Monday, March 9, 2009

Generally short items

Check out Sean Collins and yours truly going back and forth on Black Hole:
Here. We've talked about doing it again later this year--maybe for Epileptic.

Still planning on looking at Kramers Ergot 7 for my next SC post.

Question #1:
Is there any comics art style more unambiguously dated than the Bruce Timm/animation-influenced style? When you see contemporary comics drawn in a 1970s Sal Buscema style, or a primitive Golden Age style, you immediately process this as a deliberate choice, intended to convey quaintness or to establish a time period, or something like that. The Image style isn't quite to that point--nothing ironic about Ian Churchill or Ed Benes--but it's coming soon. You'll see Jim Lee go from slow-but-extremely-popular to slow-but-kitschy. I'm not sure if All-Star Batman is slowing or accelerating this process; I'm guessing it's the latter.

But that Timm-influenced style, it keeps plugging along, sending me back to the mid-to-late 90s every time I see it.

Injury to stop publication:
FUUUCCCCKKKKK. (Via Spurgeon.) Look, I'm going to miss Crickets and Or Else as much as anyone, but taking away Injury is like a kick to the shin. Now are we justified in cheering for Diamond's collapse?

Question #2:
Does reading DC/Vertigo comics cause brain damage? Is there something toxic in the ink? Should I be wearing latex gloves and a respirator next time I'm stuck in a situation where I feel the need to read one of those books?

The great thing about the Scans Daily debate, besides Christopher Bird's post (also this one, but kind of to a lesser extent)?
Now you have a better idea of what I mean when I talk about blogs which I can no longer stand to read. (HINT: I'm not talking about Scans Daily, which I've never read without following a link from Dirk Deppey or someone else.)

Question #3:
Which is better: Watchmen or "Two Minutes to Midnight"? I think I like Alan Moore and Iron Maiden about equally, but Watchmen is a bigger component of Moore's oeuvre than "Two Minutes" is for Iron Maiden's. It's close, though.


Chris Mautner said...

'Flight of Icarus' is way better than either of those two. Everyone knows that.

Dick Hyacinth's Ghost said...

Well, yeah. So are "The Number of the Beast," "Transylvania," "Hallowed Be Thy Name," "Wrathchild," and a whole lot of others off the first five or so albums. I mean, I'd probably take "Prowler" or certainly "The Trooper" over Watchmen for sure, but the more apt comparison to those songs would be "Pictopia" or that Kool-Aid Man story he did with Peter Bagge. Kool-Aid Man vs. "The Trooper": that's a battle for the ages.

Leigh Walton said...

"Children of the Damned" or "March of the Sinister Ducks"?

Dick Hyacinth's Ghost said...

I think the more comparison I'm more interested in would be "March of the Sinister Ducks" vs. that novel Bruce Dickinson wrote. I mean, music vs. music gives Iron Maiden a significant home court advantage. Then again, I've never heard "March of the Sinister Ducks," so maybe I'm way off-base here; maybe Moore picked the wrong line of work.

Christopher M. said...

"March of the Sinister Ducks" could give the entire Iron Maiden canon a run for its money.

Unknown said...

Do you have anybody specific in mind when talking about the Bruce Timm style? I don't especially notice it, because the few that I might associate with it (Darwyn Cooke, Mike Oeming, maybe Frank Espinosa?) seem to have developed their own unique version of the style. And what is that style exactly? Men with square jaws and rectangular faces, women with pointy chins and narrow waists. Probably something about the eyes, but I can't think of anything specific without looking up some examples. I dunno, is this really all that prevalent? DC doesn't really have the various cartoon spinoff books going anymore, and Super Friends or Batman: The Brave and the Bold use a different style.

I'm not trying to argue anything here though; I'm just curious about what provoked the comment.

Leigh Walton said...

Ducks here:

Dick Hyacinth's Ghost said...

