A longtime showbiz journalist and fan's thoughts on comic books, movies and other cool stuff.

Month: September 2009

Mutants drift further from Utopia, but Batman and Spidey are doing quite well, thanks

It’s taken me a awhile to get to reading the giant stack of comics that piled up the past few months. Reading them has been sadly dull — I don’t know if it’s the comics or if it’s me, though I suspect if everything was a great read I wouldn’t have written what I just wrote. So let’s get to it.

Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Exodus #1 (Marvel, $3.99) is the conclusion to the Utopia crossover storyline, and it’s reasonably good. That’s to be expected when you have folks like Matt Fraction writing and Mike Deodato and Terry Dodson drawing. The Utopia storyline was pretty overtly political for X-Men, starting with an initiative called Proposition X that would require medical birth control for all mutants. That leads to the mutants, who’ve established San Francisco as their new home base, going on the riot path and H.A.M.M.E.R. director Norman Osborn bringing in his Dark Avengers to restore order and discredit the X-Men and install his own lackeys — the Dark X-Men — as the public face of mutant kind. It’s a heavy handed and painfully obvious attempt to tie the mutants into the gay rights issues that are at the forefront of society. And that would probably work, but there’s such a sense of change fatigue when it comes to the X-Men franchise that none of this really has a chance to stick. It was only a year ago that the X-Men came to San Francisco, and nothing about that switch really stood out as meaningful or interesting — and now we’re on the move again to the remnants of Asteroid X, now renamed Utopia. It would have been nice for the X-Men to have stuck around San Francisco long enough for that setting to made a difference. And it’s hard when your arcs all run four, five, six issues to establish a real sense of place the way comics used to back in the days when they were periodicals through and through. I think of the first Wolverine series from 1982, where that setting of Japan really came to life and was important to the story. Nowadays, even with a half dozen spinoff titles, the X-titles (and Marvel titles in general) have become kind of cookie cuttered in the Bendis mode — where characters’ dialog rarely has much to do with the story and the overall tone is self-conscious and self-referential to the point of inanity. All of this was fresh 10 years ago, but at least for me, this style has worn out its welcome.
I also read the Utopia tie-in issues Dark X-Men: The Confession #1 (Marvel, $3.99), X-Men: Legacy #227 (Marvel, $2.99), both of which suffer from much the same symptom. Confession is basically an entire issue of Cyclops and Emma Frost having it out over the status of their relationship and their respective guilt and responsibilities in the whole thing. And character is important — it’s part of what made Marvel great — but this exemplifies the self indulgence that I think is plaguing the X-books in particular. Another example is The Uncanny X-Men #515 (Marvel, $2.99), the first issue of the new “Nation X” storyline that heralds the return of Magneto, usually a big event with lots of drama even when it’s not done well. But here, it’s sudden and just seemingly random. Even the things that should work don’t — a minor character dies in a rather nice scene, but again it’s a character who hasn’t been around long enough or done anything interesting enough for the reader to care about his passing with the same passion some of the X-Men display.

