February 28th, 2014
The first thing I think of whenever I see the cover for Darwyn Cooke‘s adaptation of Richard Stark’s Parker: The Hunter…
…is this page from Frank Miller, David Mazzuchelli and Richmond Lewis’ Batman – Year One:
February 16th, 2009
Sometime in the nineties the cry rang out: Marvel was gonna put the “character back into comics”.
This was news to me.
As far as I was concerned the Marvelverse, with the possible exception of the X-Men, was still firmly rooted in a pre-Watchmen era. It was only the energizing touch of the man Miller that rescued the company from my utter contempt. DC on the other hand, was, in my rather woolly analysis, the natural home of adjectives like mature, and visionary, the only company where character was likely to flourish. My case rested upon little more than DC’s willingness to publish The Dark Knight Returns, The Killing Joke, and Arkham Asylum, and the serious moonlight cast over the DCU by Watchmen, and the Vertigo imprint.
While I’m now well versed in the legacy of Marvel’s legendary creators, if I’m honest I remain skeptical about Marvel’s claims to the concept of character. I grant that Lee and Ditko’s willingness to subordinate super to man was likely revolutionary back in the late sixties, and that they quite possibly changed the landscape of comics, but the reality is that while character is certainly the focus of many Marvel titles the characters in question have seldom been allowed much more than superficial depth – the MU as a place of histrionics rather than history. That, even as its best, seldom produces character studies with more going for them than I’d expect to see in a well realized soap opera. Don’t get me wrong, I think good soaps have their own virtues, and, and this is important, I’m not sure that I want to see rigorous character studies in (many) superhero comics, but I think it’s worth pointing out that by treating the term character as a monolith, and not admitting to its multiple meanings – the different ways in which the centrality of the concept can be approached, from Dynasty to Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolfe – Marvel, and its die hard fans, are perhaps heaping undeserved glories on themselves. I mean, we’ve all read the Ultimates, right?
December 29th, 2008
This list is going to be a little unconventional. It’s going to include things like websites for starters, because, hey, this is the future, and we want to let you guys know we’re not all *old media* here in the dark dimension. Also, it’s going to alternate between an ‘amypoodle recommends’ kinda thing and an actual ‘best of’ list. If it was solely the latter, then I’m afraid it would be rather boring:
‘I went to see Batman at the I-Max and it was reaaaally gooooood’, you know the score. And most of it wasn’t produced this year either. Sorry.