Tag Archives: Alan Moore

Comic Book Rambling

Parliament_of_Trees

Ah… Parliament of Trees. If you’re gonna pick a not-so-popular comic book to read, pick up Alan Moore’s run on the Swamp Thing. Excellent writing! People often know of Alan Moore through The Watchmen or The Killing Joke, but most of his stuff is gold, and I suggest reading his work on whatever series it may be.

While Jim Lee has always been my favorite artist back when I started collecting comics during the X-Men heyday, he was soon replaced by Masamune Shirow. Not only is he a great artist, his books (both comic books and illustration collections) are often filled with insightful and humorous commentaries. Orion was my introduction to his work and still one of my favorite books, and Ghost in the Shell is one of the greatest series ever. It’s a shame however that there are no signs that Shirow will be coming up with any new books soon, just collections of artworks, mostly erotic stuff. It’s also a shame that DreamWorks is still planning to create a live-action version of Ghost in the Shell. With the way Hollywood studios westernizes foreign IPs and creatively butchers them (Dragonball, The Last Airbender, Oldboy…), my expectations are set really low.   Speaking of comic books turned movies, I’m surprised at the zeal of adapting comic books to movies these days. It’s like movies have turned to the new comic books, especially since many people would know of characters like Moira Mactaggert and events like Days of Future Past without even picking up a comic book. There’s been hints of the Infinity Gauntlet run being adapted into movies, and Guardians of the Galaxy, a series that I wasn’t even sure was all that popular, is set to be released in 2014! Whoa! I think people need to slow down. While it’s great that there’s some continuity and connection to the narrative of the Marvel/Disney movies, I think they’re going to burn out soon. It’s gonna get tiring, and people would want to watch movies not based on comic books or an IP from the 80s. For a while there, even the Superman vs. Batman project seems like it’s being developed and cast in a panicked rush. I’m glad they’re finally trying to move on with the series and not re-telling the Superman origin story again and again… having Batman, a hero everyone loves, fight Superman, a re-launched hero that not too many people care about, sound like a disaster.

A few random comic book thoughts (or hate) in closing:

I never liked Rocket Raccoon nor Squirrel Girl. I find them both incredibly corny.

I also don’t get Deadpool. Wasn’t the funny, breaking the fourth wall thing done by Spider Man before? I also can’t reconcile the idea of a morally ambiguous, mentally unstable villain to be a “funny” character. I don’t find it cute. The fact that he was created by Rob Liefeld and portrayed by Ryan Reynolds are just nails in the coffin.

I’m not a fan of the Iron Man films. I find Tony Stark grating. Wasn’t he supposed to be the serious scientist-type with a drinking problem from the Avengers? What’s with all the wit and quips? When did he become Spider Man? I also found Iron Man 2 incredibly one-sided, like the billionaire industrialist Tony Stark versus The Wrestler (“an old broken down piece of meat”). Weren’t we all supposed to root for Tesla and not for Edison?

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Super Problems

Ghostbusters

I was sketching out ideas for a graphic novel yesterday. I was explaining to the writer that there seems to be a trend nowadays of making comic book characters more normal. While super muscular demi-god types are still the order of the day, there are more books now with normal, everyday characters. Just look at the Walking Dead. I believe that the series is popular not only due to the current recession and its effect on the popularity of zombies in pop culture, but also because the characters are really quite normal, normal people in extraordinary situations doing extraordinary things.

Speaking of making characters more normal, Stan Lee pioneered this by adding flaws to characters in order to make them relatable. Spider Man is really a geek, the members of X-Men have their own little problems, etc. But it was Alan Moore who really ran with it, giving comic books more adult themes and making characters more complex and flawed. Suddenly, it wasn’t just about superheroes fighting nefarious villains, but superheroes battling personal demons. Heroes dealt with personal loss, addictions, different mental conditions, etc. And now the most successful superhero in film has a drinking problem. Back then, the only problem superheroes in film had was keeping a double life.

It makes me wonder though, what about other problems that are less serious but are made worse due to the hero’s super status? Like a character with a super hoarding problem? I guess that’s been done already (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collector_(comics)). But what about a character with a crippling smoking addiction? Not a cool smoking habit that many writers use to indicate manliness (see Wolverine), but a crippling super smoking addiction that not only threatens the characters health but also alienates him from his super friends.

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