In the Wolverine corner of Marvel, Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s alternate future run concludes in Giant-Size Wolverine: Old Man Logan #1 (Marvel, $4.99). Alternate future storylines can be fun, and this one has had its moments of coolness. But the ending, delayed from the regular run of the title to this special, is disappointing for just being so damn obvious. This post-apocalyptic Western tale, in which Old Man Logan has to rediscover his spine as he tries to protect his family from the victorious supervillains that rule the land. The end, however, sees Logan finally pop the claws and go to town on everyone — but it does so in so mundane and excessively violent a fashion that it’s hardly satisfying or even terribly interested. The art’s nice, even though it’s a bit gross at times, but this ending throws no curves at all and I couldn’t help but think, “That’s it?”
Still, it’s better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine #1 (Marvel, $3.99), the most recent Origins one-shot. I guess this does a decent job of recapping the character’s origin and making it jibe, both storywise and visually, with what appears in the movie of the same name. But in simplifying the story, it loses the interesting parts of the good stuff and exposes the lame stuff for being truly lame. It also doesn’t do much to explain itself — like who are Heather and James Hudson, who weren’t in the movie? The art, however, is nice — no surprise since it’s by Mark Texeira, who did a good job drawing the Wolverine series way back in the early 1990s.
X-Factor #47-48 (Marvel, $2.99 each), continues to be a consistently entertaining read. Yeah, it’s gotten complicated, with future Dr. Dooms, an adult Layla Miller, a future Cyclops and more Madrox dupes than you can shake a stick at. But writer Peter David does a good job of giving everyone a personality and structuring his story so that it’s entertaining even if you don’t remember every detail of the previous 46 issues.
Before we leave the mutant corner of the Marvel Universe, there’s X-Men Forever #7 (Marvel, $3.99), which reminds me how great writer Chris Claremont was at establishing a new direction for a series and how quickly the new status quo could be forgotten. After a memorable five-issue opening arc, the last two issues have been a lot more murky and directionless. This one features a lot of flashing back on Nick Fury’s part to the days when Logan (currently believed dead in this timeline) did a lot of dirty work as a solider. It’s all still very recognizably Claremontian, which is comforting at times, but lacks the obvious forward momentum and focus of the first arc. Given that the outcome of Claremont’s stories usually depends greatly on the talents of the artist he’s working with, Tom Grummett can’t return to these pages soon enough.
Fantastic Four #569 (Marvel, $3.99) wraps up another Mark Millar run, though this time without the artist who kicked it off, Bryan Hitch, and with an assist on the scripting from Joe Ahearne. This is a definite ending point, though I recommend rereading as much of the run before trying to tackle the finale as possible because who’s who and what’s what is, once again, a complicated matter. The best part of the book comes at the end, when Ben Grimm’s wedding day arrives at long last. Removed from the plot complexities of the first half of this book, the characters are fully enjoyable and the situation surprising for the nature of the conflicts and how they play out. The art, by Stuart Immonen, is a good imitation of Hitch’s style, giving a bit more warmth to the characters. Looking back, the run didn’t measure up to the potential of the earliest issues. Seeing the acclaim for the follow up run by writer Jonathan Hickman tells you all you need to know about fan reaction to Millar’s run. But it still turned out well and I think will grow a bit in fans’ eyes over time.
Lastly from Marvel is The Amazing Spider-Man #602-604 (Marvel, $2.99 each). The plot in these issues, written by Fred Van Lente, features a good twist on the old Chameleon character (he’s been a villain since way back in ASM #1) as he mistakenly takes on the appearance of Peter Parker without knowing he’s Spider-Man. There’s some funny moments as Chameleon manages to fix a lot of Peter’s personal problems without really trying too hard. The return of Mary Jane figures fairly prominently, not completely justifying three consecutive MJ-themed covers, but OK, they’re well done. The Amazing Spider-Man has succeeded in its attempt to be a serial of its own — it may be the only part of the Marvel Universe that doesn’t rely on constant crossovers or participation in things like Dark Reign. Shipping three times a month, it’s also worked out a unique rhythm to its plotlines that is most like that of a TV series. I don’t know how much of an effect this had had on readership — whenever I ask at the comic shop, I’m told that overall interest in Spider-Man is down — but I think Marvel should stick with it because it’s, at the very least, different.
Having dug through the Marvels, it’s time to look at a few DCs from the Batman corner. Batman and Robin #4 (DC Comics, $2.99) is the first issue drawn by Philip Tan instead of Frank Quitely. I think it takes Tan a bit to find his groove on this issue, as I had a hard time following the art in the early pages but was very much enjoying the issue by the end. Grant Morrison’s story brings back The Red Hood, though who’s under the hood remains a mystery at this point, and his sidekick Scarlet. This is a good Batman story — the plot, villains, conflicts and visuals all work as well, if not better than, the previous Quitely-drawn issues.
It’s only moving on to read Batman #689-690 (DC Comics, $2.99 each) that I wonder what specific purpose each book is intended to serve. Maybe it’s just that with Batwoman having taken over Detective Comics, they needed to start Batman and Robin to have that second main Bat-title. I don’t know. But these issues, written by Judd Winick and drawn by Mark Bagley, were also quite enjoyable. Bagley’s art, especially, is refreshing on Batman because his style is so associated in my mind, and I’m sure others’, with the sunnier superhero fare of Thunderbolts and Ultimate Spider-Man. His Batman has some of the same quality, but after so many years of downplaying the superhero aspect of Batman it comes off as cool and interesting. Of course, Winick’s script helps, emphasizing as it does new Batman Dick Grayson’s happier outlook on life when compared to that of Bruce Wayne.
Lastly, comes Detective Comics #855-857 (DC Comics, $3.99 each), featuring solo tales of the new Batwoman by writer Greg Rucka and amazing art from J.H. Williams III. Considering how easy it would be to butcher a series about Batwoman, who was introduced to the world in a flurry of news articles about her homosexuality, it’s a bit of a minor miracle that this is so good. A lot, I think, comes down to Williams, who remains underrated despite outstanding work on Alan Moore’s Promethea and the seemingly lost Desolation Jones with Warren Ellis. The “Alice in Wonderland” villain is beautifully rendered, the pages are shockingly designed to be read as comics rather than movie storyboards and the imagery is powerful and beautiful all at once. And it does so with an unmistakable homoerotic undercurrent that’s attractive and playful in a way no comic has been since Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbe’s Cobweb feature from the ABC Tomorrow Stories series. And let’s not forget Rucka, who gives Kate Kane everything a character needs to be interesting and true to herself without doing the obvious sex scene. Instead, there’s a rather romantic dance between Kate and Maggie Sawyer from the Superman books that is really well written, staged and drawn. I also like that this series doesn’t interact with the other Batman books, that the series is getting a chance to stand on its own and hopefully develop its own identity and audience. There’s also a backup strip in these issues, written by Rucka and starring The Question. This is the new Question, former Gotham City cop Renee Montoya, and it’s so far so good there too.
We’ll see how much more of the pile I can plow through this week, though I’ve been on a real Jack Kirby kick of late and am interested in revisiting some of his work. Also, I’ve been reading Moebius — Blueberry Vol. 1 (the Marvel/Epic version) and The Airtight Garage just arrived in the mail today — and picked up a couple of interesting items in France and Italy that I want to get to and will … eventually.

