Author Topic: Comic Reviews and discussions  (Read 56041 times)

The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Comic Reviews and discussions
« Reply #225 on: October 31, 2013, 03:35:45 pm »
If I recall, his problem wasn't that they were portraying fictional soldiers, it was that Captain America was an infantile fantasy written by people who had no experience and more importantly, no understanding of what combat was like. That he was more the Charles Atlas style bullied kids fantasy then what a "Super" soldier could be.

But maybe I'm putting words in his mouth or misrepresenting him. If I can find where I read it I'll dig it up.

I saw it more as "Since the real hard boys couldn't handle this problem, we have to send in a guy wearing chainmail tights".
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Faust

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Re: Comic Reviews and discussions
« Reply #226 on: October 31, 2013, 03:46:46 pm »
If I recall, his problem wasn't that they were portraying fictional soldiers, it was that Captain America was an infantile fantasy written by people who had no experience and more importantly, no understanding of what combat was like. That he was more the Charles Atlas style bullied kids fantasy then what a "Super" soldier could be.

But maybe I'm putting words in his mouth or misrepresenting him. If I can find where I read it I'll dig it up.

I saw it more as "Since the real hard boys couldn't handle this problem, we have to send in a guy wearing chainmail tights".

That's probably it. They did basically say he ended the war when he beat the Red Skull.
Narrator: In time you will know the tragic extent of my failings

May you find your worth in the waking world.

The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Comic Reviews and discussions
« Reply #227 on: October 31, 2013, 03:49:03 pm »
If I recall, his problem wasn't that they were portraying fictional soldiers, it was that Captain America was an infantile fantasy written by people who had no experience and more importantly, no understanding of what combat was like. That he was more the Charles Atlas style bullied kids fantasy then what a "Super" soldier could be.

But maybe I'm putting words in his mouth or misrepresenting him. If I can find where I read it I'll dig it up.

I saw it more as "Since the real hard boys couldn't handle this problem, we have to send in a guy wearing chainmail tights".

That's probably it. They did basically say he ended the war when he beat the Red Skull.

Yeah, as opposed to those wimpy 8th Army Brits/2nd armored Americans and so on who only had to take on the Wermacht, the SS, liberate death camps, and all that other inconsequential shit.  With shitty tanks and substandard small arms, and everything.

" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

Faust

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Re: Comic Reviews and discussions
« Reply #228 on: October 31, 2013, 04:01:31 pm »
I suppose that's what happens when you turn a propaganda piece into what is supposedly a fictional character in a drama.

The time I warmed to him most wasn't even in one of his stories, he barely even featured in it.

This is a story by Blind Al, an old blind woman Deadpool has kidnapped as a hostage, she plays his Mr Miyagi role

She has this great story about Being a hero for Deadpool, in which she talks about some dumb blond boyfriend she had that went off to war


Later on captain America finds that locket after Deadpool drops it, and bawls his eyes out.
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The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Comic Reviews and discussions
« Reply #229 on: October 31, 2013, 04:06:12 pm »
I suppose that's what happens when you turn a propaganda piece into what is supposedly a fictional character in a drama.

Actually, it's the inevitable result of substituting "continuity" for "storyline", and it's the principle reason I hate the superhero shit.  If the goal is to keep a story going, you are no longer telling a story.

ETA:  Hell, that's why I've taken a break from LDW.  I stalled.  I could have just written any old shit, but I don't have a deadline, so why murder the story?
" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

Bobby Campbell

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Re: Comic Reviews and discussions
« Reply #230 on: October 31, 2013, 04:11:04 pm »
The sandman seems like the perfect story to have JHWIII doing the art for.

It really is! As much as I like the kind of altcomix chic of the original sandman series, this is the perfect way to revisit the material. Gaiman actually pushes him way further than Morrison has.

Dunno.  War Stories was pretty good.

I thought it was great! I'm a big fan of Ennis' war stuff. I was being sarcastic w/ my pejorative labeling, like if for some reason we're going to scrutinize Captain America that harshly then what if we apply that same microscope to Ennis' work? Like I doubt the veterans of WWII are exactly swelling w/ pride over 'Operation: Bollock'

Goose/Gander type stuff.

