Category Archives: What Were They Thinking

What Were They Thinking?: 10 to One

This month marks the tenth anniversary of a very "special" storyline, a storyline delivered to us by our good friends at Marvel Comics Inc. And to celebrate, we've gone above and beyond and baked a cake. It's a lovely chocolate cake. It's a belgian chocolate sandwich with white chocolate icing on top and even chocolate chips in the cake mix. It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but a lot of people would look at it and say "you know what, that's a good cake". And you know what Marvel, as you are the ones celebrating this occasion, I'm going to let you have a slice. See how good that tastes. Now, for no real reason, I'm going to take that cake away from you and replace it with a plain old Victoria Sponge. Oh and by the way, that Victoria Sponge is 20 years old and a bit mouldy. And for good measure I may have vomited on it, but hey, that's the cake you're getting from now on.

Now, if anyone doesn't get that entire long winded metaphor, let me explain. That is exactly how I feel about the storyline we are discussing today. What we had wasn't perfect but it was something that a lot of people really liked and then this storyline came along and replaced it with a status quo that was 20 years out of date and garnished it with as much bile and excretion as possible. This week we are taking a look at THE WORST storyline Marvel comics (or anyone for that matter) has ever published, on the tenth anniversay of its month of release. What Were They Thinking, the place where we look at the most stupid and ill-advised things in comic book history presents to you the stupid and ill-advised dumpster fire that is: One More Day

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What Were They Thinking?: Where’s Wally

There are some bits of comic book history that we come back to a lot on What Were They Thinking. After all, this is the place where we look at the stupidest and most ill-advised things in comic book history and these are the places that are the stupidest and have the most ill-advised things happen. And this week, we are mining that well once again. We're going back to the New 52, unanimously agreed to be "a thing that DC did that they probably shouldn't have" and that is the most positive review you are going to find for the whole 5 year debacle. We've covered the problems with the New 52 on numerous occassions before, talking about issues both specific (representation of women, specifically Starfire) and broad (the behind the scenes confusion over storylines, sales failures and poor treatment of creative staff by DC during the New 52 period). However, none of these problems were so hated, so reviled, that DC were forced to reboot their continuity again just to fix the problem. And I'm sure everyone knows what I'm talking about. It is of course, this guy:

No, sorry, this guy:

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What Were They Thinking?: Going At It A-Clone

When comics started out, and pretty much throughout the entire golden and silver ages of comics, each individual issue of a comic would contain self-contained stories. These storylines would always begin and conclude within the same issue, mostly because of the audience's reading habits of the time. Comics were seen as disposable, and would often be either thrown out after reading or traded between friends. You didn't need to keep hold of previous issues to understand what was happening in the latest. However, that changed in the mid 60's, with the publication of what would become known as the Galactus Triology. Whilst it wasn't the first comic to end an issue on a cliffhanger, by introducing the main villain on the last page of the first issue of the story, Marvel changed the way comics would be structured. Storytelling would expand, taking multiple issues to resolve desputes and leading to the rise of mini-series, graphic novels and, of course, crossovers. Now, there is a debate to be had over the merits of short-form vs. long-form storytelling in comics. a very good one as both have their merits and disadvantages, but today we are not here to do that. No, we are here because this is What Were They Thinking?, the place where we look at all of the stupidest and most ill-advised things in the history of comic books and our subject today is probably the best example of taking long-form storytelling in comics too far. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you The Clone Saga

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What Were They Thinking?: How not to do Anti-Racism

Bit of a short WWTT today, I'm a bit tight on time. But anyway, racial tension is a big thing at the moment and has been basically since Europeans started to colonise Africa. Many comics have dealt with the subject in many different ways, some good, some bad. But then you have this response from Kitty Pryde in the 80's:

FYI, I had to censor out this page myself. Marvel actually decided it was alright to use the N word in a comic. Hard R and all. Hand-claps for Marvel guys. Now, they make a decent enough point by saying that even if you don't intend to be racist you still can be, and that you shouldn't hold yourself to a double standard, getting offended by racism when you are acting racist yourself, but look at what they're actually saying here. You've got a made up insult against a made up section of society (in this case "mutie" for mutants) put on the same level as a word that has very rightfully been completely removed from polite conversation because of how racist it is. X-Men is a great platform to fight against prejudice (which is why I think it's so strange that the movies are made by the same company that makes Fox News), but come on guys, really? You chose to equate actual racism with prejudice that only exists in your fictional world. And you used a Jewish character to do it as well, that's the amazing thing. You could have made the point actually mean something, because both racism and anti-Semitism were and still are disturbingly prevelant. Those are two things that are equatable. But racism against anti-mutantism? And, let's not forget, you actually published a full on racial slur in a comic. It doesn't really even matter what the context is for the story, that's the sort of stupid thing that shouldn't even get past the planning stage without a firing taking place.

