Links, art, criticism, and discussion-- sans the porn, it's another week on the internet!
CHALLENGE OF THE WEEK: What if newspaper comic strips were written by today's premiere comic book writers?I find the newspaper comics page to be a sad, boring place, populated by unfunny drain-circlers, occasionally peppered with decent strips or good art. So what if your favorite comic writer got in on the action? What would they write? Can you imagine the bizarre possibilities? My suggestions under the cut.
ANSWERS OF THE WEEK: Here's what I'd like to see in the newspaper funny pages:
- Ziggy written by Alan Moore, a single panel which would take you half an hour to fully experience.
- Get Fuzzy written by Warren Ellis, drawn by Darby Conley, in which Bucky is the chainsmoking bastard archetype.
- Little Orphan Annie written by Grant Morrison, with Daddy Warbucks as the bald, kung fu sex god Morrison stand-in.
- Cathy by Dave Sim wait no hold on maybe Mary Worth er ah Apartment 3-G? Oh, never mind.
- Beetle Bailey by Garth Ennis, or better yet, Joe Kubert. If an octogenarian is going to draw a daily strip-- sorry, Mort Walker, but I vote for the Kube. Let's send these soldiers into war!
- Funky Winkerbean written by Robert Kirkman, because the only way that strip could get more depressing is if it took place in a zombie post-apocalypse.
How about you, dear readers? How would you spice up the comics page?
ITEM! Speaking of processing Alan Moore's writing, my favorite bit of comics criticism in the past several months came to my attention this week via Bleeding Cool. It's a two-part Youtube video series dissecting and digesting Moore's new series from Avatar, Neonomicon, and invents a brilliant new bit of comics terminology: "diegetic panelization." Check it out in the links, or, if I'm very lucky, right here. (Did I finally get embedding code to work? Did I? I bet it doesn't work.)
UPDATE: It doesn't work. WordPress hates me, or something. Click the links.
So: this is another comic with Deadpool in it. How did that character get so popular? I was reading New Mutants when that character was introduced– here’s the thing: Rob Liefeld had 4 new characters just about every issue. Just from memory, there was Cable, the MILF (Mutant Liberation Front That I’d Like to Fuck), Stryfe, Gideon and the X-Ternals, Shatterstar, Domino, and Madame Bovary. They were all bad-asses with knives– how did just one of them get popular? Is that character’s success more a tribute to Joe Kelly? That… is not a sentence I ever expected to type. How long did Lobo last, though? Maybe… 5-6 years? I don’t remember Lobo lasting very long. I would guess it’s that cycle of “Oh, I love superheros. Oh wait, I’m old enough to realize superheros are stupid– great, here is a character that lets me laugh at them.” And then either “Why am I reading this at all?” or “Oh wait, now I’m old enough not to care that they’re stupid.” Maybe every generation gets that character…? So, really, if you look at Deadpool and you’re my age, does it feel like you just saw the numbers turn over on the odometer? Damn, Deadpool reminds me of my own mortality, you guys…
OBLIGATORY CHRIS SIMS THIS IS STILL A GAG WE'RE DOING: Sims reimagines the 8-Bit video gaming era, but with comics! I tell you what, I would play the hell out of most of these, especially Thorga Man and Final Fantasy X-Men. I might skip this one, though:
ITEM! Newsarama has a pretty great interview with Atomic Robo artist Scott Wegener, and it's in my contract to talk about Atomic Robo 80% of the time:
As far as why I draw the way I do -- that's also sort of easy to answer. For most of my life drawing was nothing but a hobby, and not one I could devote a lot of time to. So I learned to dismantle my art until I could use the fewest number of lines to say the most, visually speaking. I leaned heavily on Timm and Mignola in that area. It taught me to express an emotion or describe an action as briefly as possible, and from that I derived pleasure from my art. Now that I do this all day, everyday, the challenge is no longer making it as simple as possible, but continually making my work more and more complex while maintaining the appearance of simplicity. Some days it works. Some days not so much.
