Added to: My Other Journal Rants. (Yet another race related fannish essay)
Friday, March 30, 2007
Thursday, March 29, 2007
I could come to hate men. I really, sincerely could. Of all the things to make me want to live in a lesbian separatist society, who would have thought it'd be flipping through 'How to draw comic' books.
Drawing Cutting Edge Comics by Christopher Hart was available from my library system. As I've mentioned recently, I'm interested in the process so I can learn to visualize panels and placement within panels, etc. For too long I was thinking that I should stick to reading about how to write comics, because I might not really feel any connection to books on how to draw comics, since I'm not an artist.
I was apparently saving myself a world of cursing.
I don't mind the bits where in terms of how to draw faces, softening the lines on a woman's head are emphasized. I can live with that. It's when I see both a purposeful curvature of the spine in how to draw a woman's body in an upright pose and the fact that the page on how to draw men has the examples flying, punching, leaping and standing and the opposite page which has the women, shows her leaning, curled up vixen like on a surface, shows just her crotch drawn in a hi thong and then another scribble of just her ass but also shows her on her back like a fucking courtesan trying to tempt the sultan, back arches, breasts bobbing upright like flotation devices, hair spilling 'artistically'.
When I was a little girl, I was given a book on how to draw Marvel Superheroes. I kept that book with me for years. I treasured it. Even though I couldn't draw very well, that book was special to me, it was a connection to the creative process of universes I absolutely adored.
I honestly can't remember ever seeing a curved spine for a female in that book. It had to have been published in the 1970's, because some of the casual clothing for alter-egos was very much dated. If I could find that book now, I'd compare it to these newer releases on how to draw superheroes. Unfortunately my family home burnt down a few years back, and I seriously doubt that was one of the things my parents managed to salvage.
I wish I could find a copy of that book now. Not an updated version but a copy of that book. I can remember it showing the difference between a normal healthy man, and a superhero physique with the same comparison for normal women and superhero women. I remember how superheros had to be half a head to a head taller and they had to be a bit wider. The whole point was that superhero's were more and you had to be able to tell at a glance in the scene, who was a hero and who was a civilian.
I'm not sure what they said about Spiderman. THey might have said something about keeping him crouching and in impossible for humans to mimic poses in order to lessen comparisons between him and 'Peter Parker'. But don't quote me on that, cause I can't remember that bit precisely at all.
I do remember that the women weren't drawn in heels. I remember that distinctly because my wtf at modern books is always 'But why are they in heels?'. And they had pages that showed how to draw masculine body parts vs feminine body parts like feet and hands. Maybe it was because it was printed in the 1970's, but I don't recall female hands having pornstar finger nails either. The hands were just more delicate and sleek and they were shown in delicate comparison poses, how shapes for women should be round and sleek and start from ovals and shapes for men should be wide and square and start from rectangles (rectangles over the wire frame stick man outline)
It was a very basic, building book and at the time when I was about eight or nine or so, conscientious work had me able to draw a decent face. Don't ask me to draw a face now that's not a smiley face. But a whole set of years have passed between then and now. And then I was practicing my drawing for about an hour every day. My mother drew and I wanted to be just like her and this book was my stepping stone.
Considering I was given this book as a child, I'm fairly certain it did not contain pages on how to make women sexier and sultry; how to draw their clothes teeny, tiny and falling off them and how to make them stop make traffic with a single glance.
Is this something left over from the over-muscled heroes of the 90's? Is this when women in need of serious orthopedic help became the norm and men in comics were apparently fed steroids through breast milk as infants? Extreme, extreme, extreme and somewhere in there the basics of of 'how to keep the superhero body looking natural despite the need to make them slightly larger than life' somehow got forgotten?
I'm actually not quite sure I care. I'm going to go scrub all these images out of my head so I can go back to working on the remix without thinking of how to make Batman look sexy in a thong. 'Cause my brain is contrary like that and I can just see him arching for dynamic posing right at the viewer. It's very distracting, using their rules, to have him shoving his crotch through the panel...
Jim Lee was wasted in ASBAR.
If I joined a separatist cult I probably wouldn't be allowed to view his good work. Hmm maybe there could be exceptions - for the sake of real art.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Last week I stumbled across this review of All Star Batman & Robin The Boy Wonder. It reminded me all over again of why I've been in a bit of an 'Arrrrgh Comics!' frame of mind.
