September 18th, 2009

  • Wow, it’s a strange thing indeed to disagree with Jog quite so strongly! I normally nod along to his reviews, sometimes cracking a smile at the odd epiphany. Not this time. This time I found myself wondering whether we were reading the same comic (Batrob issue 3). The very idea that Quitely’s action scenes were occasionally difficult to parse, or that they were too slow? Crazy times. Quitely manages the almost impossible feat of making feel movement within (and less extraordinarily between) frames. I can probably count the other artists working within the genre that can do that on maybe three fingers. (z)
  • If you didn’t already know, recorded music is over. Bill Drummond tells it like it is, and even if his diagnosis doesn’t prompt you to start you own choir of wailing neanderthals, the musical history he relates, the mirror he holds up to modern consumer culture and the questions it all raises are very interesting and meaty indeed. This podcast will only take up 25 mins of your time – do listen to it. (amy)
  • Incredibly, even though I read comics, I really like art, design, photography, etc, so from now on, with each aggregator, I’m going to include links to somewhere you can find some pretty pictures, esp image blogs. Sure, they’re just freeze-frames from DVDs, but think of it as found art. Anyway, you can never go wrong with anything remotely goatmendes-like. (amy)
  • And finally from me, if you haven’t already heard it you must check out this Brian Eno interview conducted by Alan Moore. Two of the most interesting guys on the planet having a nice chat. Brilliant. And it’s bit like comics because I gather Mr. Moore has written a comic called Spawn in the past. In the eighties or something. There was a smiley face I think. (amy)

26 Responses to “Aggrieveator!”

  1. amypoodle Says:

    sometimes i find it slightly difficult to parse quitely’s scenes the first time around, but, it’s like with magic eye pictures, on the third run through, or thereabouts, the action just pops, and after that, yeah, it’s like i’m watching a cartoon.

  2. Zom Says:

    Come to think of it that might be how it works for me. Whether that’s a fault or not is debatable.

  3. The Satrap Says:

    I enjoy Jog’s commentary as much as the next guy, but I’m not sure his argument is anything other than “Quitely is doing something unusual, therefore I don’t like it”. The convention in American spandex comics is basically to represent action as a succession of fists meeting jaws, i.e. “ka-pow moments”. It’s an effective technique, to be sure, the continuity being created in the simplest of fashions, one ka-pow per panel.

    Quitely’s fight scenes deliberately eschew the ka-pow thing. It’s all about representing the motion that leads from one smashed dollatron face to the next. I suppose you may say it’s distracting, but I think it’s a nice way to depict both the brutality of the encounters and the ballet-like elegance of the new Batman’s fighting style. Morrison has been going on about these things in interviews.

    Whatever. Where Jog goes seriously wrong is when he states that since this is supposed to be an action comic on a bad trip, the strength of the fisticuffs is the one make-or-break issue as far as Quitely’s art is concerned. I call bollocks on that. His character work on the main players is simply outstanding.

  4. Zom Says:

    I’m not sure Joe is particularly conditioned to only appreciate ameri-fisticuffs. He reads a hell of a lot of comics and regularly displays an open minded approach to formal innovation. It’s just possible that the techniques on display simply don’t work for him, but the fact remains that they do work for me, and apparently lots and lots of other people.

    Plenty of things beyond fighty fighty and character bring the bad trip vibe (concepts, colouring, use of motifs, thematic focus, etc…). As long as there is a significant action component it’s fair to describe the strip as Batman on bad drugs, if you ask me.

  5. The Satrap Says:

    Oh yes, absolutely. I don’t think there’s an American blogger out there who’s better versed in all the comics traditions on offer on our green mudball than the Jogster.

    It’s just that, to me, what Quitely’s doing, while very artful, is also quite obvious, very easy to pigeonhole as a stylistic choice and thus very easy to take in stride. No ka-pows.

  6. The Satrap Says:

    What Quitely’s doing…in the fisticuffs department, obviously. There’s a lot more going on in the comic.

  7. Nathan Says:

    is it my theory you’re talking about? I must know, my ego needs a pointless boost.

  8. The Satrap Says:

    I don’t know, Nathan. I’m just misrepresenting Jog’s position and writing “ka-pow” a lot.

    But do tell us about your theory.

  9. Zom Says:

    It’s super-dad’s. I love the idea that the Hurt is trying to recreate the Joker and Pyg is the failed result. It fits wonderfully with Amy’s Batrob 3 cover analysis/flight of fancy.

    I think the Red Hood could be the Joker, by the way. It would work, but I’m not in love with the idea

  10. The Satrap Says:

    Ah, now that I’ve read the comments on David’s annotations I understand. Good stuff, Pyg as Hurt’s creation and surrogate Joker would be a properly baroque flourish. The Joker as the Red Hood may seem a bit too obvious at first, but add the vigilante angle and the idea begins to sizzle.

    I won’t do any speculatin’ on BatRob, this time. After having been eerily on the money and having acquired bragging rights forever concerning the “Hurt is the Devil” thing, I feel content to rest on my well earned laurels. It can wear thin, when you make too frequent use of your mutant power of papal infallibility. Besides, I don’t feel like being invited to Morrison’s Arctic fastness again, as a reward for my sagacity. I mean, nice digs, but the room service is kinda rubbish.

