Adam Completely Futile offers a pretty scathing critique of a recent Daredevil preview that I’m reasonably certain I’ll never read. The only Bendis I’ve ever come across is Powers #1-6, which we had in TBP at the store… Let’s just say it didn’t grab me at all–but I didn’t think it was poorly done either.
I don’t give a hang about what’s going on in Daredevil right now. And I don’t give a fig about Bendis. I’m typing up this little response to Adam because I’m about to embark upon a lengthy series of posts on Amazing Spider-Man #121-151, and I’m here to tell ya–there has never been a less “naturalistically” written saga!
The things that Adam objects to–dialogue that no one would actually say, huge expository monologues, rampant soliloquizing, a narrator that “tells” insteads of “shows” (that “show, don’t tell” mantra ought to go the way of “don’t ask, don’t tell”!! Who ever said that “telling” can’t be as “artistic” as “showing”? this is naturalist/realist propaganda my friends! Be on your guard against these simpering simplifications!)–well, they’re all keyed up to the max in Gerry Conway’s seventies work on Peter Parker. And it doesn’t bother me one bit! In the next week or so, I’ll attempt to give you all a sense of why I’m so drawn to these comics–and why I believe that Adam has applied inappropriate standards to the genre in his critique. (Which doesn’t mean that the DD comic is good! Who knows?)
I’m not saying he–or anyone else–should like this stuff! I’m just saying that there are reasons why a writer like Conway might reject the “naturalistic” mode that has dominated “genre” prose in the last hundred years–the main one being that, while most thriller/horror/mystery fiction has grown out of the Walter Scott/James Fennimore Cooper tradition (high adventure punched across by scenes that are almost cinematic in their fidelity to the surface details of life), superhero comics are the heirs to the Romance tradition (a dense form of storytelling which seeks to envelop the reader in its own narrative strategies, which survived into the twentieth century in uncharacteristically metaphysical pulp like Hammet, Chandler, and Hemingway’s “romances-in-naturalistic clothing”–believe me, no one talks in poetic circularities the way those characters do!)
All I’m asking for now is–why should word-balloons contain dialogue that a “real person” might say? They’re just another element on the page, and they ought to be considered in relation to the pictures they accompany–not the world around you. The “Man Green”/”Man Yellow” sequence-without-sequence in The Filth is probably the best recent example of the complete disregard for the “realistic” deployment of words on a sheet of newsprint that has been a hallmark of the genre since the beginning–and I, for one, appplaud this kind of experimentation/craziness. But then, I also like it when (without warning!) the first-person narrator of Moby Dick somehow acquires the ability to give us a verbatim account of Ahab’s solitary cabin-rants! Superhero comics aren’t “paper films”–they’re text-and-art romances!
I’ll try to clarify my position on this as I go along!
Good Night Friends!