Pipeline2, Issue #56: Morrison's Minions


[Marvel Boy #1]Farbeit from me to make it look like I'm well loved in all corners of the cosmos. In the interest of honesty, I present to you here the e-mails I received in reaction to last week's quick, but scathing, review of MARVEL BOY #1.

This serves two purposes. The first is to show you why some letters columns never print negative mail. If their negative mail looks like mine, I wouldn't blame them. The second is that I'm under deadline pressure for a story I'm working on for THE COMIC READER #3, and I could use the time to devote to that right now.

I think you'll find this entertaining in any case. Enjoy!

[I'm leaving out the names of the offenders here. They know who they are. They can come out and show themselves on the Pipeline message board if they'd like. The letters are being reprinted in their entirety with whatever spelling or grammatical mistakes may have been made included. The only editing done was in the deletion of their names from the bottom of the messages.]

Here's the first e-mail:

You call that a review? First you admit to a general ignorance of Morrison's work, and then you dismiss it as drug addled wanking. How about giving your readers some information? A plot synopsis? Maybe what you're looking at is something that actually requires some effort on the part of the reader, something that talks to you instead of talking down to you. This isn't Mark Waid reiterating the action in captions and dialogue, this is comics working as art. Think before you write.

Btw, I'm pretty sure that onanism is a major part of Morrison's creative process, but, if so, he manages to make it a significant act.

The funny part here is that I never admitted to a "general ignorance" of Morrison's work. I quite clearly stated that I liked what little of the JLA of his I had read, but didn't enjoy INVISIBLES. That's hardly ignorance of his work.

But if it makes you feel better, dear reader, allow me to put together a plot synopsis of MARVEL BOY #1:

Marvel Boy and a team of other, er, people are in a starship, hurtling through parallel universes. (I'm not making this up.) They arrive on planet earth, are destroyed, and are captured by someone in Iron Man's old costume. (I'm assuming this. It very well might be the original Iron Man. There's not much in the way of a timeframe given in the entirety of the issue to suggest it's anything other than modern day Marvel time.) Said evil man in a can tortures Marvel Boy. MB escapes, blows him up, and then promises to save the earth while lights come out of his fists.

That's the bare bones. It's covered in more techno babble than I'd care to talk about here that serves little purpose other than to weigh down the story needlessly. I'm all for sprinkling new and amazingly generous science fiction concepts inside of a story, but at what point does it all become excess baggage?

In the meantime, we know just about nothing about every one of the characters in the story and thus don't give a hoot about what happens to any of them.

For those of you playing at home, "onanism" is a reference to self-gratification.

But I shouldn't know that. I'm dumb. Me am stupid. How can you possibly know this? Follow the words of this next coherent e-mail:

Huh? On Marvel Boy? Man, you are confusing. It's not that hard to understand what was going on Augie. But then again your name is Augie. Hard to take reviews from a guy name Augie, seriously. I'm sure they have books your age out.

I wonder if Randy gets e-mails like this.

Finally, we come back to an old favorite here at Pipeline. He's someone we refer to as just "Pipeline's Biggest Fan."

I really don't understand the "logic" behind your opinions. From time to time, you applaud something like Clan Apis for its innovation and risk-taking and ask that we all support this small-scale independent venture. I assume that this is because you share my and many others' opinion that new ideas and good work are important to comics as well as any other creative medium. I would also assume since you review comics, that you believe that comics are as worthy of "legitimate" status as literature and film, i.e., that comics are art, just of a different form than fine art or literature. Admittedly, these are assumptions I've made about you without any knowledge other than the texts of your reviews. But I believe that I'm not far off in my assumptions. My question is this: how can you believe that innovation and fresh material are important to the comics medium and dismiss someone like Grant Morrison who brings those very things to the medium in such a visceral manner? Moreover, to dismiss him in such a close-minded, condescending, pissy manner seems to me to border on the hypocritical. So you want innovation but only the kind you understand? It seems from what you've written that you want everything prevented up front in a comic like some sort of Stan Lee-style first-issue origin story. Your gripes about Steampunk, Marvel Boy, and other non-linear comics seem to indicate this. It seems a little fussy to basically just not "get" something and then say it's bad because you didn't get it. Maybe you just need to spend a little time on it. Presumably you can understand movies like the Usual Suspects and Pulp Fiction and the Matrix which is about the level of complexity of Steampunk and the Invisibles. Your condescending intolerant comments about drugs and drinking seem to indicate that you are similarly close-minded about that but I fail to see Grant Morrison's work should be completely dispensed with because drinking and drugs make you uncomfortable. You seem to have very inconsistent critical criteria. Drugs make you uncomfortable, Grant Morrison openly takes drugs, therefore Grant Morrison is a bad writer? You praise Warren Ellis but he's all about going to the pub. Or, in your opinion, does he succeed "despite himself?" You want innovative different work but when it's presented to you, if it actually challenges you, you don't like it and dismiss it in your reviews. Even if Grant Morrison isn't your favorite writer, it can't be denied that what is doing is truly innovative work that is full of fresh ideas. Which is sorely what comics needs.

I'd reply to this, but I'd end up repeating a lot of what I said last time, or have said since. Needless to say, most of his assumptions above are wrong.

Congratulations on figuring out STEAMPUNK, though.

Thanks, also, to all my detractors for the help in writing this week's column! =)

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