But then I went to my regular flist and found people talking to each other about working on their Remixes and a light bulb went off in my head. Why not remix ASBAR for my own personal satisfaction?
Of course, I know absolutely nothing about writing comics, comic writer to artist directions, or anything like that. Zip, zlich, zero. I thought I'd just write the story as best as I could and figure out how to format the script later.
It's now later. Or late enough. Because a comic is twenty-two pages and I'm certain I've reached the point where I need to figure out panels so I can choose a good break between issues 1 & 2.
So now I'm searching for 'Comic Book Panels / Comic Book Scripts For Dummies. The Online Version'.
Truthfully, I'm not even sure how much of a remix what I'm writing really is. In the sense that while yes, I am retelling the story the same way ASBAR itself was trying to retell a particular story. But I keep finding myself wanting to include the exact same elements to see if I could hold onto those aspects and make them interesting, more in character and less porntastic; Viki Vale in a state of undress for a reason was part of the inspiration for the whole thing in the first place.
I suppose I can worry about it more once I figure out the panel situation. I want it realistic for me. I'm not sure I'm ever going to post it anywhere public. It's my attempt to answer certain questions, like can the story be retold and modernized? And could an interesting interpretation come out of Viki Vale on a date of sorts with Bruce Wayne when Dick's parents are murdered and Black Canary some months in the past beating the shite out of people.
The most fun thing about this personal project though is seeing myself thinking in images and homages and seeing little bits of Bat-lore come free floating out of my head to be included.
For me comics have always been much more the writing, direction and dialogue than the art. There was good art and bad art and art I didn't notice because it flowed so well. But the whole Frank Miller / ASBAR thing was the first time I really ever thought about drawing to order. I've slowly come to appreciate the colorists, the inkers and the lettering. But I've never really thought about the relationship between writer and artist and how close the two work together and what it means to try and bring a writer's vision to life. I've been thinking about the art somewhat abstractedly I guess.
Doing this little personal project has me thinking about 'How much lee-way does the artist have? How much do they get to contribute off the top of their head? Is it micro-management for a writer to be detailed about what they to see?' Exactly how visual does a writer actually have to be, to see their story in panels before it's even drawn? Who has the most say about how something looks? When artists get paired with writers, what happens if their styles don't match?
ASBAR again was my first real WTF about the huge jarring. There were these big, heroic-epicly drawn scenes of a 5'oclock shadow Batman bitchsmacking a little boy. It was like watching some weird, freaky, lost scene in Lawrence of Arabia where Peter O'Toole screws a goat.
It wasn't just the characterization that was off to me in that book. It was that the drawing style led me to expect one thing and then - it wasn't there.
And then there's been all this talk recently about how overtly sexy Mary Marvel is likely to be drawn and how Michael Turner has no concept of anatomy and then there's Supergirl. But I don't think I've really thought before (outside of ASBAR) of the writer's influence on the artists. It's been this weird space in my head where I was thinking about the crappy story as one thing and the crappy art as another thing and not realizing/remembering perhaps that it's not just the end result that's a combination, it's the very beginning collaboration that leads to it all.
Hopefully more experimenting will have be better able to explain myself. But right now it sums up as 'Maybe a good writer can say 'And in this fight scene she's doing a lot of grounded battling, tight arm swings, very strong-man. There's no need to show any T&A because anyone in this fight who saw her that way is already unconscious and probably hemorrhaging very badly'.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
I have read Pantheon High. It's wonderful. Read it. Buy it. Yearn for it.
Give TokyoPop your money. Give I say.
That is provided your a mythology geek. A world mythology geek. Cause it's not just the Greek Gods and not just the Norse Gods. In fact, I'm wondering of Ragnell would like it, or if it'd make her twitch.
Still Mythology, teenagers, combat homework and people who can be conquered by trig. What's not to love? Oh yeah, and they look to be fighting to stop an Armageddon.
Random: Funny how Buffy has made it possible for some of us to talk about Armegeddon in the to-be-averted plural.
Random 2: Reminder to self - Name Token? Or get over my attachment to livejournal and go wordpress?
