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Broken News: Jeph Loeb Totally Glad Everyone Is Mad At James Robinson And Not Him

(Disclaimer: This is satire. Or parody. Some sort of comedic, protected speech that no one can sue me, Brian, or Jonah over. Trust me. It’s also 100% a figment of my imagination. So, hopefully, I’ll only face scorn from the comments section over not being “funny” or “coherent” or “not worthy of existing”, or whatever pretentious liberal artsy criticisms those snobs have.)

“You sure did me a solid by writing that awful JLA comic,” Loeb was overheard saying to Robinson at Comic Con, according to Broken News’s crack spies on the convention floor.*

“I mean, it was really starting to get to me, all of the people on blogs and message boards talking about how terrible my work was,” Loeb confessed to Robinson in a down moment between panels and signings. At a men’s room urinal.

“Especially at Comics Should Be Good,” Loeb continued. “Despite my decades long career as a working writer, you can only have skin so thick, and that T. guy is pretty scathing. I’ll admit, he made me cry a couple times.”

Robinson was apparently silent on the matter, as he (understandably) was quite dumbfounded that any colleague would so casually denigrate his work. Especially that hack Jeph Loeb.

“I mean, you should see the stuff I have planned for Ultimatum 2: Ultimatumer!” Loeb said, following, Robinson out of the men’s room. “It’s awful! I’m really not trying anymore! But man, people probably won’t even notice now that you’re the new whipping boy! Especially when they see that scene where Green Arrow talks about that threesome with Huntress and Lady Blackhawk that Didio was passing around the original art for at DC’s secret mobile frat house! That will even make the Hulk/Wasp necrophilia scene seem tame, somehow!” By this point, Robinson was making a hasty retreat out of the convention center, towards his hotel, and Loeb was yelling this at him. With a bullhorn. I have no idea why no one else broke this. Or why it took so long to post this.***

*This squad consists of winos, hobos, Lou Ferigno, and Twilight fans. The real dregs of society, in other words.**

**Just kidding. Everyone but Twilight fans are okay in my book.

***Yeah I do. I forgot it existed.

33 Comments

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

September 20, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Loeb seems to have restricted himself to the comparatively inoffensive Red Hulk stuff lately, which is merely dumb rather than idiocy aspiring to profundity. Meanwhile, Robinspon has taken up his torch and run with it on a high-profile book, and, worse, a book that was arguably being sold on his name as a watermark of quality.

So basically: Loeb’s offsides these days; Robinson’s front and center; and Robinson has further to fall as of 2009, making his failures more noticeable.

Does Loeb have any original ideas? It seems everytime I pick up a DC comic with his name on it, he is putting his own spin on some long dead Silver-Age character or concept.

I don’t know why everyone can’t be mad at BOTH Loeb and Robinson.

We should ALL be equally MAD at everyone else! ;-)

But at least the Robinson stuff is readable.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

September 20, 2009 at 6:12 pm

But at least the Robinson stuff is readable.

Honestly, when his plotting and characterization are this off I find Robinson’s style of dialogue writing to be very off-putting. Loeb’s dialogue is unremarkable even when his plotting is inane and incoherent, but Robinson’s tics — everyone’s into obscure pop culture, random emphasis of words in sentences, repetition of phrases — become more apparent in their affectation when the emotional or narrative engagement isn’t there to ground it.

Console yourself however you want, but this was not funny. Nothing you’ve written over the past few months has been remotely interesting, entertaining, or readable. I gave this post a chance because the premise seemed interesting, and had potential. However, like nearly everything else, you sucked any joy or levity out of it by going for the most obvious, easiest route.

Really, really disappointing. No more Brad Curran posts for me, thank you.

Well, not everyone can be as witty as you Inside joke.

I gave this post a chance because the premise seemed interesting, and had potential.

MUCH LOLZ! I nearly plotzed.

I don’t preface my comments by saying that they are intended to be comedic. Never have.

” Honestly, when his plotting and characterization are this off I find Robinson’s style of dialogue writing to be very off-putting. Loeb’s dialogue is unremarkable even when his plotting is inane and incoherent, but Robinson’s tics — everyone’s into obscure pop culture, random emphasis of words in sentences, repetition of phrases — become more apparent in their affectation when the emotional or narrative engagement isn’t there to ground it. ”

Random EMPHASIS of WORDS in comic word BALOONS is common in AMERICAN comics. Just LOOK at THE dialogue of MARK Millar scripts PERIOD.

Wiseassery aside, I tend to like writers who have distinct styles of dialogue, so long as said style isn’t too narrow. But with Cry for Justice, it’s a chicken v. egg scenario; is the dialogue awful because the plot was awful first, or vice versa?

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

September 20, 2009 at 8:47 pm

In theory, word balloon emphases are meant to convey stresses in a spoken sentence. Some writers, it even works that way — Millar, even, if you figure in his accent. Steve Engelhart seemed to use it the ay textbooks use bolding, to point out the narratively important words.

