viagra 24 hours delivery

“And Kindly Remove Your Pelvis…” Comics! Sometimes They Are A Lot Like Last Time But Newer (John Carter pt.2)!

John Kane

Photobucket

 My name is John Kane and if my instructions have been honoured then what now assails your minds will be a continuation of the unfeasible events that occurred when I persisted in following the course of John Carter comics into the current Century. It is not for such as I to grant such an endeavour any merit for such a task can only fall to those who suffer the results. My chore has ended and yours has only begun…

WARLORD OF MARS #1 – #14 (of an ongoing series)
Art by Stephen Sadowski, Lui Antonio, Edgar Salazar
Written by Arvid Nelson
Coloured by Adriano Lucas, Shane Rooks, Maxflan Araujo, Marcello Pinto
Lettered by Troy Peteri, Marshall Dillon
Based on the stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs
(Dynamite Entertainment, $3.99ea (except #1 which was $1.00))

Photobucket

Previously on ‘An Old Man Talks Uninformed Shite About Comics No one Cares About‘ I discussed comics from 1952-3 and 1972-79 and went on about changes in comic storytelling between the ’50s and the ’70s. But only in a general way; not in a way that’s going to suggest the presence of any original thought or anything. I was pretty happy to report that comics had come on a bit in terms of technique but what about by 2010 when this Dynamite series began? That’d be roughly 60 years since the Jesse Marsh Stuff and, say, around 30 years since the DC/Marvel stuff ended. Those numbers making up in roundness what they lack in precision, somewhat akin to a large boned gentleman’s reflection in a fun-house mirror.

Photobucket
Mars circa 2010.

It takes this series 9 issues to adapt A Princess of Mars. That’s a fact. Another fact is the same ERB book was adapted by Dell and Marvel in one issue. Okay those adaptations are hardly the most elegant of things but they are certainly entertaining and have momentum. So, no, they probably aren’t as rich an experience as reading the novel but they are quite a good experience as far as reading a comic goes. To pack all that stuff into one issue some pretty brutal choices have to be made about what to include and where the narrative emphasis should lie. Even though the Dynamite series has room to sprawl about the place like a boneless teenager choices have also been made. I haven’t read the original ERB novels but thanks to this pointless task I have set myself I have now read no less than 5 (FIVE!!!) comic book adaptations of A Princess of Mars. None of these are exactly the same in either events or tone. In every case decisions have been made.

Photobucket
The Incomparable Dejah Thoris circa 2010

Tellingly the Dynamite series is touted as an “expansion of the sci-fi classic“. So the fact it takes a whole heck of a lot longer to cover the same ground as previous adaptations is unsurprising. What is surprising is the time taken to get John Carter onto Mars. In the Dell series JC is on Mars by p.2, in the DC series he’s there on p.5 while the Marvel series starts with him already there up to his cute tuchus in trouble! In 2010 (now sit down and have someone nearby ready to call the emergency services before you read this next bit) John Carter manifests on Mars on the 1st page of the…THIRD issue.

The only real reason to stick with a series clearly sold as being about a man having robust frolics on Mars for three issues in which his frolics are neither robust nor Mars-based is if you are a fan of ERB (or pulp) already. So, yeah, pretty much two of my least favourite modern tendencies (as in suicidal) in comics: no attempt to appeal to new readers and decompression. Stylistically this latter would be the biggest difference to have occurred in the 60 some years separating the Dell and Dynamite material. The boon of having plenty of room to spread any artistic wings is pissed away due to a lack of inclination to do so in a way which is constructive and a maddening tendency to prevaricate. But it’s okay for modern comics to do that because the audience isn’t going anywhere is it? Well, I guess I’m looking at different sales figures because that audience certainly seems to be going somewhere.

Photobucket
Mars Action circa 2010.

