Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Internet of Diabolu: Fire, Water, Storm

A fair amount of Idolatry on the web today, so we'll take a moment to process it.

First off, friends of the blog Rob Kelly and Shag Matthews have started a co-op podcast for their blogs, Firestorm Fan and The Aquaman Shrine. The Fire and Water Podcast offered The Idol-Head of Diabolu a shout-out in its very first episode from Shag, who credited it as partially inspiring his own single character blogging. He also inspired me to do a bit of very belated research on our very own title. The guys that created the I-HoD concept are all dead, but the name is presumably derived from the Latin “diabolus” meaning “devil.” It is usually used in conjunction with “diabolus ex machina” (a dark twist ending) or “diabolus in musica” (meaning the tritonus, “the main interval of dissonance in Western harmony.”) Dropping the “s,” that yields “DEE-ah-BOO-Lou.” Of course, being from Texas, I say “DIE-ah-ball-ew.” Whatevs.

I mention this here because it's relevant, but also because even after offering the handy phonetic pronunciation guide above, Shag proceeded to render it boring old "diablo" in their third podcast. Beginning at 1:16:25, the guys plug my blogs (the NSFWish onomatopoeiatastic ...nurgh... pronounced perfectly, of course) while questioning my soul/sanity until 1:17:54. I'd be hurt if, y'know, it wasn't two men at the 1¼ hour mark of a weekly podcast recorded from a seedy hotel. "It rubs the lotion on its skin, or else it gets the hose again..."

The Fire and Water Podcast
  1. Episode 1
  2. Episode 2: New Justice League/Dragon*Con 2011!
  3. Episode 3: Mission Statement/Favorite Runs/News/Borders Requiem/Listener Feedback

Moving on, Paul Cornell Dissects "Stormwatch" #1 at Comic Book Resources, which I'll dissect here, which isn't at all creepy after segueing from a Silence of the Lambs reference. Maybe I should trade out for "The Idol-Head of Dexter?"

"There's a WildStorm atmosphere, and I think honestly you could view this book as a distillation of "Stormwatch," "The Authority" and "Planetary." It's a love letter to Warren Ellis, basically. To some extent, the mainstream superhero universes have caught up to where WildStorm was and have copied WildStorm a lot. And so it wasn't that big a hop from one place to another, but at the same time we needed to find a schtick to hang that WildStorm atmosphere on. And what it ended up being was that the whole Authority arrogance is still in place for this Stormwatch – the sense of being better than and indifferent to the world, especially being better than superheroes. That's what we've mutated that idea into."

Ohhhh, so that's why I've been covering the Warren Ellis Stormwatch issues. I get no votes of confidence when I do this stuff.

Cornell went on to discuss writing each issue with enough exposition so that new readers can jump on at any given time, as well as finding "big cosmic alien stuff" to run up against the team. Next he discussed his new characters, and how the hard edged Wildstorm types mesh with Justice Leaguer J'Onn J'Onzz...

"Well, I like that rubbing. I like the fact that being a shape changer he can be what he likes when he likes. It's nice to be able to say, "He's not always the same thing, you know." I think that being the last of a warrior race, he'd like to express his warrior-ness every now and then. And what I think is the best thing we've done is that before the book came out, everybody was going "How on earth could he possibly fit into that?" and once the first issue was out, they were saying, "Well, of course he fits into that. Job well done." [Laughs] We always knew that was going to work because he does fit into the book.

He's a very interesting character. I really loved the whole Giffen and DeMatteis "Justice League" run, and what people forget from that run is that J'onn J'onzz is only gradually revealed to have a soft heart. He was on that team to be the bad ass! He's meant to be the one other people feel. You only eventually reveal that he loves Oreos and find that soft center to him. It took many, many issues, and we're just bringing the bad ass back here. It's obvious that he's one of the most powerful character in the DC Universe, and we want to reflect that."

I find it interesting that the Martians are characterized as a "warrior race," which jibes a lot more with Conway, Morrison and Ostrander than it does with DeMatteis and Jones. I see a lot of potential dividing of loyalties here, myself included. I recognize that it's very hard to write a Martian Manhunter effectively when he's secretly Gumby from a race of tribal pacifists, but I hope it doesn't swing so far as poor Wonder Woman going from an ambassador of peace to the only Amazon you don't have to restrain from castrating all men on sight. I'd also like to point out that Martians, especially without a completely paralyzing vulnerability to fire, qualify as "big cosmic alien stuff."

Aside from relishing the opportunity to show the Apollo/Midnighter romance from its beginning unimpeded, Cornell closed by describing the book thusly...

"With where our heroes end up, the reason this title is called what it is will be very clear by the end of the fist six issues. There's quite a few reveals to come, and one of the lovely things about "Stormwatch" is how many surprises you can pull. There isn't a status quo, really. Let's just say that... One of my favorite comics of all time is Peter Milligan's "Shade, The Changing Man" where the entire idea of who Shade was, what he did and the format changed every few issues. We're a little bit like that."

I do indeed hope so!

One final thought, for the first joker who suggests an Idol-Head podcast. If you've been reading any of my blogs for any length of time, you should know by now that my opinion of 95% of everything under the sun can be summarized in just four seconds, so what's the point?


aota said...

Jonn seems to have a case of disappearing pants going on the covers of the up coming Stormwatch issues.

Diabolu Frank said...

I hadn't noticed that! I guess J'Onn's showing solidarity with Wonder Woman over the Dave Finch variant cover to Justice League #1. Just so long as he stops short of draping a tentacle between his legs...

will_in_chicago said...

J'Onn is a shapeshifter, so his costume is very easy to change.

Cornell may try to synthesize the DeMatteis and Jones vision of Martians with that of Conway, Morrison and Ostrander. Martians may have been a warrior race that learned the value of peace, after struggling with themselves. (The White Martians were exiled for interfering with human evolution.)

I am looking forward to several surprises in this book.

The Irredeemable Shag said...

Frank - Thanks for the plug! Sorry I haven't yet mastered the pronunciation of Diabolu. I'll work on it! Promise!

Sorry if our joking was too much. We wouldn't pick on you if you weren't a friend. You'll probably notice that theme in our podcasts. The people we pick on the most are our buddies. And let's face it, you run a Martian Manhunter blog. You've obviously got a screw or two loose -- says the guy running a Firestorm blog. ;) And hey, to make up for picking on you, I plugged a bunch of your blogs! :)

I haven't picked up Stormwatch #1 yet, but I'm planning to rectify that soon!

The Irredeemable Shag