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Author Topic: Alex Ross on his new comic: Justice  (Read 9499 times)
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NotSuper
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« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2005, 09:45:56 AM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
A concept that's been done approximately 4.5 billion times by better writers. Usually, this shallow, regurgitated concept takes the form of some inane speech by a character (usually either Batman or a Batman-clone character) something to the effect of, "Despite having near-infinite power, it's unlikely we can change anything at all for the better in any way. So, let's go back to what we do best: finding a guy with a cold gun and punching him!"

I don't consider it shallow, so all that is pretty meaningless to me. It's a concept that I personally like. And Ross is doing a fine job exploring it, IMO.

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Going back and forth about definitions like "archetype" can be fun, especially for a dictionary-loving guy like me, but it doesn't change the fact that these themes have been done to death. From Alan Moore's MIRACLEMAN to KINGDOM COME to RED SON, to SQUADRON SUPREME to God, I can't even think of them all. Saying a "concept" is "archetypal" doesn't change the fact it's a blatant act of intellectual theft, and a boring, overdone one at that, especially when you have nothing new to say or add. Superheroes wondering if they're stagnating human growth has become the comic book equivalent of the Hollywood car chase. Perhaps even worse: car chases aren't insufferably, aggrivatingly pretentious.

I disagree with your assesment that it's become cliche. It's always been done relatively well by all those who have attempted it and readers still show interest in it. Why stop doing something that's successful just because some people don't care for it? That's just bad business.

In any case, I was talking about the Superman character being an archetype (which he is), not the story itself.

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Considering there are only six good writers writing now (Alan Moore, Kurt Busiek, Dan Slott, Neil Gaiman, Tom Peyer, and Christopher Priest) and only one of these (Slott) is doing anything right now (and that's for Marvel), after reading that sentence I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry.

There are much more than six good writers. But you're more than welcome to your opinion. I'm not going to try to change it (that would be an act of futility).

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You mean the Superman/Batman coloring book? I thought art-driven "storytelling" died with Rob Liefeld's career. If this is an example of the highbrow new DC that's beating Marvel, I say more power to them. The thing about the Special Olympics is, even if you win, you're still retarded.

I'm not a fan of McGuinnes' art (not a slam against him, it's just not my cup of tea) but to call it a "coloring book" is a tad bit ridiculous. The Supergirl arc and "Absolute Power" were both entertaining and actually quite good.

I believe DC is beating Marvel creatively because they're putting forth stories that interest the fans and keep them coming back for more.

I understand that you don't care for Justice, and I have no problem with that. But I did enjoy it and will continue to. My opinion won't change because I honestly feel the story to be well-done. Other people seem to like it, and that's cool, but it has no bearing on whether I like a title. The same goes for people who didn't care for it.

I'm certainly not going to make absolutist statements just because I thought it was good.
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NotSuper
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« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2005, 09:54:19 AM »

If anyone is interested, Ross talked about some of the character designs and the line-up for the villains:

Bizarro: The Legion of Doom's top enforcer can hold his own against Superman and Wonder Woman, and break the back of a guy like Green Arrow if he ever gets a hold of him. To steer Bizarro away from the realm of the absurd and give him a horror edge, Ross based his Bizarro on an unlikely source: the creepy little girl from "The Ring." "His face should be horrifying, that whole cracked, crystalline skin look," says Ross. "He should look pretty screwed up, but on the surface, from a distance especially, he should be confusable with Superman." One thing you won't hear from Bizarro is the old "Me am Bizarro" speak. Ross and company want to be more disturbing than that. "There's more of a silent, terrifying quality to this near-mindless Superman."

Lex Luthor: The new Legion of Doom will be led by the top two masterminds of the DCU, Lex Luthor and Brainiac. "If you're going to have anyone leading the pack out of all these characters,” says Ross, "it has to be those two thinkers." Like Brainiac, Luthor will rely on technology to keep his hide alive: consequently, he pulls an old surprise out of his closet. "Our Lex Luthor is not the overweight Kingpin version of the Byrne days or the President version of the last several years; it's trying to get back to that version of the guy who wore the costume." An upgraded version of that familiar purple-and-green "battle suit" won't be armor that Luthor dons to go toe-to-toe with Superman. Instead, it becomes a protective suit, allowing Luthor to call on gizmos like teleportation and force fields to stay out of harm's way.

Poison Ivy: Not one of the original Legion of Doom members, Ross added in Poison Ivy because she's a human agent that can interact with other humans, a luxury that the more monstrous members like Parasite can never hope to do. She also beefs up the sex appeal on the team, though you can write off the current green version that's shown up in popular stories like Hush . "I'm trying to return her to the non-green, non-Hulk-like version of Poison Ivy. Otherwise, she's just another @#$% She-Hulk," argues Ross. "This version may be a pale red-headed woman, but there's something very sickly about the combination of the human being and the world of plant life."