Kirby Heirs’ Claim a Tougher Row to Hoe

As if the news from comic book land couldn’t get any more sensational, the heirs of Jack Kirby have notified Marvel and the movie studios making Marvel movies of their intent to reclaim Kirby’s rights to the likes of Fantastic Four, Hulk and X-Men.

Like the news of the similar, successful attempt by the heirs of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel against DC Comics, this news raises questions among fans about the future of these iconic comic book characters. Adding to the interest is the involvement of attorney Marc Toberoff, who is representing the Siegels in a court proceding that will determine how much DC owes them for the use of Superman since 1999.
Toberoff has had a lot of success with this sort of case, both in the courtroom and in making headlines. In this case, sending out 45 notices of intent to terminate the transfer of copyright to Marvel, Sony, Fox, Universal and more, just weeks after Disney agreed to buy Marvel and its catalog — a large portion of which Kirby had a hand in creating — for $4 billion.
But there are some pretty major differences between Kirby’s case and the Superman case. Namely, that Siegel and his partner Joe Shuster had clearly created the character of Superman prior to working for DC Comics and selling all rights to that company, while Kirby was had been working for Marvel as a freelance artist for several years before he and Stan Lee collaborated to create the characters that become the backbone of the Marvel Universe.
When the copyright laws in the United States were revised in 1976 to include provisions for original rights owners to cancel the transfer of rights, it also made clear that the same right does not exist for material created as work made for hire. That law clearly defined work made for hire and what kind of relationship qualified as WFH.

