Unfortunately, this idea was inspired by a negative comment made today on a post from four days ago, but the guy makes at least one fair, if old, point, and I thought I should bring my response forward. It would make me nuts if anyone read it but did not read my response, and it makes me nuts thinking there are people who are thinking what he is thinking and not saying anything.]
So here it is. The Brian's comment was cut and pasted, so any mistakes are his own. I corrected a word on my post, because, well, it's my blog. Ha.
I'm not even particularly fond of this arc so far- although I think it's going somewhere- but I find the statement that your favorite Morrison story was his JLA: Classified arc.
It was pointed out by a Wizard writer, talking to Douglas Wolk about his book and mentioning yours as a point of comparison, that your book was all text-based and didn't talk about the art at all. That's a very real criticism, as art is a huge part of comics.
I'm sure a comparison could be made between this Batman story and the JLA story: three issues apiece and involving some of the same characters, issue 668 even making reference to a mind-controlling ape, but I just feel the need to point out that these Batman issues win on an art level. Not like this makes a good comic automatically- Killing Girl is still pretty bad, actually- but those JLA issues have one massive flaw in a place where this arc finds much of its power.
It's also worth noting that your lack to engage the visual side of things is missing out on a lot of the implied history of reinvention.
Brian saidI know you address the art in these reviews- you think the style comes off as a mishmash on the page, which I think speaks to an inability to read the image.
Geoff Klock said
I am well aware that the criticism that my book does not talk about art is a serious one. I always defend it the same way: The ground-breaking book on poet and painter William Blake was written by Northrop Frye, but he mostly just talked about the words. So did many of the people around that time. Blake studies was starting out and everyone did what they could do best. Now, everyone loves to point out that weakness, but there is no way to deny that Blake studies would be nowhere without Frye. My superhero book is not as ground-breaking as Frye's but the point is the same -- I wrote what I was good at writing about, and never said that was the last word on the subject.
Second, I was 21 when I wrote it and that was seven years ago.
Third, Reprinting art in an academic book -- not easy, or cheap.
Fourth: One of the main aims of this blog has been to look more at the art. I have many posts here about visual style. It has been something I have been working on for years, because I know it is important. Go read some of the comments on the New X-Men posts and you will find people telling me that I am spending far too much time focusing on art, that it does not matter that much. I disagree and say so, and continue on talking about the art.
Fifth: My comments on Batman are a bullet point review. A first impression. Now, with Tim Callahan, more will be coming, and the art will be discussed. Again -- I never said that Batman review was everything that could be said.
Sixth: you can say that my claim about style shows an inability to read the image, but notice how you offer no evidence, reasons or examples. If you think the style is unified -- not a crazy or uncommon claim and one that we are all going to get into again with Tim Callahan -- be be a little more specific at how that can be.
I am going to avoid talking about your grammar and tone of voice. I am going to avoid grammar because I make mistakes like you make here all the time. I am going to avoid talking about tone of voice because everyone can see it, and it does not need pointing out.
That last paragraph there uses a fancy rhetorical device with a 14 letter name -- it involves talking about something by claiming you are not going to talk about it. Ain't I a stinker?
The last two paragraphs of mine are cheap, yeah? I never know how to respond to internet criticism. Talk all nice, and you look like a push-over. Talk mean, and you become a message board psycho.