Thursday, September 20, 2007

Of those 130 hours, many were spent on the phone while the game was paused

-You know, when I saw that Graeme McMillan had linked to Tom Brevoort's defense of the indefensible (ie, Civil War #1 winning a Harvey for best single issue or something like that), I figured that the ensuing discussion would further the superheroes vs. non-superheroes debate that's been reignited here lately (partly my fault, to be fair). I didn't expect that the actual debate would be over the correct spelling of "superhero." But that's what we got, courtesy of Rick Rottman's comment that Brevoort had misspelled the word. I would almost have thought that Rottman was a Brevoort alias, aiming to shove the discussion waaaay off-course, but many of you are probably familiar with Rottman's blog, Bent Corner. Actually, some of you might remember that Rottman was the unlucky fellow who Brian Bolland was threatening to sue for...libel, I guess? Never heard anything else about that, and the posts are still there, so I guess it was all empty bullying.

Anyway, Matt Brady (Newsarama version) shows up to defend Brevoort's spelling, then everyone marvels (PUN INTENDED!) at the turn the discussion took. Meanwhile, no one is responding to Brevoort's specious "it deserved to win because it was popular" reasoning. Also meanwhile, Harvey Kurtzman is shedding a tear in heaven, while Jack Kirby, Will Eisner, and Carl Barks are yelling at him to come back to the table so they can get back to playing cards.

(A print of "Comic Book Legends Playing Poker in Heaven" will be available in the Hyacinth Gift Shop as soon as I convince someone to paint it.)

-Self-referential item #1: Brad Curran's "all indie publishers sell out" post (which has a couple of pretty funny lines) made reference to my predilection for MMA and frequent focus on Rob Liefeld. Somehow or another, it got picked up by this mixed martial arts splog, where my (fictional) quote was attributed to one Kuk Sool Won.

BTW, do any of you know what the purpose of a splog is? I've had one post here show up in a manga/anime-centered splog; there might be others, but blogger doesn't seem to be tracking links as well as it used to. Anyway, splogs: what are they good for?

-Self-referential item #2: I was going to make some joke about how this site was ripping off the initial concept for my blog (just to emphasize the point: by "joke" I mean "I don't actually believe this," given that many of the posts there have 200+ responses), but then I started looking at some of the entries. I had no idea there were so many terrible, terrible web comics. I knew there were bad ones, but I didn't know how painfully, revoltingly bad. I mean, this stuff is brutally offensive, both in terms of aesthetics and content. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that there's so much misogyny, given that (a) web comics are relatively cheap to produce, and (b) it's a medium that allows single individuals to express their innermost, ickiest thoughts with virtually no filter. It's the perfect venue for dudes with a grudge against half the species.

What's interesting is the frequency of other disturbing elements, which aren't inherently linked to webcomics as a medium. First, there's a widespread reliance on Photoshop to paste pre-rendered stock figures into scenes, thus reducing the amount of actual drawing which goes into producing the strip. (Also, the actual rendering of the characters and backgrounds on Photoshop, which isn't necessarily a bad thing; it's just not a good fit for those who have no actual artistic talent to speak of. Not that traditional methods would be better, but some people seem to think that it's okay for computer-rendered art to look like utter shit.) Second, there's just an incredible number of comics dealing with geek culture elements, in particular gaming culture. Jesus. Gaming culture makes comics culture (which I still think is more like "arguing about continuity at the comics shop and/or on message boards" culture) look like brandy and cigars at the Athenaeum Club. This comes from someone who's put about 130 hours into Persona 3, mind you.

This is all to say: I can now put misogyny in DC and Marvel's comics in perspective. If it weren't for the heavy hand of editorial (guided by the heavy hand of bean counters and other corporate types), maybe superhero comics would look something like Shredded Moose. (WARNING: link is really gross and offensive; click with caution. I'm totally not kidding. You will probably wish you never laid eyes on it after seeing it. You may curse my name.)

-Preliminary report on Rob Liefeld's New Mutants: Barbara and Karl Kesel are better writers than Louise Simonson, at least when it comes to dialogue. Also, I think Liefeld's pencils look a lot better with Kesel inking them than Bob Wiacek. Hilary Barta is an improvement; he adds a sort of Erik Larsen-ish quality to them, which works sometimes and doesn't work at others. Todd McFarlane, who was inking the covers, is a very good fit. Maybe he missed his calling.


BizarroBeachhead said...

"Anyway, splogs: what are they good for?"

Absolutely nothin!

Say it again!

Matt Brady said...

It's true, there are some awful webcomics out there. I haven't checked out Your Webcomic Is Bad and You Should Feel Bad in a while, but he does a great job of eviscerating the terrible, terrible stuff that somehow manages to acquire a fanbase. You make a good point about the art; hell, even some of the comics everybody likes have such bad art I can't read them. Achewood and Dinosaur Comics, I'm looking at you. The former can be funny, but it's so poorly drawn I can't bear to follow it (and while I've occasionally laughed while reading it, I don't find it as mindblowingly funny as everyone else does). The latter, well, art barely enters into it, since it uses the same pictures and layout every day, but I still just don't get it. Not funny! What is wrong with people; do they just assume that if it fits in 3-6 panels, all aesthetics can go out the window?

Dick Hyacinth said...

Man, I totally find Achewood to be mind-blowingly funny. I actually think the art fits the strip, as it kind of creates this tension between the deep characterization/really clever dialogue and the stiff, inexpressive art. I think this might be the idea behind Dinosaur Comics as well (except it's not so much characterization as long, philosophical musings) , but I've just never gotten into it the few times I've read it.

I actually think repetitive images can be an effective tool when used correctly, sort of like a long, static shot in film. Matt Groening kind of used this technique, except Groening hand-drew everything.

Matt Brady said...

Huh. Well, I don't know what to say then. I feel like I'm missing something, and I've tried to read it a few times, but I just can't get into it. Maybe it's me.

Matt Brady said...

Persona 3 certainly looks awesome. I've been wanting to play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne for a long time now, but I've never been able to find it. I might have to make do with P3, if I end up buying it sometime. Of course, I'm still working on Final Fantasy XII, Prince of Persia: Two Thrones, Killer 7, and God Hand. And that's just on the PS2; I managed to acquire a Wii, and now I've added The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess to the list. Yikes.

Alicia said...

I worked on the Persona 3 strategy guide as an editor, but never got an actual copy of the game to play. Later, when I received the case of guides that the staff are entitled to, I immediately went out and bought a copy of P3 on its launch day.

I was immediately hit by a deluge of other work involving video games, and so my copy of P3 still sits on my shelf, in its shrink wrap, unopened. While I have a case of something like 18 strategy guides for the game sitting in a closet.

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