Sean Maher's Quality Control

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A little song, a little dance...

Has everyone been keeping up with the Frank Cho thread on MillarWorld? It's nice. Every now and then Cho drops in with something random, like an oil painting of King Kong.



[EDIT: Okay, I've tried like five times now and I can't get the fucking image to show up. Just click the link, would you?]

Nice little bonuses. Funny - I went to show it to Molly and scrolled down the page, for some reason speeding right by the naked-chick-on-a-cigar-smoking-gorilla statue, somehow thinking, Hey, I might get in trouble for looking at that.

"Wait, what was that?" she asked.

Shit, I thought to myself.

I scrolled back up. I held my breath. I grit my teeth.

"Wow. That's pretty cool!"

God damn, I love a woman who surprises me still.

*****

I had a great time hanging out with Jeff Lester of Comix Experience a week or two ago, 'cause he's a really cool, friendly dude with a lot of insight to share in any conversation, but God damn - when he sets his fangs to something, he's more determined and rugged than a pit bull and strikes faster and sharper than a cobra. I sure hope I don't ever write something crappy that he reads, because he's got some kind of genius for figuring out exactly why stuff that sucks, sucks, and naming it succintly.

(Actually, that might be a cowardly response: wouldn't that be a rare and invaluable talent in an editor? Ah, but that's got to be balanced a bit. As Harry Crews once wrote of teaching writing, "The teacher [and editor, as opposed to a critic] must hold up a standard of excellence to the student, and demand that he at least make every effort to meet that standard. But it has to be done in such a way that his spirit, his desire to excel, is not killed.")

Anyway, the point is that while I've kinda just been rolling my eyes over the Spidey reveal and all the fanboy rampage that's been frothing up the comics internet since, it took Jeff's recent post over at The Savage Critic(s) to really get me worked up.

If you ask me, what makes Spider-Man work in the first place is how Stan and team approached the whole Pete/Spidey duality. Unlike the relatively binary set-up of secret identities for superheroes (usually hero is lauded, secret identity is dumped on--the Superman/Clark Kent blueprint) which makes them such satisfyingly simple ego-fantasies, Stan made that duality more complex: the happier Peter Parker would be in his personal life, the more fucked up things would get for Spidey, and vice-versa.

...So, for me, the more that distance closes--as Peter's life and Spider-Man's life becomes the same--the less archetypal Spider-Man is. It doesn't matter if (for example) because of Peter's unmasking, Mary Jane gets killed and Peter becomes miserable again and the "And it's all my fault!" anguish is put back into the Pete/Spidey dynamic. Short of a big ol' reset button, a huge part of the Spider-Man mystique is toast. The only draw now is seeing if it's gonna be as big a mess as I think.

Well put, I says. I also really liked when he wrote that "Unlike House of M, this fucker moves, even if it's just from one fanboy cockpunch to the next."

Heh heh.

*****

I'm a little late to the party with this one, but have y'all read this recent Newsarama interview with Warren Ellis? Ostensibly it's about Desolation Jones, but it's got all kinds of other great stuff in there. After a while I got sick of hearing about cell phones and podcasts and took myself off his Bad Signal mailing list, but I sure loved when he talked about his artists. He puts a lot of thought into the visual end of the medium and it's fascinating reading, and plenty of it in the interview.

Also, I just love when people hate Los Angeles as much as I do.

I hate the place. Which I'm sure comes as no surprise. I hate cities I can't walk around. When I try walking in West Hollywood people in their cars slow down and stare at me. I don't think this is entirely down to my shocking personal beauty. Have you ever tried walking in Burbank? Have you ever tried finding somewhere in Burbank to walk to? Walking down Sunset is an exercise in existential horror. Santa Monica's only walkable if death is no hurdle. The air's the wrong colour. People put sunglasses on their dogs. It's a hideous place where humans are not welcome and those who stay suffer eight kinds of brain damage.

Tee hee. It feels almost like smacking around a kid with Down Syndrome, but I sure do love hearing people rip on L.A.

*****

I had a blast hanging out with James and the Isotope crew last week, as I wrote about a bit on Thursday. One thing that came up left me confused, though.

"Hey, Sean!" James said, with that glint in his eye and that slyness in his smile that always signal an idea he's excited about. "Would you go to an art closing?"

"Uh, a what?"

"An art closing."

"Yeah, sure," I said. "What the hell is that?"

(What the above response might say about my personality I leave to the reader's sensibilities.)

"An art closing," James said.

"I don't know what you're talking about," I said.

"Okay," James said, being patient. "You've heard of art openings, right?"

"Yeah."

"What's the opposite of an art opening?"

"Ohhhhhhhh," I said, trying to pretend that I suddenly understood exactly what he was talking about.

Turns out it's an idea spurred by Continuity, the new AiT graphic novel (advance reviewed here some weeks ago, and on sale in printed form tomorrow), which makes the whole thing come into clarity. What better way to celebrate a book that turns reality on its ear than with an event that does the same?

I've got no idea what to expect, really, but I'm pretty sure the Continuity Art Show and the closing reception on July 6th will be a good time.

*****

Good week, looks like.

In addition to Continuity, we've got the much anticipated debut of Casanova (for a scant two bucks, Fell-style, but double sized for the first issue), Giant-Size Hulk #1 (reprinting, along with the new material, Peter David's awesome The End one-shot from a few years ago), and a cool new book from Boom! called X Isle. I got a chance to read this one already and hope to get a review out tomorrow, but the short version is: crazy lightning storm strands scientists on an even CRAZIER island - cue suspense and complex character situations. Should be a good time, and I'm psyched about the three-dollar price tag.



Also, that's a hell of a nice cover, innit?

1 Comments:

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