Not To(dark)Knight, Honey…
(soundtrack: The Ramones, Ramones)
Okay, I’ve got Miller’s crazy book right here, but thanks to all of this Canadian Poetry and the all-new, all-Ditko Comics Journal #258, I’m still not ready to analyze it–but I will (I agree with you, Steven—contra JW Hastings–the book is begging for it!…)
But all of this is best left for tomorrow, or the next day–right now I’ve got some things to say about the Journal!
First off, it’s not “all-Ditko”–and there are some important things to mention before proceeding to the main event.
1.Sean Collins’ massive letter to the editor draws an equally massive response from Michael Dean et al (although all of them look like pikers compared to Dave “The Marxist-Feminists Stole My Capacity For Succinct Expression” Sim). I’m not too clued-in on all of the nuances of the “News Watch” debate–this is the first issue of the Journal that I’ve ever bought (and I’m not likely to buy another one, unless they come up with an “All-Colan”–sounds like Kellogg’s no?–issue or something)–but, clearly, Sean has struck a nerve! “There’s no competition between the Journal and Journalistsa!“? Well, not any more, at any rate…
Looks like the real competition is now between the Journal and Attentiondeficitdisorderlytooflat–and the latter offers a far more catholic view of the comics world…
Don’t believe me, gentle reader? Just take a look at this round of Comix-and-Match, which is quite up to the Journalista standard, and this curmudgeonly–but indisputably on the money–discussion of A. David Lewis’ weird assertions re: the relative “accessibility” of superhero comics, and the question of whether they constitute a GENRE… Of course it’s a genre Mr. Lewis–and, as Sean points out, it’s more like a sub-genre, although where he would subordinate it to fantasy/sci-fi, I’m trying to make a case for it as the most vital flowering of the American Romance tradition in the post-Black Mask/Hammett era…
2.The “Firing Line” section features a review of Morrison’s The Filth, by Tim O’Neil. Now, I’m in no position to debate the merits of that series (I’m “waiting for the trade”), but that’s not particularly important, in this case, because O’Neil spends about 50% of the article whining ADD-style about the perils and temptations that comics-writers must face (awww!) and the baleful influence of superheroes in general.
What are we to do with this statement?
“The problem with mainstream comics is not that superheroes are somehow inherently bad, but that they are inherently uninteresting.”
Send for a doctor? Or just laugh?
Rose @ Peiratikos has noted that:
[Super-heroes] are perfect metaphors for a lot of things, which I find so fascinating. I think it’s that lack of specificity, lack of groundedness that lets people make whatever identifications they want. It really has to do with any kind of devotion or single-mindedness or dedication, I think. Or leaders or people working in groups or corporate drones, even…
That sounds kinda “interesting” to me, Tim! Almost inherently so… I’m not too into the movies that have been wrung out of Marvel & DC material, and I know next to nothing about the quality of the current superhero books, but don’t you think that the popularity of the former and the persistence of the latter go a long way toward disproving your statement? (ah, but you are above the herd of fools who go in for that sort of nonsense, aren’t you? fine–although that makes you a kind of superman yourself…)
And it only gets worse, ’cause after delivering this impassioned plea on the behalf of “talented” writers reduced to the indignity of producing “hackwork” in order to feed themselves, he proceeds to damn Animal Man with faint praise! Tim, could you please tell me, precisely, what is “jejune” and “cloying” in Morrison’s “exploration of the nature of morality and love”? We can fight about this if you wanna!
Wow! I’ve done a lot of ranting here, and still no sign of Ditko! Tomorrow then… but I’ll say this: J.W. Hastings’ “All or Nothing: Ditko’s Didactic Comics” has got to be the best thing in the issue–it is unquestionably the most focused piece! You can count on The Forager to call ’em as he sees ’em–and to avoid canting/condescending follies like dwelling on repetitive plot-structure in Amazing Spider-Man, instead of iconography of character–which plot must be subservient to, in any serious narrative work!; clutching at a silly/artsy straw like “Ditko’s hands” in order to justify a continuing fondness for the artist’s “simpleminded” genre work; or making statements like: “you don’t see many comic books about ethics, especially in superhero comics…” (Mari Wood’s article is one of the worst things I’ve ever read–crawling with inane “observations” like this one and, even worse: “how could an Objectivist, who believes that the supernatural doesn’t exist, draw all of those ghost stories?”…it staggers the mind, doesn’t it?)
Tomorrow I’ll be more specific!
Good night friends!