I'm Just Sayin'…#46
by Greg Manuel on February 4, 2009

Hey everybody!

Sorry I’m late, I had to pull myself away from the debates over at PulseWrestling.com and their Top 100 Wrestlers of the Modern EraHulk Hogan at Number Three? You’re KIDDING me, right?but then I remembered I’d best get back over here so I can bust y’all upside the head with this week’s edition of…

What looks to be the ultimate appeal of today’s Big Two mega-events is the volume of discussion and analysis they generate, and there is still plenty to discuss – and plenty of questions to ask - about FINAL CRISIS #7. As a matter of fact, if you’d been checking in periodically on last week’s column, you’ll see that Pulse Glazer and I were throwin’ down pretty heavy over in the Comments section! Seriously Aaron, we gotta hang out sometime – throw back a few, debate some comics, debate some wrestling, throw back a few more, maybe get into a fistfight…it’ll be a blast!

But before we get back into all of that, I wanna make a brief stop into some other news…

Let’s see, is there anything to discuss over in the Marvel world? Joe Quesada looks to be very happy with the slated director for the upcoming film adaptation of THE MIGHTY THOR. Newsarama.com is sporting a headline to that effect: Joe Quesada says director Kenneth Branagh gets it. I’m sure after directing, producing and/or starring in HAMLET for the twenty-four-hundredth time, that totally made Kenny B’s day…mmmmmnaaaah, that was too mean. What d’you think? Too mean?

Last week began the latest AMAZING SPIDER-MAN* storyarc, the title of which begs the question…

“Character Assassination:” Very late warning, or blatant taunt? It could really go either way, couldn’t it?

Man, Grant’s got us looking for subtext everywhere nowadays!

Probably the best news I’ve uncovered all week, courtesy of COMICS SHOULD BE GOOD:

Quoting Greg Burgas: A new ATOMIC ROBO series! On page 296 from Red 5 Comics! Just buy it already, will you?

Quoting Greg Manuel: SIR, YES SIR!! MORE ATOMIC ROBO PLEASE, SIR! *Ahem* Okay…I’m okay now. And with that, we return to FINAL CRISIS!

Aaron made a very good point about various representations throughout the event, including how Morrison set up Superman and his various analogues as “Fiction’s last line of defense…”

Led by the most recognizable Superman analogue of them all. Nice touch.

And the Monitors as “Editors and Readers refusing to think, refusing to put things together and trying to make changes as they see fit.”

"Tahoteh." I hear that's how you spell "Quesada" in Klingon.

To which I had replied, “which character represents the writer engaged in such gargantuan levels of hubris and self-satisfaction that’d make Icarus himself go, “whoa, that guy’s playin’ with fire!”? I still don’t know the answer to that question, but if I were the gambling sort, I’d tell you who I think Grant Morrison thinks he is…

Anybody wanna take odds?

 

But Aaron asked another few questions that, now that I think about it, I’m going to address in this week’s column.

GLAZER: How much of the problem is our perceptions of what to expect from the medium and more specifically from mainstream event comics?

I don’t think the problem is perception or expectation of mainstream event comics. It’s expectation of any form of storytelling. What I expect from any literary venture, be it comic, novel, short story or whatever, is a clear telling of what happened. At first read, I should’ve been able to understand the following:

  • The combined efforts of Superman, the Flashes and Wonder Woman drove Darkseid’s essence from the body of Dan Turpin.
  • Superman and Supergirl then built a copy of the Miracle Machine that Braniac 5 showed the former in the 30th Century.
  • Once Darkseid was defeated and the Miracle Machine activated, Superman, his analogues and the Green Lantern Corps pulled Earth Zero from the black hole created by Darkseid’s fall.

And unless you know how Grant Morrison operates, or you’ve been reading every DC comic that he’s written since ANIMAL MAN, that’s not going to be very clear. Since I only have a cursory understanding of the Morrison method, are my perceptions and expectations the problem? We’ll come back to that in just a second.

GLAZER: How appropriate was Grant’s choosing to expand our (comics’) horizons in what is meant to be a mainstream, mass consumption event, something which has traditionally been done in a “popcorn flick” format?

It is absolutely appropriate, no question about it. Especially considering the sheer volume of these “events” that we’ve been subject to over the last few years. After a point, we need something a little different to set an event apart from others, to give it a real sense of scope that tells the reader that this isn’t going to be “just another” event. So yes. Expand away. There’s a “but” coming, but let’s get to the third question:

GLAZER: Finally, even if we don’t particularly like these ideas during this format, is it arguable that it is bad, or rather, without merit to try out breaking new ground within the genre?

Absolutely not. Breaking new ground is what it’s about. It’s what keeps things from getting stagnant. And now comes the “but” – But you have to meet your audience halfway, and in FINAL CRISIS #7 Grant Morrison came up short in that regard.

A comic book reader’s top expectation is to be led through a comprehensible beginning, middle and end. Even if I don’t know how Grant Morrison usually approaches a story, even if I’m gonna have a whole ton of things to analyze, debate and discuss after I read a Grant Morrison story, I should be able to understand what the characters did in the story.

This is a lesson I learned performing comedy – when I construct a joke, no matter how much I’ve been itching to tackle this subject or that, my primary objective is not to make the audience think. It’s to make them laugh. And in joke construction, I have to be very cognizant of what I’m doing. I have to give them just enough so that they’ll infer the punch-line on their own – every good joke leaves something deliberately unsaid – but I have to be careful not to give them too much or too little, because that will kill the joke.

Now, there’s been many a situation where I will throw a joke out there that I think is gold, but there is no reaction. I used to blame the audience for not “getting” me, but then I realized that, as the creative party, I didn’t do my job in giving the audience enough to connect with what I was putting out there. It’s not their fault nor is it mine. I just didn’t strike the proper balance. Here’s a whole slew of examples – feel free to judge for yourself as to how often I hit my mark.

Oh, and before I forget, [BEGIN DIGRESSION] I just have to say, when I was enumerating the various things I enjoyed about FINAL CRISIS, I can’t believe that I forgot one…perhaps my new favorite character ever. That’s right, I’m talking about the leader of the modern-day Forever People: MOST EXCELLENT SUPERBAT!

His super-power? “I am so rich that I can do anything.” There’s really nothing else you can say to that except, well…hell YEAH. MOST EXCELLENT SUPER-BAT, FTW! [END DIGRESSION]

AND NOW, JUST CUZ I FEEL LIKE IT…

"Two weary travelers in a world where it seems everybody's out to get them. An innocent wanderer and an international criminal mastermind. Lovers with nowhere to hide." - Bob the Annoying

Til next week – Greg Manuel here, just sayin’ is all…



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