*Flipping through the new Entertainment Weekly. Well, flipping through the bad half (the first half), the half with all the fluffery. I actually read the back half, where people generally seem to know what they're talking about (Owen Gleiberman was not impressed with "I [heart] Huckabees"). The first half this week was THE PHOTO ISSUE which makes it all the easier to skim, although one thing really gave me pause. The cover gal is Sarah Michelle Gellar, and they have a photo tribute inside the issue with all sorts of shots recreating horror movie scenes (over half 'woman in peril' bits) with the cover gal as the focal point.

The very first shot?

Dario Argento homage.

Well. Does it say something for Euro-horror's visibility that the very mainstream EW would kick off their little showcase with a "Susperia" homage? Although the shot itself looks a lot more like "Opera". You'll need multiple washes of contrasting color gel to tackle "Susperia". At least the iconic gloved hand is at the center of the frame (really an overall Argento icon rather than "Susperia" specific). Gellar just doesn't look like enough of a Snow White to approximate Jessica Harper; but the gown and hair would fit in a lot better in the artifice of "Opera", before we all head off to the Alps to detonate evey cliche at once and kill the director and finally... finally... become One With Creation. Ah, "Opera", Argento's last really good feature, although a lot of people don't like it either (the ending throws 'em I think).

Now that I look at at, that "Dawn of the Dead" shot looks way more Jean Rollin than George Romero...

UPDATE (2:25 PM): Gah. I just actually read the text and it turns out that the photos were not supposed to be direct homages to the films cited via quote... the quotes were inserted later. Maybe I should read the text more often. Of course, I also had to read about how scary it was to leave Buffy...)

*Don't worry Matt - I wasn't possessed or anything. I just felt like celebrating the triumphant return of Rob Liefield with "X-Force" making its big debut at #17 on the charts! And that "Excalibur" book everyone seems to dislike? Holding strong at #23, but a far cry from Claremont's real triumph - "X-Men: The End" at both #4 and #7. Ha ha, not like that pretentious hack Grant Morrison down at #78 (a significant step up from "Seaguy" actually)! Still, it's gotta hurt that he topped John Byrne ("Doom Patrol" - #82).

Yeah, yeah. I know. Morrison was doing fine sales-wise back when he was writing "New X-Men", and a lot of the Direct Market sales have to do with brand loyalty rather than who's writing the damn things. And big debuts level off (if you look, "Excalibur" has dropped close to 20,000 readers, most of the after issue #1).

That still doesn't explain "X-Force" which did better than most of the other X-Spinoffs (actually all of the other X-Spinoffs, unless you count the Ultimate book and The End as 'spinoffs'). And it's not that Liefeld's non-mutant books are setting the charts ablaze (although releasing more than one issue a year, preferably in the same miniseries, would help a lot). I guess it's just mutants + Liefeld + once-popular title = nostalgic mania, at least for issue #1.

Of course, I actually read (and even enjoy) the #1 book, featuring the core X-Team. It's a nice X-Book and I like a nice X-Book.

Now I'm not the sort of person to suggest that the core X-Men books would stay in the Top 50 no matter what's in them, oh no. You put Chris Ware or Seth on those books and sales are going south in short order (after an ititial kick of interest, I'd suspect). But as long as the book stays more-or-less inside the typical X-Parameters, oh yeah, it's a guaranteed performer. Some teams, like Whedon/Cassaday, know how to work the parameters well, and make it fun. The beauty of Morrison's run was that he knew how to operate within the parameters so well, that he could add all sorts of his own stuff while keeping it X-Palatable.

No, I'd say there's only about five thousand hardcore X-Collectors who'd buy the book no matter what. Like, if the pages were blank for months.