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Unwinding + a few links

I want to thank all of you commenters and e-mailers for your reactions to the Watchmen posts! Believe me, I value your input (after all–my dissertation will focus on letters pages!)… And please, if you think I’m making insane/unsupported claims, keep in mind that I’m using this weblog as sort of a notebook/journal for my doctoral/creative work, and a lot of the time I’m only testing out where certain propositions take me! Sometimes I know I’m going over the top–and sometimes I’m completely oblivious of the fact! Either way, I implore you–be as critical as you want! It’s all very helpful to me… Here’s a case in point–courtesy of David Oakes:

I fully agree with you that webswinging is meditation” a moral
exercize that grounds Peter more firmly in his community. Which
is
why I am even more confused that you insist on making the Silver
Age
all about “independance” from “modern technological society”.



Now, Silver Age DC, that I can get behind. They took the Golden
Age
adventure power fantasy beyond it’s most absurdist extremes. If
there
was anyone “living in their own world”, answerable to
themselves, it
was the SA Superman. Clark (and Bruce, and Katar, and to many
degrees
Barry, though oddly not Hal) was almost an afterthought, a
vestigal
appendage that had lost all meaning as heroes transcended from
people
to ideals.



But the Marvel Hero isn’t independant. Peter can become
Spider-Man to
literally wrestle with moral issues, to open his mind to new
frontiers, to recharge his soul even. But in the end, he always
has
to come back to being Peter. The meditation has to end, the
shaman
has to return to his body with the knowledge he has gained from
the
higher plane for it to be of any value. For all his power, he
does
get sick, he has to worry about his aunt, he has to be
confronted with
public opinion, he has to pay the rent. Spider-Man is the
embodiment
of exactly the opposite of your claim of independence.



All I can say is–when you’re right, you’re right Mr. Oakes! In my defence, I will say that my ideas about the “independence” of Marvel heroes only apply to the superhero aspects of these characters (and again–Dr. Strange is probably the purest exemplar of this, since almost all of his “adventures in morality” take place beyond the material plane) This is why I like to call them “anonymous saints”–a compromise between the Puritan concepts of “visible” and “invisible” sainthood. On the other hand, where pure Kirby characters are concerned–most notably the FF–the adventures are very much about self-assertion within the physical power structure (and it’s no accident that the FF don’t have secret ID’s!!) I know I didn’t make any of this clear earlier this week, and it really wasn’t clear to me until I got to my point about Rorschach as Spider-Man minus Peter Parker yesterday! I’m getting more and more excited about Mr. A and the Question as the missing links between Spider-Man and Watchmen, and you’d better believe I’m gonna devour those post-Marvel Ditkos as soon as I get to Michigan State!

I also want to thank Nicholas Liu for pushing me to clarify my terms (and I have a feeling we’re not done yet!)

In other news–I just found out that there’s a Dover Thrift edition of The Blithedale Romance! I urge every man woman and child on the planet to treat themselves to a copy of this masterpiece!

It looks to me as if Sean Collins is on his way to satisfying his own call for a better class of interview in the comics blogosphere… After reading this piece, I’m very interested in checking out Craig Thompson’s Blankets–failed first love is one my favourite themes! Does that make me sound unwell? My only quibble with the interview Sean–I know you agree with Craig that “self-contained” is usually better than seriality (endless or otherwise), but it would have been interesting to see how the man would’ve responded to a little devil’s advocacy on that issue! (or maybe not–I don’t know nuthin’ ’bout conductin’ interviews!)

And here’s a bit of bizarrerie for ya: some guy sent Darren Madigan a massive e-mail that is littered with cut-and-paste plagiarism from this blog on the subject of Gruenwald’s Captain America and Madcap as Dadaist + relative of Bruce Willis’ character in the lame-ass film Unbreakable… You have to scroll down through a lot of asshole misogynistic comments before you get to the plagiarism, and frankly, I don’t know why you’d bother–but it sure is strange!

Finally, I urge all of you comics bloggers to check out John’s Commonplacebook, where the arch-Alan-Moore fanatic delivers very interesting reviews of the latest issues of Hard Time, Y: The Last Man, and My Faith in Frankie.

I have to get back to my reading, but as a preview of where I’m going to go with Animal Man next week, I’d like to direct your attention to page 12 of issue #1 of that illustrious series, where you will find this exchange between Buddy Baker and his wife Ellen:

Buddy: “Tomorrow I start training and relearning what I can and can’t do. I’m going to get what I want” (hoists a jeep into the air)

Ellen: “Don’t you dare drop that… Is that all it is with you? Fame–Fortune–the old American Dream?”

Buddy: “I don’t know, maybe there’s something else. I’ve been getting this weird feeling. It’s like… like I’m a fish on a line. I’ve been swimming for eight years without realizing I’m hooked… Until now. And now I’m being reeled in.” (the “camera” pulls back to show us their silhouettes, and a spider in its’ web assumes the foreground–guess whose “proportionate strength” Buddy’s been using?)

How’s that for textual evidence that Morrison was building upon Ditko’s Spider-Man in his work on Animal Man? Somehow, I don’t think that will convince Mr. Oakes, but there’s a lot more where that came from!

Good night friends!
Dave

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