Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Free Form Comments

Say whatever you want to in the comments to this post -- random, off topic thoughts, ideas, suggestions, questions, recommendations, criticisms (which can be anonymous), surveys, introductions if you have never commented before, personal news, self-promotion, requests to be added to the blog roll and so on. If a week goes by and I have failed to add you to the blog roll TELL ME TO DO IT AGAIN, and KEEP TELLING ME UNTIL IT GETS DONE. I can be lazy about updating the non-post parts of this site. Remember these comments can be directed at all the readers, not just me.

ALSO. You can use this space to re-ask me questions you asked me before that I failed to answer because I was too busy (but now might not be). That is often the reason I fail to get back to people, and on a blog, after a few days, the comments thread dies and I just kind of forget about it. Let's use this space to fix that, because it does need to be fixed; I look like a jackass sometimes, leaving people hanging. I will TRY to respond to any questions here.

AND you can use this space to comment on posts that are old enough that no one is reading the comments threads anymore. For example, if you thought of a great quote for the great quote commonplace book, but now no one is reading that, you could put it here.You do not have to have a blogger account or gmail account to post a comment -- you can write a comment, write your name at the bottom of your comment like an e mail, and then post using the "anonymous" option.

WRITING FOR THIS BLOG. If you think your free form comment here might be better as its own post, but you do not want it to be public yet, email it to me. My email address is available on my blogger profile page. If I think it will work on this site, your post will be published here with your name in the title of the post. You can propose what you will, I am always looking for reviews of games, tv, movies, music and books.


Jason Powell said...

Thought I'd use this week's "free forms" to reply to Dougie in a thread from one of my X-Men reviews that's pretty far down now.

Dougie says, in relation to why Claremont isn't as good now as he used to be: "Is it possible that it's something to do with changes in the audience demographic? The perceived theme of the X-Men is generally held to be prejudice but your reviews show that time and again, Claremont's themes are love (romantic and familial) and sacrifice. Maybe they don't speak to the audience?"

You're probably right that this is part of it. On the X-Men forum that Neil Shyminski moderates, I see a lot of people complaining that Claremont never addressed the "core themes" of X-Men very much, and does so even less now. Claremont's "X-Men: The End" was roundly criticized for not bringing any kind of thematic closure to the franchise, which is what it implicitly promised.

The thing is, I think Claremont's main writing problems now are not thematic, but structural. His DC series "Sovereign Seven" was open to be about whatever he wanted it to be about -- he did not have to deal with any prescribed theme because of what the franchise demanded. This was an original creation, free to do anything. It failed not on a thematic level, but on the much more prosaic grounds of being just really hard to follow. It continually floors me to look at the concise, elegant b-stories that saw print in Classic X-Men and to compare it to the average issue of Sovereign Seven, which is sloppy beyond belief. Even given the decade that separates Classic X-Men from S7, it's hard to believe they are by the same author.

The most persuasive theory I've yet seen postulated is simply that Claremont really needs someone to curb his excesses, be it an editor or a very strong-willed artist (like John Byrne).

Nobody seems to be doing that on recent Claremont X-Men work. I don't know if they're just too awed by his status as the man who pretty much invented the X-franchise or what ... but X-Men: The End for example was shockingly bad on a storytelling level, and the fact that no one was apparently willing or able to help Claremont tighten that script before it went into production is kind of appalling.

Bradley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I reread Morrison’s Club Of Heroes arc recently (Williams deserves equal credit), and as great as it was to see each characters “history” shown so clearly through the art style used, I was equally amazed at how Morrison created fully formed characters in the Club of Villains, and with only a name!

I think it is truly awesome how the names Scorpiana, Charlie Caligula, El Sombrero et al, all conjure up a look and back story of each character. What also impressed me is how they all fit seamlessly into the Batman mythology.

But how can he just throw these characters out there? I assume we will never hear about these characters again, as no one ever seems to want to touch Morrison’s creations. I think it’s a crime that we will, most likely, never even get to see King Kraken, disfigured deep sea diver turned pirate; or Pierrot Lunaire, the mad mime.

Does anyone else think about stuff like this?

Another thing. When Batman fell into the Fountain at the end of #671, was I the only one who got really excited because now Bruce Wayne can legitimately stay the same age forever?! Obviously, it didn’t turn out that way but wouldn’t it have solved a lot of problems?


sara d. reiss said...


the kind of day where you tell yourself that surely, SURELY it has to get better after another crappy thing happens, but then it doesn't get better. it gets worse. It's the kind of day no amount of alcohol can fix.


Streebo said...

Sarah: Sounds like you need a good glomping.

The alcohol is still worth a try. . .

Voice Of The Eagle said...

Following on last week's poetry disscussion:

Have you read Anne Carson's essays? I find them much more readable than her poems.

I've recently read some stuff by Geoffrey Hill and A.R. Ammons. What is your opinion on these poets?

Hill in particular stuck me as "he's a great poet, but he's not for me."

Geoff Klock said...

BT -- I suppose I do not care that much about those larger continuity points to care. Many comic book stories can be seen as operating alone, or as part of a larger universe, but I am much more interested in stand alone stories than universe building.

Poor Sara! Someone find her a hilarious link.

VoE -- Carson's essays are quite good -- she is a professional academic and also a good writer which is a nice combination. One of the things I discuss in Imaginary Biographies is how her essays inform her poems -- often times she takes language from an essay and puts it in a poem, so that the essay acts as kind of a "key" for seeing how her weird leaps of logic work -- because they are not weird when the appear in the essay, they are argued connections.

I am with you on Hill. He is, of course, very popular at Oxford. Professor of Poetry Christopher Ricks -- there I go name dropping again -- LOVES him and praised his stuff all the time. But I never really got into Hill, even after a big immersive reading of all of his stuff. A reporter described him walking around Cambridge as if HE HAD BEEN RAPED BY GOD. He has a very SERIOUS, FIERCE moral imagination, which is not an aspect of poetry I really get into. I like Ashbery, for example, because he is fun. He is in no way any kind of tortured modern day prophet like Hill.

Ammons I like, but I like other poets more and so I avoid him just out of laziness. When I read him I like him, but I never think about him and rarely find myself reaching for his books.

James said...

Hilarious link for Sara: I just finished watching all 10 episodes of , featuring the quite lovely Michael Cera, of Arrested Development/Superbad/Juno/my inappropriate man-crush fame. They are enriching.

James said...


Matthew J. Brady said...

Re: funny links - There was an awesome set of manipulated photos of artwork making the rounds a few weeks ago called "Understanding Art for Geeks". The "author" added captions referencing programming, HTML, or internet terminology to famous paintings for excellent comic effect. Unfortunately, it seems to have been taken down, which is too bad. Here are a few examples; the original set had about 50 entries. It's too bad, they were really funny.