But Robinson? I’ve tried “hearing” his stresses in my mind, and I’ve never figured out how his characters are meant to “sound.”

Next time on Minor Carping, we tackle Jack “King” Kirby’s use of “quotation” “marks” with special guest Margo Magee.

I just wanted to be Ted. There is no reason for me to be Ted. But I am TED!

I just wanted to be Ted. There is no reason for me to be Ted. But I am TED!

I know, it’s pretty fucking awesome. Now STOP BEING ME!

Anyway, how the fuck am I supposed to make sense of this, Brad? You use the three asterisk before the two asterisk. You use the three BEFORE the two. Just how fucking incompetent are you, Brad? Can’t you count? I payed a hell of a lot of money to read this, Brad, and it doesn’t seem like that much to expect, nay, to demand proper asteriskisation.

Really, really disappointing. No more Brad Curran posts for me, thank you.

Steve Engelhart seemed to use it the way textbooks use bolding, to point out the narratively important words.

My assumption was that Robinson, and most of the other writers who’s stresses make no sense, where using emphasis in this way. Although then we can complain that most of the emphasised words aren’t actually that important to the narrative.

This post? Yes, it was funny. Carry on.

(Except you, James Robinson. Stop sucking it up.)

>>But Robinson? I’ve tried “hearing” his stresses in my mind, and I’ve never figured out how his characters are meant to “sound.”

I know nothing whatsoever about James Robinson himself, but until disabused of the notion I will continue to believe that the man cannot — & probably never has been able to — hear & thus has no sense whatsoever of what speech sounds like. (Much the same must’ve been true of Kirby. Too many loud bombs & guns during World War II, maybe.)

In all seriousness, can we all just talk a bit about how/why Robinson got into this mess?
The guy wrote Starman for crying out loud. Although he soon left comics he remained in my list of writers whose work I would at least consider buying if he ever returned. Now he’s turned into Bendis for me – I’ll either really enjoy it or really hate it.
Some of the “old” Robinson shines through in his Superman work, but even that isn’t what I’d hoped it would be.
I think part of the problem here is that Starman was a personal work for Robinson and now he’s dealing with more editorial constraints by participating in the Super and Justice League franchises.
Although reading his text pieces at the end of Cry for Justice give the impression that title is also personal, I don’t buy it.
Either that or, as some have speculated, Cry for Justice was announced so long ago that it’s an example of Robinson trying to find his legs after being out of comics for so long.
What also bugs me is that, after spending time in Starman developing the homosexual relationship between the “blue” Starman and his partner, Robinson kills off the partner in the first issue of Cry for Justice to give the “blue” Starman a reason to get angry and involved in the storyline.
That’s something another writer might do with the character, but I’m honestly shocked that the guy who established that relationship in a previous series decided to use it as a plot device in Cry for Justice. It just really bugs me – it’s like Robinson spitting on his older work.

Kirby’s dialogue didn’t bother me all that much. Then again I never got the impression he was ever aiming for realistic dialogue in the slightest but bombastic, epic speech patterns. He wasn’t as good at those as Stan Lee, but I’d still rather read pages of Kirby’s dialogue over pages of dry, sterile Silver Age DC dialogue any day.

Come on, this guy gave us Starman. Give him a break.

Even Alan Moore had his bad comics (Vodoo, Violator and other Image stuff).

But that’s exactly why many of us find Robinson’s work on Cry for Justice so jarringly bad. It’s the guy who, as you say, “gave us Starman.”
Look, I love Grant Morrison but not everything he writes is perfect. But it’s always at the very least interesting and often better than most of what’s on the stands.
If you handed me the first three issues of Cry for Justice and did not tell me who wrote them, I would never ever guess “James Robinson.”

” In theory, word balloon emphases are meant to convey stresses in a spoken sentence. Some writers, it even works that way — Millar, even, if you figure in his accent. Steve Engelhart seemed to use it the ay textbooks use bolding, to point out the narratively important words. ”

Which is good for highlighting words that are going to be on a test, but annoying for a narrative you’re reading for fun; at best, it’s breaking story flow to tell you which words are important ( which readers ideally can figure out for themselves ), and at worst, it’s disrupting how you read by emphasizing the wrong words. Aside from moments of extreme emotion ( for example, bold letters to indicate shouting ), I don’t really see emphasized text in comic word balloons as serving much of purpose, regardless of who’s using it and how.

And I’ve found Millar’s emphases especially irritating, given how his dialogue has the tendency to infodump information that should have been shown rather than told ( i.e. various indications that unhappy characters ” cry themselves to sleep every night ” ).

I am one of those who had missed the boat on Starman, and was seriously considering picking up the first Omnibus soon. Then “Cry for Justice” hit. I know everyone says that Starman is great, but I really have trouble getting past how horrible “Justice” is to justify giving it a shot. Maybe I’ll go see if my library has any “Starman” and sample it that way….

