Shiny Shelf

X-Statix #13

By Jim Smith on 03 November 2003

Unluckily, he says, hitting cliche instantly, #13 shows, for the first time, ‘X-Statix’ dropping the ball.

The history of this story has been well-publicised. It’s meant to be about Diana, Princess of Wales, but people complained so now it isn’t. It’s a problem, that. As the re-drawn, re-captioned story is something of a dog’s breakfast. This is simply because it’s so clearly about one thing (Milligan’s dislike and distrust of the Diana myth) while puporting to be about another (celebrity in general).

It’s a shame, as you can see the point of the Diana story. It’s a little cold and crass, a little too sneery and a little too adolescent, but it *works* – it’s worth doing, in a sense. It’s a point worth making. This is especially true when one considers that, had all gone as planned, the Diana story would have come out in a week where the papers here in the UK are again in full-on Diana obsession mode.

Maybe Milligan, Quesada and co were crazy to even try to do a satirical attack on an inexplicably well-loved public figure. Let me make one thing clear, I had little time for Diana when she was alive, but even I can see the, surely obvious, inappropriateness in doing a comedy zombie story about any woman who died at the age of 36 leaving two motherless children.

Maybe they underestimated and misunderstood the scale of the opposition they’d face. Maybe they got carried away with their own joke. But if you’re going to do this story then you should do it right. More, if you’re going to do this story then you shouldn’t get cowed into not doing it, wimping out and putting out a messy, compromised version which – and I’d put money on this – will please absolutely no one.

They should have printed the story as was, or thrown it away, or never tried to do it in the first place. What we have here is the worst of all worlds. Jamie Delano’s anti-Diana ‘Hellblazer’ mini-series (anyone remember that?) might have been rubbish, but at least it was about something, at least it was sincere.

It ain’t a complex maxim, to be honest, you should do something properly, or don’t do it at all.

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