INTERVIEW: DiDio & Lee on "Dark Knight 3," Vertigo's Future & DC's Evolving Readership
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ITEM! A “Snapper52″ is putting together an Exquisite Corpse webcomic, and wants your help. Can you draw? Then you can produce the next step in a one-panel-at-a-time story that’s heading in all sorts of bonkers directions already, as no one’s quite sure what everyone else is doing. (Warning: cartoon boobies at the link, if you’re afraid of that sort of thing.)
ITEM! A new Abhay article! Time to celebrate! Naturally, it’s another tour de force in which Abhay begins reviewing a comic only to bemoan the loss of the 80s action hero and identify the bespectacled emo-rocker responsible for the death of machismo:
What became of the pulp action hero? For the 80’s action hero, the fantasy seemed to have been one of physical over-competence. Is that somehow no longer a relevant fantasy for today’s audience? I’m not sure why not. I don’t know about you, but I’ve gained some weight these last couple of years– a spare tire around my mid-section, some in the jowl-area. I’ve got a very upsetting situation going on in my jowl-area, people. I’ve joined a gym, but discipline is … Discipline is an issue. It causes no small amount of anxiety, being out of shape, even though I don’t think I’m quite a lost cause physically just yet. I believe the statistics suggest that I’m hardly alone in this particular anxiety– we hear now regularly of rampant obesity, declines in physical activity, and a surge in related disorders. So: shouldn’t the fantasy of physical over-competence still hold some appeal for those like me, wanting to correct some years now of physical neglect? Or is the decline in that sort of hero, the fact that I look at Mr. Felix Gomez as being a silly figure instead of an aspirational figure– is that a kind of surrender, a kind of giving up? Am I part of a culture of defeat?
And that’s part of what Grant Morrison wanted Zenith to express, of course, namely “…the Eighties obsession of style over content”, although why the decade which bred The Smiths, R.E.M. and U2 as well as the likes of Stock, Aitken and Waterman should always be characterised by the latter tribe is beyond me. Yet in making Zenith a teenager who didn’t want to be a superman, but who did want to be the most superficial and glitzy of chart stars, Morrison created a character which the average four-colour comic fans found it hard to engage with without a considerable degree of obscurating prejudice being kicked up in the process. For what could be more counter-intuitive to the already skewed logic of a super-hero fan than to come face-to-face with a character who not only refused to track down muggers, but who rather wanted to shamelessly mime sing-a-long-a-papness chart hits on “Top Of The Pops”?
ITEM! Here’s a piece from the end of last month, transcribed from a Wizard article (yes, I am sort of linking to Wizard, I know, I know) by Jim McLauchlin on the triumph and tragedy of Wally Wood:
A cover blurb on December, 1964’s Daredevil #5 proclaimed, “Under the brilliant artistic craftsmanship of famous illustrator Wally Wood, Daredevil reaches new heights of glory!” Ten months later, on Avengers #20, another blurb boasted, “Special note to art lovers: Wait’ll you see Wonderful Wally Wood’s inking of Don [Heck]’s drawings in this great ish!” In a day and age in which NO ONE got cover credit, Wood somehow was getting it…even as an inker.
Wood started to develop kidney problems, and a 1978 stroke left him with diminished vision in one eye. As fast as Wood was deteriorating physically, he was even worse off mentally. “Larry [Hama] and [artist] Jack Abel and I had gone down to see him at the VA hospital just after he had a stroke,” Ralph Reese recalls. “He looked to be in very bad shape. I asked him about his plans, what he was gonna do after he got out of the hospital. He said, ‘I’m gonna go get a drink.’ You know…what can you say to that? I had a feeling then that might be the last time I saw him alive. Like I said, he really looked bad. He looked sick. He looked old. He looked beat up by the world.”
