Monday, January 29, 2007

Fall From Grace

Today I watched "It's Trad, Dad!", a bizarre British film from 1962 about some kids trying to gather performers for a Dixieland jazz festival in their hometown. Odd as that is, it's made even odder by full on-stage performances with Chubby Checker, Gary U.S. Bonds, and other contemporary artists squarely outside the province of Trad jazz.

Oddest still, it actually works even though it shouldn't. It's kind of like watching someone successfully pull off wearing pearls with corduroy or discovering that raisins taste great on pizza.

It was pretty much the earliest real film of director Richard Lester, best known for his work with the Beatles on Hard Day's Night and other films. If you set aside the goofy sense of humor, he does an amazing job of capturing the experience of each performer (with what I assume were innovative approaches at the time, but which have since become staples of the music video genre).

You, however, might remember Richard Lester for only one thing: he's the person the Salkinds replaced Richard Donner with on Superman II (and who then directed Superman III, something we'd all like to forget everything about).

Since I (and most decent people) think those films are awful, I'm left pondering whether it was the fault of the material he was given. Was he simply out of his element? Or had Lester's light faded so severely that he went from brilliant innovation to hackwork in15 years or so?

My question to you today isn't really about Lester; it's about the Fall From Grace syndrome among comic book writers and artists. Who has suffered such a fall and why?

Frank Miller will seem a likely candidate to many. But I think upon sober reflection I've concluded didn't become a hack; we all simply finalized realized it. Some may say Jim Aparo's worked faded badly, but I would disagree; I still say it was always terrible.

Pardon me if this question seems too negative. But many of you have followed the careers of writers and artists more closely than I (who have been more preoccupied with the history of characters) and I seek your wisdom... .


H said...

I'll start by throwing Denny O'Neil's hat into the ring. He was an innovative writer when he first hit the scene and did so with a splash with his Green Lantern/Green Arrow stories, his run on Batman with Neal Adams and his less praised, but darned good, Justice League run.

And then he fell apart. By the time he became the regular writer on Spider-Man in 1980, his ear for dialog had gone deaf and his plots were as sophisticated as an issue of Spidey Super Stories.

He had gone from innovately dynamic to irrelevantly dull.

Why? You ask hard questions Scipio. There is a clear change in O'Neil's writing style, but why did it change? That I can't answer.

Simon Jones said...

It's because he was a creature of the 60's and 70's. And as time went on, what was made him burningly relevant (Drugs! Hippies! The Peace Movement! Hippies! Racism! Hippies! So many frickin' Jesus metaphors! Hippies!) became less so and became less of a useful device. He also stopped working under Archie Goodwin quite as much, who seemed to squeeze his best work out of him.

Though, his less mainstream stuff, such as his Question run, where he used a very...odd cadence in his dialogue, remained brilliant.

Allan said...

Gotta disagree with you on this one, Scipio. Not only do I love Lester's version of Superman II (and believe it is immeasurably superior to the recently released Donner cut of the film), but I think Superman III is one of the most underrated films in the comic book film genre.

I appreciate that many people were disturbed by its abrupt turn towards comedy, which was directly influenced by the casting of Richard Pryor, whose appeal might be questionable to some, but I've always felt that in so doing they ignored many of the qualities that made the film worthwhile. Among these laudable attributes I would include:

A) Christopher Reeve's performance as "evil" Superman, whose casual acts of maliciousness (straightening the Leaning Tower of Pisa, blowing out the Olympic flame, etc.) are among the film's brightest moments.

B) The casting of Annette O'Toole as Lana Lang, who was so winning in the role you could almost forgive the fact that she never once turned into any kind of insect during the course of the film.

C) The juxtaposition of Superman's mythic reality with the workaday misery of Gus Gorman's everyday life.

D) The extremely technically impressive sequence where "evil" Superman and Clark Kent battle it out for supremacy in a junkyard.

E) Pamela Stephenson defying the conventions of the blonde golddigger.

F) I don't care what anyone says, the supercomputer is a kickass villain!

