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Short Cut to Remote Gaming Forum (29 Aug 2020)
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What COMIC BOOKS have you been reading?
You asked for more "classic comics that don't feel dated today" recommendations in that Barnestorming thread, ages ago, and it took me a while to realize that, but I did respond; check it out if you missed it.
Space Ghost wrote: I have been starting in on the 3 recent books in the Carl Barks collection - great recommendation, dragonstout!
Michael Barnes wrote: I've read the first two trades worth of Unwritten- I like it, but I agree that it's a little too clever. I didn't really think about the Animal Man connection, but yeah...that's definitely there in some ways.
The Tommy Taylor thing is TOO Harry Potter though, I dunno. I find it distracting. I don't know that it needs to be so obviously Harry Potter to work.
"Too clever" is my weak spot. Tommy Taylor as TOO Harry Potter doesn't bother me much, obviously Carey wants to include Harry Potter specifically in his statement on how literature affects our landscape rather than juvenile fiction in general. Make it any more generic and then you're including stuff like Spiderwick Chronicles, Fablehaven and The Ranger's Apprentice into what you're talking about. And as bestselling and movie adapation-bound a lot of young adult fantasy has become, none has had the impact that Harry Potter has.
I'd feel a lot more motivated to pick up Morrison's stuff if he wasn't so entwined in the DC universe. I've always been a Marvel guy over a DC guy, but now I just don't have a lot of interest in reading stuff in the Great Big Comic Universes.
Michael Barnes wrote: Grant Morrison ... Grant Morrison ... Grant Morrison
He's got some good non-DCU Vertigo stories, The Filth, Flex Mentallo, Seaguy, and the Invisibles in particular involve no DCU characters. But yeah, he's pretty tied to the Marvel/DC axis, and I'd lament that if not for the fact that many his peculiar interests and themes are so closely tied to those big corporate trademarks.
metalface13 wrote:I'd feel a lot more motivated to pick up Morrison's stuff if he wasn't so entwined in the DC universe. I've always been a Marvel guy over a DC guy, but now I just don't have a lot of interest in reading stuff in the Great Big Comic Universes.
Michael Barnes wrote: Grant Morrison ... Grant Morrison ... Grant Morrison
That Moore vs. Morrison thing a few pages back got me thinking: I said that Moore has a WAY greater awareness of how to use the comics medium, structure the page etc., whereas Morrison has very little...I was about to say something dumb like that Morrison's comics don't even need to be comics, but the thing is that Morrison is SO much about corporate superhero comics that it absolutely needs to be comics.
I would argue that Morrison could only be Morrison working in corporate comics. A huge part of what he does is (drum roll) analagous to pop art, as practiced in the 1960s. There is a very Warholian bent to him, and he knows it...like the soup cans, he knows he's taking corporate commodity/process and subverting it. He's a really smart guy, he knows EXACTLY what he's doing and how it fits in with art, commerce, and writing. The moment I sort of realized this was in that first issue of Batman & Son, with the Man-Bat ninjas fighting against a background of faux-Lichtenstein paintings. That was such a strong statement of intent that undoubtedly flew right past the heads of many regular Batman readers waiting for another Knightfall or Hush.
If you read in his X-Men manifesto in the omnibus, he pretty much spells it out right there...he wanted to return the X-Men to being pop art.
But really, even if you don't like the big, corporate supers there is still plenty of VERY intelligent, highly refined, and very studied comics writing to be read from him. It's really amazing that he gets away with some of what he does, working with the biggest of the big mainstream characters. What he did with Batman was more radical than anything Frank Miller ever did, to varying degrees of success. And that's another facet of his work- he's not afraid to experiment, goof off, or tell the reader pretty much that he doesn't give two shits about how mainstream or corporate Superman or the X-Men are. He NEVER writes down to the reader, and I admire that. It's really remarkable that he's managed to do what he's been doing since the late 1980s, and arguably it's because he came in right there after the Watchmen/DKR changeup that he was able to get his foot in the door, so to speak, and do things like Animal Man and Doom Patrol up through Batman Incorporated and this new Action Comics thing.
I love that he's not afraid of capes and spandex...he fucking REVELS in classic superhero tropes. Batman Incorporated is brilliant because it's so hopelessly ridiculous. I mean, come on...Man of Bats, the INDIAN Batman? Final Crisis is the Big Superhero Crossover Event subverted and twisted into a wilfully incomprehensible MESS that I doubt anyone could really completely put together...it's almost a parody of DC's Crisis events.
