Monday, March 5, 2007

My favorite Adam Warlock supporting cast member

-Most of you probably already know that Dirk Deppey eviscerates Clifford Meth's speculative piece on Fantagraphics' insurance situation in today's Journalista. I already addressed Meth's article in the comments to an entry from earlier this week, but let me add this: the reason the accompanying photo of Meth robs him of credibility is primarily due to his resemblance to this fellow. That is all.

-Parts of this satirical piece by Mike Sterling (specifically the bits about Magic: the Gathering and the selection of independent books) reminds me of previous experiences in a certain comics shop located in the South with strong ties to the blogosphere. I haven't been in there in a couple of years, though.

-I agree with this sentiment. That fight was cooler than anything happening in comics right now.

-Saw this linked on When Fangirls Attack:

"Instead of marginalizing women further by creating a comics-line ghetto of 'girls’ books,' try making mainstream comics more female-friendly. Maybe if rape wasn’t a universal part of superheroines’ backstories, or if you treated female characters as more than a superficially scripted set of tits, women would be more interested in your books."

No one in their right mind would argue that Marvel and DC are doing all they can to attract female readers to their superhero titles. Getting rid of the rape and objectification would certainly help. But thing is that some--maybe most--women aren't ever going to be interested in superhero comics. It's not a gender thing, it's a human nature thing--most men aren't interested in superhero comics, either. I don't think that the Minx line is going to attract a lot of casual male readers, but there are certainly quite a few men out there who would be more interested in those comics than Justice League. I don't really agree that a line targeted to young girls is necessarily a "ghetto" (as this would imply that reading superhero comics is normative, when clearly it is not), but maybe it would seem less so if DC started a new line reaching out to male readers who aren't interested in their current offerings (ie, superheroes, soft sf, light horror, and fantasy). Maybe that's what Vertigo is trying to do with 100 Bullets and The Other Side, but I'll always associate that imprint with stuff like Sandman and Y the Last Man. There is an ocean of male readers who have no interest in that kind of material. If the Minx line is a success, maybe DC should try courting these readers.

In other words, I hope DC (and eventually Marvel) try to publish more comics in a variety of genres, so that attempts to engage a new demographic won't be interpreted as ghettoization. (And yes, both companies should try to eliminate all traces of misogyny from their work, but that kind of goes without saying.)

-I think Jack Kirby is more like Marc Bolan, but the analogy falls apart when you actually start to think about it. Nevertheless, if you're going to compare Kirby to some musician and/or songwriter, the person(s) you're comparing him to had better be associated with loud electric guitars. Kirby's action scenes are not the stuff of string sections.


Guy LeCharles Gonzalez said...

One could argue that Vertigo is the closest thing comics has to a "mainstream" publishing imprint, with a backlist that has a little something for almost every taste and a frontlist that makes an effort to do so.

The Losers was the first Vertigo series I ever followed regularly, straight-up action and definitely appealing the "casual male reader". I'd say 100 Bullets, Bite Club, DMZ and Loveless all fall into that category, too. Fables has mass appeal, as do OGNs like Pride of Baghdad and The Quitter.

If anything, I think Vertigo's biggest problem is its marketing and DC's inability to properly identify the brand as being about more than Sandman.

Dick Hyacinth said...

I see what you're saying, but I still don't see any of those as the kinds of books which will appeal to the kind of person who reads Clive Cussler or Tom Clancy--they all have this off-kilter, smirking sensibility, if that makes any sense. (I've never read Losers; it might be much more of a departure from the historical Vertigo style. You might also put Garth Ennis' war comics in this category as well.)

Clearly Vertigo has been a winner for DC, especially in the long run. I'm just not sure if it's attracted any non-comics readers since the days of Sandman. I think there's money to be made in a brand which specializes more in the types of things Chuck Dixon would write, or even a straight-genre exercise like Criminal (or at least what Criminal appears to be after the first four issues). In other words, comics that would appeal to people who have no interest in Gaiman, Morrison, or Moore.

Johnny B said...

Bolan and Kirby certainly had imagination to burn, but Bolan let his wane thanks to drugs and excess, and Kirby stayed focused throughout his life. Bolan' ego was a million times greater than Kirby's seemed to be.

Just two cents worth from a fan of both gentlemen...

Dick Hyacinth said...

Those are a couple of the ways the analogy breaks down. I was about to mention that Bolan wasn't as influential on the mainstream as Kirby, but then I remembered that Bolan was extremely influential and popular in his native UK. Which is another parallel actually--those of us immersed in the American comics tradition see Kirby as absolutely central, but his influence wanes the further (farther?) one gets from the epicenter of Marvel comics in the 60s.

But yeah, Bolan's peak was about four or five years, with flashes of brilliance before and after. Kirby peaked in the 60s, but he reinvented himself several times during his career. Bolan's career is much more defined by his peak years. I do wonder what we would be saying about Bolan if he hadn't died so young, though.

All the same, speaking just for myself, Electric Warrior and The Slider evoke similar feelings as Kirby's Fourth World.

Anonymous said...

okay, i give up. who was your favorite adam warlock supporting character?

Dick Hyacinth said...

Hint: he bears a striking resemblance to Clifford Meth.

Johnny B said...

xfxI've wondered myself often what Bolan's role would be these days...he was kinda positioning himself for a comeback of sorts when he died, embracing the Punks and having his TV show.

I'd like to think he'd have had his peaks and valleys musically, perhaps even acheiving the same status as his friend Bowie has now, a patron of sorts. Then again, he might have ended up like Ian Hunter, plugging away in near-anonymity. Then again, he may have just said to hell with it in the mid-eighties. Who knows.

And for my money, Electric Warrior and The Slider hold up very well today. I have a soft spot for the first, self-titled LP and Tanx as well...