I am willing to admit that my enjoyment of the film marks a definite lack of decency on my part, but I find that many of the people who are so quick to dismiss it haven't seen it in 20 years and base their disappointment more on what the film wasn't rather than on what it actually was.

As for your larger question, I believe that it is impossible for any creative person to maintain a level of high achievement throughout their entire career. Every writer, director, etc. who works long enough to have an impressive body of work is bound to have several failures attributed to their name. I think this says more about how difficult it is to create a work of lasting appeal than it does anything else. I think its unfair that just because someone occasionally achieve's greatness in their work that they should be faulted if they fail to do it each and every time.

Peter said...

I was going to answer your question, Scipio, but my brain just crashed after reading that long defense of Superman III, easily the worst moviegoing experience of my childhood (it put me off comic books and superheroes for at least a decade).

Anyway, I can't remember who or what I was going to post about now.

Allan said...

Wow, I blew someone's mind!

Call it one of the perks of defending the seemingly indefensible!

The Fortress Keeper said...

Superman II was a great movie, but I got nothin' much to say for Superman III other than the Clark vs. Superman bit.

Writer who lost it? Steve Englehart - a brilliant writer in the 70s who set the stage for many modern practitioners. His latest stuff (i.e. JSA & JLA classified)?

Not so good.

Why? I think it's just incredibly hard to be at the peak of your creativity for an entire lifespan.

Anonymous said...

Chris Claremont. Scipio, I know you're going to start laughing any second now, but please bear with me ... back in the 1970s, Claremont was responsible for some deservedly famous tales of the X-Men, breathing new life into a title that desperately needed it. By the late 80s, though, it was pretty clear that he was just going through the motions; and by about the year 2000 his concept of writing had turned into "throw as many words at the reader as I can and hope it's as good as my work from 25 years ago".

And of course there's this.

Julian said...

Since I (and most decent people) think those films are awful [...]

Frank Miller will seem a likely candidate to many. But I think upon sober reflection I've concluded didn't become a hack; we all simply finalized realized it.

There must be a typo in there. You are saying that he fell from grace (if so, which books of his do you consider typical of his decline?) or that he was always a hack and at some point most comic book readers realized it?

I would simply disagree with the latter interpration of your quote. As for FM being suffering from the Fall From Grace syndrome, I'll admit that his All-star Batman makes for some "weird", to say the least, reading material and is kind of embarassing for us Miller-philes to defend. But I am also intrigued by the art of "Holy Terror, Batman" he showed some years back (link to video: * * )

To answer your question: I can't answer it. I haven't been consistently reading comics for that many years and in the less than 5 years that I have, my favourite creators have remained the same and furthermore I have found more new people whose work I like, like Brian K. Vaughan.

And an off topic question: post Infinite Crisis, where was it first made *abundantly* clear the DC Multiverse exists/lives again? I have read up to #38 of 52 and I didn't find anything of the sort. Was it in that trippy mirror effect early in Meltzer's (awful imo) JLA?

Bill Meisel said...

OFF TOPIC: Scipio - now that the second showcase Justice League volume is out, I hope you will comment on the bizarre logic of how Batman beats Owlman by turning his back on him in the second JLA/JSA teamup. Somehow that story made perfect sense to me as a kid, but now it makes my head hurt...

Anonymous said...

Gerry Conway (ducks).

Gotta disagree on the Miller thing too: I just re-read a couple volumes of his Daredevil run, and there was good stuff in there, showing more subtle thought than he's capable of today.

Sure, Claremont's various Seventies comics were novel and exciting. But I think he started reusing his limited bag of tricks as early as the Eighties.

The person whom I got disillusioned with and then started to think may have always been a hack is Peter Milligan. He very much likes to write the same kind of self-pitying schlemiel over and over. Sometimes he's gotten good limited series out of that, but for ongoings it's a catastrophe.


Anonymous said...

Aparo was always constantly awesome. One of the most reliable artists working in comics. Took the Frank Robbins/Neal Adams Batman style and put his own unique twist on it. You may not like the Outsiders, but Aparo never really was meant to be a co-plotter (if he really actually ever was with Barr).