Brainiac: Ross compares the Legion of Doom's second mastermind to Agent Smith from "The Matrix." "There's absolutely a huge amount of pride in this computer being," says Ross. "He's not an accident in biology. He's not the result of the need to reproduce. He is the truest form of evolution, in his mind." While he may not terrorize the neighborhood in giant robot form like other Brainiac versions, he will prove the most elusive villain, with a mind that can be downloaded into disposable bodies. "He can bounce around from Brainiac body to Brainiac body. Out of all the villains, he has the greatest capacity for escape because he's not trapped within one physical form."

Solomon Grundy: Similar to Bizarro, Solomon Grundy offers more muscle for Luthor and Brainiac's team, but his slow, easily enraged mind makes him a problem to control. "Realistically he's the first Hulk, " explains Ross, pointing out that Solomon Grundy predates the Hulk by a good 20 years. "He's essentially a zombie who rose from a bog and is somehow as strong as the Hulk." The creative team plans to amp up the creature's terrifying nature by downplaying his communication with the other villains, setting him up as a haunting, mysterious loner. "He’s essentially this monster figure who is a modern day Frankenstein."

Cheetah: The most formidable female fighter in the Legion of Doom matches up as Wonder Woman's main counterpart. Like many of the other characters from the cartoon series, the initial hurdle was giving her a more realistic edge. "Cheetah is one of those great challenges," notes Ross. "You don't want to have this seemingly cartoon-ish figure walking around in yellow tights and acting like a cat all the time." In order to solve the problem, Cheetah became more disturbed in a physical and mental sense. She now skins a live cheetah as a pagan ritual to absorb the animal's power and puts on the freshly cut skin as her costume. "This woman really is nuts," affirms Ross, "but there may be manipulating forces at work within her that have lent her the strength to be able to take on Wonder Woman."

The Riddler: If he didn't fall prey to his own psychotic reliance on riddles, Edward Nigma's brilliant mind might rival Luthor's and Brainiac's. As it stands, he can still lend his wit to the Legion, and he taps into some technology with a new costume that ups his game. "He has a Count Vertigo-esque effect that he'll be able to reveal by opening his cloak, which is conspicuously devoid of color and all the crazy question marks. I wanted to play with that by imagining, 'What if all those question marks on the skintight costume beneath the cloak are themselves almost like a reality that he dips you into?' He can make you think you're in a room filled with a strobe-light effect and flying question marks."

Toyman: Toyman fulfills a crucial role in the Legion of Doom; he's the teams' master spy and inventor. According to Ross, there’s no reason for Toyman to stick his neck on the line fighting the heroes mano-a-mano. "He's an Invisible Man of sorts; he's the puppeteer. That’s why I created this character here to look like a marionette, with strings dangling, showing quite clearly that this is a manipulative figure." Toyman contributes with both his mind and machines. "You don't need to throw out a great character like Toyman in favor of a Doomsday, because Doomsday's designed to be all though," states Ross. "There's something cool in those original concepts of characters that many times have gone down a goofy path."

Scarecrow: Like a nasty terrorist, Jonathan Crane employs scare tactics and embraces psychological warfare as his weapon of choice. "He's a character who can manipulate emotions and can ultimately distort people through his own manipulation," says Ross. "He can make a crowd go mad." The terror factor increases with a return to the Scarecrow's costume roots, a redesign that includes a skull-like mask, noose around his neck and a longer coat that covers the character's legs and further removes him from the gangly version that Ross views as a bit "too cartoony." The idea is to leaves more up to your imagination. "The figure has something to hide," muses Ross. "Underneath that cloak are a million different, terrible fear gases."

Sinestro: Out of all the characters in the Legion, Sinestro has gone through the least amount of change in appearance and motivations. Ross feels the versions of Sinestro over time have stayed mostly true to the core concepts. "Sinestro is in his classic form. There was nothing about him that I felt was so far off the mark that I needed to reinterpret his costume so greatly." as an extraterrestrial being, he has only a passing interest in Earth's villains; however, he does throw in with the Brainiac/Luthor plan to divvy up the planet for spoils. Of course, at the heart of this is Sinestro's hatred for Green Lantern for defaming him in the past. "He has the whole thing about getting back at Hal Jordan for that."

