Sunday, March 04, 2012

(links)

What is Steven Wacker doing?

I honestly can't make sense of his presence in all of those comment threads attached to consecutive articles on David Brothers' 4thletter blog throughout the week. Brothers didn't say anything mean, insane or unusual in his post that originally summoned Wacker—which, you'll recall, was just that Marvel's accelerated publishing schedule meant they were publishing their "monthlies" faster than a single art team could keep up with, and there were negative aspects to that for Brothers as a reader—and I think the fact that online commenters as diverse as Tom Spurgeon and Brian Hibbs linked to Brothers' piece, and responded to it from their own respective perspectives as a professional industry observer and a comic retailer attests to that.

I honestly can't make sense of his presence in these threads, especially his fight-all-takers approach and the insistence that he doesn't have to please Brothers or Brothers' commenters—he's not at their "beck and call," I think he put it at one point—which he says while posting comments on the thread instead of, I don't know, doing anything else in the world.

It's weird.

I've seen weirder—I can think of at least two writers whose work I can't even stand to read precisely because every time I see their names I think of dumb things they've said on the Internet, and maybe another half-dozen or so writers whose comics I can still read, but dumb things they've said and/or unprofessional behavior they've engaged in is still there in the back of my head as background noise, affecting if not completely ruining the experience of reading their comics—but the way Wacker's been conducting himself this week has been more off-putting in a "I am genuinely confused by this" way than a "This man is insane/racist/evil/ignorant/monstrous" way.

I hope Wacker's just having a bad week or so, though, and Marvel Editor/Comment Thread Troll isn't, like, his new online persona or anything, because I'd hate to drop the Daredevil book he edits, as in a few more months it's going to be the last Marvel book I read serially (I'm gonna stick with Captain American and Bucky after it becomes Captain America and [insert name of guest-star] at least until the end of the dinosaur-fighting arc with Hawkeye that was previously announced.

That said, Marvel is exerting some pressure on me to drop Daredevil, with it's crossovers, like the "Read the $4 issue of Amazing Spider-Man before this issue!" two-parter and the upcoming storyline that will crossover with both ASM and The Punisher...

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"Wise" is a word I almost never ever use (see also: "verdant"), but after reading this quote from cartoonist Jeph Jacques on Robot 6 earlier in the week, that's the first word that came to mind. As in, "That sounds wise."

Teenage Caleb, Even Twenty-Something Caleb would have vehemently disagreed with that last sentence of that quote, it sounds true to me now...especially even twenty-something Caleb would have argued vehemently against it, but it sounds true to me now, especially if you accentuate the word"Necessarily."

Anyway, Jacques offers some sound, reasonable, wise advice for creators telling stories of any kind.

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If I'm reading this right, Superman has, like, three different birthdays? But one of 'em only occurs once every four years, so most years he only has two birthdays, which seems fair—one for each identity.

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Rob Liefeld: zen master of taking criticism...?

Okay, not really—I know that's not entirely true, as I've seen him overreact, or react poorly, to stuff like that before, usually by citing the popularity of his characters like Deadpool or Cable or sales figures as proof of the quality of his work or as a rebuttal to criticism of his work. But Rick Worley's story isn't the first, second, third or even tenth post I've read in which someone admires how...cool Liefeld is about the sort of shit that would piss a lot of us, lesser folks right the hell off.

In addition to a funny story about how cool Rob Liefeld can be about things you wouldn't expect anyone to be remotely cool about, Worley's above post also served to alert me to the existence of this fun-sounding project: "Douchebags of Comics" trading card series.

The post explaining that project is the one where Worley said...some unflattering things about Liefeld, that lead to the story in the post linked to above. Things like:
He’s an adult man that thinks that apostrophes pluralize things.  And DC is paying him to write three titles for them.
Oh man, I wish I didn't have that pointed out to me...

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It may just be the skill with which artist John Trumbull renders them, or the specific designs of those characters or costumes, but his Green Arrow and Black Canary actually look great wearing each other's costumes.

You know, I think I prefer GA in Black Canary's Silver Age costume to the Ultimate Hawkeye-like, Smallville-ized get-up he's wearing in "The New 52" reboot...

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It occurred to me this weekend that were I to die suddenly and unexpectedly and a friend or family member to take it upon themselves to go through my laptop, they would find things like this—and think I must have had some rather bizarre sexual fetishes and/or hang-ups while I was still alive.

There's only a photo of a scantily-clad lady dressed up as a blue skeleton monster saved to my desktop because of work, I swear!

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(I wonder if that image's existence on a man's lap top is even weirder if you know that the lady is dressed like Skeletor, the (male) villain from an action figure line I used to play with between the ages of 4 and 8, and on a cartoon I used to watch in the early 80s, or somehow less weird...?)

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Frank Quitely Joker sketch!

If that isn't the best design for the Joker's face that says "horrifying," "realistic" and "true to the original design" in equal parts, I don't know what is. That seems like the best way to render The Joker's particular facial deformity that checks all of the above boxes that I can think of...certainly I don't remember anyone doing it better anywhere. (Via Sean T. Collins)

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David Plotz of Slate has penned an article about Mo Willems' "Elephant & Piggie" series of starter reader books, many volumes of which I've reviewed here over the years. I love Willems' work, and I think these account for the best of it—certainly in terms of cartooning.

Plotz's article is headlined "Elephant and Piggie Peer Into the Void: A tribute to the most existentially terrifying kids' book ever written"

Plotz focuses on the pair's realization that they are characters in a book n the volume We Are In a Book!, and that "all books must end," and so they anxiously worry about the end of their book.

