Dizzy Days

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So about three weeks ago, I came down with a cold.
These used to be regular things, but as my health has improved, I’ve gotten colds less often and recovered from them more quickly. Having six or seven sinus surgeries to make my sinuses drain better probably had something to do with it, too.
But I got a cold, and it wouldn’t go away. Or it wouldn’t go away on one side, at least. For the last couple of weeks, the right side of my sinuses has been clear, and the left side so blocked that my head felt like it was filled in with solid wood. Irrigation didn’t help. NyQuil didn’t help. Even Afrin, which normally makes me feel like I’ve got a vast, windy cavern in my head, didn’t do a thing. And worse, with my sinuses unable to drain, I was starting to feel like I had an infection of some sort.
So I went to the doctor. Two doctors, so far. I’ve had CAT scans of my sinuses and untrasound of my thyroid and neck (there’s a mass in my neck that’s probably a side effect of all this, but you never know), and I’m on antibiotics, and la di da. I’ve been diagnosed with “acute sinusitis on top of chronic sinusitis,” which is medical for “Sheesh, your head just won’t clear out, will it?”
Next week I go to OHSU (Oregon Health Sciences University), where they did the surgery that ended most of my sinus problems close to a decade ago, and we’ll see what they say.
And in the meantime, I’m on Sudafed (or, more accurately, its more generic-y cousin, SudaGest), which I don’t like to take because all the way back to when I was a kid, it makes me dizzy and unfocused and kinda bleary, but I gotta do something to get my head to drain, and this seem to work, a little bit. I was unblocked enough last night to make a teeny little whistle through my left nostril, and open enough this morning to irrigate with a sinus rinse, and now I’m blocked up again but I get to take another dizzy pill in about ten minutes.
Fun, fun, fun.
So, what else we got?

The number of visitors here at Busiek.com sure skyrockets when I put up notes of how Jean Grey might have come back, or old Avengers pitches, doesn’t it? Traffic multiplied forty-fold for a while there, and has faded back down to about four-fold. It’s still kind of impressive to look at the counter at 10 a.m. and realize I’ve had more visitors that day than I had in an entire week not so long ago.
I’m sure it won’t last—I don’t have that kind of stuff in every blog entry—but I’ll enjoy it while it’s here. If you dropped by to look at one of those, feel free to poke around, look at what’s in the “Read” section, register for the forum, whatever.

And hey, I made another dime from Amazon! Thank you, Insomniacs fan, whoever you are!

In the mailbag, from Derrick Johnson…
I see that you are coming back to Marvel comics to write for them again. I am a fan of your work and am glad to see that you are working with other companies now. I never was a fan of the “exclusive” writer artist contracts that the major companies have. Anyway, the reason I wanted to write you was to ask you what you think of the current state of the Avengers.
I myself, (prior to Avengers Disassembled) was strictly an X-Men guy. I had never picked up an Avengers comic before. I read Spider-Man, JLA and some various DC stuff, but outside of the random crossovers and character interactions, I had never bought an actual Avengers comic. I read Avengers Disassembled by Brian Michael Bendis and was immediately hooked. (A lot of this had to do with Spider-Man joining the Avengers). I’ve bought every issue of Avengers since then and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. I’ve even found myself going back and buying older Avengers stories so that I could learn more about the history of the book and also just to read great stories.
I had a few questions about your feelings on the Avengers franchise right now. There have been many debates on what makes an Avenger, in the comic shops as well as online. What do you think of the current Avengers teams and story arcs? Have you kept up with the characters and developments (Civil War, Bucky, The Death of Cap, House of M, etc..)
I just wanted to get your opinion on all this because your opinion as one of the great Avengers writers is much valued to a fan like me. Thank you.

Thanks very much for the kind words, Derrick.
Unfortunately, I’m really not the best guy to comment, since I’m woefully behind the times when it comes to the Avengers. If find it very difficult, most times, when I leave a book I’ve written for a long stretch, to make the shift back from master puppeteer to audience member. So when I read those books, my reaction is too often, “Well, that’s not what I wold have done.” And that’s not a valid critique, because the book shouldn’t be “what I would have done.” It should be what the new guy would have done, and be judged on that.
[If nothing else, if someone else could do “what I would have done,” then what do they need me for?]
So reading books I had a long run on but am not writing any more feels like work, not like fun, because of my unique perspective. As a result, I generally just put that stuff aside, figuring I’ll get back to it when enough time has passed, or when I need to read those books for research reasons. So I don’t read much Avengers, Thunderbolts, Conan or Superman, not because I’m angry about anything, but because I can’t really make the shift back to being just one more reader, not easily. And I have so much other stuff to read that I read the stuff I have to and the stuff I can approach as a reader and just plain enjoy, and the other stuff kinda piles up, if I’m getting copies of it at all.
And here I’ll hang my head in shame and note that Brian Bendis very kindly gave me a copy of Avengers: Disassembled, in hardcover, no less, and I said I’d read it, and it’s still sitting there in my very packed “to be read” bookcase, along with too much other stuff I have to get to. But I know right where it is, at least!
I do read Ed Brubaker’s Captain America, and I’ve been enjoying that quite a bit. The return of Bucky is practically comic book blasphemy in concept, but Ed not only made it work, he made it thrilling.
And in order to write my Age of Heroes story, I was given a lot of notes and feedback (and got to read all of Siege), to make sure I was portraying the team right. And if and when I’m writing a major Avengers project, I’d certainly catch up and do my research, like I did when Fabian and I wrote the Avengers/Thunderbolts mini-series, and I read through everything he’d done with the characters since I’d been gone.
In the end, though, what matters most is whether you like it. And for the Avengers franchise, it’s pretty clear that Brian, Tom and company have put a new spin on things that’s gotten a whole lot of readers interested and excited, so that’s a victory, for Marvel and for the reading audience. With luck, they’ll be able to keep doing that, though this “Age of Heroes” and on to whatever new spins and surprises and upheavals come along beyond that.

And now the pill’s kicking in, so I think I’ll just watch the room rotate around me for a little while…

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