  11. Zom Says:

    Speculatin’ in half the fun

  12. Jog Says:

    NEW DEVELOPMENTS?! No, I just wrote a huge long comments section trilogy that hits on some of the stuff raised here, and it’s my first published novel.

    Thanks for link, comments ‘n such…

  13. Zom Says:

    Ah, we love you

  14. The Satrap Says:

    You, sir, are a true gentleman, giving thanks for (among worthier things) my dickish expectorations.

    X-peculation: since everyone seems to want to see Hurt make a comeback, what about the third replacement Batman? In fact, I’m going to postulate that he’s the Red Hood, for no other reason than he’s the best Bat-villain created by Morrison to date.

    It’s not an ex cathedra pronouncement so take it with a grain of salt, though.

  15. The Satrap Says:

    “Dickish expectorations”. Holy shit. Think twice before mixing metaphors, kids.

  16. Zom Says:

    I prefer Pyg to the third Batman. We’ve seen a lot of dark Batmen over the years but too few men dressed in Pig masks doing sexy disco hot.

    Flamingo’s pink plane also = big yes

  17. The Satrap Says:

    After reading your comments thread, where you articulate your problems with Quitely’s live-action directing brilliantly, I have to say that perhaps the key sticking point that explains most of the difference in our respective reactions is the whole switching of perspectives thing Quitely’s doing. For instance, I think I “got” the roller coaster car sequence instinctively on a first read, perhaps because details like the switch to Damian’s view as the car is leaving Sasha to her fate are quite self-explanatory on an emotional level, rather than in terms of what-the-heck-is-going-on, what with the oversized, frantically grasping glove being an appropriate synecdoche for Damian himself –he thinks with his fists, Dick told him earlier on– and such.

    It turns out I have a talent for perspective switches! I will have to add that to my meagre résumé.

    But, anyway, my interests lie elsewhere. This comic is for me, perhaps even to the exclusion of all the other stuff that’s going on in its pages, about selling the characters. And Quitely is succeeding brilliantly on that front.

    I’m particularly fond of this dutiful, sad and wise Alfred. Compare him with some of the more notorious recent entries in the mythos. The Most Meaningful Superhero Movie Ever That Changed Everything And Is Like Citizen Kane Now With Extra Joker has a moment of unintended comedy when Alfred reminisces on his youthful days in colonial Burma and some unruly aborigine who only wanted to see the world burn and shit. If it were intentional, it would be a brilliant send-up of the Niall Fergusons, Andrew Sullivans (and Tony Blairs) of this world, overblown mediocrities giving a patina of Ye Olde Worlde legitimacy to the last madness cooked up in the dungeons of Wingnut Central.

    (It goes without saying that I don’t buy for a second into the idea that the Knight Darque was a complex portrayal of post-9/11 America. Confused, more like.)

    This Alfred on the other hand, with his “break a leg, sir” and his ferocious chicken and jalapeño sandwiches, is my kind of guy.

  18. The Satrap Says:

    Cross-posting. I want my comics to have all the good bits put together. Pig masks doing sexy disco hot + the soliloquies of a violent Batman = doubleplusgood.

  19. Thrillsss Says:

    Regarding the Red Hood, I think the third replacement Batman is Azrael now, or something, so it’s unlikely to be him. But who knows? If I was azrael, I’d probably want to be someone else, too.

  20. Zom Says:

    Seems to me that the third Batman was an Azrael analogue

  21. James Says:

    I – incomplete reading of MozzBats and general dumbness aside – took him that way too, Zom. The second Batman was the Bane fellow, right? And after Bane comes AzBats.

  22. The Satrap Says:

    The third Batman is way cooler than Azrael ever was, anyway. But are they the same person now, as in literally, per current…ahem…continuity? Isn’t the third Batman an African American? Isn’t Azrael some sort of blond Frenchman?

    Incredible. A man can’t turn off his papal superpowers for a second without the world going to hell in a handbasket.

  23. Zom Says:

    I was pretty keen on the original Azrael. The System was a fun idea with lots of potential.

    I feel a heroic hype coming on

  24. The Satrap Says:

    Ah, now I understand. “The third Batman is Azrael now” must mean he’s taken on/over Azrael’s mantle, rather than “it has been revealed that –shock– they were the same guy all along”. God, I’m a thickie. Who says that Quitely’s art is not clear, I find his perspective switches easier to parse than simple English sentences.

    As for the actual “development” itself…one can only shrug. It sounds a bit like Hal Jordan becoming the Spectre for a while, with even less pizzaz. Endogamous comics, shuffling their inbred characters around.

    But by all means, do hype Azrael, Zom.

  25. Zom Says:

    Our Botswana Beast has bagsyed him

  26. Duncan Says:

    No, Zauriel. The angel – I mean they’re both angel names, I got a whole dictionary of angels out the library and everything; the JLAngel.

    Please do do yr Azrael, as it may actually exist at some point, as opposed to my notional thing, that’s been a notion for over a year now.

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