Friday, January 12, 2018

An Alan Smithee post--no, wait, I wrote this!

It's fallen out of use, but the name "Alan Smithee" used to be the pseudonym for film directors that wanted to disown a project. If the director wasn't satisfied with a finished film (for example, if they felt they lost creative control to producers, editors, or actors) they could have their name taken off it, and then more-or-less disavow ever working on it. So it wasn't a good sign to see him credited as writer for this issue...from 1995, Daredevil #339, written by Alan Smithee, pencils by Alexander Jubran, inks by Ande Parks, Don Hudson, Bud La Rosa, and Rodney Ramos.

This issue was set after Fall From Grace, a fairly substantial upheaval to the status quo for Daredevil: Matt Murdock was presumed dead, having faked his own death with the body of the doppelganger Daredevil from Infinity War. Matt was now "Jack Batlin," con man; and had a new, armored costume. That would be rolled back around Daredevil #345, but the writer of this issue, D.G. Chichester, was told he was being taken off the book, and opted to have his name taken off the last four issues he was apparently obligated to write. (We also checked out #343, from Warren Ellis, about a million years ago.)

The bad guy is the somewhat uninspired Kruel, formerly thug Vic Krueller, returned for revenge against the Kingpin, Ben Urich, anyone else he can revenge himself upon. Ben's rarely seen wife appears here, to get her skull cracked; and Ben's pretty cheesed with the Daredevil he considers a fake. (Matt has to bluff his way through Ben showing him a picture; which seems like a dick move.) The Kingpin's here too, at a low point in rebuilding his criminal empire: when his lackeys keep bringing up how great his old empire was.

Chichester had been the writer since Daredevil #292, per his Wikipedia entry, he wrote #292–309, #312–332, #338–342, and came back for #380 as well. This might not be his best issue, but it's better than the Alan Smithee name suggested.

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

Huh. I wonder why he was kicked off the book. Maybe sales weren't that good after Fall From Grace. I know I certainly enjoyed that story arc as well as the issues that led into it. Good, solid stuff. But after that? Meh. It's like he didn't know what to do after Kingpin's fall, which I can't blame him for, because how do you follow that up right?
After looking him up on wikipedia, it says he was replaced by group editor Bobbie Chase (I believe that was the Marvel Edge imprint at the time that books like DD, Hulk, Dr. Strange, were apart of)
He did write the 1997 Batman/DD crossover though, but quit the comics industry two years later in 1999.