Friday, March 11, 2005

Identity Critique

(Sids Note)

So, Sam and I were discussing the whole Rich Johnston thing and it started to diversify into talking about people who say things that have a negative effect on the industry, this kind of overlaps the last post a little, bear with us.

The problem with this type of thing is its so difficult to quantify, you can only guestimate Rich's influence on the industry as a whole. People might dismiss a lot of what he says as crap. A lot of retailers probably don't even know who he is. Seriously.
And while we are on the subject of people who have a negative effect on the industry, what about Mr. Ellis? He usually means well with what he is saying or has some kind of point which is important, but his hatred of ID Crisis was something I could only perceive as being irrational, and he didn't justify it with a single argument, it was a case of he hated it, and no-one else was allowed to like it.
The last thing we want is a great comic, which has genuinely picked up a lot of praise from the outside world, being demeaned by one of the industrys greatest creators, on the eve of aforementioned creator doing some of the worst work he has done in years for the big money (copyright Sam Pay) payoff. "Lets name the Ship: Awesome.", no, Warren, lets not, lets feed you up on Redbull and Amphetamines and burn your pubic hair and get you motivated again.
And I only say that because I love the man. I think he is the best writer in the comic industry bar none, so much so that I even have Doom 2099 in my collection, if I say anything negative about Mr. Ellis its not because I dislike the guy, its that I care too much.

Slagging off a series which brings in new readers and
press attention is a bad thing. Using rape and a "Womb-Crazy" villain
as the core of a big event book is not so great either - it smacks of
some of the grim'n'gritty imitators of the 80s / early 90s which we're
only just pulling free of now. There's a balance to be struck though.

The funnist thing about this industry, is that if people write a story where people shoot peoples faces off, run up the side of the building, jump off, develop wings, fly to Uranus and develop a death ray that eliminates the primordial ooze on prehistoic Earth, people think thats great high concept writing. But if you write a story where a woman gets raped or a high school chick goes to bed with an incredibly rich philanthropist, comic fans seem to have a hard time accepting this. This shit happens in real life, you can make all your arguements you need about escapism, but nearly every work of fiction has itself grounded in reality somewhere or other, wether its a setting like New York or the fact that the characters are bipedal and affected by gravity.

People always say write what you know best, but how can you do that whilst providing escapism, unless the story is completely 2 dimensional? The only way you can achieve that is if the author is a quadruped methane breather from the planet Blarghus (or maybe Morrison and Ellis get so mashed they just think they are!).
And the best thing about ID Crisis is nobody expected an ass-rape, and most of the fans didn't know who Sue Dibny was. This meant Meltzer really had to make the readers care about the character in the same issue they killed her, otherwise the story would have been worthless, a feat which he managed quite well. Any schmuck can kill off Superman or Batman and get column inches in the "real" press, and have a shock story for the sake of it, but it takes real talent to kill of a z-list support character and make people give a shit.

But of course, the bigger story of ID Crisis wasn't the ass rape, it was the fact that the league within the league went too far, and crossed the line that heroes arn't supposed to cross, and they did it to Batman too (mindwipe, not ass-rape). The rape was part of the story to get to the bigger story of the mindwipes, and it hat to be pretty big to make the league cross the line, if Doctor Light had just slapped her about a bit, heroes show up, prison, job done, reset button, happily ever after, no call for the mind wipe?
But I suppose the people who wrote the book off as Identity Ass-rape Funnies probably never got past issue 1.

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