Friday, April 29, 2011

How I Learned To Not Be A Troll and Love Peter David.

"PAD sux."

Honest to God, that was my first post on the internet ever. Yes, I was that ornery 15-year old on your favorite newsgroup, trolling before trolling was trolling. And boy, did I get chewed out for it. Never again have I intentionally misspelled (unless it's for effect), not defended a position, or just flat out ignored punctuation since. I learned that lesson very quickly, but the PAD thing took a while longer.

PAD, Peter A. David for you n00bs, has been a prominent comic writer and fan-favorite for years. He's done highly regarded runs on The Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, X-Factor (the 90s version), and X-Factor (the current version), while also tackling few novels in between. The man's a writing machine. But even with all the universal praise, to my 15-year old brain the man straight up sucked.

At the time, I didn't understand his witty banter, excellent puns, or exceedingly clever takes on any given character, all I knew is the man didn't want to play ball when it came to crossovers. Something that, as a young fanboy, I just couldn't comprehend.

From the rumors I hear, the beginning of his immense distaste for crossovers came from the end of his first run on X-Factor. It was during X-Cutioner's Song (my first big X-Crossover, by the by) that he was forced to write an issue that featured no members of the book, and instead focused on Wolverine, Cable, and Bishop.

It wasn't a terrible issue (well, all things considered), but it did kind of derail his own plots for the book. At the time I wasn't really aware it was a problem (Oh, those crazy pre-internet days...) and presently I'm aware how much that would suck, it was that time inbetween that really festered the hate in me. The thing I really couldn't get over: he dissed Onslaught.

Yeah, yeah, Onslaught's a joke now, but to my mid-90s, crazy X-Fan brain Onslaught was the culmination of years of storytelling. It was the definition of an epic - one that would have consequences that would really last, not just for the X-Universe, but the Marvel U at large - and demanded the be reflected in all of Marvel's books. To put it simply, PAD did not share my enthusiasm for the concept of an evil Professor X and his quest to take over the world.

His problem, from what I remember, was The Hulk's involvement in the fracas. For whatever reason, the higher-ups decided that The Hulk should not only be involved, but that he should be one of Onslaught's henchmen AND would ultimately be split into a monster half and a human half (with the human escaping into the... you know what, let's just leave it splitting). Needless to say, this is a huge change in the character and would severely derail any long term story lines that were already in place. So, as those who are slighted tend to do, PAD was quoted somewhere (probably in Wizard) voicing his dismay in how everything went down.

"How dare he not want to play ball with these large, universe-changing events!" I shouted to no one (I didn't have a lot of friends who read comics). "The Marvel Universe is shared, if something happens in one book, it should be reflected in another," I continued, "He needs to check his ego at the door and start doing what's good for the Marvel Universe as a whole!" Of course, without a physical outlet for this impotent adolescent rage, I took to the internet newsgroups and boiled down my grievance into two words: PAD sux.

Oh, how I was wrong.

After putting the habit down for a few years and returning, I discovered how much fun PAD's work can be. Sure, sometimes it can get a little overly cutesy and punny - like in the mostly fantastic Captain Marvel series from 2001 - but for the most part his stuff is insightful, funny, and overall just swell. I may not actively read any of his books anymore - even though his X-Factor is pretty damn amazing, not to mention the phenomenal stuff he's been doing with the Multiple Man - I've realized, in my maturing years, how refreshing his work can be.

And I wanted you all to know that.

It was a mistake that's been haunting me for years and I needed to set the record straight. To that point, I would like to formally revoke my first internet post and declare that PAD does indeed not 'sux'.

Phew. I feel better already.


  1. Thanks for setting the record straight!

    Seriously, that was a charming and amusing essay. The unexplored life is not worth living.


  2. Correction. I meant to say the unexamined life. Screwed up the quote.


  3. I think I just achieved internet nirvana. My experience surfing the webs has officially come full circle.

    Cheers to you sir, you made my month.