If they were different characters, perhaps one-off characters who only appear in We Are In a Book!, it might be more terrifying. But as Piggie and Gerald have their own, seemingly never-ending series of books, "book" doesn't equal "life" for them the way it might for other characters.

It was a kick to click to onto Slate this weekend to see what funny hijinx the Republican candidates were getting up to now only to see Willems' over-emoting animal pair on the top of the page, though.

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Speaking of Slate, they reviewed Derf's new graphic novel My Friend Dahmer this weekend. You can read their piece here, if you like (I haven't; I'm holding off until I formulate my own review. I just read it Thursday night though, and I recommend it; I intended to only read a chapter or so before bed, and ended up staying up late to finish it, as "I couldn't put it down," as book reviewers like to blurb).

I see Derf is also providing illustrations for a bunch of Slate articles, too (Here's one, and here's another). That struck me as weird, him having his book reviewed at Slate at the exact same time he is getting a bunch of work from Slate...apparently as this month's book coverage's official illustrator. It's okay with me, I like his art, but it looks weird, and if I were someone at Slate, I'd worry about how it looked.

On the other hand, I suppose the thinking may simply have been that Derf is going to be a talked-about artist this month due to his graphic novel, so it's timely to have him provide the illustrations for all the book coverage, even if his own work is among the books being covered.

12 comments:

David said...

I assumed the Spider-man/Daredevil crossover was to get Spider-man readers to read Daredevil, not the other way around. Basically, they're doing crossovers to increase the current creative team's public exposure to draw in more readership.

Akilles said...

Quitely should draw Batman-stories.

Nick McNerderson said...

Daredevil's readership is growing on reputation alone. I love that book, but crossovers will quickly turn me off.

mordicai said...

I dunno, having gotten into an edit war with Rob Liefeld on Wikipedia in which he was editing his OWN article to remove anything he disagreed with...yeah, hard to think of him as gracious.

peter said...

I'm more inclined to agree with Alan Moore's advice that writing to avoid offending some potential reader is an excellent way to produce pablum. Better to focus on what you think is GOOD rather than crystal-balling the possible interpretations of offended readers. It's true, you can't control how the work is interpreted, and trying to avoid the potentially offensive will also mean avoiding the potentially interesting.

matthew. said...

I can't possibly agree with the word "wise" in relation to his comments on interpretation. There's an entire branch of literary criticism that delves into the idea that the author isn't a privileged reader of their own work. Their interpretation is on the same level as the reader. This isn't really a world-shaking epiphany.

Rick Worley said...

Any suggestions for people who deserve Douchebags of Comics cards?

Caleb said...

Suggestions...? I don't know, there are so many to choose from, I feel like it would be easier to suggest people who don't deserve to be in the deck...

Rick Worley said...

Yeah, I'm sure there are plenty of douchebags to get me to my goal of 52 cards, but usually when I mention the project to people they have a couple suggestions that especially stand out to them.

Caleb said...

Hmm...well, I think you cited the ones that spring to my mind right away. I hope you'll consider including "classic" douchebags, whose doucheiness may have worn off by now, like Stan Lee (like, I tend to think of him like a grandfather now, where even the shitty things he did decades ago are now sorta met with a, "Aw, he's just an old man" from a voice in my head).

I am fascinated by Major Malcom Wheeler-Nicholson, a "Golden Age" Douchebag of Comics...

Jim Shooter...?

And, um, pretty much anyone in any position of power at the Big Two in the last few decades, I suppose...Like, even if they shouldn't be defined as douchebags, there would be an element of douchebaggery...

I assume Gareb Shamus is already at the top of your list, as the archetypal Douchebag of Comics...

Um...

The Diamond Guy...?

I dunno. That's all I got for brainstorming. Readers, any request for Mr. Worley...?

Caleb said...

Mark Millar! Mark Millar! Mark Millar! Markmillarmarkmillarmarkmillarmarkmillar...

J. Michael Straczynski, for everything he's said about "Before Watchmen", for starting those stupid runs on Superman and Wonder Woman and then bailing, for "One More Day"...

Grant Morrison, whose work I admire a lot and whom I think is a genuinely smart guy, although he has--lately--seemed to have become an insufferable douchebag ("Supergods" is the best place to start for research on his doucheiness).

Shit, I feel like I could rattle creators off all day, but that would be Bad For My Career... Millar and Morrison are good examples of the comics-as-IP-for-movie-development-deal sub-genre of comics douche (he's the biggest and best at it, but I think there's about 500 who share that particular brand of douche-iness), and Morrison as the most vocal comics-writer-as-celebrity douche and/or profiting-off-the-work-of-others-while-dissing-them douche (re: his comments on Superman's creators).

Maybe Rich Johnston, if he's not too fringe...

Oh, and certainly Bluewater Productions Guy and Platinum/"Cowboys & Aliens" Guy...

Okay, I'm totally gonna stop now...any others I think of, I will dig a hole in my backyard and whisper their names into that hole...

Rick Worley said...

I already have listed pretty much everybody you suggested, with several of those people being really popular among people giving me suggestions so far. I was on the fence about Mark Millar but I'm being swayed. Grant Morrison, I admit can be a douche, but he's also one of a very small number of people at DC and Marvel right now who I think is an interesting writer, and generally I think the people he directs his douchiness toward deserve it. Usually, but not always. Stan Lee is slated for a card, although I'm not sure about how far back in comics history I want to go. He seems like he deserves a card, though. I'm not familiar with Bluewater Productions.