View Single Post
  #13  
Old 06-07-2010, 01:42 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by soda View Post


-I actually wouldn't call IC "Dark and edgey", anyone who read comics in the era from the mid eighties, to the late nineties, can point you in the direction of stuff that is very "dark and edgey".
Well yeah, I didn't think "Identity Crisis" was "dark" in a 90s sort of way (which is to say, a stupid way), but it was clearly much more grim and pathos-filled than a normal JLA story.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soda
I actually wasn't holding up Metzer's work as a paragon of great comics, I enjoyed IC myself, and I think Metzer is a pretty good writer.
With different characters, I might have thought IC was a pretty decent story (although I would probably still think the reveal of the culprit was dumb. Sorry, I really can't get over that). But as a JLA story, it felt really inappropriate.

Now, I'm not one of those protectionists who sits around and gripes about how they've "ruined" my favorite characters and wants to turn the clock back to the 70s. Quite the opposite, I'm always in favor of shaking up the status quo in a long-running series. I'm one of those guy who actually liked Bucky as Cap more than Steve Rogers and thought Hal Jordan should have stayed dead (although even I have to admit that since he came back the book has seriously kicked ass).

Even so, there's a right way and a wrong way to do it. Putting characters like the Atom and Ralph Dibny in a story like "Identity Crisis" is like putting Luke Skywalker in "The Matrix".

Quote:
Originally Posted by soda
What I was really trying to drive at is that what happened in IC #6 is something that delivered on the promise to "change the universe forever" in a very real way. Whether or not you agree with the decision to break up a classic friendship, or not (a LOT of people didn't like it for that very reason) it was a change. Now, while change for the sake of change is never a good reason for change (that too happens all too often, when sales sink) I felt like this change, in many ways, made sense. It drove the story forward.
Like I said, I give Meltzer credit for being daring and provocative. But I honestly don't think that at the end of "Identity Crisis" that the state of affairs in DC Comics was better than when it started, and worse, I wasn't even all that entertained by the trip to get there.

This is a bit like the gripes people have about Marvel's "Civil War", except that I thought "Civil War" was at least an entertaining read. Less daring and less nuanced than "Identity Crisis", but at least "Civil War" really felt like an Avengers story.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soda
Here's what I will agree with you on, If Metzer loves the Silver Age, and wants to refute some of the unfair attacks on it, he does have a funny way of showing it.
It is a deeply confusing sentiment, isn't it?

His comments, in effect, were that he felt like people regarded superhero conventions as a bit silly and unintentionally comedic today, and he wanted to write a story showing why the medium exists in the form it does (which is a good idea, IMHO). Hence, "Identity Crisis" is a story about why those masks and costumes and secret identities really aren't silly Silver Age relics, they're vitally important to what these characters do.

Nice sentiment, but I have two problems with it, one being that the scene that really drives this home becomes a bit of unintentional comedy in itself because the guy talking about the importance of masks is Green Arrow, quite possibly the only person in the WORLD that even Superman could look down on as being poorly disguised (that nose, that chin, that stache and beard combo, and that hair can NOT be adequately concealed with a domino mask that spans about a half inch of flesh around the eyes), and the second one being that while he went above and beyond to defend the conventions of those old stories, he walked all over their spirit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soda
These people understand that you can't just flip a switch and go back there. What they've been trying to do (and Geoff Johns is the best at this, IMHO) is give you a new interpretation on a silver age concept.
I totally agree, I think Johns is an incredible writer who has done a lot of good for the genre. While I was wholly unimpressed with "Reborn" (felt less like a story that should be told as much as a chore that had to be gotten through to open the door for future stories), "Sinestro Corps War" was easily one of the best superhero comics I've ever read. Granted, it was more space opera than superhero, but being able to dip into sci fi is just one of the perks of writing Green Lantern.

And that's just the thing, I'd much rather read "Blackest Night" or "52" than "Identity Crisis". For that matter, I'd even rather read something like "The Death of Captain America", which was light years in tone away from the Cap stories of yore but still managed to do credit and homage to the series' roots while telling a much different, much more grounded, mature, and gripping story. I think Brubaker did what Meltzer wanted to do but couldn't, and at the end of the day, that's what really counts, not what story you're telling but whether you can tell it well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soda
In my opinion, the critics of the silver age also have a point, no one whose past the age of 10 would ever read those comics, and that's the audience they were designed for.
For the most part that's true, although one of the great things about All-Star Superman is that it shows that even a Silver Age-style story can appeal to a modern, adult audience if it's in the hands of a good enough writer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soda
However, to me, comics reminds me most of what was going on in ancient greece. Each year, during the city dionysuius, (named after the God of wine, man, those ancients knew how to party) playwrites would present plays that are very much like a modern comic book. The mythology of ancient Greece is something that we still recite to this day, and the plays were generally stories taken out of the mythological folklore, and the intent was to give a new twist on it. Everyone in the audience knew how the story went, and knew where things would end up, the cool part came from how well executed that play was. These stories, to the ancients, were things that they'd been exposed to all their lives, from the time they were young, to the end of life.
Oh yeah, a huge part of Western literature has just been telling and retelling "The Iliad" until everyone is blue in the face with it.

But I have a totally different take on things, I think that that Ancient Greek style of storytelling is actually what comics used to be about in the Pre-Crisis era. Every month you had a similar (or even the exact same) story with small variations, and stories were designed to be more or less self-contained. I'm not detracting from those old comics, but even something as artsy and experimental as Eisner's "The Spirit" was careful to avoid very many radical changes and to keep each story an island unto itself.

Modern comics, on the other hand, bend over backwards (much too far, if you ask me) to create "continuity". Writers and editors want a continuous, dynamic story that takes place in a shared, narratively consistent universe. This really isn't much like the Ancient Greek style at all; in those days you didn't come back next year to hear a story about what Odysseus did after he finally got back to Ithaca and pay close attention to whether it's consistent and "In continuity" with last year's story about Agamemnon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soda
Its one of the reasons why I have problems with the idea of the rights to Superman reverting to the estate of Seigel and Schuster. They created the character, back in the day, and they deserve credit for that (and money), but the character from Action Comics #1 is unrecognizable today. So many people over the decades have contributed to the Superman mythology, so many people have told stories and built it up, changed it, tweeked it, give it a direction, or a spin. Where are those people's rights?
Well, that's a whole different can of worms. The real value in what Siegel and Schuster created is in making one of the most recognizable and profitable trademarks in American history.

That suit has almost nothing to do with the nuances of storytelling and everything to do with the marketability of that S logo and the countless billions of dollars that can be reaped in merchandising fees for whoever owns it, regardless of whether there's any comics written or not. Which is almost certainly not a good thing, but that's the way it is.
Reply With Quote