Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Highwaymen: Was It Really That Bad?

In a shocking twist, The Highwaymen #1 was voted (part of) the Worst Comics of 2007 by Alan David Doane.

And I quote: "The creators of this exercise in generic tedium were shocked when the title was canceled after a handful of issues. I sure as hell wasn't."

Now, every bloke is entitled to his opinion and, as one who has worked closely with professional critics for most of his career, I know that a critic must be allowed to express viewpoints that run contrary to an overwhelming tide of popular sentiment. (Granted, The Highwaymen was never "popular," except among those rare few who sampled and, by and large, enjoyed what they got. "Beloved" is the word I'm gonna use. Because this is my keyboard.)

And, as much as I'm inclined to discount Mr. Doane's statement outright for its glaring factual inaccuracy—I, and many others, have explained that we solicited a five-issue mini and Wildstorm published a five-issue mini; The Highwaymen was never canceled—I'm just going to say this:

Of all the comics published over the course of 2007, could this really have been one of the worst? Really? I understand if people didn't like it, if they didn't respond to what we were going for, or plum didn't have a good time while reading it...but does it really fail on every level one can aspire to when creating comics? Is it illegible? Unreadable? Insulting to the readers' collective intelligence?

Or is it morally reprehensible, my usual barometer for giving something an F? Filled with hate and bile and misogyny?

I don't think so. Granted, I'm biased. But I still think I'm right.


Lee Garbett said...

The Highwaymen, first and foremost was about fun. Action, adventure and fun! I clicked on that link and the guy looks full of something but it sure ain't fun.

Plus he's not done his homework, commenting on a 5 issue mini series being canceled after 5 issues is an embarassing mistake and his opinion is all the weaker for it.

Erik Jodko said...

That guy is obviously a douche bag who has no idea what he's talking about. EVEN IF the comic was bad news bears, I highly doubt that someone other than that tool would think it sucked so bad that it falls under the 'complete failure' category. Ignore him. Highwaymen was outstanding.

Alan David Doane said...

"I made somewhat of a misstatement the other day in my year-end wrap-up, saying Wildstorm's Highwaymen had been canceled. Not that I was the first person to state this..."
More in link.

marc bernardin said...


Again, you're entitled to your opinion. Which I'm entitled to quibble with. But simply because facts have been inaccurately reported elsewhere does not absolve you of the responsibility for checking yours before you go to "print." Journalism 101.

Lee Garbett said...

Oh well, you can't win 'em all and I'll settle for Highwaymen being top of the buy lists at websites people actually visit.

ifwagba said...

WTF... NO way, I just read the last issue today and I LOVED IT.

Ken Lowery said...

I've had some experience with this. Ridiculous hyperbole is ADD's stock in trade. Don't worry about it.

Primus said...

I've never read an issue of Highwaymen, however, ADD's inclusion of Marvel Zombies as one of the best of the year should negate anything he says about the worst of the year. Zombie's was a chore to read, and the Marvel Zombies vs. AOD was even worse.

Not to mention he listed two books that HE HADN'T EVEN READ as one of the best.

Radiodad said...

A note from one of the "Beloved"! I thoroughly enjoyed the miniseries. It was an action buddy movie (ala Lethal Weapon) in comics form, and I enjoyed every page of it. I hope we might see another Highwaymen story sometime in the future.

Alan David Doane said...

"Marvel Zombies vs. AOD was even worse."

Try to pay better attention,
"Primus." I stated quite precisely to stay away from any non-Kirkman/Phillips spinoffs, the AoD one would certainly be under that umbrella, along with the pin-up/sourcebook/whatever the hell it was one-shot that Marvel released a couple months back.

Also, both LEOG and Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together were as good as expected, which is why I stayed true to my word and didn't edit the post. No need, they both belong on the list.

Love your cover of Pink Floyd's Have a Cigar, by the way, "Primus." Great stuff!

Rodrigo Baeza said...

Can't argue about the merits of The Highwaymen (since I haven't read the comic) but I think Doane tries too hard to justify his initial assertion, and ends up weakening his argument in the process.

Planetary was done by "a mostly unknown creative team"? Not really, Ellis had already done work for Marvel (including EXCALIBUR), Vertigo, and Wildstorm at that point. Planetary was "about characters no one had ever heard of"? DC's lawyers apparently have a different opinion regarding "Doc Brass" and his friends.

Lee Garbett said...

I don't have any problem with criticism at all. I think it can speak more strongly of a work if the overall view is polarized. Much better than a "meh" in my book.

McQueen's white-suited look was inspired by the writer Tom Wolfe. There's even reference made to this in the Highwaymen Issues. The idea that no one in comics can wear a white suit again simply because Elijah Snow wore one is, frankly, ludicrous.

Planetary is a fine, fine series, one of the best in fact. It's also about to end and it doesn't help the next wave of creators when we keep turning these books into sacred cows.

Dave B. said...

Hey, Marc, as a reviewer who covered HIGHWAYMEN #1 and raved about it, I can say that your mini was one of the truly memorable surprises of the year for me. I never did send you guys a link to the review, as posted on Broken Frontier dot com, so here it is now:

I also read about the book's numbers in sales, and how the statistics were comparable to any steady-selling Image book, and so maybe you could pimp HIGHWAYMEN over there for a second mini? (can you do that? Do you have the rights?) I'd love to see more of this one.

And regardless, I look forward to future stories by you and Bernardin! I enjoyed your "Blacktop Killer" in Simmons' HoH #2. That one wasn't amazing, but just as smooth a read and well played as Highwaymen. You're a "good" writer, that much is for damn sure. Now you need to do something that pushes you a bit, as if writing for multiple mediums isn't a learning experience enough! --Dave B.

Dave B. said...

Yes, and allow me to refer to you as "Marc" and your co-writer as "Freeman".

Sorry about that. I was going between the both of your forums and got mixed waaaay up. --Dave B.