Sunday, November 15, 2009

Passing Without Fanfare

This actually kind of snuck by me: on Thursday, my old FFPlaza.com domain name finally expired. Kind of interesting (in one of those humans-making-connections-out-of-coincidences sort of ways) that that portion of my personal comics history completely closes just as I'm launching my new book.

Feel free to apply whatever significance or meaning you feel is appropriate.

1 comment:

Matt K said...

I note that it's been approximately a decade since the end of the FF Plaza building, depending on which step in its multi-part, Ben Reilly-esque beating-to-death one considers the real "end."

Poor Four Freedoms Plaza. From its very introduction it could get no love; despite conciding with the FF's 25th anniversary, the MU's ultimate 1980s glass and steel tower was basically introduced in between issues due to editorial upheaval.

As noted on the old FF Plaza web site, it was (prophetically) given the old Baxter Building's MU handbook entry despite the existence of a perfectly good FF Plaza description.

I think the brief, perhaps only real, highlight of its existence was its depiction in Marvel's 2099 universe, a lifespan which proved a good round century longer than its "616" counterpart.

By the mid 90s, the era of the big iconic "slab" headquarters had clearly passed, for good or ill. The concrete bunker which was Avengers HQ had been reverted to the stately Stark Manor. X-Factor's giant spaceship, a possible further example, was long gone.

Four Freedoms Plaza's iconic 4s had already been erased during the Infinity War, and were finally rebuilt for about two weeks before Onslaught, after which the FF would move into an alternate reality Baxter Building before the real thing's restoration. Nostalgia for the old Kirby design seemed to be straining at the pages already during the Onslaught story, when FF Plaza was oddly morphed into a kind of Baxter Plaza hybrid by some artists.

A series of ridiculous plot twists accompanied the end of FF Plaza. The Thunderbolts took over, then when they were evicted, the FF still couldn't move back in, instead relocating to a warehouse; this, we were told, was a more appropriate home for the FF than isolated in a tower (completely missing the point of the team, not for the last time).

The shell of the tower (the fate of the building's "guts" is a whole other story) was teleported to the moon; I can't even recall whether it's still lying there or was blown up for good measure.

The eventual return of the Baxter Building was, for me, one of those small "death of comics" moments. Coming as it did in the same issue as a return to the pre-1983 costumes, the result seemed to be a repudiation of anything which had happened since the early 1980s or, indeed, the mid 1960s. Leaving me asking "what, exactly, was the point of all that?" (The equally random inclusion of a never-before-seen "old pal" connected with the Baxter Building didn't really enhance the story, IMO.)

One can weigh the pros and cons of the monolithic FF Plaza vs. the Kirby contraption design of the BB. And having eventually reached a different perspective on ongoing comic book universes which does not look for logical progressions of events in the same way that one can expect them in reality, I see things a bit differently these days.

But... I think one might still fairly raise the question/accusation, on a monument to FF Plaza were such to be built: "If no one wanted me, what did you create me for."