At the time Kirby co-created the Marvel characters, the specifics of the law were less clear. The 1909 Copyright Act does include the concept of work made for hire, but doesn’t clearly define it. According to this article, courts interpreted work made for hire as requiring a traditional employer-employee relationship, though around the mid 1960s they began to expand the definition to include freelancers who contributed to collective works like Kirby, Steve Ditko and everyone else who worked on those early Marvels, except for Stan Lee.
I expect this will be the crux of this case, with Marvel arguing Kirby was creating work made for hire and Toberoff arguing Kirby — who claimed in interviews he never signed any document during those years ceding his rights to the work — created copyrighted material on his own that he sold to Marvel and that his heirs now have the right to cancel.
Lee’s situation is completely different. As the editor of Marvel Comics, he had that traditional relationship with the company and I don’t think any reasonable person would consider his contributions to those comics as anything but a textbook case of work made for hire. Of course, a lot of this is going to reopen the old argument of who was contributing what to the finished work. It’s an argument that will never be settled, but what is clear is that Kirby drew the comics, while Lee wrote the dialog and served as editor. Who was most responsible for the actual content of those stories — creating characters, coming up with and pacing out the plots — is the area of dispute. Lee surely contributed some of those elements, especially in the early days, but it’s also obvious that Kirby had the greater impact in plot and character design. It’s long been fashionable to denigrate Lee’s contributions, but the personality he projected in the dialog and the copy he wrote for Kirby’s stories was essential in developing and defining the Marvel style for decades to come.
Even though Kirby was not a traditional employee, I think it’s going to be tough for the Kirby heirs to make a convincing legal argument that he was not doing work made for hire. Unless there’s some smoking gun, the issue of Kirby and Lee’s relationship has been the most scrutinized in comics history. If there were smoking gun documents still in the hands of the Kirby estate, or even Marvel documents that dated back to the time, they likely would have surfaced by now.
And a lot of this has been disputed before, back when Jack Kirby was trying to get Marvel to return his original artwork in the 1980s. (It says on Mark Evanier’s website here that Kirby never actually sued Marvel.) There was a long dispute over a release form that Marvel asked Kirby to sign that clarified Marvel’s ownership of the copyright, but also contained many measure Kirby objected to. A long, public standoff occurred, the details of which have been recorded in detail elsewhere. One such account, Michael Dean’s overview in The Comics Journal Library: Jack Kirby, states that in the end Kirby signed a a shorter form of the release that addressed his concerns and got his art back. How that, and any other documents or agreements Marvel had with Kirby over the years, would affect the copyright termination attempt will have to wait.
And that’s the other element — this is a long-term deal that won’t really have any effect for years. Consider that in the Siegel case, they successfully terminated the copyright transfer for Action Comics #1 in 1999 and are still in court determining the details and litigating exactly how much that share of the rights is worth. With the Kirby work, the copyrights aren’t even eligible to be terminated until 56 years after first publication, which is 2017 for Fantastic Four #1, 2018 for The Incredible Hulk #1 and Thor’s first appearance in Journey into Mystery #83, and 2019 for X-Men #1. The window is five years, so it could be even longer before any kind of legal heat results.
And there’s also the issue of Disney’s legal acumen, especially in defending its copyrights and trademarks. Take for example this Los Angeles Times article from last year that makes the case that, due to a faulty copyright notice, Disney’s famous “Steamboat Willie” cartoon has long been in the public domain but remains de facto protected by Disney’s immense legal muscle.

As with the Siegel and Shuster case, it’s clear that Kirby deserved better treatment — money and credit for his contributions — from Marvel. Unfortunately, I think this will be a much tougher argument to win. Perhaps Disney/Marvel will see the benefit in settling this without going to court. But history seems to indicate a years-long legal battle before any of this is settled for good.

