Sunday, March 04, 2007

Record: Chuck Austen

Here it is, just the entry we could use, a little listing of some of the worst writing acts of a since forgotten hack writer whom both Marvel and DC had the gall to hire to write some of their most high profile books, how about that! Austen, as far as I know, was an animation producer for King of the Hill in the past decade, and surprisingly enough, he even penciled a few of the issues of the otherwise abortive Elektra series that ran under the now defunct Marvel Knights label. But it’s as a scriptwriter that he really played foul. For example:
  • He made Polaris into one of the most annoying characters in Uncanny X-Men. Really irritating dialect, and for a comic book, alarming too.
  • He wrote an affair between Archangel and Husk, a very questionable act too, since Husk, if memory serves, is underage (around 16-17 years old), and so, this was really going overboard.
  • He was even allowed to write Action Comics, probably the last insult to his record, but still one of the worst, and wrote a sappy rekindled affair between Clark Kent and Lana Lang. He may have even written a few issues under the pen name of “J.D. Finn” to avoid further embarrassment.
Austen is now gone, and if forgotten, it’s probably just as well. As a writer, toiling away with his half-hearted writing between 2002-2004, he was unusually bombastic, and didn’t even try to hide his contempt for the audience. He did at least one interview with Newsarama in which he sunk into victimhood, one of the biggest mistakes for a writer today to make, and he sure won’t be missed.


At 10:56 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, I've never read the works which you cite, but Austen's US War Machine (first volume, at least) was pretty darn awesome. Chuck did the [computer generated] art and wrote the script. The second volume, which was in color, had someone else doing the art, but the guy dickily decided to back out after a few issues, leaving Chuck stuck with a script for 10 issues, but art for only three. Marvel decided against hiring someone else, and wanted to end the series at only the three issues! A cryin' shame.

On a personal level, Chuck is a great guy. very personable and down to earth. During his USWM run we corresponded numerous times and he gave me (us -- those associated with the Advanced Iron fanzine) great advances on news and artwork.

At 12:54 PM , Blogger Avi Green said...

That was probably one of the few good things he actually wrote, which is why it's surprising that he didn't follow through well on X-Men and Superman. Maybe he'll make a comeback someday with a better understanding of what's needed to produce an enjoyable script.

I remember that US War Machine did get some pretty good reviews from some sources a couple years ago. Who knows, maybe I'll take a look someday.

At 1:36 PM , Blogger Aalok Madhusudan Joshi said...

Pretty decent start on Uncanny X-Men with Hope.I suppose he messed up Dominant Species,the Draco.Holy War was okay,if you can stand the Church of Humanity being portrayed as the nincompoops they were thought to be in the initial encounters.Bright new Mourning was pretty decent & I haven't read She lies with Angels,USWM,Avengers,Captain America & In the name of Gog but his first few issues,at least till the Lana Lang story were pretty OK but there was an overwhelming sense of deja vu wrt Uncanny X-men's Sacred Vows,collected in Holy War TPB


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