April Fool’s Day
The internet was teeming with momentous announcements on Sunday, but since it was April Fools Day, most are of dubious truth value. Here’s a sampling of my favorites; feel free to leave more suggestions in the comments.
Several things about this announcement are suspicious, including the quote from Scalzi:
“I have to admit at first I was skeptical,” said author John Scalzi of the adaptation decision. “Could the medium of manga truly contain all the deep layers that are the Shadow War series? All the writing craft, all the trenchant allusion, all the subtle yet pointed social commentary that the series’ readers had come to expect — nay, demand? But then Tor backed up the money truck, and I suddenly realized that, yes, in fact, manga was the perfect medium for Shadow War. I could not be more richly proud of this edition.”
Ten points to Scalzi (or whoever) for commissioning three very nice covers from Rosca, though; click over and spend a little time looking at the details to fully appreciate the humor of all this. Plus an awful lot of people would totally buy these books.
And then there’s the mysteriously unsourced announcement that Alan Moore is giving the middle finger to DC with Legal Squad, a vicious parody of Justice League that features stupidly named superheroes and super villains. That’ll teach ‘em!
“Every day, millions of people rely on Comic Sans for countless applications ranging from scrapbooking to school projects,” Allan Haley, Monotype’s director of words and letters, said in the announcement. “Comic Sans is also a favorite in professional environments, used in medical information, instructions, ambulance signage, college exams, corporate mission statements and executive reprimands – even public letters from sports team owners to their fans. Breaking up with your spouse? Why not write a letter in Comic Sans Pro, embellished with a typographic whack!, pow! or bam! Comic Sans is everywhere, and now it’s even better.”
Because the only thing better than plain ol’ Comic Sans is bold and italic Comic Sans, the family pack includes two new italic and bold italic fonts designed by Terrance Weinzierl. “Our aim is to put the ‘fun’ back in ‘functional’,” the designer said. “We can’t wait to see Comic Sans Pro used in everything from second wedding announcements to warning labels. Long live Comic Sans!”
During my six years, on and off, of comics linkblogging, I’ve come to loathe certain times of year: the week before a major holiday, when the industry all but shuts down; the week before Comic-Con, when publishers hold tight to anything resembling news; and April Fool’s Day, when the Internet is even less trustworthy than usual.
That last one — which, as I’m sure you realize by now, is today — typically involves mildly amusing, if not altogether believable, reports about minor websites being purchased by major corporations, out-of-left-field directors signing on for big movies, and so on. Occasionally a post is plausible enough to fall for, and then feel silly about later. But usually they’re just annoying.
Every once in a while, though, there’s an April Fool’s “joke” that rockets past “annoying” and lands squarely in the category of “poor taste” or “WTF were they thinking?”
Take, for instance, this post: It’s a fake obituary — a faux-bit, if you will — for 87-year-old comics legend Stan Lee. Headlined “IN MEMORIAM: Stan Lee,” it contained, at least initially, a photo of Smilin’ Stan above the dates 1922-2010. The brief post went on to list some of Lee’s accomplishments and noted “that an upcoming episode of The Big Bang Theory which may be his last television performance ever.”
I’m hesitant to call out another blog, but it’s poor form, and not even remotely funny. When someone pointed that out in the comments, a blog contributor responded, “What? That we want to honor Stan Lee?” Ah, yes. Honoring Stan Lee.
Edits have been made to the original post, removing the date of death from the photo caption, and dropping a reference in the text to “sad news,” making me think someone realized a line had been crossed. It’s a little more difficult to scrub the post title/epitaph, though.
Stan Lee, to the best of my knowledge, remains hale and hearty, and appears more energetic than many half his age. What’s more, his Twitter feed is far more entertaining than any April Fool’s “joke.”
Update: The post has been deleted from the blog. In the comments section of our post, a Big Shiny Robot contributor writes, in part: “I want to apologize for this. Our execution was clumsy and we though it could have been funny, but we’d clearly crossed a line. We tried to keep it so that we didn’t actually say anything in the article that implied anything, but we were trying to be clever with the format. … It didn’t work. We’re sorry if this caused anyone more than the standard April Fool’s day distress.”