Thursday, January 31, 2008

January 31st's Meanwhile in Las Vegas...

This week's Las Vegas Weekly comics review is of the IDW release of Jim Munroe and Salgood Sam's Therefore Repent!. If you happen to have read Therefore Repent!, let me know what you thought in the comments. It's a pretty different sort of book, so I'm really interested in other people's take on it.

If that whole being an editor thing doesn't work out for DC's Jann Jones, maybe she can get a job hand-crafting products for DC Direct. Did you see that image of her crocheted Ambush Bug in this week's DC Nation column. I'd totally buy one of those.

The Ambush Bug doll that is, not the new Ambush Bug: Year None miniseries. Well, actually, I will buy that, too, but that's not what I was referring to two sentence ago. I'm both a little surprised and a little impressed that DC's even attempting an Ambush Bug mini.

Considering how terrible a lot of these returns to "old favorites" sell, be they miniseries or maxiseries, new retooled versions by newcomers or straight-up original flavor and creators, they've got to know this thing isn't going to do very well. And yet they keep rolling 'em out—Checkmate, Omega Men, Suicide Squad, Infinity Inc., Captain Carrot, et cetera. I guess you've gotta kind of admire that. Or at least be happy you're getting a new Ambush bug series. (Me, I woulda first tested the Bug waters by commissioning Keith Giffen and Phil Jimenez to do a JLA: Classified story set during 52 #24 over a year ago, but what do I know).

How weird was it to see not one comic-centric cast on The Colbert Report of late, but two—both Marjane Satrapi and Joe Quesada sat down with Colbert this week (although I suppose the former was there more as a movie maker than a comics creator, but the line is awfully blurry, given that she made a movie based on the comics that she made).

That was the first time I've seen Satrapi in live-action...I'm much more used to her comics avatar and, when I think of "the real" Satrapi, I think of that black and white photo on the inside back covers of her books. I was kinda surprised how different Satarapi the comics creator looks from Satarapi the comics character, although I suppose there's no reason I should have. Most of the time when I see the "real" cartoonist after spending hundreds of pages with their self-drawn avatars, I'm surprised by the gulf between the two. When I bought some comics from Jeffrey Brown at SPACE one year, for example, I couldn't believe he was actually him. Joe Sacco's glasses aren't really opaque, James Kochalka's not really an elf, Art Spigelman's not really a mouse nor does he wear a mouse mask, etc.

In fact, the only autobio comics creator who looks exactly the same in both their comics and in real life that I can think of off the top of my head is probably Harvey Pekar, and Pekar doesn't draw himself, but is drawn by others. Someone smarter and better connected than I could probably write a pretty intersting article about why autobio comics creators draw themselves the way they do, and why they tend to look less like their avatars than autobio comics creators who are drawn into their comics by other people (ala Pekar).

Or maybe not.

Regarding Quesada's appearance, I thought he handled himself much, much, much better than he did upon his first appearance on the Report during which I cringed and winced quite a bit. Of course, he and Colbert seemed to have rehearsed much of the interview, which might have helped account for that, but I didn't cringe or wince once.

Thinking about Quesada as media personality—how come Dan DiDido's never on the Report or Howard Stern?—it occurred to me that as much as he tries to channel Stan Lee's old huckster persona, it never quite feels right. That is, seeing him in public as the face of Marvel Comics still seems off, as opposed to seeing Stan as the public face of Marvel.

Stan seemed like an eccentric uncle, whereas Quesada often seems like a smarmy older brother, and I'm not certain of why that is (Maybe just that Lee's old enough to be my grandfather, whereas Quesada and I are much closer in age?).

I think part of it might just be that Lee is a more strking visual persona. He has a "look" and a sound all his own. The two-tone hair, the shaded-glasses, the moustache—Lee is designed into a character. Quesada's just a guy with a haircut that makes me think he's a jerk. Maybe he should cultivate some unique physical attributes, in the hopes of acheiving a sort of iconic visual look some day.

I'm thinking a huge, bushy beard.


Anonymous said...

It's that Quesada sounds like a salesman when he talks, while Lee sounds like a carnival barker. Whether or not you're interested in the carnival, the barker manages to get you excited because you can feel HIS enthusiasm for what's there as well. The salesman, rather, exudes messages of, "Yeah, just buy it, okay?"

Patrick C said...

I liked how after the huge applause "Colbert/Hulk" got, he whips out "Colbert/Quesada"... and I think I heard crickets.

Think they'll work Colbert into the comics at some point? It's a sure-fire way to get back on the show.