of the cheesecake Image sold in the 90's, what to start with, oh what to start with? Well, let's start at the event (because it was the 90's, of course there had to be an event centred around cheesecake) known only as EXTREME BABEWATCH! And no, I am not joking. And it gets better...

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What Were They Thinking?: False-(Up)Start

To kick off this weeks What Were They Thinking (the place where we look at all of the stupidest, most ill-advised things in all of comic book history) I've got a scenario for you guys. You are on the creative team for the X-Men at Marvel during the early 90's and you've been given a remit to rejig the series, freshen it up and get rid of some old characters to make way for new, more exciting and more modern ones (read guys with lots of guns and pouches and spikes). What do you do? If your answer is create a new team that goes around killing everyone for an unknown prize, then pat yourself on the back, because you think just like a Marvel employee. And if you also said that you'd just abandon the storyline half-way through without any proper plot resolution, then you obviously know that this week we're going to be talking about The Upstarts.

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What Were They Thinking?: Because It Wasn’t A Good Idea The First Time (Or Even The Second)

So, last week on What Were They Thinking? (the place where we look at all of the stupidest, most ill-advised things in all of comic book history) we took a look at an example of DC's fascination with transformations. However, there was another storyline that I mentioned in the introduction to that edition that is also quite interesting, and segues quite nicely into this weeks topic. Back in 1970, DC thought it was a good idea to explore social issue such as racial inequality and racism by having one of their white characters (Lois Lane) black up and join an African-American community (read: Ghetto) called, and I'm not kidding, Little Africa. Of course, the storyline is only remembered today for the fact that you had Lois Lane using a machine to change her race and it would certainly not get published now. However, at the time, DC didn't have a major black character. It would take them 2 more years to debut John Stewart, with Marvel already having debuted Black Panther and Falcon at this point. So, DC took a white character and made them black, because why not. And that, rather neatly, leads on to the stubject of this weeks discussion, the newest member of the Arrowverse, Mr Jefferson Pierce aka Black Lightning

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What Were They Thinking?: NaNaNaNaNaNaNa Bat-Baby?

Ah, the 60's. A time of peace, love and superheroes undergoing random transformations every other week. Whether it's Wonder Woman being turned into a gorilla by alien gorillas (and not by Gorilla Grodd because that actually would have made sense in a "that makes no sense anyway" kind of way), Lois Lane using a machine to make her a black woman (yes, that happened) or everything that happened to Jimmy Olsen for a straight decade, DC comics were obssessed with turning their characters into something that wasn't a superhero. However, today on What Were They Thinking (the place where we look at all of the stupidest, most ill-advised things in comic book history), we're taking a look at Batman. Or rather, as the cover to Batman issue 147 says quite clearly; Bat-Baby.

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What Were They Thinking?: Worst Western

Time travel is a tricky thing. For a start you have to avoid changing history and breaking the laws of causalit,y both of which are not things you exactly want to do as they usually result in your potential erasure from existance (see Back To The Future) or an almighty space-time paradox (see Doctor Who). However, there is another danger that is often overlooked when it comes to going for a quick jaunt back in time, which is that you have a high chance of being killed by the locals. When considering where to travel in time to, your best bet is to consult a history book as if it were a weather forcast. "Ok, 1918. The year starts of with some rather heavy war, but that is expected to die down towards the end of the year and in its place there will be a strong front of Spanish Flu. Throughout the year there may be some smatterings of institutionalised racism and sexism along with some sufferage showers. Time travellers are advised to take an umbrella."

So, what happens when superheros from, say, the 1980's get transported back in time to both the Wild West and Ancient Eygpt without having time to consult their handy History Forecast. Well, this is What Were They Thinking, the place where we look at the stupidest, most ill-advised things in comic book history, so what do you think happened?

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