Thursday, May 3, 2007

Dismembering 52

-The post-52 interviews begin! Mark Waid is up first, and he's showing remarkable restraint--no challenges to a round of pankratic combat or anything. But the interviewer is kind of a kiss ass, at least when it comes to Geoff Johns:

WAID:...whenever you need somebody torn in half [laughs], Geoff's the guy to go to!

NRAMA: [laughs] A body part removal expert.

MW: Yeah! He's really good at the dismemberment, at the limb-shearing -- whenever you need it bloody, Geoff's the guy to go to. [laughs]

NRAMA: He really needs to put that on his resume. [laughs] I'm sure some of the more negative fans are latching onto that label already, unfortunately.

First, why the equivocation? This isn't a matter of speculation; "fondness of dismemberment" and "continuity porn" are two damn near ubiquitous criticisms of Johns. Second, what's so goddamned unfortunate about it? Does anyone doubt that it's true? If someone were to run a case study on the tendency towards dismemberment among contemporary Marvel/DC writers, does anyone doubt that Johns would come out on top? The only way I could construe it as "unfortunate" is if it draws attention away from his far more annoying continuity porn tendencies (which, as of right now, is actually the more common complaint).

Also, I'm not sure Waid quite understands what "triage" means. Hint: look to the first three letters!

-Next up is Geoff Johns, whose interview begins with the following unfortunate words of introduction:

"At the risk of using too many 52-related analogies, there's no doubt after hearing him reminisce about 52 that if Grant Morrison, Mark Waid or Greg Rucka were falling, Johns would totally pull an Atom Smasher and catch 'em."

Is it too late to get in on this Transformers thing? Johns, for his part, plays the customary part of the company man, making his interview kinda sorta pretty boring. Really, this is the only thing that stood out:

"NRAMA: He's even more complicated now than he was before, though.

GJ: Absolutely. He lost his family for the second time.

NRAMA: As a result of that, he became such a bad-ass, and became so enraged at the world.


Anyway, there's presumably a couple more of these coming. Bring on the Rucka!

-I'm shocked by how many people are saying they've re-read all of 52 in the past few days. I thought that 52 was, at times, pretty okay; it's money that probably should have gone towards something else, but oh well. Still, I can't imagine trying to sit down and re-read it all. If the main attraction is the insanity of the ideas (as Matt Fraction suggests), then I'd probably be better off reading crazy Silver Age comics, which have the great advantage of actually being well drawn.


Anonymous said...

I think your expectations of Newsarama's writers/journalists are a bit high. I always get the feeling that they're just happy to be talking to a "Real Comics Pro, LOL OMG".


jlg said...

Oh, Sobek^H^H^H^H^H Johns!

I kinda find it funny that Waid, whose "Kingdom Come" was condemning the grim 'n' gritty generation of heroes, is so giddy with Johns. Guess it's OK if it's against the characters Waid, Johns, and co. don't like.

Am I the only one a bit bothered by the love for Black Adam? "Bad-ass" isn't something I think of when I think of a dictator who systematically kills everyone in a country, and teen heroes. But then, it's Johns.

Oh, but that's me being one of those "more negative fans." Got me again Waid!

JR said...

I think the "unfortunate" was added in there as a code for "please don't flame me, angry Newsarama posters" more than anything else.

I've only read the first issue of 52, but it seemed to me that the large part of the appeal for it's fans was the ability to follow the whole DC Universe in one convenient location. One would think that would be counterproductive to the company's goal of creating and building individual character franchises though.

Matthew E said...

I am one of the people who reread all of 52 in the last few days.

Enjoyed it, too.

Dan Coyle said...

No Newsarama interview can be worse than the handjob CBR gave Chuck Austen when Boys of Summer came out. For fuck's sake, Singh, his books didn't sell!

Isn't it kind of weird that Black Adam's slaughtered millions of people... and is now getting his own miniseries?

JLG: bullseye on Waid and Johns. This has nothing to do with making the DC universe better and everything to do with those two bouncing their ideas on the inside of their skulls.

Though for Waid, that was a shockingly diplomatic interview. Really. I expected at least one paragraph where he does nothing but grouse without realizing he was on the other side of the fence 30 years previous.

Dweeze said...

No offense, because I do enjoy reading the blog, but maybe you need to look up the meaning of a word before criticizing someone else for not knowing what it means. Triage means (from Webster's Online)

1 a : the sorting of and allocation of treatment to patients and especially battle and disaster victims according to a system of priorities designed to maximize the number of survivors b : the sorting of patients (as in an emergency room) according to the urgency of their need for care

2 : the assigning of priority order to projects on the basis of where funds and other resources can be best used, are most needed, or are most likely to achieve success

Waid's usage falls almost perfectly in line with that second definition, though, looking at it, the first definition might apply as well.

Dweeze said...

And of course, I hit enter before I added "depending on what you think of 52" to the end of that sentence.

Dick Hyacinth said...

Waid's actual quote: "...when push came to shove, triage on 52 always took precedence over everything."

I've always understood triage to mean the process by which casualities are sorted into three categories: those who will die regardless of treatment, those who will die if they do not receive treatment, and those who will survive without treatment. I've never actually seen the second definition you cite before. The two dictionaries I have at home limit the definition to battlefield/emergency medical treatment or allocation of scarce resources (usually food) to those who are most likely to survive. (Actually, one of the dictionaries also suggests "a system of grading produce" and "the lowest grade of coffee," but I think we can eliminate those from consideration.)

I would agree that your second definition makes more sense, though it seems like a definition that lacks the scarce resources/survival nuance of all the other definitions I see. (Which leads me to suspect its origins are in the business world.) I still don't think the first definition applies in the context of Waid's statement.

Maybe what he meant was this: "The needs of 52 created a crisis of resources, thus necessitating the implementation of a triage from which it benefited." Even if he meant the second definition, his wording seems to be implying that the process of triage was an internal one for 52. Furthermore, this would indicate that the process of assigning resources within the 52 project had a negative impact on DC's other projects. That's kind of goofy. So at the very least, there's a syntax problem here. I suspect it indicates an unfamiliarity with the definition of the word; Waid uses it as though it were an action, when it's really a process or system.

And that, my friends, is this blog's "robot lips" moment.

Dick Hyacinth said...

I should probably clarify my comment above: I suspect Waid is familiar with the word "triage," but hasn't taken the time to waste a good 20 minutes looking up definitions of it in order to prove his erudition. I do suspect that he knows what "erudition" means, however.

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