If I recall, his problem wasn't that they were portraying fictional soldiers, it was that Captain America was an infantile fantasy written by people who had no experience and more importantly, no understanding of what combat was like. That he was more the Charles Atlas style bullied kids fantasy then what a "Super" soldier could be.

But maybe I'm putting words in his mouth or misrepresenting him. If I can find where I read it I'll dig it up.

It's a fair point in general and I'm willing to bet even more so in context.

It just struck me as odd since Jack Kirby did actually fight in WWII, stormed the beaches of Normady even (well after D day sure, but he was there for real).  And Joe Simon was at least in the Coast Guard during the big one. Since Captain America's creators are actual WWII veterans maybe they would know better if it was insulting than a civilian?


I saw it more as "Since the real hard boys couldn't handle this problem, we have to send in a guy wearing chainmail tights".

The history of Captain America suggests that the comic was effective pro war propaganda, and so maybe he did kind of sort of actually help?

I really didn't mean to put this much effort into defending a multinational corporations' military industrial complex exploitation fantasy!

Faust

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Re: Comic Reviews and discussions
« Reply #231 on: October 31, 2013, 04:17:42 pm »


It's a fair point in general and I'm willing to bet even more so in context.

It just struck me as odd since Jack Kirby did actually fight in WWII, stormed the beaches of Normady even (well after D day sure, but he was there for real).  And Joe Simon was at least in the Coast Guard during the big one. Since Captain America's creators are actual WWII veterans maybe they would know better if it was insulting than a civilian?


I don't think he was referring to the great prophet Kirby, back then it was still very much a part of the propaganda era.
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The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Comic Reviews and discussions
« Reply #232 on: October 31, 2013, 04:24:45 pm »


It's a fair point in general and I'm willing to bet even more so in context.

It just struck me as odd since Jack Kirby did actually fight in WWII, stormed the beaches of Normady even (well after D day sure, but he was there for real).  And Joe Simon was at least in the Coast Guard during the big one. Since Captain America's creators are actual WWII veterans maybe they would know better if it was insulting than a civilian?


I don't think he was referring to the great prophet Kirby, back then it was still very much a part of the propaganda era.

This is correct.  I am talking about the endlessly strung out and rehashed crap that's currently being dished out.  Grampa's superheroes, still geriatrically staggering along.  Shit, I believe I've mentioned that Superman is 75 years old now.  With a storyline that long, major life events become blips.  Or you have to endlessly create additional alternate universes, etc, to maintain a character that was created 5 years before my father was born.

And it's not just the characters, it's the CONCEPT.  Superheros are last century.  We are currently living in the future; mine is the first generation that got to watch EVERYTHING change, all (seemingly) at once.  From rotary phones to watching movies on your phone in less than half a lifetime.  And this future is a feeble thing, based on some very shaky foundations.

If comics can't do something original based on THAT, then what's the point of the medium?
" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

Bobby Campbell

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Re: Comic Reviews and discussions
« Reply #233 on: October 31, 2013, 04:32:24 pm »
I don't think he was referring to the great prophet Kirby, back then it was still very much a part of the propaganda era.

Ah, there we go! Seemed to me Jack Kirby should be allowed to make comics about a superhero that fought in a war, since he was one, but if Ennis wants to talk shit on Mark Gruenwald or whoever for some reason, that's his problem!


And it's not just the characters, it's the CONCEPT.  Superheros are last century.  We are currently living in the future; mine is the first generation that got to watch EVERYTHING change, all (seemingly) at once.  From rotary phones to watching movies on your phone in less than half a lifetime.  And this future is a feeble thing, based on some very shaky foundations.

If comics can't do something original based on THAT, then what's the point of the medium?

That's awesome! Seriously great point.  Back to the drawing board!

The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Comic Reviews and discussions
« Reply #234 on: October 31, 2013, 04:43:22 pm »
That's awesome! Seriously great point.  Back to the drawing board!

If, at this point in things, we HAVE to go back and rip off old ideas (NOT saying we have to, or even that we should), then we should be plundering pulp, because THIS IS THE ERA PULP WAS TRYING TO TELL US ABOUT.

But I think something entirely new is in order.  Stories that reflect out times, and maybe guesses as to the future.