(About decompression. Now, I’m aware that decompression can be a valid literary device but I am also aware that the term is often invoked in order to lend legitimacy to what is clearly better described as taking the piss. Language is quite a powerful thing and I think it is time we reclaimed “decompression” from those who abuse it to the furtherance of fluffing up both their own and their audience’s egos. Next time you see the word ‘decompression’ try mentally replacing it with ‘taking the piss‘. I think the results will delight you! (Note: unless you are a diver in which  case I suggest you stick to ‘decompression‘.))

Photobucket
John Carter circa 2010.

Now those are harmful inclinations but they are hardly unique to this comic (which is why they are so especially infuriating) and to judge this series on those grounds alone would be unfair. It’s not a bad little series. There’s evidence that some thought has gone into the presentation of the material. The narration is presented in a typeface akin to that in a words-alone book, there’s some attempt at supplementary material intended to evoke the “true story” aspect of the original novels and the choice to up the ante on the tits’n’gizzards has clearly been made at an early stage. And, like a Calot returning to its own vomit, it’s this I’d like to look at again.

You could be forgiven for believing that I am some kind of sweaty one-handed reader who won’t be satisfied until all comics resemble nothing so much as a fiesta of fur and quivering meat but this isn’t the case. I just think you should show commitment to things. Commitment is a big thing in my household. I know my Incomparable partner is always trying to get me committed. Particularly after reading one of these things.  But although there is more gore and more nekkidery than in any previous iteration of this here ERB IP, it’s all a bit half-assed. People like the nudey-roo aspect to this stuff so: John Carter does at least have the (in)decency to be swinging in the wind initially, the incomparable Dejah Thoris is unlikely to suffer from rashes due to her detergent,  and then there are those “risque” covers. But… John Carter has to contort himself comically to avoid a glimpse of his carrot and taters, the incomparable one is too often shown quailing or threatened and those covers are censored.  There just doesn’t seem to be much point to it really. If you’re going to get down there then get down and roll around,  I say. After all, it isn’t as if Dynamite are in thrall to the demands of the ERB estate is it? Which reminds me:

Photobucket
Martian irony circa 2010.

There are three different artists throughout the course of the book so far. Initially it’s Stephen Sadowski and I’ll just say that if you’re having cowboys in your book it’s probably best get people who can draw hats on people’s heads. I know it’s not the easiest thing in the world and even Lovely Lou Fine wasn’t very good at it, but still. Sadowski crops up later on and hilariously depicts the incomparable Dejah Thoris wearing more to bed than at any other point in the series. Sadowski’s photo derived work bookends the contributions of Lui Antonio who has a nicely blocky approach that’s kind of sub-Art Adams. It’s clean, nice art but, unlike Art Adams, a little light on the details and Antonio has a tendency to give JC a big vein on each arm suggesting nothing so much as sword wielding phalli. Which could be entirely intentional but is surely unnerving. Salazar crops up in the later issues and I really don’t like his brittle line, lacking as it does any confidence in itself and lending the book a hesitant and scratchy look. (Pulp should never be hesitant.) On words Nelson does a decent job. It all bustles along, things happen and it’s entertaining enough with even a glimpse of humour here and there (“Kiss me, you Calot!“). He really earns his money with the second arc which is a kind of murder mystery without JC but starring his son and is, thus, about as satisfying as tuning into Scooby-Doo only to find it’s an episode all about Scrappy. Still Nelson manfully manages to keep it rolling along and through into the latest issues where unfortunately, for this reader, his solid work is unable to distract from the eye-prickling art. Overall, since most of my quibbles and carps were aimed at modern comics generally rather than this one in particular, the series is OKAY!

