Saturday, June 27, 2009

Landmark Comicbook Superhero Run's Part 1

Don't follow too much in the foot steps of your idols. A landmark run in comics are those seminal issues that not only inspire the future stories of a character, but are the standard that all past and future tales will be judged against. In some cases the original creators told everything that needed to be told in their story lines, and everything that came later is a pale imitation, or at best a good read homage. In other cases a creator came along and made the character/title their own, surpassing what had came before, and overshadowing the future. You also have characters that have been around forever, but I don't think any of the stories/artists/writers really get to such a high level. You have veteran creators who try to make their marks on titles, and fail.

Stop trying to leech off your childhood!!!!

I know how it happens. A creator reads a fantastic run on a title and thinks: Someday I'm going to do a story like that, only my way, and maybe better. No your not, because you can't. Frank Miller took a throw away second stringer with a ripped off name in Daredevil, and made his mark on the title forever. All these years later people are still trying to do their spin, on his stories. In this day, and age of TPB collections anyone can buy the real deal, no need for Bendis, Smith, or anyone else's reinterpretations. No I'm not a Brain Bendis fan. Kevin Smith damn near gave Green Arrow the Miller Daredevil treatment, but his 'run' on Daredevil was as much as a copy as Bendis would do. THE Daredevil story was already told back in the 80's no one, not even Miller can do it as good. I know they don't want to 'replace' Miller's run, and their are good Daredevil stories being told since Miller left his run years ago. Once the landmark run has come, and gone no other creator/arc will ever even come close. Ever. I respect creators who have the 'balls' to try to make a character his, or hers. I don't care to read a 6 issue long pre-formatted for collection love letter to what has gone before on a character. If it sells well, I say so did the pet rock. Some people are just on different wave lengths, and all the tin foil hats in the world won't make a difference. Lesser versions of stories I've read before just don't interest me. If a creator wants to do 'their' version of Daredevil they have to keep Kingpin, Bull's-eye, Elektra, out of it for starters. That ground's been tread on two much to have any undiscovered country left that wouldn't turn out to be ret-con'ed bullshit. Sending Daredevil to Marvel's version of hell, to fight Marvel's Satan stand-in, also not a good idea. Do something different, but Daredevil in hell was too cute/too different by half. If you don't remember that time sort of proves my point.

It's the God damned Batman!!!

The creator who did the Landmark run on Batman is -surprise- Frank Miller. With The Dark Knight Returns, and Batman: Year One with David Mazzucchelli. 8 issues total that formed the Alpha and Omega book-ends to Batman's story. it says everything that needs to be said, if not could be said about Batman. He didn't create the character, but he did make the character his. Comic book pro's ever since have been doing cover riff's on the stories he did, or retold. Miller retold Batman's origin and made it better, others have tried to tap into that DNK themes and failed. Including Miller with the Dark Knight sequel, and the All-Star re-re telling of Batman's early days. So the character is so unlike Batman it's really a alternate earth Batman from Frank Miller world in the DCU, are they still going with that story? What about the other's? Bob Kane was a rip off artist in the tracing others since of the word. Bill Finger did awesome work, which took decades for anyone to surpass -but it did happen. Denny O'Neil Batman had this need to be morally superior/righteous which I hated and despised. Killing the Joker wouldn't make you 'no better' than the Joker unless you used his death as a stepping stone to top his body count over the years. Bat Man would also turn tail and disappear if a plot point for a poorly thought out earth quake story demanded it. Pussy Batman strikes fear into no one, and captures few readers. What about Jim Starlin's run on Batman with the highlight being Death in the family? Starlin's almost entire run was really about Robin II (my fav Jason Todd), and side kicks in general. It wasn't about Batman's reaction to Jason's death, it was about the life and legacy of Robin with Bat's in a guest staring role. What about another favorite but not as good as Miller run: Steve Englehart, Marshall Rogers, Terry Austin, and Walter Simonson. It wasn't about Batman either. It was about Bruce Wayne getting laid, a incredible Joker story, and my favorite Batman villain of all time: Professor Strange. What about O'Neil with Neal Adams? Great villains, Ra's al Ghul says it all, great art, but not that memorable besides Bat Man met a gal who gives him the Pepe La Pew treatment. I love the writing of Grant Morrison. I have all the TPB's of Invisibles, not to mention all the single issues of 7 soldiers. That being said Arkham Asylum wasn't about Bat Man but the institution. As far as Bat Man R.I.P. goes: in my view not a page of it is fit to wipe my ass with, let along read. Super harsh words from me, that were totally earned. I fully understand the editors in charge could be wanting to re-live the glory days to re-live sales, but the glory day's of Batman were Miller's decades ago.

1 comment:

  1. Too true about Batman…the Dark Knight's legacy should have been handed down to Frank Miller’s ex-mutant gang and Batman’s ‘good soldier’ female Robin, but thas just what I think.

    Yet holding on to the past will never see anyone to the future...right? The end of every journey begins another one anew, forward progression and all that so forth and so on shit.
    The Big Two comic publishers seem intent on plunging their characters through one brick wall after another and another...reinventing, changing timelines, alternating universes, creating New Coke when Classic Coke and Diet Coke were doing just fine, not recognizing that Red Bull was on the horizon.
    Although there is always the exception to the rule;

    Rick Remender’s “Dark Reign Punisher”.

    What is Dark Reign? Don’t answer that on account of IT doesn’t matter nor do I care. Having not read Dark Avengers, or any of the other ‘Dark’ titles only because I’m afraid I don’t have the resources to afford liking them. I will wait for the TPB to arrive at the local library. The retro Punisher covers caught my eye as homage to Mike Zeck and upon closer inspection I noticed the Remender tag. Previously I had been won over by Remender’s “The End League” and his ingenious use of the classic super-hero archetypes such as the dynamic between Batman/Joker and the Capt. America/RedSkull conflicts resulting in a fully conceived and recognized alternate world in which Rick, as the writer, has the ability to create and destroy seamlessly and at the same time slyly nod with a smile of reverence to the past whilst over-lapping the old world ideas with HIS new. The End League #5 contains what has to be a reference to Frank Miller’s ‘Dark Knight’ Joker as talk show host Letterman and an audience full of forced psycho smiles and a nice 1941 Nazi origin complete with American emancipators and a boomerang shield. AND…Any time Remender should cross-mesh the superhero world with that of the multi-dimensional realities of infinite linear and non-linear timelines consisting of world crushing demons, well, Sir…I’m in.
    So in Dark Reign Punisher when Remender brings back some of the lesser known Marvel villains, breathes life into them, via The Hood, and gives them the grand stage, in essence what he is doing is taking past creations, archetypes, ideals, and storylines and owning them. The proof will be in the pudding when his run on the series concludes, until then I have added it to my exponentially expanding “Pull List”.