Monday, March 19, 2007
I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded, who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell.
William Tecumseh Sherman
Civil War and 52 have worn the ever loving f*ck right out of me. And I didn't buy them or read them. That's an accomplishment.
Between scans_daily and the blogshphere and wikipedia I'm well up on the goings on in Marvel and DC and I'm tired.
Bam. Bam. Bam. It's 4 color plot for those with short attention spans. It's shouting in disbelief. It's staring at....all sorts of mess. I think what made me feel exhausted and in absolute awe of not just the blogsphere but Girlwonder.Org in particular was the latest news.
Black Dark PVC Mary Marvel and PowerGirl's Shelf of Death.
It's the same old arguments, the same comments the same cries of 'It's only a comic' mixed with 'If I were a female fan I wouldn't want to see flat slobs...' and 'Real women come in all shapes and sizes. Big breasted women exist in real life' sandwiched again by ' it's just comics, it's for fun'.
I have no idea how GirlWonder.Org has the stamina. Granted there are other things going on in my life. But I'm a hair away from Homicidal Amazon Bashes Geek Brains With Shovel. And that's just from reading comments. That's not organizing campaigns and asking questions at cons, and wearing t-shirts, making icons and who knows how many other things - including blogging regularly. GirlWonder.Org and similarly minded bloggers fight this shit head on, day in day out, Wednesday after Wednesday.
Why is it that the world of comics seems to be represented by a boob showing, mini-skirt wearing Statue of Liberty with a plaque reading 'Bring me your stupid, your horny, your misogynistic, your ass pinchers, your tit gropers and your blind jackasses' ?
Even while reading Supreme and Judgement by Alan Moore, I found myself going - 'How can these women fly or walk or fight with those bazonkas on their chests'. Though I'm happy that it was enough parody that costumes and muscular got mentioned in scene a time or two.
I think I might be going anti 4 color / 'The Big Two' for a while. And as a Batman girl, that's saying a lot. But I'm thinking anime and manga. I'm fairy certain they have their own problems. But I can't seem them all quite so glaringly. It'll be a break. I'm beginning to understand the appeal of one artist, one writer, one run in manga.
Once I've found something I like, I can have a good ten to fifteen books, each around 200 pages.
I've never been in a comic store. And after an experience with overgrown boys in Barnes & Noble, being raucous over 300. I don't think I ever want to.
Right now there feels like nothing Marvel or DC can do to intrigue me. I don't even want to buy Runaways at this point. Because it'll give Marvel money. I'm tired and disgusted and I want to know WTF happened.
No, I know what happened. Marvel and DC are in a head to head against each other. It's a war all about sales figures and mis-understood demographics. The foot soldiers and generals are 4 color porno boys; men who never got over the thrill of a rounded pornesque breast and a flared skirt hinting at panty shot. Men who don't want to send their next generation hunting around for 'real people porn'. They want to maintain the status quo of the percentage of masturbators who can't get off for anything but the slim hint of fantasy that a woman in spandex will put her heel on their back or grab them by the shirt and say 'Hello Big Boy'.
"Hera, give me strength"
Do they have any idea how much happier the world would be if they just sold direct in brown wrapping paper the SexPot versions of certain Adventures and left the people who actual want to enjoy when literature and art meet and mingle, alone to enjoy it?
No, I guess not.
Perhaps that's why they don't seem to understand that they're screwing with Modern Mythology; America's Gods in a sense. Perhaps that makes me a Comic Pagan? And the current High Priests are for shit.
Friday, March 16, 2007
When I saw tentative reviews of Top Ten: Beyond The Furthest Precinct, I believed them. They said it was bad, so I decided to borrow it from the library rather than buy it.
What they couldn't say is just how bad it is. I'm half-way through and I can't believe it myself. There are new characters that don't seem to make any sense (Why can technology build a body for a dog, but not an exo-suit for a mermaid?). And the plot seems like some ham-fisted commentary on the post 9/11 world of constant yellow alerts and inept leadership in important government positions.
Worse the feel of the universe is gone. I don't get the feeling the new writer knows fig or hair of the characters. He seems to throw in a few phrases and that's it. Worse the art contains odd visual references I don't remember seeing in the original. There's stuff from Monster's Inc and Antz, Popeye. There are background character aliens from Star Wars and characters I only know from Adult Swim. There's mention of Wile. E Coyote.
