comics

FOX Wants to Kill Watchmen Movie

On the subject of bad decisions, FOX apparently wants to kill the forthcoming Watchmen movie, claiming legal rights to the material that supersede Warner Bros.

"Surprisingly, Fox said it would rather see the film killed instead of collecting a percentage of the box office."

Why? Beats me too.

Could there be Watchmen curse, placed by self-proclaimed occult magician and Watchmen scribe Alan Moore? In any case, one begins to understand why he wants nothing to do with the film industry anymore.

Fat, Gay Superman?

Some disturbing correspondence has emerged between Jerry Siegel, co-creator of Superman, and his publisher Detective Comics (DC), including this little bit of criticism:

Another alleged problem with Shuster's artwork is that it made Superman look gay--or in the period slang of Ellsworth's January 22, 1940 letter, "lah-de-dah" with a "nice fat bottom"--

Also problematic is Lois Lane being too sexy, and in general the quality of co-creator Joe Shuster's artwork.

Comics Legend Award

Up at Filthy Habits right now is my report on attending The New York Comics Legend Award and meeting Stan Lee.

This is What Awesome Looks Like

The Scott Pilgrim Graphic Novels by Bryan Lee O'Malley

Every once and a while a cultural artifact emerges that is capable of completely dividing generations. When I was in high school, for instance, Pulp Fiction came out and I remember vividly how in the theater people of my generation laughed at some of the graphic violence, and people of my parents' generation were shocked by it, and even more shocked by our laughing at it.

With that in mind, witness, and appreciate if you can, the brilliance of Scott Pilgrim.

Friday Recommendations

Cartoonist Patricia Storms has done a number of amusing literary-themed comic strips, the best of which is "The Amazing Adventures of Lethem and Chabon" which turns the titular twosome into superheroes battling against their arch-enemy, Candice Bushnell!

Nine Inch Nails new album, Year Zero has launched with an alternate reality game, in which listeners can track down easter eggs from the album and merchandice and various other clues to paint a portrait of a dystopian future in 2022. One interesting part of the game is that if you decode the bar code on the back of the CD, you get a url, exterminal.net. There, click on "Bardsley, G (Accomplice Surveillance Underway)" for a mini-short story told in multiple panels (you'll see what I mean) with accompanying photos. The way this is done is very interesting in terms of the potential for prose fiction in new media.

Also on the future-speculation front, Warren Ellis talks about the motivations behind making his new comic book, Doktor Sleepless. Ellis: "It's 2007 and the society does not yet understand how to operate water."

Lastly, go out and read Cynthia Ozick's article "Literary Entrails" in the new issue of Harper's Magazine. In it she talks about why Jonathan Franzen and Ben Marcus' protestations of a lack of readers are beside the point, and what literature is really missing is good criticism. (And in the process, she well-deservedly hands Marcus his own ass.) She singles out James Wood as the kind of critic we need more of in a way that makes me reconsider my dismissal of him as a reactionary—though she does point out that he is "sometimes faulted for narrow sympathies, and for depricating those styles and dispositions that escape the bounds of his particular credo." (ie. realism.) Scott Esposito has an interesting and thorough reaction to the article that's also worth reading.

Why I Hate National Novel Writing Month, and Why You Should Too

Edit: Instead of reading this old thing, why don't you read How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Accept NaNoWriMo?

So November is "National Novel Writing Month", where people are challenged to write a complete 50,000 word novel in one month. The concept owes it's origins to the 24-hour Comics Day, originally thought up by Scott McCloud (of Understanding Comics fame), though the stated purposes of these two challenges could not be more divergent. The 24-Hour comic was invented because Scott McCloud was dismayed at how slowly his friend Steve Bissette was working. "I'll bet he could do a full length comic in a day if he wanted to!" He thought. Doing a comic in a day was an exercise to stir up the creative juices in a comics creator, and the 24 hour comic website includes a "Random story seed" section to help you pick something for your exercise. "Is this really the best way to make a great comic?" asks the FAQ. "Probably not, ... but that's not the real goal. The goal is to have the experience of trying. It's a creative exercise that can teach you a lot about what you're capable of." This is noble and interesting.

Rather than being an exercise for creators, "National Novel Writing Month," instead posits itself as a challenge for non-writers. Quoth the website:

What If Adolf Hitler were Doctor Strange?

Fun link this monday; from Russia, it's Hitler versus Stalin in a magical showdown alá 1970's Doctor Strange comics. Just click on each image to advance to the next.

Stalin Versus Hitler

Reading Versus Watching: Whither Superman?

What a joyless, uninspired, heavy-handed and dead thing this new movie turned out to be. What we wanted was something that returned the franchise to its solid foundations, both corollary and flip-side to the excellent Batman Begins. What we got instead was one scene after another lifted directly from the original movies in what seems intended to be an homage, but instead comes off wearyingly unoriginal. Scene after scene of Superman bearing things cross-like on his shoulders, overdubs of Marlon Brando from the first movie ("And so I gave my first born son..." et al), Superman getting stabbed in the side, falling through space in a crucified posture, dying and being reborn, the whole Jesus analogy so unsubtle it's almost surprising the movie isn't in Aramaic. Scene after scene of long, drawn-out shots of characters on the verge of tears. We get Superman as a creepy guy who loiters outside Lois Lane's house, spying on her and listening in on her conversations. We get a "mad genius" scheme from Lex Luthor that doesn't even pretend to make sense. We get at least a dozen tiny plot-holes. About half-way through I just wanted god-like Superman villain Darkseid to show up out of nowhere, laugh at this annoying pussy calling himself super and lay waste to the Earth.