Likewise, I never thought Miller lost it. But there seems to be a lot fewer of "us" versus the legions who whine that Goddamn Batman isn't "my Batman." It isn't supposed to be. It's Miller's opportunity to whatever the hell he wants with the character, and he seems to want Batman to come off as absolute Bat$hit crazy. And apparently most comic readers enjoy it, because whenever it actually gets released (once per decade) it's in the top 5.

As for your actual question... I'd say Englehart is a good pick. Dark Detective was hard to get through if it wasn't for the stunning Rogers art.

Jon Hex said...

CLAREMONT SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't know if I made this clear before, but he does. And worse, Marvel keeps him behind a computer churning out sucktastic drivel usually starring Psylocke. It wounds me to the point wherever I write about it on my blog. And what's worse? He was never THAT good. Yeah his stories had interesting ideas, but he wrote like he made textbooks for the mentally challenged. Every scene and action had to be described, usually in an expository thought balloon. He was a bad writer and great plotter, and now, he's just garbage. Wait, he's a recycler, spitting out the same storylines he did five years before, using the castoff characters of Alan Moore.

And anyone who stands in my face and tells me that Superman III is anything but the second worst moment in Superman history will be Superboy punched out of reality.

Anonymous said...

What is the nature of this state called Grace?Can you fall from it if it has not been clearly defined?

Arynne said...

And did Gerry Conway ever actually have any?

Anonymous said...

Only in the terminally incestuous world of comics blogs would the Superman movies be the "only thing" Richard Lester is known for. He was in fact one of the best-known directors of the 60s and 70s.

Not only did Lester make two movies with those Beatles chaps (you might remember them vaguely; they were sometimes mentioned in 60s DC comics, after all) but he also made the following fine films: The Knack, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, How I Won The War, Robin and Marian, and The 3 Musketeers/4 Musketeers.

The Musketeers movies are notable for giving the Salkinds the idea for splitting Superman into two parts. They're also absurdly entertaining with beautiful photography and great over-the-top fight sequences. Lester even manages to coax decent comedic performances out of a pair of waxwork dummies (Michael York and Racquel Welch.)

Anonymous said...

Dark horse (no pun intended) pick: Mark Verheiden.

I loved the American. His stuff seemed to get lazier and less interesting thereafter.

I actually think that the driving force for decreasing quality of product has more to do with editing than ideas. Any writer will tell you that they throw out two ideas for every one that they keep. When writers reach a certain stature, they are less willing to self-edit or even receive editing criticism from others. "Nobody tells me how Batman should talk, I'm Frank %^&*ing Miller!"

I wonder if Garth Ennis isn't suffering from a similar malady (more successful products but a lot of real stinkers)

rachelle said...

I was just having a conversation about Aparo earlier today. Say what you want about him, but he certainly knew how to draw a look of terror or despair on Batman's face. And he knew it, because he would have Batman wear that expression every second panel.

I'll also stand on the side in favour of Superman III. I agree with everything allan said. It's a fun movie.

As for your question (as if I have any integrity left after announcing my love of Superman III), I don't know if I could really add anybody new to the list. I can only think of writers/artists that I never liked in the first place. Although it seems like Tim Sale's artwork is getting lazier...

Gokitalo said...

Gotta disagree on the Miller thing too: I just re-read a couple volumes of his Daredevil run, and there was good stuff in there, showing more subtle thought than he's capable of today.

Daredevil did seem to bring out Miller's more subtle side. Most of his other famous works seem to deal in extremes (save perhaps the ambiguous morality of his Sin City protagonists).

Yeah his stories had interesting ideas, but he wrote like he made textbooks for the mentally challenged. Every scene and action had to be described, usually in an expository thought balloon. He was a bad writer and great plotter, and now, he's just garbage.

He used less description when working with artists he was pretty comfortable with: Alan Davis comes to mind (not so much John Byrne and Dave Cockrum, though). Also, I think his dialogue did improve during the 80s, but soured a bit near the end of his X-Men run.

And anyone who stands in my face and tells me that Superman III is anything but the second worst moment in Superman history will be Superboy punched out of reality.