In my opinion, the perfect comic series (and what got me into reading comics in the first place) was Transmetropolitan.  Basically, Warren Ellis used Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail 1972 as the seed, generated an original story with it, made some very good (or at least interesting) guesses about the future, and - HERE'S THE IMPORTANT PART - the story had a beginning, a middle, and an end.  When the story was over, it was OVER.

And it still had some fantastic elements in it (Transients and Temps based on "traits", foglets, etc), so he could go a little sideways to make things even more interesting.  BUT NOT AT THE EXPENSE OF THE STORY.  It was classic science fiction:  Here are issues we may face with the technology that looks imminent.  How do we deal with them?

Lastly, the story was about humans coping with problems, rather than men in tights wrassling in the streets, or women with huge boobs posing in spandex while everyone else does something useful.

The Superhero genre is pandering at its worst.  Between the jack-rag depictions of women and the hipster-esque requirement that you know decades of backstory, it's in my opinion garbage all around.

The medium of comics - most especially graphic novels - is a perfectly valid one.

The stories being carried through much of that medium, though, are puerile at best.
" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

Faust

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Re: Comic Reviews and discussions
« Reply #235 on: October 31, 2013, 04:49:34 pm »
It's true that they do more damage for the medium as an artform than any single other factor.
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The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Comic Reviews and discussions
« Reply #236 on: October 31, 2013, 05:33:26 pm »
It's true that they do more damage for the medium as an artform than any single other factor.

It's why I avoided comics until I was 39.  It was just more of the same.

Then I found Transmetropolitan, and went on a Warren Ellis binge.  Which led me to Garth Ennis and Grant Morrison and Alan Moore and early Frank Miller (before he accidentally the teabagger).

Then I realized that comics were a medium, just like any other medium, and as valid as those other mediums.

Problem is, I found this out because a friend basically bludgeoned me with it.  Most people will merely sneer as they pass the comic shop.
" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

Faust

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Re: Comic Reviews and discussions
« Reply #237 on: November 01, 2013, 11:09:29 am »
Are superhero's salvageable? There are certainly some faint glimmers of hope that act as exceptions to the mediocrity.

Most would argue no. They need to be ended and forgotten before their problems can be fixed.

What's wrong with superhero comics?

(1) They lack writing structure, the stories don't end.
Instead they meander and lurch from half baked arcs that lack any final punch, and are endlessly drawn into rubbish summer events.

Solution
It shouldn't have to be said but each story should have a start, middle and an end. The only exceptions to this should be the crazy experimental art house comics that scare the shit out of publishers right now and go largely unnoticed.

(2) Continuity for continuities sake.
75 yeas is a long time to have a story running. It allows some really stupid stuff to make it's way into the story, and actually stops the character from growing or developing because a status quo ends up being maintained. Dictating what can be done with a story because of a canon is utterly worthless.

Solution
Drop it completely.
Got a good idea for a superman story? Do it, have a definitive end and then leave the story fallow until someone else has a good idea for it. DON'T LINK THEM: There should not be perquisites to reading a story. Don't like the way someone else wrote a previous story? Then drop it, do it your own way. There should never be a numbering system on the stories that supposedly says its an unbroken chain. Instead it should be a 1001 arabian nights style tales, each with their own name, that can be read without reading any of the other crap.

(3) Shared Universes
Why is the story I'm reading suddenly turned on it's head because of some garbage someone else is writing? Are these other characters showing up because they have their own role to play in the story or are they just here to boost sales?

Solution
Nothing I read should depend on what's going on in someone else's story. If a character is used in my story and gets shot in the face, don't bother acknowledging it in whatever he came from and certainly don't  impose any rules on what can and cant be done in the story I'm reading.

(4) The carnival strongman is a Joke
Superhero's seem to endlessly peacock in outdated frocks. They get into derivative banal fights in stupid in every issue. It's like a set of tickboxes of powers or things that have to happen.

Solution
Write a drama, not a muscle flexing porno. If a fight is needed in the story, have it there, but if that's all you have then it's going to be pretty damn boring. What's worse is it dilutes the fantastical elements of the character. Use them sparingly and always in unique ways. The first night you see Sergie the strongman punch out a lion, you're in awe. The tenth, hundredth, thousandth time you see it it's not going to be impressive.

