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Author Topic: Worst Superman Stories?  (Read 24730 times)
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RedSunOfKrypton
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« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2005, 07:17:28 PM »

I actually have that Superman/Spectre comic you mentioned CK, and I'm like the anti-Byrne...but it was a dollar, and I was bored, so I guess that's not so bad. :lol:
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"...and as the fledgeling Man of Steel looks for the first time over the skyline of this city, this, Metropolis, he utters the syllables with which history is made and legends are forged: This, looks like a job...for Superman."
JulianPerez
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« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2005, 07:59:25 PM »

Quote from: "ShinDangaioh"
Osamu Tezuka is an extreme example that disproves the idea that artists can't write. One does not have a museum put up in one's honor for being mediocre.  


Oh, absolutely - Tezuka was a genius. Allow me to list a few other artists that can write: Scott McCloud, Paul Chadwick (author of CONCRETE) and Walt Simonson, whose THOR run was the most mindblowing since Kirby left (though Tom DeFalco's later use of the Tomorrow Man and the Thor Corps were equally interesting).

However, the reason they are so extraordinary as to be worthy of mention is that artists that write well are rare. And even the writers mentioned as good examples of artist/writers have never done work as good as when they were paired up with someone else. Sure, I like KAMANDI too, but it wasn't as mind-blowing and fun and written as smartly as FANTASTIC FOUR. Jack Kirby's art, without a writer to tell him what to draw, got lazier and more simplified; artists draw things that are easy to draw. George Perez's WONDER WOMAN was forgettable and imagination-free, removing most of the little elements that made Wonder Woman charming and changing her into a second-rate, inferior female Superman (why was so wrong with gliding and the robot plane, Georgey?). It was easily inferior to the work George Perez did with Kurt Busiek in JLA/AVENGERS and AVENGERS. But here's the thing: Perez's Wonder Woman didn't totally blow. The thing about dancing bears is, it's not that they can dance well, but that they can do it at all. And George Perez does deserve some credit for the fact that he was AWARE of his inadequacies and very wisely asked for a plotter (Busiek) to work with, when he was offered the sole position of writer/artist, something the arrogant and childish John Byrne has never been able to bring himself to do.

And for every Jack Cole or Tezuka, there are a thousand artists that use the prestige of their artwork as leverage to manipulate others into giving them a job they are not qualified to do. Byrne, McFarlane, Mike Grell, Keith Giffen, Dan Jurgens, Chuck Austen, Howard Chaykin, Rob Liefeld, Erik Larsen (sorry, Erik, we've all gotten tired of your one-trick-pony): my God, it reads like a WHO'S WHO list of the mediocre. In fact, it's no coincidence that the period from the 1980s to the mid-1990s that had writer-artist singularities dominate comics, with writers viewed as unecessary to the creative process, were possibly the the deepest nadir that comics in their entire history ever experienced, and it is all entirely to blame on the arrogant presumption that someone good at art may also be good at a totally different field. Many cite problems with the manipulative gimmicry with the 1990s (variant covers, et.al.); comics have always been dependent on good-natured hucksterism, this wasn't the problem. The real problem with writer/artists is that the reason they were so common was because writing well, plotting, and characterization were skills that were no longer valued.
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« Reply #18 on: August 29, 2005, 08:07:09 PM »

Excellent assessment as per usual, Julian.

FYI, the phenomenon you're referring to here is the Positive Halo Effect in psychology and sociology.  A single characteristic such as great physical attractiveness makes the person and those perceiving the person seem to have all sorts of other 'associated' supposedly related characteristics like charming personality, intelligence, good character, etc.

In this case, the overwhelmingly good artwork give the illusion that they can also write.

The Positive and even Negative Halo Effects (think fat or racial minorities here for examples) apply to any field of human endeavour I'm aware of.  I can't begin to tell you how many computer experts I've met who think they're also experts at everything else in the universe simply because of their narrow-field of expertise.