 

WARLORD OF MARS: DEJAH THORIS #1 – #9 (of an ongoing series)
Art by Carlos Rafael
Written By Arvid Nelson
Coloured by Carlos Lopez
Lettered by Marshall Dillon
Based on the stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs
(Dynamite Entertainment, $3.99ea)

Photobucket

Ah. Yes. Another tendency in the modern genre comic scene is to milk that IP teat until it is sore. So here we have a solo title for The Incomparable One. These tales are set before John Carter turns up so The incomparable one is only a mere slip of a girl at this stage, probably barely in her 5th Century. Oh yes, from reading all these books I have learned that Martians are born from eggs, mature quickly and age slowly, live to be about 1,000 years old (unless someone stabs them or they are eaten by some of the more agile fauna) at which point they go off and commit unassisted suicide by the River Iss (a kind of more brutal Dignitas). Unsettlingly this means John Carter has shacked up with some old crone who lays eggs. This makes John Carter possibly the only fictional character who engages in procreation with a geriatric, suicidal monotreme.

Photobucket
“…(s)he’s an egg-laying mammal of action!..”

Unfortunately the reality of this series is entirely more conventional than the preceding would have you believe. (Pulp should never be conventional). Illustrated in a sub-Frank Cho style the art is clean and cartoony. Although both male and female Martians are both dressed quite minimally it’s clear that The Incomparable Dejah Thoris is dressed more minimally than most. Since these stories are solid little genre adventures in which the main novelty is the fact that the lead character is a capable and independent lady equally comfortable politicking or shellacking they sound quite progressive. Progressive for mainstream genre comics anyway. Sadly this is somewhat undermined by the fact that The Incomparable Dejah Thoris is continually contorting herself to display her assets to their best advantage. This can be overlooked in action scenes due to their physical nature but the  talking scenes are somewhat undermined by her tendency to present herself like a horny ape to some invisible suitor.  The series is, however, in no way the kind of sordid disgrace that mainstream genre comics featuring partially robed ladies are inclined towards and is entertaining in a lurid and daft way. And in Pulp that is OKAY!

WARLORD OF MARS: FALL OF BARSOOM #1 – #2 ( of Four)
Art by Roberto Castro
Written by Robert Place Napton
Coloured by Alex Guimaraes
Lettered by Simon Bowland
Inspired by the stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs
(Dynamite Entertainment, $3.99ea)

Photobucket

Or Palping The Teat Part Two. This comic is is set “100,000 years before John Carter arrived on Mars.” That’s ludicrous. Which is a shame as the thrice-named Napton delivers a decent three stranded pulp narrative that is only slightly undermined by decompression and generic dialogue.  Roberto Castro is a bit too cross-hatchy for my tastes even going so far as to edge into Liefeldian which, since I am not one of those youngsters with their elder-baiting Liefeld-revisionism, is not a good thing for me. It’s EH! which is not something that a spin-off title needs to be. What with WoM:DT and this we can see the third fatal tendency of the modern marketplace in full effect: dilution of the IP, over-saturation of the market, cutting off your nose to spite your face, call it what you will it’s not good. Now Dynamite are publishing Not-Tarzan comics I am waiting with bated breath for Cheetah: Year One! filled with all the shit slinging, nit picking, teeth baring and frenzied humping fans of chimps all over the world have come to know and love. Seriously, “100,000 years before John Carter arrived on Mars.Christ.

JOHN CARTER OF MARS: A PRINCESS OF MARS #1 – #5 (of Five)
Art by Filipe Andrade
Written by Roger Langridge
Coloured by Sonny Gho
Lettered by VC’s Cory Petit
Based on the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs
(Marvel Comics, $2.99ea)

