Dylan recently entered a competition over at the Savage Critics blog. It was a convoluted competition, but basically everyone had to come up with a comic book adaptation for a Hitchcock film and then figure out who would create the "seminal run" after the initial creative team had left. (convoluted, right?)
And assuredly, Dylan's entry is just as confusing. He shared the victory with RJ Acero, who did an equally excellent job of coming up with some Hitchcock comics we wish existed. Warren Ellis' The Birds and Steve Ditko's The Wrong Man are just so mind bendingly great! (Who do we pay and how much?)
The prize was a copy of Mazi by Marzena Sowa and Sylvan Savoia, which will definitely be covered on our podcast at some point.
Check out his entry below, and give the Critics some love. They have a heck of a lot of fun over there, and provide a couple of our crew with plenty of laughs week in and week out.
Hope you enjoyed it. Captain America: Man Out of Time will be recorded some time this weekend, and should be up next week. Expect lots of Kirby bashing and an equal amount of Kirby love. See you all then!Here’s Dylan’s, which he presented as a recent article he’d just read (and which had me fooled up to a certain point):North by NorthwestGetting There From HereIn 1959, Martin Goodman managed to secure the rights to an adaptation of “North by Northwest” for Atlas in hopes of publishing something that didn’t have a funny animal or Jerry Lewis. Stan at the time, was in desperate need of an artist. Joe Maneely would have been his original choice for a project like this, but now Stan was at a loss. He hesitantly passed it to Jack Kirby who turned in a character sketch of Cary Grant, which Stan deemed “too ugly for human consumption.” On a lark, Jack passed the project off to Don Heck. Stan was so impressed with the way Don drew Cary Grant he later said in the letters column of issue #7, “Don Heck must be having lunch with Cary Grant on a regular basis, but I don’t know how he could with all the comics he’s drawing.” The reception to the book was lukewarm at best, and Stan Lee’s adjustments to the ending never sat right with Hitchcock. And it was canceled after issue 10. The adaptation rights lay dormant in the Marvel offices for over 20 years.
But all that changed one unseasonably warm day in the winter of 1974, Steve Engleheart marched into Stan’s office and demanded to write the continued adventures of Roger Thornhill. Stan was skeptical at the time and was still pretty ticked about the Dr. Strange/Sis-Eneg debacle, but as Stan put it, “Englehart had a way of pitching an idea as though I’d already thought of it.”
Engleheart’s following series (penciled by Frank Brunner) chronicled the journeys of Roger Thornhill through the Marvel universe as he was consistently mistaken for Kang the Conqueror, M.O.D.O.K., The Mindless Ones and even (at one point) Spider-Man by Peter Parker himself! The public loved it, and issue #9 (the Doctor Bong issue) was the top selling issue on the stands setting the all-time comics sales record of 2.5 million copies. Which was not overtaken until Spider-Man #1 in 1990.
After 11 issues, it seemed like the creative team had started to lose interest with the initial concept. After a prolonged and contrived battle with the entire Kree race landed Roger Thornhill in the Pacific Northwest, Roger smoked peyote with a Native American shaman and realized he had lost touch with America and “needed to find out WHERE it truly was.” (a lofty if vague goal to be sure) Englehart took Roger across the U.S. visiting every landmark and tourist trap that Steve had read about in a travel brochure he had picked up at a used bookstore one weekend. (Brunner has said that issue after issue he kept remarking, “I can’t believe they are paying me to do this!”)
Most die-hard NxNW fans site these 3 issues as when the series achieved transcendence and became something wholly different from anything the medium had offered before. And most likely would never return to again. Shortly after, Englehart left Marvel and the series was continued by Roy Thomas who wanted a “back to basics approach” with Roger being mistaken for different Marvel characters while trying to live his everyday life. A slew of fill-in writers plagued the book as Roy was busy with his EIC duties, and it was eventually canceled after issue 26.
Since then, there have been many attempts at revivals. Alan Moore penned a story in Daredevils that many Moore enthusiasts site as his best prose piece, and Todd McFarlane attempted to buy the rights from the Hitchcock estate in the late 90s but it amounted to little more than a toy of Roger Thornhill covered in thorns. Fan letters still drop in the Marvel office mailbox from time to time, and not a Comic-Con goes by that Joe Quesada doesn’t drop hints that there may be more new adventures from Roger Thornhill, but it is truly doubtful that any will recapture the magic of Brunner’s lovingly rendered sunsets casting a warm glow over Englehart’s conversations between Roger Thornhill and the waffle slinger at Louie’s Chicken Shack.