A couple of weeks ago, I posted an entry (since deleted) about Marvel’s *Omega the Unknown* revival and how word of it reached me concomitantly with news that a major problem in my life had been resolved. I wrote that the latter news so completely overshadowed the *Omega* announcement for me that I just didn’t care what Marvel was planning to do with *Omega*. The real damage, after all, had been done 28 years earlier, when the company’s former management went out of its way to ruin the characters and the series. I wasn’t interested, I said, in how the new regime reprocessed the remains.
Which was true.
For about a week.
As the euphoria over the personal news subsided, so did my state of denial: *Omega* was one of only two series from my early days at Marvel that I really *did* care about in a personal way. The other, of course, was *Howard the Duck*.
Like the duck, *Omega* was a completely original creation, with no roots in any extant Marvel character. Unlike Howard, who had made his first appearance in a “Man-Thing” story, *Omega the Unknown* even debuted as its own title. The series was my first long-term collaboration with Mary Skrenes, who is now my oldest and best friend and my collaborator on *Hard Time*. Much of *Omega*’s content was derived from personal experience, both mine and Mary’s. We drew heavily on our own childhoods for aspects of James-Michael’s story and on observation of our neighborhood — Hell’s Kitchen in New York, circa 1975 — for the setting of the book.
*Omega* meant a lot to both of us. Its cancellation was painful. Learning that James-Michael’s story had been brought to a conclusion by another writer was infuriating. But at least that seemed to be the end of it. Decades went by, Marvel did nothing with the series, and both Mary and I allowed ourselves to believe they never would. I was convinced *Omega* had been forgotten, and that was fine with me.
I can be such an idiot sometimes…!
I should have known that *nothing* in comics is ever allowed to stay dead. Characters who get their brains blown out are routinely resurrected. No series is ever really cancelled anymore; it just lies dormant until some writer or artist successfully pitches a new “take” to the publisher. Above all, no trademark is ever permitted to slide into oblivion.
I decided to express my frustration in a post to the Yahoo Howard the Duck Group, which I thought would be a *slightly* less public venue than this blog. (Anyone can join and read a Yahoo group, of course, but joining requires a conscious expenditure of effort, which deters far more people than you might imagine.)
The ensuing discussion “escaped” onto the larger Internet. I was going to write a long post about it myself, but Rich Johnston has saved me the trouble by summing it up very neatly in his Lying in the Gutters column (see the section titled “Into the Unknown”) on Comic Book Resources.
Take a look at that column, and I’ll have a few personal notes to add here tomorrow.
(Rich’s sidebar on the Ultraverse characters is interesting, too.)