Sunday Brunch: 6/6/10
Yes, it’s 6/6/10, the number of the beast’s neighbor, the nice old lady who always bakes too many cookies. What does the comics internet have for us this week?
And yes, I wrote this on Thursday, so that super colossal news that broke over the weekend? I missed it.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: I’ll admit it, I missed a few things last week I should have included in the Brunch. Time to rectify that! Last week, Tom Spurgeon and his readers shared their favorite endings in comics. What are yours? My answers at the bottom of the column. (Yes, Nevett did this earlier. Quiet, you.)
ITEM! One thing I didn’t catch before the Brunch went up last week was the A.V. Club’s Leonard Pierce publicly decrying what he calls “witless, arbitrarily violent, ‘cinematic’ action comics,”:
…writers like [Mark] Millar, Geoff Johns, Jeph Loeb, and Garth Ennis do the medium no further favors by continually writing brain-dead, utterly thoughtless stories whose only value is shock value, and whose only standard is the double standard. Their crimes are nearly innumerable: [...] I’ve got nothing against the darkening of comics, but these books are literally amoral—that is, they have neither a traditional moral stance, as in the great books of the past, or a philosophical inquiry of same, as in the best works of Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, and Grant Morrison. They’re just insipid, empty brutality and bombast.
Unfortunately, Leonard slipped into a rage-induced coma after reading Rise of Arsenal.
Kidding. Thoughts? I can’t say I agree with his stance on Garth Ennis. Violent, yes, but there’s usually a point to the violent display. Admittedly, I have not read Crossed or The Boys yet.
RANDOM THOUGHT! So I’ve only just received and read the Atomic Robo & Friends Free Comic Book Day Special, and I totally have a pull quote in it. I mean, it just says “Comic Book Resources,” but I know it’s me, America. I know it’s me. At last, the big leagues!
ITEM! Todd “Don’t call me Louisa May” Alcott continues analyzing Bat-films over at the Beat, turning his attention to Batman ’89 and Batman Returns. His thoughts on ’89 are pretty savvy, actually, as he argues that finding the protagonist in that film is difficult at first, until Burton settles his gaze upon Batman in the second half of the picture. I think the Joker tends to dominate the story, however, when he appears in non-comics media. Todd also showcases some narrative weaknesses of Burton’s first film, but my love of that movie makes me blind to any faults (I have seen it hundreds of times by now, and I never tire of it; I can’t believe my VHS copy still works).
Here’s Todd on the darker, Burtonier sequel’s portrayal of the Penguin:
Look at the ark of that character — born evil, thrown out by his parents. Tries one scheme for revenge, gets sidetracked. In the middle of being sidetracked, gets sidetracked again. Is manipulated and used by others, then fails at his appointed tasks. Goes back to his original plan, then fails miserably. Decides to go out in a blaze of glory, then fails at that too. The Penguin’s story in Batman Returns is unbearably sad, and one feels like Batman is a bully for picking on this pathetic excuse for an evildoer. The Penguin has nothing, and builds an empire — Batman has everything, and picks on little people.
GREAT MOVIE OR GREATEST MOVIE? There’s a new trailer out for the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World movie, and it is even more awesome than the last one. There’s my favorite film of the year sorted.
SPEAKING OF GREAT MOVIES: Donald Glover for Spider-Man. Make it so, America.
ITEM(IZED LISTS)! Marc-Oliver Frisch discusses the “Ten Things Superhero Comics Do Better Than Any Other Genre in Any Form“:
9: Let Creators Explore the Limits of Their Imagination Without Being Hampered by Logic or Plausibility
This is related to the previous point, but it reaches farther: The creators of superhero comics are free to imagine and explore all the things mentioned above, but more importantly, they are also free to imagine and explore things not mentioned above—things not mentioned anywhere at all, in fact. The human imagination is limitless in theory, but tends to be hampered by practical concerns like the requirement to adhere to a consensus of what’s acceptable by standards of logic and plausibility.
ITEM! That zany little stuffed bull Bully breaks down the Marvel Universe for us, with the aid of Spidey Super Stories.
REMAKE/REMODEL this week is the 19th century Yellow Book, described by Warren Ellis thusly:
It was a leading journal of the British 1890s; to some degree associated with Aestheticism and Decadence, the magazine contained a wide range of literary and artistic genres, poetry, short stories, essays, book illustrations, portraits, and reproductions of paintings.
But what would the next issue look like? Anders Nygaard and the always-great Raid71 want to show us:
DOCTOR WHO DEPT: Is postponed until I actually, you know, see the episode.
ANSWER(S) OF THE WEEK: Calvin & Hobbes is an inspired pick for this, so kudos to Chad Nevett for suggesting it. I may not have thought of it on my own, but it’s a fantastic ending to a fantastic comic, and an optimistic one, to boot. Another one is the ending to Flex Mentallo, which is the only comic to give me a contact high. “Welcome. You have been inhabiting the world’s first ultra-post-futurist comic”– marvelous. Also– and I will be the only man on Earth to say this– Thunderstrike #24 is one hell of an ending. Almost brings a manly tear to my eye just thinking about it.