Really only time for a few today…it’s been crazy around here and we’ve been huddled in a blanket eating crackers.
§ Dan Nadel looks at Craig Yoe’s new book on Boody Rogers.
§ Ben Morse looks at some notable recent comics Whatever-happened-tos, including Will Pfeifer and Darryl Banks.
Speaking of the now…I recently unearthed a complete 20 issue run of this Swamp Thing in one of my old longboxes and gave it a read to see how it’s held up. I have to say, the things that I loved about the series in the first place — the things detailed above — are still there. But there are some other elements I feel a bit differently on, or things that just look a little different when viewed through the prism of time. One of my favorite issues, for instance, is one that I remember being kind of “meh” on: #7, wherein Tefe befriends a random teenage girl and gets a taste of the evil humans are capable of. What’s so fascinating — and so great — about this issue is that it perfectly captures Tefe’s complete lack of understanding when it comes to human behavior, highlights her shifting desire to empathize with others, and displays her terrifying powers. All in 32 pages! (Less with ads, actually.)
And now our DAILY WATCHMEN links.
§ it seems that Anthony Lane reviewed WATCHMEN for the New Yorker and had some ignorant things to say about graphic novels. Mr. Lane is the kind of snarky prose stylist who just says these kind of things to be snarky, but Jeet Heer rises to the defense, shaking his fist at the heavens:
Comics are a medium, not a genre. That is to say, comics are like print or film, not like science fiction or detective stories. So it’s not surprising that there is a huge diversity of styles and subjects done in comics form. Some cartoonists, like Art Spiegelman and Marjane Satrapi, use words and pictures to create memoirs. Others, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons in Watchmen, are more likely to do genre fiction. This diversity shouldn’t be surprising since a medium is a tool of communication and doesn’t, pace McLuhan, dictate the message.
Let’s imagine a clueless Anthony Lane who knew nothing about books or movies writing about these mediums. He would compose sentences like this: “The world of the print books is a curious one. For every masterwork, such as ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ or ‘Speak, Memory,’ there seem to be shelves of Harlequin Romances and cheesy Star Trek knock-offs, shoddy paperbacks whose covers display rock-jawed heroes and their melon-breasted lovers.”
§ The AV Club suggests 24 more graphic novels we’d like to see made into movies with an emphasis on the unfilmable, like Jimmy Corrigan and Cerebus. Please. Life is too short. Let them be.
§ Matt Yglesias ponders which recent president is most like Ozymandias.
KP: A lesson that a lot of creators took from Watchmen wasn’t necessarily the right one in that they didn’t start doing more sophisticated, more adult type stuff. It was just more grim n’ gritty.
LW: Well, my favorite line about Hollywood, where I live and work for the most part these days, is that in Hollywood no one wants to be first, but everyone wants to be the first to be second. That’s kind of what happened with Watchmen and Dark Knight. I certainly know that Alan did not intend it. I don’t know if Frank did either. I doubt that he did. But I doubt that they intended everyone to follow them and go, “Ooh, here’s something that was successful and made a lot of money. We just go dark and grim and gritty.” In fact, Alan got so upset that everyone was following him down that dark path that he came up with the whole 1963 idea when he was at Image. He was desperately kind of going, “Jeez, if they followed me into the dark and gritty, maybe they’ll follow me back into the fun and happy comics in 1963.” So that was his apology I think in many ways to history. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for everyone to go bleak and dismal.”
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