Friday, November 17, 2006

Sniffing the Results

Longtime readers will, of course, remember my dog:
Oh, wait; wrong picture.

There we go.

Anyway, I was walking the dog the other day, and pondering the fact that he's less interested in other dogs than in the smells (or other things) that they produce. I've seen him examine intently an area of recent bedewment by another dog, while ignoring the dog itself.

How odd, I thought. It's like reading someone's calling card, but not talking to them. I, a sensible human with appropriate priorities, would never do something as silly as that.

Yet, of course, I do that all the time.... with my comic books.

Writers? Writers are mere details, just credits on the splash page; I ignore them all the time, and focus instead on their product, on what they've left behind. And, no, I am not metaphorically calling most comic book stories doggy doo; my dog and I simply have differing interests. And I'm well aware intellectually that writers (oh, and artists, too) are important because they produce the product I enjoy. I'm just saying writers interest me only to the degree I can smell what characters they recently ingested and what literary product came out the other end of the process.

Is that strange?

Then again, on another level, even the stories themselves aren't my point of interest. Not really. Yes, I like to read good stories. But quality of the stories is, in the final analysis, less important to me (and, I think, posterity) than the contribution they make to the myth of the characters within them. So something stupid or unlikely things happened in a story you read; so what? Most of the stories that enamored us of comic books and their characters had/have stupid or unlikely things in them.

I -- and, I think, many people -- are more interested in the result of the story, than in the story itself. Did the characters involved become more interesting? Did their relationships with one another deepen or become richer? Did the universe of which they are part become richer or more interesting as a result of the story? Or perhaps, was a social or moral point made?

I think this may be why I am more satisified by my comic books than some other fans. I am reminded of a recent post in which I praised Paul Dini and his recent work on Batman. The post received many comments criticizing one of his stories as slapdash, lascivious, sloppy; that may very well all be true.

But all I saw was a story that made Poison Ivy more interesting to me, added an ironic twist to her work with plants, and deepened my understanding of the relationship between Batman & Robin. That's the only kind of thing I'm ever going to be able to remember longterm, not whether the ending was rushed or whether the art was too cheesecakish.

Is that strange?

Maybe I'm just as weird as my dog is.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Things That Made Me Happy...

in my comics this week.

  • Robin 156's anti-suicide message. If you want to read snide snarking about how this sort of issue is a stupid PSA you shouldn't waste your money on and why doesn't every book have large boobed asskicking Asian women fighting one another, look for a different blog than this one. I'll remember Robin 156 and Robin's conversation with the Freshmen on the roof long after I've forgotten most other comics I read this month. Once again, Robin has shown that he is the coolest person in the DCU.
  • The sheer girliness of Oracle sending roses to invite people into Birds of Prey is side-splitting. It's just so Yvonne Craigish: "No girl -- not even a girl crimefighter -- can resist a dozen roses, Charlie! I think I'll pop over to look for replies in my P.O. Box via my Oracle-cycle!"
  • Pfeiffer's Freak Film once again proves that nobody makes theme villains like Gotham does.
  • Powerboy. Sigh.
  • Supergirl's moment of lesbian frissonne!
  • OH! I finally figured out what the art in Sword of Atlantis keeps reminding me of: those old Dell novel covers with the '60s advertising-style art:
  • I think at least one comic every month should have a renegade robot shouting "52! 52!"

My special shout out goes to Jesse Leon McCann, about whom I know nothing at all. BUT, Jesse wrote one of the stories in this week's Krypto #3, in which in the Penguin's pet penguin falls out of plane, blunders into the Fortress of Solitude, accidently traps Superman, receives super mental powers, dons a toga, attacks Superdog and Bathound with a giant green "mind gorilla", suspends them over a vat of boiling liquid kryptonite, attacks a town with a giant green "mind dinosaur", and then is defeated ... all in ten pages.

Now THAT is the kind of pacing I want in a comic book. If you want bang for your buck, Jesse Leon McCann is your writer!!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Let's play the Translation Game!

Without knowing the language or looking up the scene in English...


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Poet Aureate

He's evil.

He's brilliant.

AND he's poetic.

Waverider. The seer
of Hypertime. Keeper of
divergent timelines.

Nice one, Evil Skeets! Anybody can make a haiku, but only a true villain can make them sound really ominous.

The glory of Evil Skeets deserves haiku (as does the imminent destruction of much-despised Living Plot Device and leftover embarrasment, Waverider).

Can you do Skeets justice with haiku of your own?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Is it just me, or...?

I'm sorry, but every time I see "Ollie Queen" on Smallville...

all I see is Allen Lee Haff, the Yard Sale Guy.

Magical Vaginas

When I read this on another site:

"Why are there no magical vaginas or cosmic ray shooting asses. It's always from the hands or eyes."

... I realized that I almost never discuss comic book vaginas.

But let me try to answer the question anyway.

Our brains are highly focused on eyes and hands as its primary means of interacting with the world (this can be seen graphically in the well-known 'body self-perception' diagram, in which the head and hands are vastly out of proportion).

Our hands and eyes are the way we "reach out" to the world, which is why it's psychologically natural for writers to have characters channel their powers through them.

In fact, a case could be made that most characters who give with the zappy COULD do so from any part of their body in theory, but because their powers are "mentally activated" rather than autonomic, they naturally focus their energies through their eyes and hands because it's much easier for them to do so.

And, honestly, aren't you glad? Think of the costuming difficulties that would arise otherwise...