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Author Topic: Who can save Superman now? KURT BUSIEK!  (Read 147530 times)
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2005, 07:26:54 AM »

You know who else might be a great Superman writer?

I wonder if they can somehow dust off Steve Englehart?

For pete's sake, the guy wrote the definitive characterization of BATMAN, the greatest AVENGERS story ever (Celestial Madonna) and possibly the greatest Avengers run ever (only rivaled by Stan and Don's and Busiek/Perez/Davis), and literally thousands of comics including Superman himself in a tragically brief but amazing eight issue run on JUSTICE LEAGUE. His STRANGERS comic, the only comic in the entire Malibu line that was worth reading, shows that Steve is still a giant just like he was back in the day. Copy and paste every comment I made about Busiek's skills at characterization here: Steve's the guy that taught Kurt every trick he knows, and if you don't take my word for it, ask Mr. Silver Age himself.

One might say that Englehart is more a "Batman" type writer that, like Denny O'Neil, is intimidated by Superman's space opera focus and power level. This is untrue simply by looking at Steve's resume; Steve can do "cosmic." His DR. STRANGE run featured a race to the dawn of time, and had Eternity destroy and then recreate the entire earth. Steve's COYOTE featured big-time concepts and indian spirits and was "approved by the Cosmic Code." His AVENGERS run had a woman marrying a tree (and if that's not a SUPERMAN'S GIRL FRIEND LOIS LANE issue right there it ought to be), and look at his treatment of the high level abilities on display in AVENGERS/DEFENDERS WAR.

Even more evidence that shows he's qualified for Superman is his run on FANTASTIC FOUR. His FANTASTIC FOUR run, he made lemonade with the lemons given to him by the astonishingly mediocre and clueless run by John Byrne before him (Jonny Yellowbeard being clueless and mediocre? Nope, never seen that before  :twisted: ). Byrne had the blind Alicia leave her tormented, beautiful, tragic, wonderful Beauty/Beast relationship with the misshapen, self-pitying Thing to go after the hunky Jonny Storm who for some reason was suddenly a teenager again. And since this is our pirate captain we're talking about, Alicia dressed extra-slutty too. Oh, and did I mention his adolescent fixation with She-Hulk in various states of undress? Replacing the Thing - the emotional center of the team - with a half-naked marketing gimmick was the height of adolescent imbecility and obvious wankishness.

If I were a copy boy, I'd wear gloves to handle the pages where Byrne drew She-Hulk.

Getting on point: Steve came on the book and did a character-driven, rich run that made the characters shine when surrounded by the debris of the human bomb that is that talent-void Byrne. One wonders what he might be able to do for another Byrne target, Superman...
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Genis Vell
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« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2005, 11:33:48 AM »

Busiek could write a good Superman. 2 years ago, when the Superstorm rumors invaded the web, I hoped to see he, Loeb and Waid aboard the Super Team! Luckily, by the way, I like the stories released since then.
And SECRET IDENTITY is one of the 3 or 4 best comics I read last year.
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NotSuper
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« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2005, 10:37:39 AM »

Some more of Busiek's thoughts:

On his favorite titles and writers
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I read tons of comics, new and old. I just did my Westfield order for the month, and it was about $250. And that's with getting all the DC books free and only buying trades from Marvel.

Some favorites these days include Y THE LAST MAN, FABLES, SAVAGE DRAGON, SLEEPER, USAGI YOJIMBO and PVP.

Alla them writers of those books are good.


On his favorite Superman story
Quote
I'm pretty fond of "The Miraculous Reappearance of Jonathan Kent" and the multi-part Luthor story that both hit shortly after ACTION #500. I thought they were the peak of Cary Bates's impressive run -- although Cary noted to be recently that the B-plot in the Jonathan Kent story, about a hippe named Starshine, has not aged well.

Perhaps surprisingly, I think SUPERMAN VS. MUHAMMAD ALI was a very strong book, too.


His favorite manga titles
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I like Rumiko Takahashi's stuff most -- especially MAISON IKKOKU and ONE-POUND GOSPEL. That and a police procedural called FATHER & SON that as far as I know has never been translated.


On writers he follows, no matter the character, artist, or publisher
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Stan Sakai, Paul Grist, Chuck Dixon, Mark Waid, Robert Kirkman, Ed Brubaker, Joss Whedon, Geoff Johns -- and others, I'm sure, that aren't leaping to mind just now.


On JLU
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I've seen all of the JLU episodes, and a few of the earlier ones. I liked the two-parter that was adapted from Englehart's first full JLA story, with the Manhunters. And I liked the recent one with Booster Gold...


His feelings on the Golden and Silver Age stories
Quote
As with anything else, I like the good ones.


On whether he misses that kind of storytelling
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No, I have lots of it. Any time I want to read a Cary Bates Flash story, I can choose from scores of them.