Photobucket

This was by far the best of the JC comics I read during this expensive and time consuming exercise in senseless self-flagellation. Roger Langridge’s script is fast paced (JC’s already on Mars when it starts), packed with well paced incident, brief suspensions of action to allow for the smaller, quieter scenes to occur and it’s also a little bit tongue-in-cheek. It’s good stuff but the humour doesn’t quite sit right. In the merit column it does allow John Carter to actually appear to possess some form of personality. Such a thing hasn’t really been in evidence in the comics prior to this. Pulp heroes not being noted for their rich (or indeed any) characterisation I can’t say I’d really noticed until Langridge offered up an alternative. Usually John Carter is in love with Dejah Thoris, good at killing stuff and, er, generally upbeat. Here John Carter has a sense of humour as well. However, he appears to have Roger Langridge’s sense of humour; which is okay as Roger Langridge is a funny man but isn’t okay because, unless I missed something, Roger Langridge isn’t a Virginian gentleman of the 1860’s. So when John Carter makes jokes about mints on pillows, giving only his name rank and serial number or uses a particularly legendarily bad chat-up line it does tend to ruffle the reader’s immersion in the doings.

Photobucket
Mars circa 2011.

Mind you, the flashback sequence is brief and none too clear. It could very well be that the intention was to leave Carter’s earthly origins vague to allow just such humour to be possible. It may be that I brought an ungodly amount of prior John Carter comics to bear on this series and got the wrong end of the stick. If I did, I apologise and I do at least concede that Langridge’s humour is actually funny, which is probably the most important thing really.

Photobucket
The Incomparable Dejah Thoris circa 2011

The series also dodges the problems with gore’n’genitals by opting to go the clean-cut route. This turns out to be a wise decision. The incomparable Dejah Thoris is well covered and so it is easier to believe John Carter is in actual fact in love with her as a person rather just in love with having her fine caboose ride his cock horse. That’s nice. I can do romantic too. I can. Stop laughing.

Photobucket
Mars Action circa 2011.

The violence is good and violent but not overdone. Thanks to Filipe Andrade’s fine work the fight scenes are more suggestive than ham-handedly bloody. In fact Filipe Andrade’s work on this is pretty great. It’s like the designs on an Ancient Greek vase have come to life and started running around and having smashing adventures. It is visually stylish and arresting work that nicely embodies the archaic nature of both the setting and the source material itself while being visually inventive enough to appear startlingly fresh, particularly in comparison with the somewhat familiar styles of art present in the other modern day John Carter books. Filipe Andrade – I like him!

Photobucket
John Carter circa 2011.

I was expecting the least from this one given it’s origins but it just goes to show that you should always go on the talent rather than the publisher. (I have no idea why people have a loyalty to particular comics publishers. It baffles me.) Langridge rarely disappoints and continues not to here and Andrade is a lovely discovery for me. It isn’t my ideal JC comic (That would be: cover by Corben, words by Lansdale, art by Veitch. Thanks for asking. Took you long enough.) but it ain’t half bad. In fact I’ll go up to VERY GOOD!

JOHN CARTER: THE WORLD OF MARS #1 – #4 (of Four)
Art by Luke Ross
Written By Peter David
Coloured by Ulises Arreola
Lettered by VC’s Cory Petit
Based on characters created by Edgar Rice Burroughs and the screenplay JOHN CARTER by Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews and Michael Chabon.
(Marvel Comics, $3.99ea)

Photobucket

This one I regret to inform all is a blatant cash-grab that takes up four issues with what can generously be described as one issues worth of content. That’s not to insult the creative team who I am sure enhance the lives of everyone they come into contact with. They’ve clearly been given the thankless task of providing a prequel to a film which by the very nature of the premise it is prequelling cannot actually feature the main character of said film or even allow the supporting characters to meet even though their adventures must have some connection. The real interest thus becomes seeing how Peter David will negotiate this thankless task. He has a good stab but the unavoidably inessential nature of the material is never in doubt, which really spoils the reading experience. Luke Ross’ art is odd because he’s really good at the bits that don’t involve humans. He’s got a nice thick line with a lovely crayon like effect that lends life and vigour to creatures that are clearly only of the imagination. Alas, his humans are stiff and overact and his landscapes are just photographs with minimal effects. Look, I’m tired of John Carter now so let’s just say it was AWFUL!