Ah come now, isn't that a bit much? :b While we're on the topic, what do you think is the worst moment in Superman history: Superman IV? Or the day Siegel and Shuster realized the fate of their character was no longer in their hands? Maybe something else?

Although it seems like Tim Sale's artwork is getting lazier...

A possible side effect of him working on a monthly title, instead of a special project? *shrugs*

Well, I might as well get around to answering the question. I guess if one creator has, at least to me, artistically fallen a bit from grace, it's John Byrne. His artwork seems to have less energy and range than it had before. Some of his faces, for example, can look pretty similar (I admit they sometimes did in the past as well, but not as much as they do now).

Scotus said...

Warren Ellis. His style worked great in stuff like Transmetropolitan and Planetary. But when he started applying it to mainstream superhero books (which, by his own admission, he can't stand), not so much. A lot of his recent work has crossed into self-parody territory.

And God knows he's an easy target, but Rob Liefeld showed a lot of promise initially, only to throw it all away. Because why bother with things like backgrounds or anatomy, when you can make a living simply by drawing improbably huge guns, biceps, and breasts?

Dave said...

Lester had a couple of good shots: A Hard Day's Night and The Three Musketeers (but not The Four Musketeers), but his oeuvre is basically full of crap -- especially his two Superman pictures and "Forum," which takes a musical farce with the intricacy of a Swiss watch and "improves" it by filling it with glue, jam, and horse manure.

As far a creators on the skids, I'd definitely include Miller, whom I think has gone around the bend (especially after seeing him at WonderCon last year). The first Dark Knight, Year One, and Daredevil were good, but he's been coasting on them for almost 20 years. Dark Knight 2 was an incompetent mess and All-Sat B&R is just putrid.

Englehart is up there, too, but I liked Dark Detective quite a lot. Can't say as much for anything else he's written since JLA, though.

As much as I hate to say it, though, I'd have to give the booby prize to Stan Lee. A guy who single-handedly changed the genre has become the loveable spokesperson for the industry, but every script the guy has touched since the late 60s might as well have been a parody.

(In my Hall of Shame of guys with good reps and no talent [a completely different topic, I realize] are Roy Thomas and Peter David. Thomas would have to improve his dialoguing skills 1000% to have even a tin ear and David has flashes of talent, but submerges them beneath a weakness for inappropriate and unnecessary jokes and puns. I also have to admit I don't really like most of Jack Kirby's output, but that's for another day.)

Allan said...

"And anyone who stands in my face and tells me that Superman III is anything but the second worst moment in Superman history will be Superboy punched out of reality."

Actually, I think we'll all end up on the coolest of the 52 alternate Earths. We'll call it Earth-Whimsical and Detective Chimp will be our leader.

But don't feel left out, I bet you'll have a good time with the other folks on Earth-Grouchy.

Glen Davis said...

I'm going to say Howard Chaykin. He's been writing the same character ever since his days at Atlas/Seaboard. The seventies were a strange time, and it seemed like genius then, I guess.

Walter Simonson did some great stuff way back when, but his Hawk stuff is just terrible.

Anonymous said...

Chris Claremont stands above the rest , however Peter Milligan isnt far behind a Vertigo staple now X men dross writer.

Here's controversy but Alan Moore has gone down the pan, Watchmen, Swamp Thing etc not done a thing ercently that will ever touch these great moments again.

creativename said...

I'll quadruple the votes on Claremont. But I do want to point out that he may have had a different reason for his fall than the others. All the others were scratching and clawing to get work, perhaps simply lost their originality, maybe were striving too hard for something new and different to do. But Claremont's mediocrity was being directly ENCOURAGED. As his his stuff got completely unreadable, the sales of the X-Titles were going through the roof (not to mention the proliferation of X-titles itself diluting whatever talent he might have had left). Go back and read the timeframe where Gambit was introduced. THAT actually made me leave comics for several years, only to come back and find out that Gambit had become one of the most popular Marvel characters of all. No better reason to go nuts than someone paying you to.

My more original nominee I think is blatantly obvious- Dave Sim. Now, I'm not going to critique someone who goes from somewhat populist to a hermit with his politics and opinions (too easy). I'll submit that his real drop in quality began when he thought he could write as well as Steinbeck and Hemingway, just because he was reading them at the time.

andy g said...

