Thursday, May 11, 2006

Marv-elous

What's worse than Marv Wolfman's dialog?

"Kal-El was asleep when his world exploded. His only memories were
of shifting back and forth in the soft, protective confines of his
mother's womb, dreaming of the gentle sounds she made. They were
encouraging songs and tender coos that let him know how much he was
already loved. As she sang, he knew her hand would gently brush
against her swollen abdomen then come to rest on his small, bulging
stomach. He anxiously waited for that all-too-brief moment, hoping
that very soon he would look into her eyes and let her know he loved
her, too."

His prose. Well, not really, but almost. In case you're wondering that's from the forthcoming novelization of Superman Returns. Who in their right mind let the DC's worst writer in the last 30 years novelize Superman Returns? Was Bob Haney not available?

25 comments:

CalvinPitt said...

So what's wrong with that paragraph?

I mean yeah, it's overly flowerly and sugary enough to shut down my pancreas, but it's not a bad paragraph.

Jeff R. said...

Well, it has some interesting implications for how native Kryptonian pre-natal development differs from the human, for a start. (Acquiring the concept of eyes before having seen them, or anything else for that matter, is a neat trick...)

Bully said...

Man, they really need to bring Eliot S! Maggin's two Superman novels back into print. Sublime.

Ununnilium said...

Those were awesome. Well, Last Son of Krypton was, I've never read Miracle Monday. Still. Awesome.

Sleestak said...

"Swollen abdomen"?

Was Lara preggers?

Anonymous said...

I always liked that ghost of a New York cabby that used to inhabit the characters of the Teen Titans or their adversaries at random.
In the middle of perfectly normal dialog he'll just pop in to say, "hi."

Not making this up. Read those old Teen Titans and you'll see. I call him "Bugsy."

Ignatzmonster

JP said...

Ewwwww in-utero incest slash, gross. I second Bully's call on Eliot S! Maggin's novels, btw.

PS: WHere's your template gone?

crowdedhouse said...

Forgive my language, but what in the name of fucking-fuck-fuck? In mean, what the EFF-YOU-SEE-CAY? If I were an editor at DC, I would've stopped reading at "tender coos" and started smacking Wolfman with a crowbar until I cracked his skull.

I'm very sorry that I had to say all of the above, but man, that is just so...so...ugh. That's the only word I have for it.

Word Verification: ungmv, which is what Wolfman would say while I was hitting him with the crowbar.

Mike Loughlin said...

"As he drifted through the cold, cold universe, Kal-El's was warmed by memories of his mother twisting and turning as she tried to sleep. The in rush of her peanut butter and ham sandwiches, and the strength it gave him. The constant feel of the hands of strangers on his fleshy domicile, and their reassurances that he was, indeed, a feisty one."

Scipio said...

Heh.

Heh heh.

We should have an annual "Wolfmaneseque Writing Contest"...

Marionette said...

Even given this example, I think it's unfair to label Wolfman as the worst DC writer in the last 30 years. But then there is a lot of competition for that accolade.

I'm not sure he'd even make the top ten.

Anonymous said...

It's emo writing for an adaptation of an emo movie. What were you expecting?

Scipio said...

"I think it's unfair to label Wolfman as the worst DC writer in the last 30 years."

Label? I consider it a self-evident proposition.

Look for the worst of some other modern DC writer; the worst. Then pick any page written by Wolfman and compare the two. Guess which will be worse?

Tom Curry said...

The thing that turns this from the merely hacky to the sublimely, kitschily bad is the way the paragraph so thoroughly undoes itself. Starts off with all that soothing … well, “imagery” isn’t the right word, because all he does is toss out adjective after adjective. Description, then. He basically wants to put us in the mind of softness, comfort, warmth. But then all of a sudden we run up against that “swollen abdomen” and suddenly I’m envisioning Superman’s mom as a giant spider. By the time I hit the baby’s “bulging stomach” I’m looking around for Sally Struthers.

Why’d he stop there? Couldn’t he have found something to describe as, say, bloated? Bulbous? Was nothing distended?

Ah, but I’m being hypercritical. I remember that the book jacket of “The Bridges of Madison County” featured an excerpt of the prose inside. Reading it, I became convinced – and spent too much time trying to convince others -- that the writer was kidding. That he had accomplished a feat of sustained, deadpan satire.

Also explains Veitch’s Aquaman run, I’m telling you.

Steven said...

By the way, I second the call for an annual Wolfman writing contest.

'Course, that would mean we'd actually have to read his writing to get the flavor, and the mortality rate could be very high...

Ah well, worth the risk—FOR COMEDY!

Eric L said...

I would love, love, love to find someone who has never read the original CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS and have them try to read and review Marv's novelization.

Beta Ray Steve said...

Oh, please! Like none of you people ever slept through the explosion of your home planet while gettin' some in vitro nookie from your mom!
Really!

Anonymous said...

I loved Marv Wolfman's work on the first few years of New Teen Titans.

Scipio said...

"I would love, love, love to find someone who has never read the original CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS and have them try to read and review Marv's novelization."

I'd start by buying a gun...

Ken S. said...

Marv's dialogue may be bad... his prose may be bad. But the guys can write character, conflict and plot (or could, anyway). I maintain that you slpp him with that label because he's Marv-el-esque. True, but he wrote the only palatable run of Hal Jordan Green Lantern after O'Neil ran out of ideas (Dr Ojo!?) and before Engelhart got ahold of him.

Scipio said...

Heh, he put the "Marv" in Marvel, eh?

I never read his work on GL (that I know of), but now you have me very curious....

Shawn L. said...

Oh, who cares. It's just a movie novelization. Damn few of those are any good. I usually look at them as just another opportunity for Peter David to get an extra paycheck between Star Trek novels. (he's been doing a lot of the Marvel based movie novelizations lately)

Getting back to Elliot S! Maggin, the Novelization of Kingdom Come that he wrote, adapting the Mark Waid / Alex Ross comic, was brilliant. He added quite a bit to the story that was brilliant. If you haven't read it go do so now.

Matthew said...

I've never read CoIE - if anyone feels like buying me the novelization, I'm game!

Anonymous said...

At least Bob Haney could plot! More than Wolfman ever managed!

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