 

So, 60 some years of John Carter comics there. I guess I should draw some conclusions? Up to 1979 there’s one defining characteristic of the JC comics. The people involved seem to be having fun. Whether it’s Jesse Marsh amusing himself by drawing works of art on the walls of his backgrounds, Sal Amendola outstripping his talent with his ambition or just the prurient purple prose of the Marvel stuff fun is clearly being had. It’s an inclusive kind of fun, too.

There’s less of this in the 21st Century stuff. Less enjoyment in both the form and the content. A lot of the time it just reads like it was work, a job. Which it was, of course. But equally so was the earlier stuff. That’s why the Langridge/Felipe series seems so much brighter than all those series surrounding it. Heck, I’m sure everyone involved in all these comics had fun. There are probably interviews where they stress how much fun it was, how it engendered an almost obscene thrill to be involved in the expansion of his venerable ERB IP. There are always interviews alike that, about everything. What there aren’t a lot of are comics that actually feel like they are interested in reaching out and including the audience in that fun. Look, I don’t really know what pulp should be but I think it should be fun. Thankfully Roger Langridge and Felipe Andrade at least seem to agree.

Photobucket

Now that I have fulfilled the instructions of my delusional relative and allowed the clearly addled fruit of his stunted tree of a mind to fall before your eyes but one task remains to me. For I shall tell you now that he directed that I remove his body to Yorkshire without embalming and that he be laid in a Mylar bag of unfeasible dimensions upon an acid free board of card of similar size, therein to be sealed with tape. Clearly the man was a fool of the first order but I did as bade and can testify with a true tongue that, to this day, although his body has yellowed around the edges somewhat he remains, these many years hence, still Mint to Near Mint. Remarkable indeed.

Yours very sincerely

ERB

Have a good weekend, all, and remember to read some COMICS!!!

23 Responses to “ “And Kindly Remove Your Pelvis…” Comics! Sometimes They Are A Lot Like Last Time But Newer (John Carter pt.2)! ”

  1. These two pieces were great. Thanks for writing them!

  2. I’m as big a critic of decompression as anyone but I think you’re wrong about the start to Dynamite’s JC series. I loved that it started with JC on Earth both because it was unexpected and because it some decent storytelling. Just because a book doesn’t meet your expectations, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

    Secondly, while you call bullshit on some modern comic book writing conventions, you slobber all over Andrade’s art in the Marvel book when it’s overly stylized, distorted and straight up ugly. And I’ll bet the panel-to-panel storytelling is nothing to write homea about, either. You shouldn’t bitch about comics written for the fanboy ghetto and then celebrate comics drawn for that same insular preserve.

    Mike

  3. “…(s)he’s an egg-laying mammal of action!..”

    Best. Review. EVAR!

  4. Great work. “… large-boned gentleman in a funhouse mirror” was the first of many great lines in this installment.

    I had wanted to want to read these recent John Carter comics, but before I can even do the slow flip that would reveal the ridiculous taking-the-piss, a quick flip allows the art to completely turn me off. Not only is it bland in the way only modern comics can strive to be, the quasi-nudity is just … weird. I know that everyone’s naked or near-naked in the novel, but “And they’re naked” is different in prose than in images, so there’s no excuse from the prose for executing it poorly on the drawn page.

    The Landridge/Andrade work looks interesting, and five issues seems a reasonable length to adapt a novel (especially when you know someone said, “Why not go six, like every other story arc of the last 15 years?”). I shall check this out.

    Again, thanks for the entertainment, and the lengths you went to, rounding up all this stuff from several decades.

  5. @Matthew Murray: Cheers! I think I took on a bit too much, really, but thanks anyhoo!

    @MBunge: You think I’m wrong, well, that could well be. I appreciate you giving your reasons. I’m pleased you enjoyed the protracted opening to WoM. That means you enjoyed two issues a lot more than me. Okay,see, it wasn’t just that he wasn’t on Mars it was more what was happening didn’t seem particularly worthy of invention. (If someone said that’s how the original novel started and then I’d really have had my knees cut out from under me.)As for expectations – I just expect to be entertained but I’m happy for books to exceed my expectations.