There's also the jive talking blackbird (jaybird) that Disney used to have in place of black people. And I really don't want to get into that racist stereotype and wtf it's doing in something copyrighted 2006.
And then there are regular people Neopolis citizens living in a place called Yggdrasil Apartments. I've seen the Nordic Gods in the Top 10 universe. If someone was going to live in a World Tree, why isn't it Gods? Why is it 'Squirrel Rocket J' ?
And Scooby freaking Doo?
I'm going to finish reading it. I realize that perhaps I should have read Top Ten: Vol 2 first. And perhaps also The 49'ers. But I think my disappointment would only be more keenly felt. Cause wtf?
Herbie the Love Bug, Spiderman up in a corner (Cause I don't think Daredevil has blue booties), old fisherman's tales and empty empty dialogue and plot.
I'm going to finish reading it. Maybe it gets some little bit better or I'll see something more than, well 'Marvel's Civil War' mess in the plot. Though I doubt anything could get better after introducing the Mayor as a red assed Baboon. I kid you not.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
I had every intention of coming home from the library and collapsing straight into bed. (Long Day)
But here is the other side of getting to know your local library branch and learning to use the library system.
I went to return some books a few minutes ago. And at check-out I noticed the library had a trolley of manga with the word 'Discarded' and the date over them on a piece of paper. So I asked what was happening with them and when would the librarians know when they might go up for sale. One of the librarians told me to just go ahead and take what I wanted. On him! He knows what a total bibliophile I am.
I have Negima!
I have Fruit Baskets! Which everyone keeps telling me to try.
I have Psy Comm! And Legal Drug!
I have Full Metal Alchemist!
And something called PHS: Phantasy Degree which looked interesting.
I'm not much up on some of the more action ones like Naratu and Blade of Heaven etc. And I suppose I could have picked up Qwan. But it didn't impress me enough to want to own it. I do know that I've like what I've seen of FMA on Adult Swim. It's just hard to follow sometimes cause I've never seen it from the beginning.
Heaven knows if they'd had BLEACH I'd have broken my back trying to get them all. As it is, I had to beg for a plastic bag.
Still. Manga! Free Manga!
A chance to explore some new series on my own time w/o worrying about taking it back or catching or etc etc...
I have DeathNote!
**shudders like too happy sentient jello**
x-posted to personal journal
Monday, March 12, 2007
My birthday was March the 10th. It was lovely.
I wanted to get myself Top 10 for my birthday; the whole bunch from 2-onwards. But then I realized how much that would all add up to (I'll be moving soon so every red cent counts). If I hadn't decided a grown up meal was more fitting for the occasiona, I think very much that I could havehappily bought most of them sight unseen. But I figured I could at the very least borrow them from the library to see how they were.
Top 10: Vol 2
Top 10: The Forty Niners
But I got to reviews about 'The Farthest Precinct' and had to stop. Apparently Alan Moore turned his creation over to someone else?
I like Alan Moore. I know it's seemed unpopular to like him, recently - that whole thing with Lost Girls. (Oh he's raping our childhoods!). But from the scans I've seen, I didn't like the art. And I also didn't think it was the first time anyone fantasized about doing Wendy or Alice in Wonderland so I have mostly just been skimming the news.
I like Alan Moore. I like what I've seen of how he does Superhero worlds. The stir all made me think 'He's not Frank Miller'. And y'know, I read Sin City and didn't see 'Whores & Madonnas'. I saw Noir meets Superheros. It was All Star Batman and Robin which made me go 'What the frog fucking fuck?'.
But back to Moore. It's heady. I got Top 10 Vol 1 for Christmas. And I finally read it about a month or so ago. And I loved it - completely. Superheros plus crime drama plus partner dynamics. I found myself thinking of Moore and Busiek in the same breath.
I've just hunted down 'Supreme' in my library system, because the thought of yet another look at Superman seemed worth it - given how much reading about Samaritan changed me from a Batman Girl who tolerated 'The Boyscout' to someone who thought 'Oh yeah, there is another hero and his name is Kal-El'.