ITEM! Boy, GQ has had a lot of comics pieces recently. This time, they interview Robert Kirkman:
In comics right now, it seems like all creators are doing is saying, "I'll write Spider-Man for a few years, and then I'll write Superman for a few years, and then I'll write Batman for a few years, and then I'll write Fantastic Four for a few years." And historically, if you look at that, that leads to a diminishing career. People get sick of you writing the same characters over and over. People lose interest, and your career kind of piddles out, and you have to go off and do something else, and it doesn't really help the industry at all. In the '30s and the '40s and the '50s and the '60s, all the people that were doing comics were creating new characters, and that's where we got our Spider-Mans and our Supermans, and even Wolverine and all that stuff, in the '70s. But nowadays people basically have an entire career where all they do is write corporate characters, and I think that's a bad thing for them, and it's a bad thing for the industry. We need to introduce new stuff to keep comics interesting. If all we're doing is Spider-Man and the fan base gets sick of Spider-Man, comics are over.
ITEM! A lot of great stuff over at Project: Rooftop recently. Here are three pieces that gave me braingasms this week. Firstly, it's Aquaman 2099, by Remake/Remodel champion David Bednarski:
Then the Martian Manhunter, by new Friend of CSBG Daniel Irizarri (let us make beautiful comics babies together, sir):
And lastly, more Aquaman (my contract says the other 20% is talking about Aquaman. I have now hit my quota), by Maris Wicks:
Hie thee to Project Rooftop for more great artwork.
ITEM! David Brothers continues counting things down. This week, it's Three Formative Works, including Frank Miller's 300:
300 is everything. There’s the hard Dirty Harry morality, the strength tempered with love, quiet and graceful violence, ugly violence, brotherhood, casual male and female nudity, the rejection of cowardice, some obscenely good one-liners, self-sacrifice, corrupt politicians and priests, and hey, look, what’s that at the end of chapter 4?
ITEM! Dan Nadel at Comics Comics writes a neat review of this new book all about Vince Colletta, the most feared and hated inker in comics history. Or is he? Remind me to write an article on Kirby's inkers one day:
As Bryant explains, the controversy itself is interesting as a sociological study. The fact is, for a lot of fans Kirby served as an abstract father figure, and so reactions to any perceived desecration of his artwork can spiral into a virulent kind of hatred. There are certainly aesthetic issues (what is inking? What is the inker’s responsibility?) here, but I don’t think there are moral issues, as is often the implication. There’s nothing morally offensive about what Colletta did. Colletta was a highly competent production man: He got the books in on time, and kept the presses rolling, and in doing so he sometimes did a disservice to the artist he was inking (in the comic-book business that was more the rule than the exception).
ITEM! Todd Alcott keeps analyzing those Batman movies. This time, it's Batman & Robin, which is more likely to send you to an analyst:
If nothing else, Batman & Robin is the purest example I can think of of the Somehow Syndrome. When a movie wants a narrative effect but doesn’t want to do the work to get there, things just happen “somehow.” Somehow Mr. Freeze’s suit is powered by dumping handfuls of diamonds into a hole in the sleeve, somehow Pamela Isley is buried alive in a pit of plant toxins and is re-born as the deadly Poison Ivy, somehow a telescope can be turned into a freeze-gun, and somehow a few strokes on a computer keyboard will turn the freeze-gun into a heat ray. Somehow Barbara gets into the Batcave, somehow the dying Alfred anticipates her every move and makes for her a bat-suit, even though he’s dying, somehow Batman can show up for a celebrity auction sponsored by Bruce Wayne without anyone catching on to his true identity. There’s a somehow every minute in Batman & Robin, including “somehow this script got green- lit.”
AXE COP/DR MCNINJA TEAM-UP DEPT: Week deux (of deux):
Here endeth the Brunch for another week. You may now go outside.