    I think this one’s a case of I like Andrade’s work and you don’t. I don’t have a way round that one. What you found “ugly” I found distinctive. I imagine we’d probably never have to fight over the same woman. You’re right that I “shouldn’t bitch about comics written for the fanboy ghetto and then celebrate comics drawn for that same insular preserve.” I hope I never do that. I don’t think I did that here. Andrade is far too distinctive a stylist to be aiming for the “fanboy ghetto” (which I’m guessing likes unchallenging/samey stuff?).

    @David Oakes: Ooops, That joke (C) Phineas and Ferb. As you obviously know.

    Thanks to all as ever!

  6. “What you found “ugly” I found distinctive.”

    But do you think normal, non-comics readers would? That’s my point and Andrade is exactly fanboy ghetto stuff because it’s so stylized. The fanboy ghetto is not just guys who still think Tony Stark should have a bad heart and wear a chestplate. It’s includes all kinds of niche storytelling and artwork that wouldn’t appeal to the mainstream. I mean, look at that image of what I guess is supposed to be Dejah and JC embracing. He looks like he’s had his buttocks removed and transplated into his back and she seems to spent most of her life in an extremely tight corset that displaced most of her stomach organs to other areas of her body.

    Mike

  7. Oh, and the original novel does start with John Carter on Earth for the first two chapters.

    Mike

  8. @BrianMc: Yeah, given all that you say the Langridge/Andrade one sounds more up your alley than the Dynamite stuff. But opinions do differ which is why I stuck some scans on so people can see this stuff. My thanks to you, sir.

    @MBunge: Ah, I see. Kind of. You seem to say that the fanboy ghetto consists of mainstream stuff and non-mainstream stuff. I’m not sure where the non-ghetto stuff is? It would help me out if you suggest some artists you suspect non-comics readers might respond to. I mean that, I’m intrigued.

    Oh, c’mon. I meant that the novel started the same as the Dynamite stuff in #1-#2 not that the book started on Earth. I know it starts on Earth and now I also know that the first 2 chapters of PRINCESS OF MARS take about 10 pages and include no material not included by the other adaptations that are less prone to procrastination.

    Thanks again, everyone.

  9. These two pieces were funny, insightful, even educational; thank you, I hope you have more analyses like these in the future.

  10. >And I’ll bet the panel-to-panel storytelling is nothing to write homea about, either.

    I’ll raise you: I bet you should never argue from ignorance. 1:1.

  11. The only book I read was the Langridge book and I had the same reaction as you, John. I *really* liked it. I loved both Langridge’s humor and pacing and Andrade’s art.

    I’m also confused how Andrade’s art is “fanboy ghetto stuff.” I had the book with me when I visited my parents and even my mom loved the artwork. Which, yeah, is way anecdotal, but my mom really does not like comics, if that helps.

    I know it’s silly, but I *loved* that Andrade’s Thoris was clothed! I really hate the way she’s drawn in the Dynamite comics. In the Dynamite books she looks like a stripper who ran outside mid-dance after hearing her car was being broken into. In the Andrade series, she looks like a beautiful, elegant woman.

  12. So John…

    After reading all of this (which is wonderful, by the way, thank you), I’m left with the impression that, while the ERB books might be classic pulp fun, I probably shouldn’t bother much with the comics at all. I’m left with an overall ‘meh’ impression. Is that about right, or am I missing something?

    How many other old public domain properties are there like this in which we can compare interpretations across decades in this eye-opening way? I guess there’s lots of obvious classics like Sherlock Holmes, Greek/Roman mythology in general, Shakespeare stuff, and everything Moore used in his League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series’. But are there any other sci-fi/pulps like it? Tarzan maybe? Godzilla’s had lots of interpretations over decades but it’s not in the public domain.