Matt, I honestly thought about this while I was reading Tucker's last Comics of the Weak post, and noticed the cover to Jersey Gods (I think that's the name of the book). That spurred this line of thought; only later did I figure out that Darwyn Cooke had drawn it! But that thumbnail inspired this thought.

Cooke's not actually who I'm thinking about, but I have to admit that I find the surface qualities of his work a little off-putting, just because I'm burnt out on the tropes you mentioned. He's a talented enough cartoonist that I can look past these misgivings, but I thought the best issue of The Spirit was the one with all the anime-influenced art. I think that kind of encapsulates my feelings about Cooke.

I was specifically excluding Espinosa in my mind, because I think he really does something interesting with his animation background. I don't think he's quite my cup of tea, though. As for Oeming, I've always thought of him (probably unfairly) as Timm-meats-Mignola. I've never particularly cared for his work either.

You know whose appeal is really lost on me? Marcos Martin. He's kind of like the best case scenario (non-Cooke division) for this style, and I just find his work terribly boring.

Dick Hyacinth's Ghost said...

Christopher, Leigh, I actually, think I have seen that video before. It's kind of cute, but "Children of the Damned" has a really good guitar duet. Another easy decision.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the explanation, Dick. I like Cooke, and I don't mind the animation style, but I do think that some of his best work is when he branches away from that and does interesting stuff with it, like use thick brush strokes or more simple colors. For instance, that short story about an architect he did for the FCBD Comics Festival book a couple years ago was really cool and unique. And my favorite issue of The Spirit was his final one, when he went to town with the Eisner influence (or, rather, the Contract With God influence, since the whole series is Eisner-influenced, really). I'm pretty damn interested to see what he does with the Parker books he has coming up.

As for Marcos Martin, I hadn't even really considered him as part of that style, but I guess I can see it. I would think he's probably the farthest away from Timm (outside of Espinosa, who kind of goes off in his own direction), with a bit more of a "realistic" style. That's probably not the right word, but I guess it seems less like animation to me, with anatomical proportions that seem closer to life and character art that uses different perspectives and viewing angles than you see in most Timm-influenced stuff. I totally disagree with you about him being boring though; I find his stuff incredible, fluid, dynamic, and exciting to look at (although I haven't read any of his Spider-Man stuff, or the Batgirl series. I guess I'm mostly going off that Dr. Strange mini that he did with Brian K. Vaughan?). Eh, to each his own.

Dick Hyacinth's Ghost said...

Martin avoids some of the more obvious tropes, but check out the illustration from his Lambient biography. His lines are certainly thinner than Timm's or Cooke's, but I also find them less expressive. (I'm assuming he inks his own work.)

I kind of like the last couple of sketches here, and this is kind of an interesting mesh of Cooke and Steve Rude, but most of his more recent work doesn't really do much for me. Matthias Wivel compared his recent Spider-Man work to Jacques Tardi, but I don't really think it's a flattering comparison for Martin.

Unknown said...

I haven't been reading much of Martin's recent stuff, but I did an image search, and I could spend hours just looking at his art. Some of the stuff in this post, for example, like the simple, effective Batgirl covers (especially the fourth one down, although I like the first one a lot too), or the details from the Dr. Strange book, like the musical notes, or the rain, or the way Iron Fist has his leg propped up on the couch, or the swirling of Strange's cape. I thought this was a pretty cool look at his use of photo details that fit with the rest of the imagery rather than seeming traced from a picture. And I'm still digging that dynamism that he gives to character movement, like in the Green Arrow cover here. But to be fair, I'm not too impressed by this rendering of Mary Jane. Yeesh, that's some weird posture, her neck seems overly long and strangely angled, and her arms look like toothpicks. So yeah, he's not perfect, but for the most part, I dig his work.

Dick Hyacinth's Ghost said...

I think he's trying to channel JRJr a little on ASM, and it's not working as well as when his Rude influence is more prominent.

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