It is miserable disappointment for me to have to admit that a person who hates sports but loves superhero movies thoroughly enjoyed the superhuman heroism of 42, and was disinterested in the sound and fury of Iron Man 3… But this is probably all my own fault; if I hadn’t seen 42 in the same week as Iron Man 3, maybe it wouldn’t have seemed like such a featherweight.
20 minutes ago I walked out of Iron Man 3, a film about some really great looking middle-aged people and some roboty suit things (and yes, I do know who and what Iron Man is. I read the comic books and I like the character, but that is what I took away from the film). A couple of my favorite actors where in the movie, as well as one of my favorite stunt-women. The explosions were terrific and there were effects. People were yawning a lot when they left, much like Bruce Banner at the end of the film, no one seemed particularly interested or excited. I guess they thought that was all they could expect from a comic book movie. As Aldrich Killian aptly said in the film; “Ever since the guy with the hammer fell out of the sky, subtlety kind of went out the window.”
The basic superhero touchstones, the ones that stick around for decades, aren’t really very complicated. Over time, various individual writers and artists come along to imbue them with contemporary characteristics for a short time, but because none of these things are set in stone they just do not stick, because they aren’t part of the DNA of the character. There is always space for the next writer to take things in another direction and for the reader to subject our own ideas upon the character and make him or her our own. Continue Reading »
Last week I bought the book Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, a retrospective of his most iconic and radical designs. One particular quote gave substance to my own feelings about his work, and really really spoke to his emphasized, supeheroic fashion aesthetic.
“I want to empower women. I want people to be afraid of the women I dress.”
“When you see a woman wearing McQueen, there’s a certain hardness to the clothes that makes her look powerful. It kind of fends people off.”
“It’s almost like putting armor on a woman. It’s a very psychological way of dressing.” Continue Reading »
Most superheroes are depicted standing so tall and straight that they almost arch their backs backwards. Meanwhile we sit at desks all day, curled up with almost the opposite posture, yet we are so engaged by these images. Are we trying to tell ourselves something?
How surprising to find that the London Fashion Week was awash with strong, solid blocks of color. Deeply reminiscent of the superheroic comic book coloring of previous decades, I had to embrace this trend.
Popular, successful comic book creators are often accused of being unsuccessful unless they make books for Marvel or DC, but these books are rarely the most lauded. Despite what some readers of the CBR Top 100 Comic Books of 2010 might think, mainstream acceptance of beautifully crafted comic books doesn’t translate to equivalent breakthroughs in the quality of superhero comic books.
As a Londoner born and bred, and a San Franciscan for the last 14 years, at times I’m acutely aware of the differences between the two cities. Of particular interest are the cultural and environmental differences between America and Britain. After a long absence, a few days ago I arrived back on British soil. Immediately I was struck by the preponderance of Victorian architecture, something I’d forgotten about in the intervening years. London is a city deeply shaped by the industrial era Victorians, their desire for permanence, and their long view of city planning. While this is certainly apparent in the various stone and brick buildings, (both noble and humble) which provide a cornerstone for a lot of London streets, it is even more obvious in the mundane street architecture which is scattered everywhere. Continue Reading »