I'm glad the comments here include defences of Richard Lester work. Not the greatest director ever but a hard working talent with many fine works spread over a long and productive career.

As far as his efforts on Superman II and III are concerned:

a) He was director for hire or the second, brought in to complete a film that had been partially shot in tandem with the first film.

b) Richard Pryor's appearance and domination of the third film was a production decision out of Lester's control. As already mentioned, the evil twin battle is a better example of the director's skill, with a slick sequence that preceded the technology that now makes such scenes easy to knock off by about a decade.

c)And it's a fun film guys, save your angst for the four-colour action.

d) Which brings me to Superman I: overrated rubbish. Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman and the rest of the cast are excellent, but what a slow, dull, clumsily plotted film it seems now. And have you seen the Donner cut of Superman II? Astonishingly poor.

So where can I find the Richard Donner is an overrated hack thread? I wish him no ill really, but I am worried by the way DC appears to worship him (largely GEOFF JOHNS inspired I know).

Say what you like about Frank Millar (and I have often), Dark Knight Returns is a thing of beauty, and should not be held responsible for the decades of grim dross it inspired (much written by Millar himself).

Chris Claremont could never write, and has been a beacon of consistency in this regard.

Jim Aparo's early work is lovely: dark, expressive, full of movement. His later work (see 80s Batman and Outsiders especially) his so drab by comparison. An example of a talent crushed by the deadline wheel. Take note, ye late shipping whiners.

Alan Moore has, I fear descended into self-parody. He maintains an astonishing gift for plot construction, but compared to early experiments and his real work like From Hell or Watchmen, much of his work reads as lifeless intricate confectionaries. His cantankerous desire to go his own way has robbed him of inspiration I fear. League of Gentlemen is a lot of fun, though.

Grant Morrison: I have a fear he is stretching himself too thin. Too early to tell, but his Batman and Wildstorm work does not instil confidence.

Walt Simonson: has anyone read The Adventures of Hawkgirl's Bra? This is the same man who worked his magic on Thor in the eighties?

Howard Chaykin has always indulged his dirty little fantasies. Keep them away from me.

Creating stories for Superheroes has a shelf life of about a generation if you're lucky. Which is why all the old guys are execs or edit, and why all the young guys are jumping ship into movies or computer games. Writing or drawing guys in tights for a couple of years might be fun, but its no life for a grown man (or woman). Do you blame them?

Anonymous said...

Oh, Anonymous. Come now. I ercently read quite a few things by Alan that were touching these great moments down the pan like you wouldn't believe.

I'll agree with Ellis, and also that Roy would have to rise up on the periodic table significantly to have a tin ear, god bless 'im. I'll say nothing against Aparo. And I'll have to think about all of this a bit more today before responding further.

I hated Simonson's FF run to pieces, does that count?

And Andy G., I would LOVE to see an Alan Moore self-parody, how wicked would that be?!?

Siskoid said...

I liked Superman III more than Supermen I and II, but that's not saying much. More to the point...

My first pick would definitely be John Byrne, who's been consistently inking himself with a thick sharpy now for years. But whenever I think back to the time I couldn't get enough of his FF, Alpha Flight or Superman, I wonder if it's not me that's changed. I look at those old issues now and they've got the same "long expositions squeezing the art out of existence" and low panel-to-page ratio that I later came to dislike.

I suppose that makes him and Claremont "of their time" like Ben Jonson and not "universal" like Bill Shakespeare.

Howard Chaykin, Stan Lee (god yes), Englehart, Simonson, I all agree with.

In the creators with initial promise who totally sold out like Liefeld, I'd add Morrison's little brother Mark Millar.

The Mutt said...

Richard Donner: Superman, Lethal Weapon, The Omen.

Richard Lester: A Hard Day's Night, Three Musketeers/Four Musketeers, Robin and Marion.

I would say that these are the Richards' best work, and that it is clear who is the artist of the two.

Gokitalo said...

