Hindsight may be 20/20, but nostalgia is blind!
If you’re here for the Brotherhood of Dada, I got started on them this morning, and there will certainly be more tomorrow, but right now I wanted to say a few words about this Cooke-Millar tomfoolery (link via Graeme McMillan).
Now, let me preface this by saying that I have never read anything by Millar or Cooke (and, on a related note, I’ve added a “donations” button somewhere down there beneath the blogroll–I don’t expect people to fill the Fiore coffers, but I can promise that, if anything actually does accumulate there, I will certainly use the proceeds to begin catching up on what I’ve missed in the past 12 years or so! And it goes without saying that I would be extremely grateful to anyone who has the inclination and the wherewithal to help out in this way…)
Anyway, let’s just be clear on this one–I’m not talking about New Frontier or Ultimates, I’m talking about this:
Why are we doing it? And I don’t need the stock answer that there’s some books for kids and some for adults. Why does this group of Adults need this at all? Why haven’t they turned to other genres for more adult content? This is not even an issue aimed at creators. More the general audience we sell to. You guys love to buy this stuff. It sells like crazy.
and this (courtesy of Christopher Butcher):
Darwyn’s work, and most of you are missing the point by comparing it to Millar’s, at all times respects the aims of the original creations (and not in a “John Byrne’s interpretation of the creator’s wishes” kind of way either, they really aren’t the same). DC NEW FRONTIER is a “mature book”, yeah, but there’s also no mature-readers label on it either. Any kid could pick it up (just like any kid in the 50’s and 60’s could pick up any book DC published) and read it and get a rollicking adventure story and that was Darwyn’s intention from the start. There are deeper themes there, but they’re all subtext. This means that, much like a good piece of crossover fiction, a book can be mature and intelligent without a big CONTENT ADVISORY STICKER on the front. And if it HAS to have that sticker, why does it HAVE to use children’s characters to do so?
It just comes down to respect, respect for the artists and authors who created a work, and for their rights and their artistic intentions. You wanna be the big transgressive bad boy who goes around vomitting on classical paintings, fine, but don’t try and play both sides of the fence. Don’t pretend that you’re doing something noble or unique. You’re the guy who goes around vomitting on other people’s work, period.
Respect? No. I’m sorry. Respect and art should have nothing to do with one another. This is more of that Seth/ADD “lost innocence of the silver age” stuff, and it’s no good man. Jeff Parker has this syndrome too. Ditto Kurt Busiek and Mark Waid. (we won’t even discuss John Byrne) The early Marvels were profoundly unsettling in their time, and that’s the legacy I’m interested in. Now, Mark Millar’s work sounds pretty boring too, but mainly because he’s “deconstructing” a straw man (and here I’m mainly proceding upon the evidence of Geoff Klock’s critical writings, not the works themselves, so maybe there’s more to this Ellis/Millar stuff than I’m aware of–who knows?)… I certainly don’t care if anyone “disrespects” the creators/characters/genre requirements of the past–in fact, I encourage it! If Lee/Ditko had adhered to Darwyn Cooke’s philosophy would we have gotten Spider-Man or Doctor Strange? No way. I like Sean Collins’ post on this subject–although, personally, I would prefer to dismiss the whole Cooke vs. Millar debate. This is not an either/or scenario–Grant Morrison (like Mark Gruenwald before him) found a way to follow in the innovative tradition of the silver age Marvels without succumbing to Alex Ross-style reverence (I’m the guy who compared Ross to Leni Riefenstahl remember? And look, I just did it again!) or mindless iconoclasm.
Good Night friends!