On whether he wants to see that kind of storytelling come back
Quote
For the most part, no -- as I noted, different times, different styles. It's fun to see that sort of thing occasionally, but I don't want to see modern books regularly imitating the Silver Age any more than I want to see modern TV shows striving to duplicate 1960s sitcoms.


As I've said, he's a pretty interesting guy.
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2005, 10:55:13 AM »

He sure is. And a man of impeccable taste as well if he remembers Englehart's brief but shining JLA run (sometimes I think I'm the only one that does). Joss Whedon's work is occasionally too smartalecky for his own good, but overall he's more commonly good than bad (his X-Men run is an oasis in a creative drought, and he uses Wolverine as little as possible, and that's sharp). Though I am afraid I'm going to have to differ with Kurt when it comes to the snoozefest Y: THE LAST MAN. Sometimes I wonder if my opinion of Mark Waid is unfair because he followed off of FLASH the absolutely genius runs of Baron/Guice and Bill Messner-Loebs, and anything would suffer in the comparison to those two.

...and then I remember he created the "Speed Force."  :?

Though Kurt has on other occasions, said that he dislikes certain trends that occur in modern comics writing. For example, he laments the lack of use of the Thought Bubble, for example. He states that one of comics' greatest strengths is the fact that characters' internal thoughts can be made visible to the audience (something movies or television cannot do). If you look at Kurt's work, he's got thought bubbles everywhere, which goes to show he practices what he preaches.

I once heard a very interesting Kurt Busiek story, how at a comic book convention in 1982 he actually heckled Chris Claremont off stage, by saying "If you want the X-Men to be morally gray, why not have them do something actually morally vague, instead of killing off alien races?"

Rrrow! It's always the quiet ones that are tigers, you know.

Though I must confess, NotSuper, I wonder what your motivation is in posting these comments in particular on this board. Is it to make the general point that comics' past should remain in the past and Kurt Busiek agrees? Because whatever statements Busiek might make, any guy who packs the JLA with Elongated Man, Atom, Zatanna, and Hawkman, who gushes at any occasion about Steve Englehart, Gerber and Cary Bates, who brings up the Construct, Moses Magnum, and Morgan Le Fay, who comes up with fan theories involving - of all things - Kirby's DEVIL DINOSAUR, clearly doesn't have "let history be history" on his mind.
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Uncle Mxy
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« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2005, 06:47:47 PM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
The Samaritan in ASTRO CITY, who bears more than a little similarity to Big Blue, is the most spot-on characterization of Superman we've seen yet, and it wasn't even really a Superman story.

I think he has Supes personality, but not necessarily the characterization, which is a subtly different thing.  Though he shouts "Great Krypton!" an awful lot, Superman isn't counting the seconds per day that he gets to "just fly", since he doesn't lead his life like that.  (If he did, he'd appear in every comic at once -- that's Batman's job lately :/).  Samaritan is at the other extreme of the super-mellow All Star Superman soon to be coming out, in fact, the guy who never learned the Guardians' lesson to let humans do lots of things for themselves.
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2005, 05:57:27 PM »

Quote from: "Uncle Mxy"
I think he has Supes personality, but not necessarily the characterization, which is a subtly different thing.  Though he shouts "Great Krypton!" an awful lot, Superman isn't counting the seconds per day that he gets to "just fly", since he doesn't lead his life like that.  (If he did, he'd appear in every comic at once -- that's Batman's job lately :/).  Samaritan is at the other extreme of the super-mellow All Star Superman soon to be coming out, in fact, the guy who never learned the Guardians' lesson to let humans do lots of things for themselves.


Interesting point about Samaritan, UncleMxy. Superman was always motivated by a vague humanitarianism and belief that all life has value, which is why he did what he did. Samaritan has a different motivation, which is the responsibility of having superpowers: for this reason, he finds himself resenting being Samaritan (in a very passive-aggressive way) for interfering with his wants and life.

...Actually now that I give the matter some thought, the two ARE very different. Though the dimensional "closet" and the "dream of flying" are clearly very MIRACLEMAN-derived.
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"Wait, folks...in a startling new development, Black Goliath has ripped Stilt-Man's leg off, and appears to be beating him with it!"
       - Reporter, Champions #15 (1978)
Kurt Busiek
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« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2005, 04:07:30 AM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
I once heard a very interesting Kurt Busiek story, how at a comic book convention in 1982 he actually heckled Chris Claremont off stage, by saying "If you want the X-Men to be morally gray, why not have them do something actually morally vague, instead of killing off alien races?"

Rrrow! It's always the quiet ones that are tigers, you know.


This did not happen.

Whoever told you this story made it up or was misinformed.  I've never heckled anyone off any stage, and I don't think I went to any comicons in '82.  I did do an Ithacon in '83, but I don't recall if Chris was there.  Paul Smith was, at least.

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« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2005, 04:46:11 AM »

Welcome to the site Kurt Busiek, as you can see you have a lot of fans here, so I hope you will return and post when you are able.

S!
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