Stan Lee

Actually, I thought his recent Stan Lee Meets Spider-Man was great. Very funny, and the best dialogue I've ever seen from Stan in a comic book. And it's still got that charm of his early work. I hope the other Stan Lee Meets comics are as good.

So where can I find the Richard Donner is an overrated hack thread? I wish him no ill really, but I am worried by the way DC appears to worship him (largely GEOFF JOHNS inspired I know).

Ahh, can't stand the word "hack." It's just one of the worst things you could call a creator, in my opinion. It bugs me how comics fans on the Internet throw the word around so casually (not referring to you, andy g, since I've only seen you use it once, but there are some guys who use it over and over).

Jared Axelrod said...

Judd Winick.

How the man who created Barry Ween, Boy Genius is now pumping out the dreck that is Outsiders, Green Arrow, and Trials Of Shazam is beyond me.

Did his run on Green Lantern somehow break him, or something?

Anonymous said...

Re: Claremont being paid to suck. While I admit that Gambit isn't exactly an iconic comics mainstay, he's appropriate for Marvel, and really isn't directly indicative of Claremont's suckitude. Claremont's problem was when he ran out of ideas and just started shuffling permutations of his old ideas around, and really didn't go anywhere with it. When Claremont's stories actually went somewhere -- such as with the Skrulls and the Shi'ar -- they were a pretty good read. But those stories ended up being few and far between, with most issues feeling like filler where some new sub-plot was introduced that (in any other writer's hands, anyway) should be resolved within five issues. Quick, does anyone know if Pretty Boy ever got his handsome robot body back? Does anyone care?

creativename said...

Just to clarify, my Claremont complaint has nothing to do with the creation of Gambit, per se, but with the storyline (and years of storylines around it) as a benchmark of the Claremont suckitude. As I recall Storm had reverted to her childhood street-urchin self(in an 80's Marvel comic, this was inexcusable... DC would do it for grins in the Silver Age, but blend this "plot device" with X-angst and you have something truly crappy) and got into some bayou-based trouble. By all rights, a character introduced in the middle of that dreck should have been a one-shot. But the Mighty Marvel PR machine managed to turn him into a mainstay. And again, sales during these godawful stories were through the roof.

"C'mere Chris. We need another X-Title. We'll call it 'X-crement'. We want you to write it, of course. Hell, why don't you do the pencils? Can't be worse than Milgrom's. You've got time."

David said...

There is an awful lot of hatin' on Claremont here (and elsewhere too). His work on the New Mutants and his earlier stuff on the X-Men (and during the early NM period) was pretty good, IMO.

Gambit did suck. And Claremont did start seriously recycling ideas, and went way downhill - but his characterization of Rahne Sinclair and Kitty Pryde (for instance) from the 80s was solid... And show me a male comic-fan teenager from the time who didn't at least somewhat identify with Doug Ramsey...

Rob S. said...

Jared hit the nail on the head. Winick's my pick. More Ween, less whine!

Detective Simp said...

Bill Mantlo.

It's like he suffered brain damage or something.

Bill Reed said...

Claremont was always bad. Aparo was always awesome.

Julian said...

That reference to Bill Mantlo was rotten. I don't know who the man is and I haven't read comics by he, but after googling his name, well, ugh.

Bryan-Mitchell said...

I completely agree that Aparo has always been pretty lame. I've never liked his work and then when I got into comics fandom and found him consistently praised, I was very surprised.

I would also nominate Howard Chaykin. How does he even get work any more?

Sadly, after having read American Gods, 1602, and the Eternals (which might still pull itself out of the fire), I might have to suggest Neil Gaiman. Sandman was awesome, as were his collaborations with Dave McKean. But the stuff he's done lately has just been incredibly bland and lacked any real emotional power to it.

Anonymous said...

I think this is all a red herring from the IMPORTANT point...Scip-how do you know that Raisins taste good on pizza????

pineapple I get..but raisins??

do they reallY??

Dr. M.

MarkAndrew said...

"But many of you have followed the careers of writers and artists more closely than I (who have been more preoccupied with the history of characters)"

Hence your dislike for creators (MOrrison, Kirby) who's work is all about using the characters to present their worldview?