And I would say that he needs to function in comics primarily because of how he addresses, preserves, and evolves continuity. Maybe he's not as deft at Moore at layout, visualizing stories, and really leveraging the medium and format...but then there are counter-arguments like the Animal Man "fourth wall" moment and Seven Soldiers' self-contained continutity...that he is actually a part of.
His BIG foot in the door moment came with JLA, I think. It's kind of unbelievable that they gave him JLA when his resume was Animal Man, Doom Patrol, Flex Mentallo, and The Invisibles at that point...who sees those comics and thinks "let's give this guy the flagship DC title"? But the thing is, at the time, Justice League was NOT the flagship title: the last big JLA comic had been the goofy Giffen/Maguire series centered on Booster Gold and Blue Beetle.
Morrison took JLA to the very top of the sales charts, showed that a Silver-Age-style comic could feel modern instead of drenched in nostalgia, and started up the "widescreen action" style which then became the dominant form for superhero comics (as also well-practiced by The Authority and The Ultimates), and THAT is why he was subsequently given the reins to major stuff like X-Men, Superman, and Batman.
I've never thoroughly read the Mickey Mouse stuff; whether it's "worth buying" or not, I can't tell, but from the one Mouse story I read it's not in the same league, no. For one, it's from comic strips, not from comic books, which has a few effects: first of all, that means it's not split into distinct stories. Second of all, it was meant to be read a third of a page per day as opposed to one story all at once, so the pacing is weird. The art of course also doesn't have room for splash pages or any variety in panel shape, basically. But those are all issues you have with any old comic strip: the reason I didn't buy it was because I found the art a real turn-off, REALLY cramped and busy. My dad had tons of Barks comics for me to read as a kid, but none of the Gottfredson Mickeys, because he had read them as a kid and thought they were really boring. But some people really REALLY love it; Seth, for example, has never like Barks but loves Gottfredson's Mickey, go figure. And who isn't curious to see the famous sequence where Mickey attempts suicide a bunch of times? In any case, they're VERY different comics.
Space Ghost wrote: For being an educated person, I cannot search for anything on this damn site. I am so fucking incompetent sometimes.
I saw that the publishers of the Carl Barks' library also did one for Mickey Mouse -- are those as good?
My response to your call for classic all-ages comics was in a fat post near the bottom of the comments for:
I'd just copy and paste what I wrote, but there were some links in there that didn't work when I copy-pasted.
metalface13 wrote: "Too clever" is my weak spot. Tommy Taylor as TOO Harry Potter doesn't bother me much, obviously Carey wants to include Harry Potter specifically in his statement on how literature affects our landscape rather than juvenile fiction in general. Make it any more generic and then you're including stuff like Spiderwick Chronicles, Fablehaven and The Ranger's Apprentice into what you're talking about. And as bestselling and movie adapation-bound a lot of young adult fantasy has become, none has had the impact that Harry Potter has
I wouldn't have thought too much of the Harry Potter reference if Carey didn't go out of his way to name drop the Potter books in his story. It really makes Tommy Taylor feel...cheap. I think he could have made his point about Tommy Taylor being huge without ever even acknowledging that Potter existed in this universe. As it stands, the Tommy Taylor novels either predate Harry Potter or act as a Dean Koontz like me too. The call out to other boy wizard stories feels unnecessary.
To help with the discussion, here is the line:
“Yes, people have seen similarities with Harry Potter, Books of Magic, the Worst Witch.
“But Tommy Taylor is so much bigger. Forty percent of people who can read have read at least one of my father’s books, and that’s not even counting the movies, the games, the comics…”
Carey wants to call out just how huge the Tommy Taylor novels are, but here I think he makes the mistake of telling us rather than showing us.
Man, I'm loving this Valiant stuff. If you're interested, I would say to skip the originals and just go for these reboots. Harbinger and Shadowman are the weakest, but X-O Manowar, Archer & Armstrong, and Bloodshot are all surprisingly good. There's some definite "B-list" lameness in some ways (Bloodshot is too Weapon X for his own good, for example) but the writers spin off into some good, solid comics writing with quality modern art.
Has anyone (well, Andy) read the Basil Wolverton Spacehawk stuff? I really want to take a look at the new Fantagraphics collection.