Woodring, you unhinged genius… Problematic.
Archive for the ‘comics’ Category
An interview with Ed Brubaker on the Comics Reporter. I’m mortified that Brubaker is finally calling it quits with Captain America, but it’s understandable that he’s tired and ready to move on. Eight years is a damned long run for a Big Two superhero comic. Besides, I probably love Sleeper and Criminal more than his Captain America, which is saying quite a lot. There’s musing on his collaborators through various projects, nothing terribly revealing, although how he and Sean Phillip arrived on the design of the Fatale collection is interesting.
The thing that bugs me most is that he really does seem to be friends with Brian Bendis, one of the laziest hacks writing in superhero comics.
Brubaker goes into the great depth about the Before Watchmen and Alan Moore controversy. I haven’t been paying too much attention to the matter, being sympathetic to Moore, but optimistic a decent comic book could result from the mess. Straczynski is quite the nasty little shit, isn’t he?
The odd thing is that I never got around to reading Giraud’s comics, and i’ve been exposed to him my whole life. A creepy older cousin of mine used to have stacks of Metal Hurlant ( as well as Heavy Metal and Penthouse) that he’d loan to a neighbor kid only slightly older than me, which we read on the school bus when i was between seven and ten years old. Everything in those magazines made me feel weird. I didn’t figure out that i was staring at some of Moebius’ work (among others) until decades later.
I watched this documentary last night (swiping the link from Boing Boing.) The bit that hit hard was how Giraud went to Mexico as a young man in the fifties and was transformed by the desert, how its emptiness and flatness cracked open his soul. He related it to a shamanic experience.
Yeah… i get this in a way that is extremely difficult to articulate. Again, when i was a kid, my folks used to take us out to the American West, through the high plains, deserts, and mountains. My father would hand off Edward Abbey books as soon as i could read them. So, truly.. the desert as Giraud’s transformative trigger. It makes sense as i click through panels celebrating his life’s work.
Fluxtumblr linked the Rolling Stone interview/profile of Grant Morrison, but what’s better is that Matthew mentions some of the material that seems to be left out of over 100 pages of interview transcripts.
Honest criticism of Mark Millar? I don’t really want Morrison to bash Millar, but the way that Morrison wrote so glowingly of Millar in Supergods was too much. At least he’s conscious of his friend’s flaws.
Weirder, was what Matthew mentioned about Morrison, Meltzer, Identity Crisis, and rape in comics… very strange observation there. Again, in Supergods, i don’t recall any words Morrison had for Identity Crisis but praise.
This isn’t a review. That’s already been covered well enough over on this site. I wound up agreeing with most of that, unlikeable but fascinating. Yeah, i could go with that. Even an Alan Moore misstep is still better than most comics (and cheaper too! Initially i borrowed it from bookstore, but when i returned it the next day, i noticed that it’s only $7.95?! SOLD!)
Some notes, definitely out of order:
- In the epilogue in 1976, Allan Quatermain looks just like John Constantine.
- Mina Harker’s seeming failed experiment with superheroes (Seven Star League,) especially with the personal museum and group shots, were highly reminiscent of Watchmen.
- Dystopian future. It won’t be surprising to find there are a couple of V for Vendetta references upon re-reading.
With the next volume of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, it might be that we’ll see Moore decides to lampoon his own work a little more. With his admission of his ignorance of contemporary culture, his interpretation of 2009 looks like it will be strange. I don’t blame him. It’s nearly impossible to imagine what characters will define this age, and almost certainly, Moore will get it wrong… but at least it will be his wrong, which will again be interesting.
Seeing Jack Carter march around in this volume was weird.
the Purple Orchestra turned more into ’70s prog lyrically when Moore indulged in his magick. It got a little purple indeed. He would have been better off pastiching Magma lyrics.
This post has been in draft for over a week, but it’s still unfinished. There might be revisions and additions.