Recently, as I broaden my horizons in graphic novel reading, I feel very much as if I'm walking down roads so many other people have traveled before, and hitting all the well known rest stops. I dislike Greg Land's porn face. I like Busiek's Astro City and Shockrockets. I'm discovering that my love of Alan Moore pushes past DC universe.
It's lonely, but fun.
Thursday, March 8, 2007
I effing hate not having access to aim right now.
They shot Captain America? Seriously? SERIOUS_FUCKING_LY?
Can someone please fill me in? Please? Since I can't poke at you on im and go WTF in loud ass letters.
Are people still buying Marvel after this SHITE?
Shit. Just... SERIOUSLY?
I'm like some Grey's Anatomy's spaz. I just want to go "Seriously? Seriously?" For like the next half hour.
Saturday, March 3, 2007
I have too many questions, having just finished reading it.
They start with:
OMG why is that one of the gayest things I've ever read in a comic?
Are they trying to set Lex Luthor up as a longing and repressed sociopathic self-hating homosexual on purpose?
And end in:
Would the world really be better if a) Lex Luthor could get Superman to lift shirt and bend over b) Kara Zor-El had landed on earth first?
I liked the unreliable narration. I liked getting a peek inside of Lex's head and seeing how the quest for perfection and a huge ego could have him wanting to be Superman.
But in the face of what happens in the damn book with Hope; that whole bit about 'Little Girls Want to Marry Him. Little Boys Want To Be Him' and Lex's concept of that type of fantasy as being dangerous just leaves me thinking.
"Lex as a repressed homosexual. That's a pov I never had before."
I'm sure there's a male angle in this that I'm missing. Something to do with competition, that maybe I just don't have the words too. But damn, if I don't need someone male to point it out to me. In small words. Probably repeated at least three times.
Is this Dan Dido's (as Sr. VP Exec Editor) vision of the tumultuous nature of Superman's and Lex Luthor's antagonistic relationship? Really?
I can understand Brian Azzarello writing it. Mostly because I can believe in a writer seeing many different sides and possibilities for the same situation and same group of characters. Writers, in my mind, live to explore 'what if'. But to have a Sr. Editor sign off on it.
Does this fit into the main continuity anywhere?
I don't know who the penciler was. The artist is listed as Lee Bermejo. And I found the art kind of craggy. It reminded me of Quitely in 'The Authority' only somehow more angular instead of the curved set in that made me think of turds. To be honest, having seen other pieces said to be drawn by Quitely, I begin to wonder if it's the inker who was too heavy, and turned me off the art, and not his style.
All the same, while I didn't like the art - in that it didn't grab me and make me vow to seek it more. It was perfect for Lex Luthor's pov of the world. All heavy and harsh and reinforced looped thinking like The Battle Ship Potemkin. Large building size banners that said:
'L o v e i s H u m a n i t y' and others saying
'M e n f o r M e n. D e a t h f o r t h e A l i e n'
would not have seemed out of place at all in Lex's Metropolis. It was a surprisingly hulking, oppressing thing, despite the dawns and clouds and high spires.
More-over. I loved the touched with Superman's eyes and that Lex always seems to notice how Superman's eyes, reflecting light, go red and thus seem alien and fear causing and oppressive. It's such a little touch, all by itself, without having him drawn in shadows, to make him seem truly a threat. Yet at the same time as a reader, all I had to do was glance down to look for the shield and feel instantly reassured that it was all just inside Lex's crazy head.
I've never really thought of myself as a Supergirl fan. And it was revealing, to me, to realize how much that shield means. That as discomforted as the art could make me, all I needed to do was look for the shield.
I'm guessing Lex would call me one of the mindless sheep.
PS: I am quite curious as to what was going on with Bats and Supes there though. And I don't feel very resolved about that as all. Was there a follow up?
ETA: If you're a Smallville fan (bear in mind I stopped watching 5 or so eps into S3) you might enjoy this as a look into what happens when the lies and refusals of trust twist Lex into a bitter, suspicious older man.
Friday, March 2, 2007
You know that thing with Reed Richards that everyone's talking about re: Civil War 7?
"I saw you during the cleanup, but felt it was inappropriate to discuss our future while our adrenal glands might still impair our judgement in romantic matters.
