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Even the fictional John Byrne is insufferable – The Star Brand #12

August 1, 2010

My grandparents used to buy me comics when I was little, and usually it worked out pretty well. I’d go to their house and they’d have some Spider-Man and Superman books and the like for me to flip through. But sometimes they’d buy something a little bit off the radar. I remember a few of the Marvel New Universe titles that fit that bill, and being the ungrateful little brat that I was, I’d think to myself “What the hell is this crap?”

That’s a disdain that I’ve never really shaken, even though I’ve heard that some of the New Universe comics were well handled and I understand there was a bit of a revival in recent years. But I thought I’d pick this one up because of the involvement of the “X-Men” as seen on the cover. The prolific John Byrne handled the writing and pencilling chores and on this “Farewell, Pittsburgh” and was inked by Tom Palmer. No surprise, much of the action takes place at a comic book convention and Byrne, of course, throws himself into the action:

It’s funny, that’s kind of how I expect him to act. Throttling a geek — seems to be par for the course for Mr. Byrne. I’ve never met the man, but the preponderance of anecdotal evidence would seem to indicate that he’s a bit of a jerk (just Google “John Byrne jerk” or any variation thereof for evidence). It’s good to see that he’s his usual cantankerous self on multiple worlds.

Star Brand is the convention’s guest of honor, but Byrne and Howard Mackie can’t resist raining on his parade:

They proceed to lecture him on the intricacies of his profession and the failings of his costume:

A super-powered opponent mercifully shows up to drag Star Brand away from his tormentors, and their brawl tears through the convention hall. Even a few doughy geeks in X-Men costumes have to scatter:

Mind the comics!

Star Brand’s throwdown with his enemy causes the entire convention to get blown to hell, Byrne included. At least he’s not afraid to off his fictional self, I’ll give him that.

I don’t really have the knowledge base to critique the story since the New Universe reality is so foreign to me, and terms like “The White Event” and “The Pitt” might just as well be gibberish, but I know enough of Byrne’s art to say that this issue’s pencils seemed very un-Byrne-y to me. I suppose it’s the inker, but if he hadn’t been credited as the artist I never would have recognized his work, and usually his art is very, very easy for me to spot.

I just wanted to highlight this book’s trip into the world of comic fandom — or comic fandom in an alternate reality. It’s not up to the level of Julius Schwartz meeting DC heroes, but it’s sort of amusing.

And here’s a brief profile of Byrne from this issue — for his defense, I suppose:

I have a feeling that I qualify as one of the “Get-a-lifes” that he loathed (and probably still loathes) so much.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 9, 2011 2:17 pm

    I like the Pro File on Byrne. He seems to really have a chip on his shoulder about Jim Shooter and his X-men days…I wonder what the story there is?

    • January 10, 2011 8:15 pm

      God only knows, though I’m sure there’s at the very least some scuttlebutt on it somewhere out there. It’s hard to keep track of all of Byrne’s feuds — he’s almost as prolific in that capacity as he is with his comics output.

  2. Mark permalink
    June 9, 2012 1:20 pm

    Thanks for the post. It sounds like you’ve been hoodwinked about Byrne. There is no “evidence” of Byrne being a jerk out there– just a ton of rumor and, as you say, anecdotes. Talk to anyone who actually knows the guy or has really met the guy and you hear that he’s generous, decent and very straight forward. His “feuds” are also easy to keep track of because he has no actual feuds, but is very open about the times he’s felt screwed over (sometimes by Shooter). He has a website where you can ask him anything you want.

    • June 9, 2012 3:32 pm

      Thanks for your comment. I have no personal beef with Byrne, and like much of his work, but there’s definitely some information out there about him being, at the very least, prickly. As for me being “hoodwinked,” might I suggest — with respect — that someone familiar with John Byrne’s in-house fan boards might not be the most impartial person when it comes to John Byrne?

      • June 9, 2012 10:08 pm

        I’ve never met the man in person, so I can’t comment on how he acts in real life, but I am very familiar with his message board, I was a regular poster for several years, and on his board he comes off like a major league jack-@$$. I’ve seen him personally insult and belittle even people who were his staunchest fans on his board.

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