The new Grant Morrison book took me by surprise. It didn’t appear on my horizon. A friend has mocked me for not yet watching the Morrison documentary Talking With Gods, but getting so worked up about the book that i read it in a single night.
Some of the comic book analyses seemed to be rewritten versions of what i read in Douglas Wolk’s Reading Comics (which is better at it. Excellent book if one gives a damn about comics.)
The movie stuff annoyed me, as i don’t give a damn about comic book movies. they always fall short of expectations. Morrison professes to love comics, but i’m sensing some desire for him to complete that jump to screenwriting. The more that he went on about costuming in the Batman movie franchise, the more he went off-track.
It could have used more biography. Those memories were insightful in providing context to his creations. He seemed to rush through his time as a struggling creator moonlighting as a mod-psych pop star. Morrison spending more time explaining his adventuress in the East would have been interesting too. As for the cosmic stuff, those were the absolute favorites. He could have stayed rambling about 5D vision for the rest of the book easily. Messianic Morrison is with no doubt the best.
His comics i dig for the most part. I think he lost the thread after All-Star Superman and Seven Soldiers. Since i read Supergods i revisited some material from recent years to figure out where his head is at. His Batman run is good enough but Final Crisis was an unfinished mess. I re-read that in a single night to conclude that it probably needs to be twice as long, as characters appear obviously important, but contribute so little relative to the story that appears on page that it’s suspicious. He’s probably passing that off as a feature of the comic, that he’s inviting the reader to re-explore the comic to discover or imagine why these minor characters are so vital, but no…. i loved Seven Soldiers when it first came out1, and i’m still finding Easter Eggs in there. Final Crisis feels frustrating instead.
An unattractive facet came out in that Morrison seems very much a company man. The faint praise that he gives Marvel now annoyed me, especially because his dear friend Millar has been fucking up for years. Civil War’s tentpole title was NOT worthy of praise. The better stories of that mess came out of Slott and Gage from what i recall.
His praise for Identity Crisis was the Big Problem. That was a steaming turd. i HATE that thing. It was exactly the problem of doing something nasty and unforgivable for the lone sake of pretending to be “mature.” The crimes were nonsensical. Meltzer is an awful writer. Because Morrison not only refused to omit it from his book, but PRAISED it soured me to Morrison himself.
His undertow of bitterness on how Marvel undid so much of his run on X-Men looks very silly in that i was reading Brubaker’s Gotham Central the other day, only to realize some good characters were completely screwed over in some of DC’s recent revisions, almost out of spite. Renee Montoya is now the Question. Crispus Allen was killed and made the Spectre. I suspect DC pulled that shit because Brubaker jumped ship to do Captain America and Iron Fist. yeah, i would have preferred X-Men to continue on the path Morrison put it on2, but to pretend DC is any different is foolish.
oh, and his near complete abdication of acknowledging any indy (non-Image) comic other than Flaming Carrot (because a movie was made of it) was pretty telling.
Forbidden Planet featured a series of illustrations by Phil Noto of Marvel superheroes placed in their original time period, the ’60s. If Marvel ever loses its mind like DC typically does, and insist that its continuity is no longer on a sliding scale, but set in fixed periods, they need to take a quick look at this material and commission Phil Noto immediately.
Aside from the clothes and haircuts, he nails the vibe with details like the shape of chairs and wall textures. It’s arguable that anyone can stick in a natural stone wall or an Eames molded plastic chair, but how often is it done in mainstream superhero comics? Not very often. Most of the time the artists stick with the old costumes and maybe a haircut or three, but that’s it. These little details add a lot to their world, and honestly, it looks silly and awkward on film when it comes off as cool and stylish in comics.
By the way, one of them didn’t quite match that ’60s vibe, as it seemed too casual somehow, too relaxed from the ’60s style, only to reveal itself to be a 1975 interpretation. Noto is good, man!
He has a 1982 Betsy Braddock up now. More please.