    I guess I’m saying that this was kind of a fascinating exercise. Again, thanks for doing it…

  13. “You seem to say that the fanboy ghetto consists of mainstream stuff and non-mainstream stuff.”

    You know what’s mainstream? Diary of a Wimpy Kid. You know what isn’t? The Boys. Basically, anything that lives and dies within the Direct Market is part and parcel of the fanboy ghetto. Brian Michael Bendis is in the ghetto. Even Grant Morrison is largely within the ghetto. Neil Gaiman isn’t.

    And just to get back to the point, look again at that Andrade art. You may like it. It may have its own artistic merit. But do you think the average, non-comic reader who goes to see John Carter would be more intrigued or repulsed by it?

    As for comic artists the general public might respond to, that’s easy. Just go get any comic from when they were read by more than devoted fanboys. Or better yet, look at the art styles employed in mainstream cartoons. Does that Andrade art look like anything you see on the Cartoon Network today? Look at the best-selling Euro comics. Heck, take a look at Manga. Those are comics largely successful outside the fanboy ghetto and while they can be weird, I don’t recall much Manga that’s as overly stylized to the point of distortion as that Andrade stuff.

    Mike

  14. To me the Andrade art, based on your selections, looks like the (mainstream audience) Disney ‘Hercules’ film from last decade (?). It looks more like an Oni book (Scott Morse?) than anything typically Marvel i can think of offhand.

    And thanks John UK for an interesting tour of the work! I must check out a couple of these.

  15. Lovely piece, and thank you! Just as a point of clarification, the modern-style gags Carter makes in my book are because we initially decided to keep Carter’s 1860s origins vague to the point of irrelevance, but ERB Inc. rather undermined that by insisting on the Burroughs coda at the end, which locked down the time period after we were already a couple of issues in. So – we did the best we could with what we had.

  16. Chris Brown: “But are there any other sci-fi/pulps like it?”

    I think you could take a similar look at the various comic versions of

    Flash Gordon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_Gordon#Comic_books

    The Shadow: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shadow#Comic_strip.2C_comic_books.2C_and_graphic_novels

  17. A friend bought Dejah Thoris, and as I browsed it my first thought was: is this really Burroughs or some novelisation of 300, the movie. I didn´t mind the rather burlesque Incomparable One (but where were the tassels?), but the rest wasn´t for me. I hated the ugly colouring and the dull art. The story I sampled consisted mostly of people standing around talking in some caves. Pages of it. Where was the exotic Mars? Where was the fun? I know that my impression is based on one issue, but this is a neat example why I don´t buy many monthlies any longer. Compared to that Rudy Nebres or Gil Kane´s comics of yesteryear looked like a whirlwind of action for a fraction of the cost. For me this isn´t Pulp, it is Anti-Pulp.

    Of course this is all subjective. I wouldn´t buy the Andrade art either. Too cartoony for my taste with its weird style and anatomy. This looks exactly like Disneys Hercules. This kind of art doesn´t appeal to me in the slightest. Not for this subject.

  18. @Michael Hoskins: That’s most kind of you. Too kind, I think but still kind!

    @Chris Hero: I liked your description of The Incomparable One. Ho ho! Get your Mum reading comics!

    @Chris Brown: Yeah, Meh is about right for the new stuff. I probably should have been a bit harder on them, I guess. But y’know us old men, we wear anger badly. Anger’s a young man’s game since it requires certainty. I like the Newman/Marsh, Wolfman/Kane and Langridge/Andrade stuff well enough though.

    @MBunge: I get your point and I get that you are passionate about it. But I don’t really get your examples. I can’t talk about Bendis because I find his work so dismal I can’t trust my own judgement but, yes, Grant Morrison is in the DM ghetto. Mostly. Yet I can’t see any reason why WE3 or JOE THE BARBARIAN couldn’t find a wider audience. Neil Gaiman is an author first and foremost, his comics are secondary.

