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This podcast is more a literary criticism than you have gotten from us in a while. Before you listen please, go and get yourself a copy of this great book. We spoil it, but even more than that you’ll need to have read it to enjoy our analysis.
WRITTEN BY: Paul Jenkins
ART BY: Jae Lee
PUBLISHER: Marvel Comics (Marvel Knights Imprint)
RELEASE: December 1, 2001
This is not our standard podcast. The Sentry is a literary graphic novel full of layered meaning, depth, ambiguity of meaning, and nostalgia. We manage to get through almost a whole podcast without making a single dick joke!
So we briefly touch on this in the podcast, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on something so I’m going to elaborate here. As we’ve touched on before there is an interesting tug-of-war in the comics industry between creator rights, editorial control, and company profits. In this particular case Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Lee created the Sentry but ownership of the character feel to Marvel, which is fairly standard in the industry.
Jenkins and Lee had created a multi faceted story, that by its very plotting lent itself to self-containment. It was, by all accounts, also massively influential and well regarded. Since Jenkins didn’t retain the rights to The Sentry, other writers got to riff on what Jenkins had done.
We don’t, on principle. have a problem with that, especially when a character that has been languishing is picked up by a great creative team and gets great things done with them. When it goes the other way, though, it leaves me with a foul taste in my mouth. Jenkins and Lee wrote a great arc here, and it has unique pacing, plotting, and temperament. That magic mix proved, in the following six years or so, impossible to duplicate. It is disappointing to expect a certain type of thing from a specific character and get a different experience. Some of the stories that use the Sentry after this are good, but none of them reach the heights of this original run, and that is ok, I guess. I suppose if we get The Immortal Iron Fist, I can just pretend that The Sentry is a Super Skrull in his later appearances if that is what it takes to have both The Sentry and Ed Brubaker’s Daredevil.
This was an long rant, now go listen to the podcast!
Vestrymen Grade: You just scrolled to the bottom to see what grade we gave it didn’t you? DIDN’T YOU? For this you must be punished, with fire, and the forgetting of all that you where and all that you could be!
You can download a copy of this podcast: VFCast Sason 2 Episode 15
The music for this episode of Vestrymen from the Future! is used under a Creative Commons licence. This week, we feature Real Vocal String Quartet – “Forte Abandonada”, Plurabelle – “Lips” and Paper Navy – “Swan Song”. Intro music by Jonathan Coulton.