The Joker: Before the 1950s and '60s, when he became a buffoonish character, the Joker debuted as a stone-cold killer. Justice will showcase that side of the character, but that doesn't earn him an automatic spot on the Legion of Doom. Luthor and Brainiac recognize that he's a loose cannon, so Joker quickly finds himself that outsider in the series, something that doesn't sit well with Batman's arch nemesis. "Part of the humor of the series will be that nobody ever asked for the Joker to be a part of this thing,” laughs Ross. "So for him to work his way into any part of this is an intrusion into the greater plans of the villains. Joker is envious of any game he could be a part of, so he's the party crasher."

While I think that this series will be good, I don't think anyone should go into this thinking that it'll be retro or light-hearted. It could almost be seen as sort of a prequel to Kingdom Come.
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Many people want others to accept their opinions as fact. If enough people accept them as fact then it gives the initial person or persons a feeling of power. This is why people will constantly talk about something they hate—they want others to feel the same way. It matters to them that others perceive things the same way that they do.
JulianPerez
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« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2005, 10:32:08 AM »

Quote from: "NotSuper"
I believe DC is beating Marvel creatively because they're putting forth stories that interest the fans and keep them coming back for more.


I don't know if I'd agree with that. The best idea DC had in the past 5 years was placing a genius talent like Kurt Busiek on JLA. A man that combines skill with characterization, respect for history, dense, full stories, and clever subplots that have resolutions all together, possibly the greatest comic writer since Englehart and Alan Moore.

We got a dramatic story that squeezed in everything from the weaponeers of Qward to the Construct to the Crime Syndicate, to the "Cosmic Egg" seen last in JLA/AVENGERS.

We got a classic Justice League that included unfairly excluded winners that have history with the group: Zatanna, Hawkman, Elongated Man, Green Arrow, Canary, Atom...

Batman was actually LIKEABLE. Not a jerk or anything. Wow.

And what does DC do? Shower his office with gift baskets of assorted cheeses? Put another floor on his house? Give his wife and children free day passes to Disneyland?

Run him off the book, of course!
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NotSuper
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« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2005, 10:41:05 AM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
Quote from: "NotSuper"
I believe DC is beating Marvel creatively because they're putting forth stories that interest the fans and keep them coming back for more.


I don't know if I'd agree with that. The best idea DC had in the past 5 years was placing a genius talent like Kurt Busiek on JLA. A man that combines skill with characterization, respect for history, dense, full stories, and clever subplots that have resolutions all together, possibly the greatest comic writer since Englehart and Alan Moore.

We got a dramatic story that squeezed in everything from the weaponeers of Qward to the Construct to the Crime Syndicate, to the "Cosmic Egg" seen last in JLA/AVENGERS.

We got a classic Justice League that included unfairly excluded winners that have history with the group: Zatanna, Hawkman, Elongated Man, Green Arrow, Canary, Atom...

Batman was actually LIKEABLE. Not a jerk or anything. Wow.

And what does DC do? Shower his office with gift baskets of assorted cheeses? Put another floor on his house? Give his wife and children free day passes to Disneyland?

Run him off the book, of course!

Speaking of Busiek, I posted some more of his thoughts in the thread you started about him. You might be interested in reading some of them.
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Many people want others to accept their opinions as fact. If enough people accept them as fact then it gives the initial person or persons a feeling of power. This is why people will constantly talk about something they hate—they want others to feel the same way. It matters to them that others perceive things the same way that they do.
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« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2005, 01:29:42 PM »

I'll let you guys argue the bigger issues, but I just wanted to respond to one comment from Julian:

Aquaman might be underappreciated by comics fans and the general public, but he *has* had some good artists...no some great artists...over the years.  Ramona Fradon, Nick Cardy, Jim Aparo...these were/are some of the best in the business, for my money.

The writing tended to be a little more "iffy," but some of what Steve Skeates did, and a lot of Jack Miller's stuff, was as good as anything on the stands.  Not classic necessarily, but not junk either.
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2005, 07:05:50 PM »

Quote from: "nightwing"
Aquaman might be underappreciated by comics fans and the general public, but he *has* had some good artists...no some great artists...over the years.  Ramona Fradon, Nick Cardy, Jim Aparo...these were/are some of the best in the business, for my money.


Don't forget Curt Swan himself, in Aquaman's 1983 (or thereabouts) miniseries.

I apologize if it came off that I stated Aquaman never received any good artists. I was merely pointing out that Alex Ross had given Aquaman the dignity, imagination, and magnificence that this Mort Weisenger creation deserves.
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« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2005, 11:38:45 PM »



Ramona Fradon is awesome, but this is one of my favorite Aquaman drawings by Jaime Hernandez.[/url]
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