Questions are the Answers you Might Need…
(Soundtrack: Holly Golightly — The Good Things)
Over at The Hurting, Tim publishes a fine letter from Matt Rossi (Matt is doing wondrous things with G.A. Batman comics on his own blog, by the way) that takes up the momentous question of “unfair adaptations”, specifically with regard to Steve Ditko’s The Question. Matt defends Veitch/Edwards’ decision to take the character in a completely new direction (politically–not visually) on the grounds that the concept was unsuccessful the first time around–a victim of its own didacticism. Now, I agree with Matt that the new series looks good–and that Tim is wrong to insist that every update of Ditko should remain grounded in Randian metaphysics–but what I want to emphasize is that Ditko’s work itself is never pure Randian agitprop! If it was, it would interest us as little as Rand’s own writing does (in my case, that would be “not at all”)! I’m not usually one to dwell upon the purely visual elements of the comics I study, but in Ditko’s case (especially once he gets away from Stan Lee–a consummate artist in his own right!), I think you have to!
I don’t know about you, but when I see something like this:
I don’t feel as if I’m being preached to! I don’t care what the words say, or whether Ditko believed that “A=A”; that drawing equals infinity to me (which is the same thing, in a way! an absolutely unique thing cannot equal anything but itself–however, this doesn’t mean that it communicates only one meaning–regardless of what its creator intended!–all it communicates is meaning itself)
That’s what creative expression is all about–the communication of pure personality! When Courtney Love shrieks at me to “shut up!” or “fuck off!”, I don’t do those things, nor do I think that she (any more than Steve Ditko) has anything constructive to say about world affairs, but I marvel at the performance… Artists will always be returning to Ditko’s “unsuccessful” creations, because they are, in fact, very successful indeed (at least if you define “success” the way I do–that is, not in terms of sales, but in terms of the energy the works transfer to future artists)… The “spirit” of Ditko’s art has nothing to do with the Randian “letter” it’s couched in, and it should not surprise us that most of the people who’ve been inspired by the work have chosen to embody that spirit in completely new forms.
So–anyone want to work on a new Anarchist Speedball series with me?
p.s.: Scott, at Polite Dissent, got started on some Hawk And Dove blogging the other day… Make him do more blogosphere!
Good Afternoons Friends!