Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Comics Out 8 November 2006

1. Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert's fourth issue of Batman is out today and it winds up their first arc. Now, I think, is a good time to judge how we think he is doing. Plus, recommend, comment, and discuss what's out this week and what's in the news (nothing caught my eye).

Here is my preliminary take on Morrison and Kubert's Batman 655-658. We know from interviews Morrison is trying to write against Miller's grim and gritty Batman, which (as far as I know) is still a pretty big force in your regular Batman titles. Morrison wants to revive the 70s "love-god" Batman (his words) and so he draws heavily on 70s comics, like the one where Batman sleeps with Ra's Al Ghul's daughter. The thing is the 70s Batman does not need a revival: those comics are still good reads; the 60s comics he is reviving in All Star Superman need to be revived because we need to be shown again that they are brilliant and surreal and not stupid (I for one thought they were stupid and Morrison has shown me my mistake).

But there is another force making Morrison's Batman totally unnecessary and today I realized what it is: Batman: The Animated Series. Brad actually pointed out the connection when the first issue came out, but now that the first arc is over I am deeply struck by the idea that this 70s revival feels especially stale because this is the Batman of Batman Animated: fun, cool, and a little bit silly ("You didn't know about the rocket"). Morrison's Batman issues act like Batman Animated never happened, just as his X-Men run imagined Ian McKellen's Magneto never happened; he thinks this is a persuasive Batman because he is only thinking of the comics and not of TV just as with his X-Men run he ignored the films. As a result he thinks he has a great Batman comic book but what he has written is a sweet but stale Batman comic book, a very week Morrison comic book, and a great episode of Batman: Animated if he had gotten this script done in 1992.

As my friend Alex pointed out, however, I must admit to liking the exuberance of Ninja Man-Bats -- if you already have a bunch of ninjas, silent and sneaky and deadly, don't you kind of defeat the point if you make them all into hairy screaming crazymonsters who crash through windows?

2. Check out this review of Seven Soldiers #1: I am going to want to talk about this soon, as I don't think the guy is totally wrong. But I do think there is more to be said.

3. Brad Winderbaum's Satacracy 88 episode four is out today on itsallinyourhands.com. Or click the thumbnail below to watch it on revver.com. I will post about it tomorrow.

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29 comments:

Patrick said...

I have a question about Casanova, which you've said is as good as Morrison, which is no small praise.

Care to elaborate, here or in an upcoming blog?

Anonymous said...

so i've noticed you like to say controversial stuff to get comments?

Chris said...

I have to disagree. I think Morrison's current run on Batman was more influenced by Denny O'Neil's work. Son of the Demon did play a part in it, but it seemed that the inspiration was more from the 70's than TAS. After his self revelation in Infinite Crisis, this was really the only way Batman could go. I've thought the story was an ass kicker. But, that's just me.


P.S.

I do reviews now for Batman-On-Film/Batman-In-Comics. I have them up for Superman/Batman Annual #1, and Nightwing #125 and #126. Check them out and see if we co-exist on those.

Geoff Klock said...

Patrick: I actually did a big Casanova Review which will be published online soon. I will link to it as as soon as it is up. I am just waiting for it to clear the pipeline. If they don't publish it soon, I will take it back from them and publish it here.

Anonymous: Let me tell you this: what I post is what I believe. So the real issue is that I BELIEVE controversial stuff to get comments, which is perhaps more disturbing because I am not pretending. I am a dramatic person by nature (I went to a performing arts high school). This is the second complaint this week about me being too dramatic. I can't imagine I am going to do anything about it. I mean, I am really GOOD at being dramatic.

Chris: yes, I am sure you are right about O'Neil being the source. Thanks for that.

derikhefner said...

I have to agree. I've been thoroughly disappointed in Morrison's Batman. Although I'll admit, I'm basing this off the first two issues, as I haven't read the latest couple. I'm not totally with you on the Animated Series thing though... I liked the 70s Batman for what it was, but I still think the Animated Series had its own thing going (and is, in my opinion, the most "balanced" incarnation of Batman yet). I can't quite put my finger on what Morrison's run lacks, but... it's something. It's just not there. And Morrison being one of my favorite comics writers, that's saying something.

But who knows... maybe it needs time. I was right there with you in my initial distaste of Heroes, and now I'm hooked on it...

Pat Moler said...

While we're on the subject of Batman. I jound a great indy film about his archrival the Joker called "Patient J". Not sure if you or any of readers have seen in but you should check it out. I'm sure you'd like it. It's the best live-action portrayal of the Joker I've ever seen. here's the URL

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4095303199635469669&q=patient+j&hl=en

Pat Moler said...

Also, I agree. TV and movies other media greatly influence comics, and it shouldn't be ignored. Especially if writers are trying to come up with something new but it's already been done in other media incarnations. That'd be like the writers of Ultimate X-Men and New X-Men saying the come realistic costumes were their ideas completely, even Though Singer originate the concept.

Peace

Geoff Klock said...

Derik: let me be more clear: I loved Batman Animated. My point was that you can't just do that kind of Batman anymore because we have already seen it. Morrison claims his Batman is a break from Miller but what it really is is a continuation of Batman Animated, which doesn't work because (a) I don't need that Batman again because Batman Animated already gave it to me and (b) in a cartoon things like "why is she after the Rock of Gibralter?" and "why is that scene where Kirk Langstrom comes rushing in in the first issue so broad" don't matter so much because the target audience is younger.