(5) Nothing interesting is explored
If every story is going to be some imminent threat that needs to be beaten into submission for the next one to wander onto the stage, no one is going to want to read it. Oh a hero has turned into mustach twirling villain, never seen THAT before. Worse still is the threat to the world that all the superheroes must team up to defeat.

Solution
Do something new, explore the scary themes of superheroes. Explore the devastating effects on their lives the lifestyle has, how they end up alone or killed. Explore the political ramifications that don't gel with superhero ideals. Shed new light on characters that have superpowers and forget the costumed vigilante bullshit unless it's going to be done in a way that has not been done before.

This is from over twenty years ago:
Miracle man transitions from a being that saves people from accidents and villians, into the Übermensch, where he outlines his plans for the human race to Margaret Thatcher.
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Demolition Squid

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Re: Comic Reviews and discussions
« Reply #238 on: November 01, 2013, 10:42:40 pm »
I think I've nailed down why the longevity argument bugs me.

Yes, Superman has existed for 75 years. But if you look at the first Superman stories and compare them to modern ones, practically nothing remains the same. There is not an unbroken line between Superman then, and Superman today. In fact, rebooting the universe every few years and starting over seems to be the norm. Developments do happen which impact the characters strongly, and there is character development within that space... then they reboot, and start over. I like that. Having a cast of characters where everyone broadly knows the story by now, but with enough flexibility that they can be taken in new directions, gives a good starting point for writers to begin and lets people pull the rug out of the audience. Wonder Woman's new 52 reboot is a good example of that. The impression I get (though hey I could be wrong) is that canon and continuity are only really important to the obsessive collectors, and writers feel free to do whatever the hell they like when the new title rolls around.

I also don't think the basic premise of superheroes is a bad thing. It can be childish, but I like the odd story where the good guys are good guys and the bad guys are bad guys. Superheroes and supervillains are basically used as shorthand for ethical dilemmas. They don't always hit the money, but its one of the few spaces where 'you should do the right thing, even if it isn't easy, because it is the right thing' has been a relatively consistent message. I like it because there's only so much grimdark angst angst boo hoo media I can consume before I start vomiting shades of grey all over the place.

The trouble is that a lot of comics are crap, and the big publishing houses (particularly DC) seem to have completely lost the plot and decided that stupid editorial decisions should take precedence over good storytelling and faith in their creative teams.

I'm curious whether you think the same issues apply to shows like Doctor Who. That basically suffers from the exact same issue re: the story that never ends, but each new Doctor is given the room to make the character their own, and each one has an arc. I think comics should largely be judged on the same basis. Each individual story has a beginning, middle and end, and each incarnation of the character tends to develop in different ways... but I don't think there's anything fundamentally wrong with that. Saying the whole concept is dead is, to me, a lot like saying 'the detective movie is dead, they haven't had anything to say since The Maltese Falcon' or 'Fantasy novels are dead, who cares about magic now we have the internet?'

Like... okay. You can not like it, that's fine, but people are constantly finding new ways to breathe life into older concepts, and I think the costume-wearing superhero is right up there with the trenchcoat-donning gumshoe, for similar reasons even, and I sincerely hope we don't decide to get rid of them any time soon because when they're done well I think the genre provides a great space for exploring a lot of societal and moral issues.
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Re: Comic Reviews and discussions
« Reply #239 on: November 07, 2013, 01:04:50 am »
Sorry squid, I'm not ignoring this thread, you make some great points, I've a response for you but I've not thought it out fully yet.

Kelly Sue posted this over on twitter:

The first issue of Sex Criminals is up on Comixology:
I didn't know what to expect, it's got me hooked. You have to register but after that you they have a really nice webapp for reading the issue.

http://www.comixology.com/Sex-Criminals-1/digital-comic/46453/?app=1&utm_source=tumblr&utm_medium=socialmedia&utm_campaign=s131106_sex_criminals_1_free_tumblr&utm_content=&utm_term=&tid=%20s131106_sex_criminals_1_free_tumblr
Narrator: In time you will know the tragic extent of my failings

May you find your worth in the waking world.