All throughout June, I’ll spotlight a different web site about comic books.. Like with the month of independent comics, the month of LGBT comics and last month’s month of webcomics, I figure I will let you comic book site/blog owners out there suggest your comic book web site (or blog) for spotlight during this month. So if you want me to spotlight your comic book site, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Today we look at Seth Kushner and Christopher Irving’s brilliant profile, review and commentary site, Graphic NYC.
Graphic NYC began as a colloboration between Kushner, a photographer and Irving, a writer. The pair would do profiles on comic creators in New York City, with Kushner handling the photographs and Irving handling the interviews/profiles.
The result was a ton of excellent pieces that continues to this day. Here’s a snippet from their most recent piece, an extensive (it took more than one entry!) look at Chris Claremont:
First, here’s one of Kushner’s stunningly beautiful photographs…
And here’s a bit from the long article/interview…
Amongst the most memorable issues of the Claremont and Lee run was in the author’s handling of Magneto as a tragic and misunderstood heroic figure trying to atone for his past misdeeds, not a static villain.
“The problem was that I had evolved the book and taken it in directions that not everybody was comfortable with: Magneto had started out as the X-Men’s premiere villain, and I was getting to the point in the late ‘80s where my goal was to kill off Charlie (probably around #300) and replace him with Magneto. It would show the evolution.
“The in-house perception was that I had sacrificed the concept’s premiere adversary, like if I’d made Doctor Doom a hero. My approach to the X-Men had always been that you could start the book with issue #100, and if you then later picked it up with #200, you’d see some changes. If you come back with #300, you’ll see a lot of changes from #100. Cyclops will be married, and he and his wife will have a kid; as a function of that, he’s going to go back to Alaska with his parents and start a life. He’s going to grow up. They are all going to grow up. New Mutants would evolve to a point where one or two of them might become X-Men, or not. It’s the same way with Kitty: it would be a slow evolution of age, but it would happen.”
Claremont’s direction as writer was more akin to the Gasoline Alley template, where characters aged and moved on through the evolution of the strip.
“If I’d stuck around, and if the book got to #500, it’s conceivable that the only common element might be Wolverine, because he’s functionally immortal. The idea was that things would grow, would change, and would spin-off. We could pass characters over to create Excalibur to try something new. But the driving force was that reality has changed and that we should pay attention to that, if for no other reason (from a practical standpoint) that the core of the series would remain the same, so that long time readers would always have a bedrock structure of characters that they could relate to. Each generation of new readers would have their own new favorites that they can bond with and root for, and invest emotions and concerns and tension, and watch what happens. If they left the comic after that, well, then we’ll bring in some new ones and start again.”
Pretty impressive stuff, right?
Here is an archive of all the profiles they’ve done so far.
If ALL the site had was pieces like that, it would be more than worth your while, but it has a lot more, including essays by Kushner and Irving (and guest contributors) as well as some really unique stuff, like this ORIGINAL COMIC by Jeffrey Brown about how playing with action figures influenced his storytelling abilities. A very insightful piece by Brown.
There is a recurring feature where artists speak about their influences, titled, appropriately enough, Influencing Comics (here is an archive).
There are reviews and essays by Irving, Kushner plus Jared Gniewek, Miles Archer and Gene Kogan. You can check them out here.
Really, this is just a tremendously interesting and compelling website that any comic book fan really should take the time to read. I know I check it out regularly.