Mutant Mysteries: Giant-Size X-Men #1 and X-Men #1 cover changes

One of the fun parts of a hobby like collecting comics is the right to obsess over things no one in their right mind would give a second thought. For me, one of those has been the small variations that have cropped up whenever the cover image to X-Men #1 and Giant-Size X-Men #1 were reprinted. For me, the bigger mystery was always Giant-Size X-Men #1. For years, the reproductions of the cover that I saw in various reprints all looked like this (click for a close-up, hi-res look): The real cover looks like this: There’s only one difference between the two: the cover date. For whatever reason, all the images that I had seen over the years had a cover date of May. That’s how the cover appeared reprinted on the inside back covers of X-Men Special Edition #1 and Classic X-Men #1 (which sports an awful re-coloring of the classic cover). It’s also how it appeared in Marvel Masterworks (the volume featuring Giant-Size X-Men #1 was first published in 1989) and the 1991 Marvel Milestone reprint that even included all the original advertisements of the original comic, and in the reprint in the first hardcover collection of Ultimate X-Men, which came out in 2002 or so. But Marvel obviously also had access to the correct image, which appeared in 1988’s The Official Marvel Index to the X-Men #4, and in the 1994 update of that series. It also showed up correctly in the 1996 first printing of Essential X-Men Vol. 1. So, where did this version with the May cover date come from, and how did it become the primary — but not only — version Marvel used? The original artwork — which can be seen here — includes none of the trade dress and offers no answer. My only credible thought is that a version was prepared for a house ad that might have appeared just before the issue came out. But I’ve not been able to find such an ad anywhere online, so it’s all just supposition on my part. The May date is probably correct. X-Men #93, the last reprint issue of the series, had a cover date of April 1975 and X-Men #94 had an August 1975 date. The gap between Giant-Size X-Men #1 and X-Men #94 make sense, given the now well-known story about how the story intended for Giant-Size X-Men #2 was broken up into two issues and run as #94 and #95 when editor and writer Len Wein left Marvel. The May cover date also places the release of this issue in January or February of 1975 (I always go by my memories of the May Marvels coming out in the direct market in January, usually a few weeks ahead of issues showing up on newsstands). But looking at the actual indicia for Giant-Size X-Men #1 shows the only cover date to be 1975, and the frequency of the book as quarterly. Giant-Size X-Men #2 similarly only has a 1975 cover date, but the frequency had been bumped up to annual. Anyways, the mystery of where the May cover date came from and how it became so commonly used by Marvel over the years is likely to remain a mystery. The changes on X-Men #1 are in a lot of ways not as obvious, but definitely more significant. Here’s the real thing:And here’s the version that appeared in the original Marvel Masterworks, Marvel Milestones, etc.: Some of it’s just minor stuff — changes in coloring, etc. But there’s also changes to the artwork, and someone at some point added a circle around the “In the Sensational Fantastic Four Style!” blurb, even though the lettering looks exactly the same. Also, the blurb about Magneto changes from reverse type (white on red) to black on red. I recall reading somewhere – I can’t find the piece or remember where I read it — that the version with the grass background and power effect for Marvel Girl was part of the original artwork that Jack Kirby and whoever inked this cover turned in. Taking a closer look, it’s clear that more was changed between that version and the one printed than those elements just being dropped out. A close look reveals that Marvel Girl, Angel and Beast were moved up and spaced out a bit, perhaps to make each more distinct on the cover. There’s also a few motion lines dropped over near Angel. It’s kind of horrifying now to think that this classic cover might have been cut up with an X-acto knife and the characters all re-pasted into their new positions in Marvel’s production department. But it’s not that the original was changed that’s so much of a minor mystery as, again, how the non-published version was reprinted so often. Someone at Marvel, however, has noticed the difference, as it has been corrected in the revised editions of the Marvel Masterworks series to match the published version of the original comic. Maybe someday, convincing answers will come forth and allow me to settle this errant thought. But if not, it’s also fun to roll this completely inconsequential bit of trivia around in my brain every now and then.