Idiots.

What Were They Thinking?: A New (52) Origin

We've talked at length many times about DC's propensity towards rebooting their universe here on What Were They Thinking. This is because they invariably end up being terrible, misguided messes and that fits right in with our M.O of looking at the stupidest and most ill-advised things in comic book history. However, sometimes a DC reboot will throw up a nugget of gold and these tend to be new origin stories for classic characters. The first DC reboot saw new versions of classic heroes like The Flash and Green Lantern introduced and these were so successful they form the basis for DC's business to this day. The second DC reboot, the one that started the Post-Crisis era of DC continuity, saw Batman and Wonder Woman get revamped origins, giving us one of the greatest comics of all time in Frank Miller's Batman: Year One and saw the start George Perez's seminal run on the amazing Amazon. Even the New 52 had, if not a nugget of gold then at least a nice chunk of pyrite, in the form of the Justice League Origins storyline, which gave us a new take on the formation of DC's premier superteam and a new origin for Cyborg which wasn't all that bad. However, that's not to say all revamped origin stories have worked. We mentioned Hawkman when we talked about how DC keep screwing up with their reboots, but their are other examples. And today we're going to talk about one of them. This one to be exact:

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What Were They Thinking?: I Red This And It Blue

In the world of comics, change is inevitable. When you have characters that have been in publication for 80, 70, 60 or 50 years, some elements are going to become stale. Of course, changing back is also inevitable but we've covered that a lot recently and I'm kinda done moaning about Marvel for the moment (for the moment). But anyway, as I was saying, sometimes characters need a bit of a shake up to make them interesting again. For example, The Flash switched Barry Allen for Wally West. And then you had the original shake-up of The Avengers team, that swapped Ant-Man, Wasp, Iron Man and Thor for Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, with only Captain America remaining from the original line-up. But what about bad changes? Well, this is What Were They Thinking, the place where we look at all of the stupidest, most ill-advised things in comic book history. So of course we've found some pretty bad changes. Like this one:

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What Were They Thinking?: Nat Zee Best Idea

Sometimes there are ideas that you'd just assume no-one in their right mind would ever be stupid enough to try, even in the world of comics. But this is What Were They Thinking, where we look at all of the stupidest and most ill-advised things in all of comic book history, so we've covered most of them, from a racist vampire who spread AIDS instead of vampirism to a man who attached a cannon to his crotch to make up for certain inadequecies.  And the storyline we're going to talk about today certainly falls into that category. And I'm sure everyone knows what is coming next...

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What Were They Thinking?: Not Very Fantastic

Here on What Were They Thinking we look at all of the stupidest and most ill-advised things in all of comic book history. However, this week we're going to be looking at something that, in all fairness, actually does make a decent amount of sense, if only purely from a business perspective. But the fact that it makes business sense does not exclude it from being a WWTT target, simply because the spitefulness and meanspiritedness of the descision means that, as always, the only people who lose out are the fans. And of course, when we're talking spiteful and meanspirited, you know we're talking about these guys right?

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What Were They Thinking?: The ULTIMATE What?

So, the 90's were weird right? Rob Liefeld was a ig thing and that should tell you everything you need to know. But you know what was the weirdest thing that happened in the 90's? Well, we here at What Were They Thinking? (the place where we look at all of the stupidest, most ill-advised things in all of comic book history) think that we have found it:

This guy got his own comic series:

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What Were They Thinking?: Absolutely Nothing

So, last week here on What Were They Thinking? (the place where we look at all the stupidest, most ill-advised things in comic book history) we took a look at Marvel's 2006 Event, Civil War. We looked at it as an example of a storyline that had all the ingrediants to be a classic but was heavily let down by the execution, to such an extent that it is still considered one of Marvel's most divisive comics ever. So what do we think happened when they decided to do a sequel?

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