Saturday, August 29, 2009

Graphic Grandeur

The whole superhero concept is absolutely absurd. Costumed vigilantes with godlike powers battling aliens and skyscraper-sized monsters while a nuclear armed government stands by helplessly? How can anyone take such dreck seriously?

Well, no one says you have to take it seriously. What you should take seriously (or at least enjoy) is the absolutely glorious artwork that occasionally arises from said dreck. Hail to the King.


  1. "dreck"? The nice thing about the comic format was as long as writer/artist teams could stick together there were some amazingly intricate story lines that could develop. Kind of like soaps maybe dreck fits. Thanks for the Jack Kirby tribute. Are you by any chance related to the comic artist Joe Jusko

  2. I'm not, as far as I know, related to Joe Jusko (it's not a common name like "Brown" or "Smith", so you never know)

    I really don't regard superhero stories as "dreck". It was really meant as a joke (albeit, I now realize, a failed one.) I start out snobbily, like I'm above it all, and I finish by drooling over Jack Kirby. Although I don't read comic books that much anymore, I have, in the past, enjoyed such superhero writers as Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Marv Wolfman, Frank Miller, Allan Moore, and fellow Clevelander Jerry Siegel.

    Having said that, superheroes really are nothing without the artwork. In the 1970s I read a Superman novel called THE LAST SON OF KRYPTON. The poor guy who wrote it tried his damnedest to write a realistic superhero story. But, in a prose format, the weaknesses, as I listed in my post, become apparent. You really need pictures to put the whole thing over.

    I love comics. All kinds. Everything from Superman to Charlie Brown to Robert Crumb to Charles Addams. Someday I'd like to write a novel about comic books and comic strips.

    (Man, I knock myself out coming up with a decent post. I should just use the comment section.)

  3. Me again. Just can't stay away,

    Out of curiosity, I looked up THE LAST SON OF KRYPTON. It's written by Elliot S! Maggin, who also wrote for the comic book.

    The novel's well regarded in some quarters. As for me, I still think Superman, and all other superheroes, works best with pictues.

  4. Did you see that Disney bought Marvel. I was superhero lover as far back as I can remember. I also don't read much anymore, but I love that they have brought some of my favorites to the big screen recently although some were hack jobs like the first FF, Jessica Alba, what were they thinking.The current run of Batman has been pretty good with Christian Bale. I'm scared of the Spiderman theme park in downtown Manhattan in place of the world trade center.

  5. I'm back again rereading what you posted about having the pictures. some time last month I did my first ever fiction short story and posted it. Oddly it was superhero and I had the panels drawn in my head while I was typing

  6. Maybe your superhero prose story will be the one that breaks new ground.

    Disney buying Marvel makes me think about Superman and Captain Marvel. Ever hear about that? In the 1940s DC comics, the owner of Superman, sued Fawcet over copyright infrigement. They claimed Captain Marvel's powers were too similar to their own character. That was probably true, but there were other differences, such as Captain marvel's alter ego was a schoolboy, and the comic book had such colorful characters as a talking tiger and talking worm. As Jules Feiffer once described it "a Disneyland of happy violence." But the judge didn't see it that way and ruled in DC's favor. They obtained the copyright, put the character on ice for some twenty years, and then brought him back! He's now part of the DC universe and occasionally fights alongside Superman.

    So what's all that got to do with Disney buying Marvel? Simple. Some twenty years ago Marvel put the kibosh on its' popular Howard the Duck because Disney claimed he looked too much like their Donald. Maybe now that Disney owns Marvel they can come to terms with the steve Gerber estate and bring that character back. That's the nice thing about media mergers, everybody can be part of the same big happy family.

  7. By the way, tag, where is your short story? On of your blogs?

  8. Thanks for asking, I posted it middle of July, titled Post Apocalypse. My daughter and I had gone through a spate of post apocalyse novels. I woke up with the started typing.


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