-I went to go see 300 yesterday instead of writing a post. I didn't like it, no sir. Rather than explaining the ways in which I didn't like it, let me link to my good friend throughsilver's review (which has the added benefit of comparisons to the original comic, which I have never read). I'm in pretty much total agreement.
Oh, I saw the trailer for Grindhouse, and I'm kind of surprised that the Rodriguez half looks much, much dumber than the Tarrantino half. Which, in turn, is probably ripping off some movie from the 70s for which I might have owned the poster at one time. I used to work at a movie theater which was part of a mostly defunct chain. For whatever reason, they stored a bunch of posters accumulated over 20-30 years behind one of the screens. I was fortunate enough to be working there when the manager decided to clear all this out, and so my college apartment was covered in various exploitation posters (stuff like a Jim Jones exploitation flick, Viva Knievel, a bunch of sleazy "coed roomates" kind of things, at least one movie about a sex change operation gone wrong, Inframan, etc.). Then I decided to grow up and gave them all away, a decision which I actually don't regret at all. My brother still has the poster for Mad Monster Party, though. In fact, he's had it framed.
-New internet pastime: Greg Rucka watch. His interview with CBR a few months got some attention here for his comments about fellow 52 writers. CBR also features a wrap-up of the Emerald City Con with this little witticism:
"Quote of the con, by Greg Rucka - Questioned on how he felt about the comics industry when he started vs. how he feels about the comic industry now that he's worked in it awhile, Rucka said, 'Comics are like sausages - you don't want to know how they're made.'"
Tom Spurgeon linked to his gripes about lettering yesterday, leading me to discover his Live Journal. Which is worth the effort of reading, since Rucka is certainly the kind of guy who speaks his mind:
"Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of people, y'know, UNDERSTANDING THE RULES OF PUNCTUATION AND GRAMMAR. In fact, I think those writers out there who show flagrant disregard for the same (and they know who they are) reveal incredible disrespect for their craft and their peers by proudly displaying their ignorance.
But I'm working on the first pass pages right now, and I've got to tell you, the copy editor on this manuscript read Ms. Truss a little too much, because she's inserting commas fucking everywhere.
I'm particular about commas. I use them with precision, or so I should like to believe. As Ms. Truss has made loads of money explaining, altering their placement without due consideration changes the meaning of the sentence."
[I like commas because, as Nabokov said, I like privacy.-DH]
Rucka also addresses the controversy over the CBR interview mentioned above:
"But that's only part of it. The other part of it is that I've broken an Unwritten Law, one that stretches all the way back to my first writing classes. I've offered criticism, and even if it was constructive and mild, it opens me up for the same.
Which is bullshit. The paradox of writing for a living is that people are going to read what you write, and some of them (maybe a lot of them) Are Not Going To Like It.
You have to learn to deal with it, and the key word here is 'learn' and not 'deal.' It's an ongoing process, and I don't know a single writer who isn't stung by criticism of their work, no matter how minor, infantile, or incompetent the source. It may not be a major sting, it may not last, but I continue to find it amazing that some Net Troll who offers his unsolicited and uneducated 'review' of my work can bother me almost as much as a bad review from, say, Kirkus. "
Rucka also hints at his frustrations with DC:
"Back at Powell's today. Just completed the detailed breakdowns for Checkmate 14 and Outsiders 48 based on yesterday's conversation with Judd. Still excited about the project, and looking forward to starting the writing on the next two issues this Friday.
But this is tempered by more comic industry bullshit, and no, I'm not talking about this, or this, or even this.
It's the 'Nooo!' that gets me, there.
No, this is something entirely different, and it's illustrating to me (pardon the pun) one of the conflicts I'm going to have to resolve for myself if I'm going to continue doing this. Namely, how much of the curtain do I pull back on the business versus on the process. Fact is, I'm more interested in talking about the work itself, the writing, than I am in dishing dirt about the industry in general, or DC in particular. No, I'll leave that to people far better suited to the task than I.
The thing is, the two are inextricably linked at this point. There are projects I simply cannot talk about yet, much as I might like to. And when my involvement in the Can't-Talk-About-It project looks to be in jeopardy for fairly complicated reasons...well, there's frustration."
"Just finished a phone call with Judd to break down the last four issues of the Checkmate/Outsiders crossover, and I'm feeling something about the writing and the story I haven't felt for what seems like a very long time.
I'm actually excited about writing this. I'm actually enthusiastic about it."
"This is my secret shame of the last several years -- I've all-but forgotten how to read for pleasure, and reading 'in genre,' for lack of a better phrase, has been excruciatingly difficult. I've been working since the first of the year on relearning the art, on attempting to rediscover the joy of reading for the sake of reading, for the pleasure of the story.
The problem is that most of what I read, I can't stand. Seriously. It's like the line about the sausages; some things it's better off not knowing how they make 'em. Books. Comics. Sausages."
Greg Rucka, if you're reading this (which is entirely possible, since you seem like the type who compulsively Googles his own name), please sign an exclusive with Marvel, then start dishing the dirt, under a pseudonym or via Rich Johnston, if necessary. Thanks.
-Last word (barring some unexpected flare up) on McDonald vs. Deppey: Mr. Deppey's argument about the success of Naruto vs. the more modest success of Spider-Man in bookstores is that the latter would sell better if casual comics consumers (aka, unfortunately, "civilians") could pick up a coherent, uninterrupted work by a single author. Today he suggests that Ultimate Spider-Man could be such an item, if it were not for the veritable sea of collected Spider-Man publications available on bookstore shelves.
I've been thinking about this debate, and I've come to the conclusion that the issue (at least re: Spider-Man GN sales) is not quality so much as quantity. Kids who loved the Spider-Man movies just don't know where to begin. With Naruto, there's a clear starting point: Naruto volume one. There's no Essential Naruto, Ultimate Naruto, Web of Naruto, Naruto: Reign, Naruto: Blue, Naruto: Kraven's Last Hunt, etc. Spider-Man, on the other hand, has to drag the weight of 40+ years of publication history, and there's an army of obsessive fanboys making sure the tether never breaks because WE CAN NEVER, EVER FORGET our precious continuity, lifeblood of the kind of deliberately mediocre comics which, tragically, the industry depends upon.
So there's my answer: continuity sucks. And don't go telling me that you were smart enough to figure it out when you were 8 years old. So was I, but back then there were only two Spider-Man comics on the drug store spinner rack (and it was pretty clear that Amazing was the one that mattered, since it was in the 200s while Peter Parker was in the 100s). Some kid in Barnes & Noble will see at least a couple dozen, maybe more depending on the quality of the GN section at the store in question.