Murm said...

Here's what I don't get about this run. Everyone's talking about how Morry used Son of the Demon for this. Let me dispel that rumor. I read this month's Wizard (surely I'm not the only one who's read this article) and Morrison admits that he NEVER read SOTD. Has he read Denny's stuff, probably. But the single piece of literature NECESSARY for this arc and he never read it.

Nevertheless, other than the ending, I got a kick out of this story. I was expecting a bit more out of Kubert than this, but it's a decent arc. All this Morry hype I read about really isn't blowing my socks off with any of current (and by that I mean on time shipping) books.

MItch said...

I got a massive shipment of trades yesterday, all stuff I should have read a long time ago- Both volumes of Alan Moore's WildC.A.T.s run, From Hell, Morrison's The Filth and Brad Meltzer's run on Green Arrow.

I was having trouble deciding what to read first, but eventually settled on WildC.A.T.s. What should I read next?

Also I checked out Dr. Strange: The Oath this week, by Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin. It's great fun and the artwork is a very dynamic combination of Tim Sale and Steve Ditko. Check out the composition of this cover, with the Empire State Building in the background: http://www.midtowncomics.com/images/PRODUCT/FUL/49749_ful.jpg

Marc Caputo said...

I agree with the general consensus on Morrison's Batman; I've blogged on it myself.
When it comes to DC's Silver Age, I find that people like it in theory, but not so much in actuality. Whereas one can point to many stories or story arcs during the same time at Marvel that are classic, there aren't as many (if any) from DC. What people DO remember is that crazy, anything goes, "oh-let's-just-call-it-an-imaginary-story" vibe. Or they'd just call it a new Earth. As great as the original Crisis was, it seems to have killed that spirit for a long time (and I don't think people were as confused with the Multiverse as we were led to believe in 1985.); it's here and there lately (Emperor Joker, Loeb's Superman/Batman run, elements of 52) and I'm happy. Now just bring back Earth-2, let the JSA live there and all will be well.

Anonymous said...
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Geoff Klock said...

that was spam

derikhefner said...

Yeah, I see what you're saying. I wasn't doubting your love for the Animated Series. ;) My point is, regardless of what Morrison says, I don't draw quite as close a parallel between it and what he's doing. There's a different tone... but that's just my opinion. It may have more to do with the art and the coloring, as it is much "brighter" than the show. But you're right about the younger audience this seems to be targeting... my thought is, we haven't had a chance yet to see enough of Batman's rogue gallery. No matter how lighthearted Batman gets, his villains should be blacker than black. Let's see the contrast. Let's see Batman shine as a hero against that backdrop. That's the "light" I'd like to see in Batman.

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Geoff Klock said...

spam

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neilshyminsky said...

Hi Geoff - loved 'How to Read Comics...', btw.

I didn't continue beyond the first issue of Morrison's Batman, but I have to wonder if the problem is, to some significant degree, Andy Kubert. His style, I think, is simply too closely associated with 90s-sincere-and-brooding to effectively manage evoking 60s-camp-and-nostalgia. I couldn't get beyond thinking of the comic as Grant Morrison and 'the guy who used to draw Fabian Nicieza's X-Men'. Mike Allred probably would've been pushing it too far in the other direction...but maybe someone like Chris Sprouse would've been a better choice?

I've been lurking here for a couple months and I'm looking forward to your thoughts on Seven Soldiers. I just started the blog thing myself and posted some thoughts on my page, if you're interested. (I would also agree that the X-Axis guy isn't totally wrong but (dis)misses a whole lot.)

ping33 said...

I disagree with the O'Neil thing... I think it's way more the Engelhart/Rodgers/Simonson run of Detective. 656 was a straight rip of 420 (? maybe 424...I'm awful with issue numbers, I make reference to it in a previous comment on this blog)
I actually think that Morrison's Bats got better after that nader of 656 but it wasn't great.
I was in NY last week for a funeral so only got 4 books (Batman, 52, Cross Bronx and the highly under-rated Tales of the Unexpected) and will be getting the rest sometime this week when I get a chance. in the last 6 weeks 52 has had 3 issues which I have unqualifyingly called "the best one yet" and this week was no exception.
While in NY I plowed through half of Brian Bendis' Alias Omnibus, which is really super, so much so that I didn't even regret the heft.

Geoff Klock said...

Deleted comment was spam.

neilshyminsky: I will be doing a podcast on Seven Solders soon with Comic Geek Speak. Thanks for the comment.

I also have not been loving the art, in particular the bit in Morrison's first issue where Alfred unties Wayne's bow-tie. I think Kubert, who has probably never worn anything but those clip together bow-ties, assumed it would take six panels to undo one; having had to learn to wear one for Oxford events I can tell you -- one tug and it's Dean Martin.

Ping: I read those issues years ago -- I need to re read them in light of Morrison's Batman run so I can get in on this discussion.

David Golding said...

Murm: Morrison actually said that he hadn't re-read Son of the Demon directly before writing his comic, and that he had been working from faulty memories. SotD wasn't in-continuity before Morrison's run began, and it... still isn't exactly.

Geoff: I like Paul O'Brien, but he seems sadly lacking in comprehension in his review of 7 Soldiers of Victory #1. You must check out these reviews by Marc Singer and Jog (and indeed, all that these two have written on the series). Can't wait to hear what you think about the series.

Anonymous said...
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Geoff Klock said...

David: thanks for the links.

the deleted comment was spam.

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