You looked so beautiful. So vibrant and clear-eyed. I cried for a full ninety-three minutes when I returned home that night."
Some people have mentioned they thought it hokey and jokey and unbelievable and as if the writer was trying to present Reed as this great intellectual, tongue tied and unable to use mere two syllable words.
But my first impression?
"Hey babe. I saw you when we were fixing things and I wanted to nail you hard. You looked so sexy. Just like I remembered. But hey, just cause I like you sweaty and I know you like me sweaty didn't mean we had to do it right then. People died, right? So I went home and for 93 minutes - Kapow babe. Me and my hand
and our wedding night pictures/ and the lab's surveillance tapes. See how much I'm respecting your space? "
Nerdish-Nebbish SLEAZE STYLE.
But hey, maybe it's my fault for knowing that one of the ways people come down after being terrified and/or fighting for their lives is life affirming sex and reading into 'adrenal glands' and 'romantic situation'.
ETA: And now for some reason I begin to associate Reed Richards with these lyrics
Thursday, March 1, 2007
Maybe this is an incredibly stupid question. But I won't get an answer if I don't ask a question? Right?
So, I'm surfing along Blogger, trying to wrap my head around the collective' NooooooOOOOooooo' of Civil War #7 and I stumble across this phrasing:All super-powered folk have to be registered, and seemingly all of the registered folks are drafted into military service.
It seems to sum up Civil War in 30 secs and some generic things I've seen going: 'Cap gave up? What?!!' pretty well.
As a once upon a time X-man, fan, however, I'm curious. What's going to happen to the X-Men? They didn't want any part of the war. They've already been through this registration thing. What now? Has anyone been following along in their books? Were any of their books even tied into Civil War?
Is the school going to remain? Are military recruiters going to be given carte blanche to walk up in Xavier's Academy and tap on various teenagers with various powers they like?
Is Kurt Busiek gong to be working on any titles? Cause he's one of the writers I know would take a look at it from the perspective of some young person suddenly acquiring powers or having had powers on the down low for a while, but who decides to walk away from trouble, on purpose, because they don't want to be drafted.
What about Dazzler? Is she around outside of Ultimate X-Men? Either way, she's never wanted to be a team player/protector anything. She just wanted to sing.
Is Franklin Reed going to be drafted? How old is he in normal continuity anyway?
What happens if you want to be a normal person? Are you required to serve a term or two terms of service before you can use your heat ray to make the best damn pizza ever?
Are people going to want to run away to Canada and Wankanda?
Ok, maybe the blogsphere can't answer the last one, without seeing the stories that come out of the wrap up. But I'm very kind of wtf!huh, now. It's wrong when it's Mutant Registration and two steps away from Ghettos and Camps and stripped personal liberties. But it's ok if you just happened to fall into a vat of toxic waste and decided to do something positive with it?
If the super-powered humans are being used to protect each individual state, and they are now part of the military, then are they going to get like, National Guard or Police backup? Are the same uniforms who were just hunting down people supposed to guard their backs now?
I'm just... Am I just not getting the intrigue of the story? Because all I keep seeing is Sentinels, over and over again; knocking down regular people in order to capture
mutants people with super-powers.
Randomly: Is there going to be a nice Kitty Pryde/Magneto one shot wherein both the mutant Jews that are well known in the universe, begin to ponder the phrase 'Those who don't study history are doomed to repeat it'?
Also... Dude. Where's Magneto? Cause super powered, drafted military people sounds a lot like 'Super powered SS'. Or maybe that's just me.
ETA: And what about Sue Storm? She left her husband because she believed he was in the wrong and perhaps slightly crazy too (all wank about her sexing him first non-withstanding). Is she going to 'come home' now? And be all nice? And say 'But I screwed you real good, me love you long time?' Or will she stick to her guns? Which means is there going to be 'Civil War Extended' with people who rebel against this 'win' and it'll all still go on for more comics and tie ins than anyone with five hands could shake a stick at? Is this just further excuse for Marvel to feel Civil War and all associated with it, is an excuse/license to print money?
Cause people complain, but they still buy it.
Damn, even more so than before it looks like I should just get up to Issue $24 of Runaways and then forget Marvel ever existed. Manga here I come.