I just read Becky Cloonan’s Wolves, and loved it. It very succinctly and beautifully manages to convey a powerful story. It does more in twenty pages than stories many times that length, which made me think — is brevity becoming a lost art in comic-books? Just like bigger is not always better, longer certainly is also not always better.
Let’s consider Marvel’s current policy of double-shipping titles. For some time they have been pushing more than twelve issues of a particular title in a year, and they are starting to do this on more and more titles. One of the unfortunate side-effects is that the art suffers. David Brothers did a great piece on this, which unfortunately earned the ire of a certain Marvel editor.
However, it also dilutes the narrative. All stories eventually boil down to the same elements. For example, conflict builds to a climax and is then resolved, leaving everything else to nuance. Scott Pilgrim is a story about love, life, growth, and self-discovery. It’s a story that we’ve heard a million different times from a million different places, but what makes it unique is how it speaks to a generation raised by TVs and video games. It taps into our worldview, and more effectively speaks to our hearts and minds. That’s how nuance makes a story good. Read More
So Walking Dead is doing really well, I mean really really well. The trade paperbacks of the comic-book have been ruling sales charts for some time, but the success of the show was never a guarantee. Turns out that any fears to the contrary were unfounded. According to Deadline the show’s ratings just broke more records for a basic cable drama series. These are the same records that the show set back in October, so yeah it’s doing pretty good. But just why exactly is that? Why is a show set in a post-apocalyptic zombie wasteland doing so well?
First, I thought of an io9 article about how war and social upheaval cause spikes in zombie movie production (yes, the original article looks screwy, but I found this). They compiled a list of zombie films and compared it to periods of turmoil. The correlation seems to be obvious, and logical. After all, those are the times when we most think about death, and also ponder the ramifications of a complete collapse of society. Put two and two together and voila, simple. Except, I don’t buy it. Why not disaster films? Why zombies in particular? Also, the io9 study doesn’t consider that all forms of escapism might become more popular in times of turmoil. Let me instead suggest that the popularity of zombies and by extension Walking Dead has more to do with fears engendered by the modern world as a whole, rather than any specific event. Read More
In case you missed it Tony Moore recently sued Robert Kirkman over Walking Dead, and it stirred up all kinds of comments and reactions. Most notably an exchange on Twitter between Rick Remender and Cory Walker where they argued if designing characters is enough to constitute ownership. Walker collaborated with Remender on Strange Girl, an Image series from 2005. The twist is that Walker quit the project before the first issue was even fully conceived, and Eric Nguyen replaced him and provided art for all 18 issues of the comic. Walker’s contribution boils down to character designs and sketches. This exchange on Twitter is certainly not about to explode into another lawsuit, but it raises an interesting question, just what defines ownership of an idea?
Should Walker receive credit for being the first to put pencil to paper and transforming Remender’s words into images, or does all the credit go to Eric Nguyen, who did the hard work of illustrating 18 issues? For that matter how much credit should go to the artist, over the say the writer. To take this even a step further, how much credit goes to whatever influenced the creators in the first place. I’m sure many have found themselves reading stories, only to find many or few elements borrowed from elsewhere. What then even constitutes a new idea? Is it turtles all the way down? Read More
It seems that each year there’s a comic-book movie that I dismiss and that later turns out to be good. Last year that was X-Men First Class, and this year that may be The Amazing Spider-Man. I was definitely ready for another interpretation after Spider-Man 3, but a complete reboot? And so soon? That was a little off-putting, but the more I hear or see , the more that changes. Sure, the latest trailer isn’t the best ever, but it was still enough for me to allow myself to get somewhat excited. So then here are five reasons for this:
1. Andrew Garfield
I loved the first two Spider-Man films, but was never a huge fan of Tobey Maguire. He never did it for me, and never fit the character in my opinion. On the other hand, Andrew Garfield seems perfectly suited for the role. Some might recall his appearance at San Diego Comic-Con last year. It’s things like that that just make my inner-nerd happy. Then there’s what we’ve seen in the recent trailer. His Spider-Man is more cocky and the banter is better delivered. Plus, he can look dark and broody, without looking silly like Maguire, which is a plus. Read More
Last week I decided to buy my first digital comic-book. My interest in reading Prophet #21 far outweighed any misgivings I may have had about the digital medium, and so a first step was taken (via ComiXology). It didn’t take me long to make a second and now third step. I’ve switched to reading The Strange Talent of Luther Strode digitally, and have now read the first issue of Justice League Beyond online.
I’m not about to switch to reading all of my comics digitally, but it makes for a very good alternative. Once you take that first impossible step it suddenly seems to make a lot of sense. It’s easier to track down issues, and the $1.99 back-issues can be tempting. I’m definitely going to continue buying my favorites in print, but I will gladly transition to digital for some of the other things I read. Read More