Listen to the episode here.
LINKS & FURTHER READING:
- Special thanks to the Vegas Valley Comic Book Festival–and in particular to Andy and Suzanne–for a fantastic con, and for hosting our second-ever live episode!
- Comics Alliance collects the month’s most depressing Funky Winkerbean strips over at FunkyWatch.
- If you haven’t seen the 1980 Flash Gordon movie, you should, because it is spectacular. Not good, mind. But spectacular.
- While we’re on a Queen kick, here’s a really kickass live Queen cover album by Jay’s favorite band.
- The Secret Convergence on Infinite Podcasts is running through the end of this month! For updates, follow the Convergence on Tumblr and Twitter!
Oh you kids! 🙂
I rise in defense of the Funky Winkerbean reference. In the ’70s, Funky Winkerbean was genuinely funny. The main characters were all high schoolers, with the supporting cast including various teachers, the band director, and like that. Tom Batiuk wasn’t yet the apparent bitter hollow shell of a man he since became – he was all of 32 in 1979. For a lot of us, particularly those of us who did any kind of music, strips with the marching band were the highlight: the marching band was awful, but meant so well, and the band director struggled so much, and was so happy when they got anywhere close to getting it right. Those strips were up in sooo many band rooms, and nearly universally enjoyed.
The existence of Dave Sim means that Tom Batiuk cannot earn top honors as “creator most changed for the worst”. But he might be a silver medalist in it. At the time, Claremont was pointing at a genuinely kind, funny ongoing chronicle of high school institutional life, not this sucking pit of existential horror. I can easily imagine Jarvis identifying with stuff like this.
Oh, Magma. If I had to posit why Magma has never been popular or featured heavily by writers (and you can agree or disagree or give corrections/addendum) I think it’s 3-fold:
1. Her origin. As the X-verse keeps getting increasingly “realistic” and more street-level, especially in the Morrison era, having a character who comes from a secret civilization of ancient Romans led by an immortal vampire mutant, complicates things. It’s the Claremont thing to do to not allow a single character to not have a fantastical background. Cyclops’ dad is missing? He’s a space pirate! Nightcrawler was raised by a foster mother? She’s a powerful demon sorceress!! etc.
2. Her powers. For some reason, heat/fire powered heroes are especially common in X-books. Sunspot is later given solar blasts and flight, Firestar has flight and fire/microwave powers, anyone who’s gone by the name Phoenix despite never actually being fire-powered, are constantly calling imagery of flames, and then there’s Amara who can do similar things plus some geokinesis. She’s insanely powerful, yet it’s like Storm, where they don’t really portray just HOW powerful she is?
3. Like you said, she usually got the short end of the stick in regards to personality in the large New Mutants cast :/
It explains why on X-Men Evolution they just make her a Brazilian girl who is only related to comics Magma in name and powers.
It ALSO explains why in the video game she’s prominently featured in she has a whole new name (Allison Crestmere) and is basically just a blank slate to use in the story.
I feel like I want her to get her moment in the sun, for some modern writer to give her a chance, to differentiate her from other mutants.
If the video game used the name Allison Crestmere, it was only following the comics.
It was eventually revealed, in (IIRC) an X-Force/New Warriors crossover, that Nova Roma wasn’t a lost Roman colony at all, but was Selene’s private theme park. It was entirely populated by contemporary people that Selene had been kidnapping through the centuries and hypnotically reprogramming into believing they were, and always had been, inhabitants of Nova Roma.
So Magma had never truly been Amara Aquila, daughter of a Nova Roma Senator, but was actually (For, as it turns out, a given value of “actually”) Allison Crestmere, the daughter of the British Ambassador to Brazil.
Now this was A) infinitely creepy (since families were suddenly not really families, just people jigsawed together on Selene’s whim), and B) made not one lick of sense at all based on everything we’d seen, especially when linked to the strong hint that Selene was Magma’s literal ancestor, and that Emma Frost had spent a long time inside Magma’s head after Secret Wars II and had somehow managed to not notice that her memories were false, but hey, comics.
To add to the fun, it turns out that when Selene left Nova Roma to set up shop in the Hellfire Club, the cracks started to show in Nova Roma as some memories started to return to people, but not to worry, Magma’s boyfriend Empath was secretly bolstering the remains of Selene’s hypnotic charms with his own powers, depsite those powers having nothing to with memories. Plus he did it because he knew Magma’s “real” personality wasn’t the one he’d fallen for, and he wanted to keep her. Allison was not impressed when this all came out and left him, which is a perfectly understandable reaction I grant you.
This change-about did nothing to raise Magma’s profile (though she did, in her new (or original I suppose) snotty and rather unpleasant personality join a new and more malevolent group using the Hellions name. She then faded into obscurity again.
And then the whole retcon was de-retconned (should that be detconned?) and suddenly Nova Roma was back to being what it had been when Magma was introduced, so Magma is back to being Amara Aquila, and Allison Crestmere was a mere fiction who, like Armin Tamzarian in The Simpsons WAS NEVER MENTIONED EVER AGAIN.
Egad. I liked Nicieza’s New Warriors stuff, but I did not like that plot wrinkle at all.
Magma is a cold open just waiting to happen!
Oh wait, Arkon was on the X-Men ’92 animated series, and I never realized they pulled this story from a comic until just now!