True Da Vinci's and other Rennaissance types are rare gems.
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Gary
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« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2005, 09:36:26 PM »

Re: Perez' (no, the other Perez) Wonder Woman, I think what was wrong with the robot plane was that it would've stood out like a sore thumb when the treatment of the Amazons was going for a strong Greek Mythological flavor.
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TELLE
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« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2005, 11:04:21 PM »

Quote from: "Genis Vell"
SUPERMAN #180.

A trash story. There are other bad stories in my library, but luckily most of the Superman books I have read are good. Let's face it, you cannot write a bad story with Superman!


Well, if we are going to open up the can of worms known as "post-Crisis Superman Stories" we will have lots of ammunition (about 100% of them qualify). Cheesy
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« Reply #21 on: August 29, 2005, 11:20:19 PM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
Sure, I like KAMANDI too, but it wasn't as mind-blowing and fun and written as smartly as FANTASTIC FOUR. Jack Kirby's art, without a writer to tell him what to draw, got lazier and more simplified; artists draw things that are easy to draw.


Of all the people who that last phrase could describe, Kirby would be at the bottom of the list.  At best, you could say Kirby got older.  But lazy?  Give me a break!  True, some of Kirby's best stuff was done inside a relationship with a dialogue-writer/co-plotter, but I don't think, outside of his very earliest work and some 50s work for DC and others, he ever worked much with scripts.

As for his Kamandi-period work, the Fourth World stuff is very well-plotted and written (albeit slightly off-kilter as you would expect from an idiosyncratic genius like Kirby), as is the 70s Marvel Black Panther and Captain America stuff.

In the fine art world, Kirby would be considered a major Folk Artist, even if his comics weren't also literature.

I agree with the rest of the cartoonists ("comic book artists" --really illustrators) on your list, Julian, with the exception of Chaykin, whose American Flagg (at least the first 20 issues) merits another look.  And I have a fondness for his Blackhawk miniseries as well.  Generally intelligent, sexy (in a gross, linear 80s way), professionally drawn comics.
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« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2005, 12:49:15 AM »

American Flagg will be collected as a TPB by Image pretty soon so be on the lookout for that.

To me a Cartoonist is someone who writes and draws and creates their own comics, most of these people do not work for DC or Marvel and with good reason. People who only draw are not cartoonists, they are just hired hands. People who just write are not cartoonists, they are just writers.

Opinions are just that opinions, they are not facts nor do they even need to be true, they are just opinions.

Here is my opinion on this:

I also don't agree with Chaykin, Kirby or Larsen for that matter. Also maybe you only read mainstream stuff, but nearly every cartoonist in the Indies write and draw their own stuff and do everything else for that matter. There are tons of cartoonists that are great at both, they just do not do Superhero stuff. There was that amazing issue of Eightball with The Death Ray, but that all I can think of off the top of my head.

Comic Books are not all just about guys in spandex and capes, there is a lot more to comics than just that.
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« Reply #23 on: August 30, 2005, 01:00:25 AM »

Quote from: "TELLE"
Well, if we are going to open up the can of worms known as "post-Crisis Superman Stories" we will have lots of ammunition (about 100% of them qualify). Cheesy

The characters are different, though.  

The Pre-Crisis Superman emphasizes the SUPER over the man.  
The post-Crisis Superman emphasizes the MAN over the Super.  

Post-Crisis, we get stories about a man, where even some of the better ones don't really feel like classic "Superman".  

IMO, in a vacuum, a lot of these man-before-super stories can work well.  The first couple seasons of Lois & Clark had some fine moments in them, as did Busiek's "Secret Identity" run.  Where these stories tend to break apart is interacting with the rest of the revamped DC Universe, which tend to call for more "super" interactions than "man" ones.  Superman toggles between a total wuss-boy (emotionally and|or physically) and a god, more to further the story the writer has in mind rather than to explore Supes' character in some sensible way (or even to be true to his character -- not every story needs character building Smiley ).  We need a better balance.  Is Clark the pet "demon" of Superman, or the tortured man totally at the heart of the cape?  Is Lois that pesky reporter or some idealized perfect love partner?  Does Superman get KO'ed by a dorky electrified manhole cover or Cheetah strangling him with her legs, or can he withstand the awesome power of a dark sun?
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