Marvel, DC changes will have long-term repercussions, but for now, just relax

The worst part about being away from this blog so long is the mental hurdle that has to be overcome in order to get back to it. Just for the record: I’m not dead. A combination of work, a spirited 40th birthday party for my aging fanboy self and a lengthy sojourn to France and Italy have kept my comics reading to a minimum. There are a number of posts that I’ve thought about in the past couple months that I’m going to try to get to in quick succession, just to get things rolling here again. But, first things first … Yes, that was the ground shifting beneath the comic book industry in a historic week that saw Disney buy Marvel for a whopping $4 billion and the restructuring of DC Comics as DC Entertainment that includes the departure of longtime exec Paul Levitz. Of the two, the DC news is more important for comic book readers because Levitz was by all accounts the stabilizing force at DC that kept both the company and to a large extent the industry on an even keel during the darkest days. Lots of folks who’ve worked with Levitz over the years have published their thoughts on his contributions and lauded him for keeping DC steady, while others have criticized his stewardship of DC as being excessively timid. What everyone agrees on is that Paul Levitz is a class act, and I can throw my two cents behind that wholeheartedly. A few years back, at one of the New York Comic-Cons, I attended one of the media dinners DC occasionally throws at such shows to let various press folks mingle with execs like Levitz and some of the talent. I was seated at a table between Levitz and Keith Giffen, and got to listen to them talk about the old days of working on the likes of Legion of Super-Heroes and Ambush Bug. It was very entertaining and I found Paul to be very amiable and easy to chat with. He’s also a very canny executive, which made the few opportunities I’ve had to interview him on the record a little frustrating as he was not the easiest person to get a quote out of, or sometimes even a clear answer to the question. It’s clear that Levitz has a real love for comics and that despite nominally being an executive in a Time-Warner company, he was really one of us — a guy who grew up on comics and loved them unconditionally the way they were. Others attest with detail to some of the things Levitz did to ensure DC continued to publish comics the way fans wanted them and found a way for DC to function relatively free from interference within the massive Time-Warner hierarchy. And that’s the real reason why his departure from the executive suite is such a big deal. That Warner Bros. would one day take a greater interest in DC was a given. Thankfully, it’s come at a time when comics are seen as popular and when a library such as DC’s is seen as extremely valuable and not worth messing with too much. So that leads to the arrival of Diane Nelson as president of the newly named DC Entertainment. The press releases and statements that heralded the announcement of her new position were full of typical corporate Hollywood jargon that made a lot about extending brands and maximizing synergy and other meaningless terms. What’s interesting to me is Nelson’s background is exclusively marketing and brand management. She’s got lots of experience selling movies to audiences around the world, and it’s no small thing to have shepherded the Harry Potter franchise — which WB has done an outstanding job with — through the filmmaking process. She’s obviously been put in this position to help the company make more money off the DC library rather than micromanage the ins and outs of comic book continuity. What she’s not is someone with creative experience. She’s not a producer, not a writer and not a development exec, so I think it would be very surprising if she did much meddling in the creative side of the comic books. The press releases make a point of saying the comics aren’t going anywhere and seems to indicate that some interesting plans are in place for DC’s 75th anniversary next year. With Levitz no longer publisher, though, that leaves a pretty big job open at DC, and whoever ends up sitting in that seat could have a huge impact on the content of the comic books. I expect someone from outside comics will come in to the job, much the way DC brought in Dan Didio — a former TV executive — to be editor in chief of the superhero comics a few years back. Whoever takes the job will instantly become the most criticized person in comics. There’s a few things that it would be nice to see such a person tackle — mostly shaking things up in the books and in the DC offices, which often exude a sense of being unpleasantly corporate and lacking in morale. The choice of new publisher also will reveal more about Warner Bros.’ intentions and goals for DC’s comic book publishing efforts. Will the increased expectations the studio is placing on the division lead it away from the current publishing model of periodical comics and the relatively small direct market for a more conventional magazine or book publishing arrangement? Will we finally see DC superheroes in digital comic form? Or will the small size of the publishing market be too little for Warner to even want to bother with? (I think the latter is highly unlikely — based on Marvel’s stock reports, DC surely makes a decent profit on its publishing and Warner Bros. is smart enough to know how foolish it would be throw that away.) All of which is a very different situation from the Marvel-Disney deal. I expect it will take years before the impact of this deal is noticeable in Marvel’s comic book line, but when it is felt I expect it will be major. But for now, I don’t see much to worry about. Disney paid a premium to buy Marvel because it likes what Marvel is doing and how much money it’s making. You don’t buy a company that is working as well as Marvel is to start micromanaging it or tinkering with it for the sake of tinkering with it. But over time, Marvel will change just by being part of Disney. It’ll happen as Marvel interacts with Disney, and especially as executives come and go. When Ike Perlmutter or David Maisel or Joe Quesada leave their respective positions, it will be Disney that decides who’s going to replace them. Barring any sudden departures, I think it’ll be years before enough changes are made that readers of the comic books will notice a significant difference. Will we look back at this moment five years from now and call it “the week comics went corporate?” In some ways, these kinds of shifts have been inevitable for some time given the way superheroes and comic book imagery have infiltrated the culture the past decade. But there’s always that old nagging issue that won’t go away — if the world loves comics so much, why don’t they sell better? And there’s fear with that — fear that the traditional comic book periodical and the industry that’s been built around could finally give up the ghost and go away for good, replaced by slick bookstore graphic novels, video games, DVDs, TV shows, whatever digital comics become, and, of course, movies. There’s hope here that greater investment from the likes of Warner Bros. and Disney could be great for comics, that their muscle could open up the lines of distribution and make comics more available, especially to kids. But it’s also just as plausible that the overall decline of print prompts those corporations to make a real bottom-line decision and ditch publishing altogether. I think as long as comics sales make money, Disney and Warner will see the value in keeping them around. But given what’s changed in the past 10 years, who knows where we’ll be 10 years from now? It’ll be interesting to watch, however it turns out.

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