    As for art: I don’t think people don’t buy comics anymore because Don Heck is dead. And the stuff I watch on CN (REGULAR SHOW, ADVENTURE TIME, FLAPJACK etc)would suggest Frank Woodring and James Kolchaka sould be breakout superstars. But they aren’t. There is an ADVENTURE TIME comic though, how’s that doing? I don’t know about Manga so I’ll not embarass myself there.

    There’s lots of reasons people don’t buy comics anymore from poor content, high prices, new reader-unfriendliness, limited accessibility etc. but mostly I think people just don’t care about comics anymore. Also, a high-grossing mediocre action movie every summer featuring comic characters doesn’t mean people are interested in comics it means they are interested in mediocre action movies.

    I still take your point though and like your zeal.

    @Bad Wolf: Scott Morse! Of course! Good one. Never seen the Hercules film, take your word there.

    @Roger Langridge: (Gosh!)Hey, thanks for the enlightenment and thanks also for your smashing work. Cheers!

    @Matthew Murray: Oh, there’s loads isn’t there. I like The Shadow ones. That property seems to have had the best comics over a long period of time and through different publishers. Although I hear there are some really dreadful ones where he’s a super-hero or something.

    @AndyD: Fair enough! People standing in caves talking is the pulp equivalent of superheroes sitting round tables nattering like fishwives! It’s progress. Ah, Nebres and Kane.

    Thanks everyone for listening to me “grandad”ing on!

  19. @John K

    How’s the Adventure Time comic doing? I can answer that! Smashing! The first issue was the second most re-ordered issue last month and the second issue apparantly sold out everywhere. (Not a single shop I’ve visited or called in NYC has a copy for sale. Even though every person I’ve spoken to has said, “That’s the comic we get the most questions about.”)

    Ryan North is killing it on that comic. I also see it as a win for webcomics cuz North and company are all pretty much from that world.

    But I had the same thought you did…if stylized, insular art is only enjoyed by the DM niche, how does one explain the popularity of Adventure Time and Regular Show?

  20. >Although I hear there are some really dreadful ones where he’s a super-hero or something.

    Funny you should bring it up, John – I’m beginning a look at the Archie series this very day, although it begins as a super-spy series, then switches to spandex:
    http://section244.blogspot.com/2012/03/bitter-fruit1-shadow-vs-rxg-spymaster.html

    I’m sure you must have plenty to say about the Howard Victor Chaykin iteration, but I can’t imagine how hard it would be to locate the 1940s Shadow comic books.

  21. Given that the other example of “mainstream” is “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”, shouldn’t the argument about DM comics be that they aren’t stylized *enough*? That if Batman were drawn in the style of Beetle Bailey, or the X-Men as xkcd, then comics would be a national phenomenon? Critically and Popularly respected?

  22. My favorite line has to be “a fiesta of fur and quivering meat”

    Nice job, Mr. K!

  23. (Ooops. That should have been “Jim Woodring” (who draws FRANK) not “Frank Woodring” (who, I guess, would draw JIM).)

    @Chris Hero: Cheers. Ayup, it was a serious question and I appreciate the answer: particularly as it is so positive. I know I have ordered the AT comic from my LCS.

    @Michael Hoskins: great stuff! I will be following along f’sure. I may have had a few words to say about HVC’s Shadow. Maybe I did, yes. I find it hard enough to get hold of the Dark Horse Shadow stuff never mind the ’40s stuff!

    @David Oakes: I know I would buy Batman if it was drawn in a Mort Walker stylee!

    Also, having mulled it over THE WALKING DEAD is very popular isn’t it? That’s not very stylised is it (to put it mildly) so I guess that might be a good e.g. for MBunge’s point?

    @Brian Hibbs: It’s *THE* Brian Hibbs! Demonstrating once again why the CBLDF is very important indeed. Hey, cheers, I appreciate that a whole bunch!

    Thanks all!

Leave a Reply


one × 8 =