ITEM! And here’s a new Alan Moore interview with John Doran. Interviews with Alan Moore (and his beard) are always interesting:
I’m interested in the superhero in real life, but not the comic book version. I’ve had some distancing thoughts about them recently. I’ve come to the conclusion that what superheroes might be — in their current incarnation, at least — is a symbol of American reluctance to involve themselves in any kind of conflict without massive tactical superiority. I think this is the same whether you have the advantage of carpet bombing from altitude or if you come from the planet Krypton as a baby and have increased powers in Earth’s lower gravity. That’s not what superheroes meant to me when I was a kid. To me, they represented a wellspring of the imagination. Superman had a dog in a cape! He had a city in a bottle! It was wonderful stuff for a seven-year-old boy to think about. But I suspect that a lot of superheroes now are basically about the unfair fight. You know: people wouldn’t bully me if I could turn into the Hulk.
ITEM! Some movie costumes were revealed this week. First– Thor, Odin, and Loki want you to buy their new album:
Secondly, Green Lantern is green:
RANDOM THOUGHT! I have had a particular tab in Firefox open for over two months now, perhaps longer. In that two months, I’ve bought a new computer, but the tab has followed me, unread. Should I read it? Or should I simply enjoy its company until it is my last, my only friend?
OTHER RANDOM THOUGHT! So Vertigo is releasing some “lost” gems they found in a drawer somewhere, including Warren Ellis’ previously banned issue of Hellblazer, “Shoot”. What are the chances of finally getting to see Rick Veitch’s “Swamp Thing meets Jesus” story? Or Flex Mentallo? … Yeah, I thought so.
FURTHER RANDOM THOUGHT! In fact, DC’s released a lot of announcements this week. Why not wait for next week’s Comic-Con? Oh right, because any comic announcements would be lost in the tidal wave of movie promotions.
THESE THOUGHTS AREN’T ACTUALLY THAT RANDOM! The only announcement that’s actually excited me so far is Paul Cornell’s Knight & Squire mini-series, which is so far up my alley that it’s a zoning violation.
ACTUALLY RANDOM THOUGHT! You know what’s weird? Ears.
ITEM! Matt Seneca reviews one panel of Batman & Robin #13, 23 panels of Batman #700 (some of the best writing-about-art I’ve seen in blogging), and also defecates into the bleeding neckhole of Batman: Odyssey. Compare this quote:
Lots to like here; I dig how Quitely places the street sign in the approximate spot where a narrative caption announcing the scene’s location would usually go. These are pictures that do more than illustrate, they carry weight usually left to the writing. The height of the signpost is pretty exaggerated (how tall is it, 40 feet?), again to create a heightened sense of depth. That’s especially cool since Quitely has set this panel up to very obviously mimic all the artificiality of a stage: there’s a flat backdrop, a spotlight, hell, even playbills and a marquee. The minimal set dressing is key for the choreographed action that’s about to go down, but it’s interesting to see Quitely addressing it head-on and inviting the reader to see it through the lens of another, more objectively “real” medium, that of the theater — or more probably of performed dance.
Neal Adams is a bad comics artist; some people hold the mistaken belief that he’s a good one. That’s basically my whole point, and I’m forty years too young to keep him from influencing too many people with my indelible comics criticism. But stop right there, pal, we haven’t even gotten to the writing on this thing yet! And while Neal Adams is too entrenched in people’s minds as a dude who draws good comics for them to read him as anything but, his writing is on the next level of strangeness.
ITEM! David Brothers counts again, only this week, it’s writers (who also happen to be artists. How ’bout that?), such as Stan Sakai, Naoki Urasawa, Jeff Parker, Adam Warren, Eiichiro Oda, and Inio Asano. Here’s a bit from the Warren piece:
Adam Warren is an idea guy in the best possible sense of the phrase. If you want to kick something into high gear, really peel back what makes it work and throw a whole bunch more stuff into the mix without breaking your character, he’s the man to come see. Hypervelocity is what Iron Man should always be like. Something fresh, something moving at Mach 8, and something that takes something from real life and makes an ill comic book concept out of it. Warren just pours ideas onto the page at a rate no other writer can match. He drops them out there into the world where they’re just aching to be explored.
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