Speed Force
What If…Lord of the Rings had been an “Event” Comic?

A local movie theater has been running special screenings of the extended-edition Lord of the Rings trilogy over the last few weeks (almost certainly in connection with this week’s Blu-Ray release). I just watched Green Lantern, another movie in which a ring figures prominently, at the same theater. And of course we’re knee-deep in Flashpoint. The stories collided in a mental three-car pile-up during an afternoon running errands, and I started thinking: What would The Lord of the Rings have been like as a modern “event” comic book like Final Crisis or Blackest Night?

  • The Hobbit would have been subtitled, "Countdown to Lord of the Rings," and continuity wouldn’t have lined up quite right with the main series.*
  • The core story would have been six volumes, with the first three shipping on time, and increasing delays for volumes four, five and six.
  • We would have seen side stories and flashbacks in specials or miniseries such as "Lord of the Rings: War in the North," "Lord of the Rings: Arwen’s Story," "Lord of the Rings: Faramir’s War" and "Lord of the Rings: Balin’s Last Stand."
  • The first issue of the main series would have been accompanied by plastic replicas of The One Ring. The first issue of each tie-in miniseries would have included one of the rings given to elves, dwarves, or men.
  • To fill the gaps in the schedule, they would have added additional character specials like "Lord of the Rings: The Adventures of Tom Bombadil" and "Lord of the Rings: Radagast the Brown."
  • The main series would have ended with destroying the ring, and a group of follow-up miniseries would have detailed "Lord of the Rings Aftermath: The Scouring of the Shire", "Lord of the Rings Aftermath: The Greening of Isengard" and "Lord of the Rings Aftermath: Quest for the Entwives"
  • "Bow and Axe," an adventure-comedy-buddy series starring Legolas and Gimli, would be the most successful of several ongoing spinoffs. "Settlers of Mordor," on the other hand, would be canceled after just a few issues.

And then there are all the alternate-universe stories that would show up several years down the line, set in a world in which they failed to destroy the ring.

So…what do you think would have changed?

*Actually, this one really did happen. In the original edition of The Hobbit, Gollum gives Bilbo the ring as the prize for winning the riddle contest. By the time Tolkein got to The Lord of the Rings, that completely contradicted the ring’s effect on its bearers. He revised The Hobbit so that Bilbo finds the ring on his own, then wrote into LOTR that Bilbo had lied in the first edition to make himself look better.

Speed Reading: Flash Deaths, Sightings, Pricing and More

Some linkblogging from the past couple of weeks:

Flashy Links

Newsarama interviews Francis Manapul on his work on The Flash.

Comics Bulletin presents the Top 10 Flash Deaths in order of how long they lasted.

A reader at Silver Age Comics discovers that Flash Comics #13 is different on Earth-One.

You’ve probably read about the thief who took Free Comic Book Day a bit too literally and tried to steal a $150 X-Men Omnibus…and was foiled by Spider-Man, two Jedi, and the Flash.

Speaking of FCBD, Chris Samnee has posted a FCBD sketch gallery featuring both Flash and Quicksilver.

Super Heroes

Comics Worth Reading’s Johanna Draper Carlson has some ideas for how to make super-hero comics interesting again

4thLetter’s David Brothers encourages you to focus on the stories, not the canon. Don’t buy something you don’t like just because it’s “important,” and don’t pass up other good stuff because it’s not.

Comics Alliance has a thought-provoking article on the racial implications of running legacies backward.

Grumpy Old Fan ponders the role of secret identities in DC comics from the Silver Age through the present.

Once Upon a Geek also reviews the DC Fandex guide (my review went up on Monday).

Comics in General

Westfield Comics’ KC Carlson explains how to meet artists without being talked about afterward, and offers suggestions for convention behavior.

LIFE has a photo gallery of people reading classic comic books from the Golden Age through the 1980s, including a boy reading Flash Comics in 1949. Nitpick: By 1949, the feature wasn’t about a “college student” with super-speed. Jay Garrick graduated during his origin story. (Link via Xian)

Collected Editions considers an increasingly common problem: the trade you want is out of print.

Multiversity Comics analyzes the impact of the shift from $2.99 comics to $3.99.