Martin said...

Aparo was always mediocre.
Superman III was pretty decent.
Miller's TDKR, Year One and Daredevil were brilliant; now he's laughably awful.

Anonymous said...

Aparo was excellent.
Superman III was pretty awful.
Miller's TDKR, Year One and Daredevil were also AWFUL..but now he's brilliant!!

Martin said...

Apparently, my antimatter copy has found me.

Anonymous said...

There was declination in the quality of Aparo's work in his latter years, but he was still better at storyboarding than too many of the younger artists.

Stan Lee, yeah. I hated that "Spiderman and Daredevil" that he put out in the '90s. Still love his enthusiasm though.

andy g said...

I will never use the word 'hack@ again.

notintheface said...

I have an odd pick: Jim "The Talent" Balent.

He drew some Alan Scott stories for Green Lantern Quarterly in the early that were actually pretty serviceable. But then he patented the "balloon-bod" look in Catwoman and then went on to torment Chris Sims monthly with TAROT.

I regard Miller's DKR and Batman: Year One success as a fluke in that otherwise he has totally mismanaged DC's characters. DC should issue Miller a restraining order. His Sin City and Marvel work are the only things keeping me off my "fall from grace" list.

Did Howard Chaykin always draw all his characters with rectangle heads? I've lost track.

Claremont and Byrne should be listed, both separately and together. Their reunion in JLA was a huge disappointment as well as a glorified Byrne promo. Me enjoying their work used to be a rule and now it's an exception.

Jim Aparo always ruled, but he didn't always get the most appropriate inkers in recent years. Whose brilliant idea was it to have Bill Sienkewicz ink him?

Also, shame on the poster who made that tasteless Bill Mantlo joke. Today's Marvel comics could use some of that Mantlo magic.

Anonymous said...

Hey, don't you pick on Jim Balent! He's a fine husband and provider.

Dave said...

1) No one can deny Stan's enthusiasm and role as the face of the industry. I loved the guy on "Who Wants to Be a Superhero" and hope he has many good years ahead of him.

I just don't want him writing funnybooks.

2) Chaykin only draws guys with cereal-box heads when they don't look like Dominic Fortune/The Scoropion/Blackhawk/Reuben Flagg or any of his other generic characters.

3) The Mantlo joke was tasteless, but the guy was a hack at best. What's his legacy? Micronauts? Rom? Woodgod? Yeah. Put those next to Top Ten and the Helfer/Baker Shadow.

4) Balent's wedding is just sad.

Mike Loughlin said...

JMS- I dug the first year+ on Rising Stars, Midnight Sons, & Spider-Man. After that, we had Spider-Totem, really bad FF, etc.

Greg Rucka- I used to buy his books no matter what. I really liked the Whiteout stories & Detective Comics. Although he hasn't "lost it" entirely, he doesn't strike me as an exceptional or consistent writer.

philip said...

We'll call it Earth-Whimsical and Detective Chimp will be our leader.

I'm buying property there right now!

Jon Hex said...

Greg Rucka's Checkmate is good. It just seems as though he's doing less while he's on 52.

Seaguy, Batman, We3, Villanarama, the odd bits of 52, and yes, even the surreal Seven Soldiers only prove to me that Morrison is one of, if not THE, greatest writer in comics. US and the Freedom Fighters is good, and he only developed the idea.

Aparo's work become really bland around the end of his run on Batman and during the Outsiders. He drew these wide featureless faces that looked like cardboard cutouts where in his early work, he was really detailed.

Claremont and Bryne's JLA storyline makes me wish the multiverse was back years earlier to shove that piece of crud into. The greatest of DC vs. a vampire. Really?

I don't know where the Geoff Johns who wrote Flash, the reintroduction of the Teen Titans, and JSA went, but Justice Society of America seems to be the only place to find him.

Anonymous said...

It's Trad, Dad! was more a music video than a movie.

I realized within moments that it was of poor quality, yet I made the decision to watch it anyway.

As a movie, it's a 4. As a look at the popular music of the time, both pop and Dixieland jazz, it's a 7.

Alan Coil