I haven’t tried Starman yet but always planned to. Now after I’ve seen Face the Face and Justice League, I’m starting to wonder if RObinson’s Starman isn’t like Jeph Loeb’s collaborations with Tim Sale: something that actually sucks just as badly as his current unpopular stuff when you actually pay attention, but somehow gets a pass. I just can’t picture this guy writing well based on his recent stuff.

“Kirby’s dialogue didn’t bother me all that much. Then again I never got the impression he was ever aiming for realistic dialogue in the slightest but bombastic, epic speech patterns. He wasn’t as good at those as Stan Lee, but I’d still rather read pages of Kirby’s dialogue over pages of dry, sterile Silver Age DC dialogue any day.”

I love you, T.

Not to give Inside Joke more attention than he deserves, but that disclaimer was there because the last time I wrote one of these, I made somebody angry somehow that effected Brian and Jonah, so I really felt the need to cover our asses this time. I didn’t promise anyone that it WOULD be funny, just that I was trying. I will happily refund Inside Joke’s money for three months worth of my awful content. Same goes for everyone.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

September 21, 2009 at 2:36 pm

I thought the same of Starman, T., but you go back and read those early issues and it’s doing something a lot more genuine than his more recent work. I still actually like Jack, Ted, and the O’Dares when I reread that run; they’re fairly well-constructed, fleshed-out characters. And it was a title that could go for issues at a time just having the characters interact; it was actually less interesting when the big action plotlines popped up, which badly hurt the overlong “Grand Guignol.” But reread, say, Starman #29’s intro of Bobo Bennetti and Bobo’s still a character you want to read about.

In many ways, Robinson’s a bit like Bendis: when he writes a character-based piece with a character he has carte blanche with, he’s clever and moving despite some writing tics. When he’s writing an action movie, as on Superman, JLA: Gay for Justice, or Batman/Detective, all you get are the tics because the underlying humanity of the story’s not there. In Robinson’s case, this extends to actual action movies, not just big-action superhero comics.

STARMAN is great and so is THE GOLDEN AGE. James Robinson can write great comics, but he cannot overcome a bad situation. To me, CRY FOR JUSTICE is more a case of Robinson being put in a bad situation than anything.

As nearly everyone has mentioned, James Robinson has a distinctive style to his dialogue. In movies, witty dialogue gets sold by the performance of the actor hearing the line. In comics, it is the facial reaction that the artist draws. Well, Mauro Casciol is not very strong with drawing facial expressions.

Look at the two most mocked sequences from CRY FOR JUSTICE. In the “I have something to say” scence from CFJ #1, Hal Jordan barely has his move during the entire sequence. His internal feelings are the key to the entire scene and Casciol is giving us nothing.

It is the same deal with the infamous threesome scene. Not only does the conversation come totally out of left-field, but the reader is given no cues about what Hal thinks about it from the art. Hal has a neutral, placid expression when the dialogue clearly indicates that he is surprised. As a reader, you have no idea whether Jordan is proud, or ashamed. The scene is written like it supposed to be funny, but the art totally disagrees.

Casciol is clearly a talented guy, but his style is a horrific fit with Robinson. That is the fault of the editor, not the writer.

Omar, good points.

Dean, I could totally see an artist better with facial expressions making both those scenes’ dialogue less painful for sure, but making them actually good, even if sold comedically? I’m not so sure…maybe if done as a total satire/spoof of modern comics.

@ T.

I am not arguing that it would be a masterpiece, just better. A move from an “F” to a “C minus” is a big improvement.

Ah okay, totally agree then.

Fair enough, Brad. I know the content is free, and I don’t have to click on the links with your name on it, but jesus, man; this was a ball on a tee, and you’ve been grounding into double plays when you could have hit home runs.

as an addendum: and if people are allowed to bluntly criticize and malign the honest, hard work done by the Comics Critics guys (who make an obvious effort each and every time and are greeted with a chorus of “meh”‘s and “could’ve been funnier”‘s) I should be allowed a reasoned and pointed criticism of one of the other contributors.

I’m not looking for attention, and I’m not trolling, but if someone has been wasting my time on a regular basis and seems to bask in the fact that he’s not even trying, then that person is going to hear about it. But like I said, you won’t hear from me any more. I won’t be reading the posts, so I won’t comment on them.

And yes, I realize I’m returning to this thread, but a man deserves the chance to defend himself.

Inside Joke
Real Name: Todd Whittaker, Somerville, MA

Actually, i thot that this was amusing.
Just in case y’all wanted to know what i thot.
Oh, you didn’t.
My bad.

By the way, i really don’t enjoy the Comics Critic guy. Ya kno’, in case you all cared.
Ooops. My bad ‘gain.
DFTBA

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