Thursday, September 07, 2006

Comics Out 7 September 2006

Grant Morrison and Jim Lee's Wildcats has been pushed back to 20 September, and that was the only thing I was getting this week (and I was very excited about it: Morrison said of it "I want to see beautiful people doing amazing things," and I thought, me too). Let me know if there is something I am missing.

On the comics news front Mitch, a frequent commenter here, has published his article "'Boston Legal' v. 'She Hulk': Heritage and Metafiction on Trial" at Silver Bullet Comics, where he is now a feature writer and reviewer.

And I wanted to say three things about last week's All Star Superman. First, I was stunned at how Morrison wrote a twenty-two page comic book that is essentially a rant by one character, but Morrison and Quitely worked in enough side-line craziness that you feel like it is an action book.

Second, I thought the subtle eyebrow thing was inspired: early on Lex says that people have been unconsciously trimming their eyebrows to achieve the "Superman Swoosh"; then, battling the Parasite Lex wipes his head, wiping of his left eyebrow in the process, which was apparently painted on; though it is concealed in several panels it is clear that over the next few pages he has no left eyebrow; then at the end his assistant lets him know and he draws it in again with a pencil -- but he draws it with a huge arch, so he is extra dramatic for his final evil speech. I think we are supposed to realize that he unconsciously shaved his eyebrow into the "Superman Swoosh" (he says other people have been doing it to justify the fact that he himself did it), and then shaved it off in a fit of rage. An amazing detail that runs through the whole book.

Third, I have heard people complain about Luthor appearing as a bit of a buffoon, not realizing how many times Clark is saving his life in the issue. I see the point but I think Morrison and Quitely are more interested in showing how Superman alters simple things like his posture to become Clark Kent (even though Kent towers over Luthor in this issue, for instance); the important thing is how Morrison and Quitely demonstrate how that could fool Luthor, which is quite an accomplishment. The "people don't realize Clark is Superman" thing is something in the past we just had to accept; now I believe it.

14 comments:

Mitch said...

Thanks for the shout out, Geoff. And the eyebrow thing is really, really terrific.

TonPo said...

Loved the notes on AS Superman. Did not notice the eyebrow thing, but will keep my eye out for it when I re-read it tonight.

One thing about the book that really struck me was the consistent theme of Lex as the Nietzschien Ubermensch (often mistranslated as "superman"). Anna Knowles's description of the archetype really comes through clearly in Morrisons depiction of Lex.

Aquaboy said...

When I read it, I thought the reason Lex had no eyebrows is the same reason he has no hair; i.e. he was made bald by a chemical mishap back in the Superboy days. But a fine analysis nonetheless!

Geoff Klock said...

Nietzsche's Ubermensch is, I think, not quite Lex Luthor -- the big example of the Ubermensch is Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen, totally beyond good and evil and a little inhuman. Luthor's real precursor is Milton's Satan, who enjoys discovering his own power (quite vast) through conflict and who is motivated by envy. Also Lex and Milton's Satan give great speeches and preen a lot. This is just my first thought; I will think about the Ubermensch further. It may be both -- Neitzsche's Ubermensch may owe a debt to Milton's Satan.

ping33 said...

Manifest Eternity this week. And Exterminators too... those; Casanova; and Runaways are the 4 books I most look forward to each month (other things like Ultimates and ASS/ASB&R:TBW and Planetary being quarterly)

I think I'm going to wait for trade on all the new Wildstorm stuff because it has 1 issue every 4 months written ALL over it and I am about on my limit with those.

Geoff Klock said...

I don't mind quarterly books -- as long as you are getting at least four (Planetary, Ultimates, Miller's Batman, Morrison's Superman) you get at least one of the group a month. And they are great books, which is what I really want. I like comics because they are serial, I want a boost every once and a while, so I cannot wait for the trade.

Anonymous said...

Geoff,

Have you read Alan Moore's Supreme? I've just read the first two issues for the first time and this book would be right up your alley if you haven't.

Geoff Klock said...

I have read all of Supreme. I get what is nice about it, and a lot of it is very sweet and very funny, but, as it goes on (and as you will discover if you continue to read it) it traffics in the most obvious kind of post-modernism and nostalgia, and gets dull fast.

ping33 said...

Worse dull nostalgia than Batman 655?


I'm on board with the 4 quarterly books I mention because I have been on board with them and I see little reason to stop now. But my MAIN problem with 3 of them is that they aren't holding up their part of the serial bargain with readership. At least each issue of The Ultimates seems to understand and accept that most of the readers may, in fact have forgotten EVERYTHING which came before so they have the synopsis and generally open in a new setting to show the ellipsis of time. ASS has a more Stand-alone feel so I can take the long wait (even if I am frequently underwhelmed on my first read through.) But ASB&R and Planetary are HURT by the schedule, They ARE written to be serial but are released glacially and so I KNOW that I'm not getting the most I could out of them. At least Planetary has the excuse of Cassiday blowing up and having much more work to produce, it was ok for the first year or two.

I get stuff every week... I will continue to do so... but I see no reason to get WILDCATS or Authority until they have been solicited for trade. I will get more out of the stories that way, while getting more value for money, better production values and no advertisements, The main thing I don't get is why not just release all these books NEXT summer, I'm sure they could create JUST as much hype and that way maybe they could sustain it when the issue 2s come out in the same season as book 1.

brad said...

#5 was my favorite 'episode' of ASS to date. I remember hearing Morrison speak when he was first planning the project, and he said something like he was searching for the essential qualities of Superman. If you think about Superman, not only as a chracter, but as a story - then the portrait of his opposite is possibly the most important chapter in figuring out what exactly Superman is. The fact that Morrison gives Luthor center stage in this episode is entirely appropriate.
We shouldn't see Superman in his full glory here. We should see him doing everything in his power to keep the spotlight on Luthor. Why? For the same reason that Clark's conducting the interview in the first place. Because he yearns to figure Luthor out.
The thing that shows more about who Superman is then perhaps anything I've ever read about the charcter in the past - is that his motivation in saving Lex, in keeping this battle going, is that HE WANTS TO BE LUTHOR'S FRIEND. In their final moments underground together, Clark's fury, his confusion, that he says 'we could have been friends' - In this moment, we see that Superman may in fact be as obsessed with Luthor as Luthor is with him. On an essential level, Superman is not about assigning punishment, Superman is about creating peace. And Luthor is the essence of everything that dissolves that outlook. Figuring out Luthor's motivations could be the key to Superman's pacifying the world.

Anonymous said...

I am suprised you have not metioned Paul Chadwick's Sidekicks that does a fairly good job of showing the lighter side to the DC superheroes. Granted it is a superhero humor book, which is often overlooked by the high cultured comic book reader.

This week we also got Hero's Squared Ongoing from the masters (Griffen/DeMattis) of superhero humor books. Who for me have never recaptured the magic of their run on Justice League.

Vishal said...

I always felt Grant Morrison was hit n miss, sometimes he seems to write too much into a story seemingly to show off his own intellect.
Superman though is definatly a hit though. It's modern reimagining but told with nostalgic fondness.

Geoff Klock said...

Vishal: thanks for the comment. I have to say, though, I have never understood why people object to someone showing off. You don't deny Morrison is a smart guy. You just don't want him to show off. I don't think I get to see enough smart people, and the ones that are around I wish they would show off more. That way my world would be filled with more smart stuff, and the total percentage of dumb stuff with thus be reduced.

jennifert72 said...

i also love to listen or read or watch a smarty pants show of their talents.... i agree with geoff