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Question: Geoff Johns: Hero or Menace?  (Voting closed: April 20, 2006, 12:54:29 AM)
Hero - 7 (50%)
Menace - 7 (50%)
Total Voters: 13

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Author Topic: Superman 651  (Read 13407 times)
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Kurt Busiek
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« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2006, 05:46:48 AM »

Quote from: "Great Rao"
Well, I thought I was buying SUPERMAN, not TOMB OF DRACULA. Smiley


Logo fooled you, did it?

More seriously, if you're making an argument that the Code label is deceptive, then the argument is that the Code wouldn't normally allow such scenes, not merely that you wouldn't expect them in  a Superman book.  As such, if the Code was regularly approving blood-sucking deaths in any comic back in the early 1970s, it's germane to the counterargument that no, the Code does allow such scenes and has for a long, long time.

Sucking the life out of bodies and leaving them mummified husks isn't out of Code either -- it happened numerous times in X-MEN, just to pick one example.

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Perhaps I've just got a lower tolerance for this sort of stuff than I used to.  Or perhaps most other people now have a higher tolerance than they used to.  But either way, it didn't feel the same to me.  It wasn't really the violent acts per se, it was more the attitude behind them.


And that's a fair comment -- I don't object to you not caring for it; I just object to the argument that the Code is being unusually lax and that such material isn't within the established range of Code practice.

kdb
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Kurt Busiek
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« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2006, 05:55:00 AM »

Quote from: "MatterEaterLad"
Nevertheless, for better or worse, I'm a Silver Ager who saw so many storylines solved without graphic death...but then I'm not sure that will ever mean anything anymore...


Depends on who you're selling 'em to, I think.

I'd love to see a line of kid-oriented "graphic albulms" (something like the Golden Books format) written and drawn with a sensibility not that far different from the 1970s DCU and sold in bookstores, where kids and their parents actually turn up, but the industry is not reaching those audiences now, and changing the content won't alter that -- it'll just sell fewer copies to the audience that is buying.

"If you build it, they will come" is a phony argument -- even in FIELD OF DREAMS, it only works because God is on the side of the writers.  Comics publishers can sell books to kids when they figure out how to reach kids again.  Until they do that, there's no way for that sort of thing to succeed.

kdb
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Great Rao
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« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2006, 06:03:32 AM »

Here's an excerpt from the link Kurt posted:

Quote from: "Comics Code Authority circa 1989"
VIOLENCE

Violent actions or scenes are acceptable within the context of a comic book story when dramatically appropriate. Violent behavior will not be shown as acceptable. If it is presented in a realistic manner, care should be taken to present the natural repercussions of such actions. Publishers should avoid excessive levels of violence, excessively graphic depictions of violence, and excessive bloodshed or gore. Publishers will not present detailed information instructing readers how to engage in imitable violent actions.

I never read Tomb of Dracula, nor X-men, so I can't comment on whether or not the way these things are presented now is the same as they way they were presented in the 1970s.  I expected the CCA to stand for something - but I was apparently mistaken.

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"The bottom line involves choices.  Neither gods nor humans have ever stood calmly in a minefield forever.  Good or evil, they are bound to choose.  And when they do, you will see the truth of all that motivates us.  As a thinking being, you have the obligation to choose.  If the fate of all mankind were in your hands, what would your decision be?  As a writer and an artist, I've drawn my answer."   - Jack Kirby
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« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2006, 06:16:42 AM »

Quote from: "Kurt Busiek"
Quote from: "MatterEaterLad"
Nevertheless, for better or worse, I'm a Silver Ager who saw so many storylines solved without graphic death...but then I'm not sure that will ever mean anything anymore...

Depends on who you're selling 'em to, I think.

I'd love to see a line of kid-oriented "graphic albulms"  (....)  Comics publishers can sell books to kids when they figure out how to reach kids again.  Until they do that, there's no way for that sort of thing to succeed.


Marketing books strictly towards kids isn't necesarily the same thing as creating books without graphic violence in them.  The assumption you are making is that it is a story's natural state to contain graphic death, and that anything without graphic death must, by definition, be strictly kiddy-fare.  I would argue that having graphic violence and death in a story is an abberation - and that it is a worthy goal to create well-written adult stories without visceral gore.

S!
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"The bottom line involves choices.  Neither gods nor humans have ever stood calmly in a minefield forever.  Good or evil, they are bound to choose.  And when they do, you will see the truth of all that motivates us.  As a thinking being, you have the obligation to choose.  If the fate of all mankind were in your hands, what would your decision be?  As a writer and an artist, I've drawn my answer."   - Jack Kirby
Kurt Busiek
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« Reply #20 on: April 27, 2006, 06:28:32 AM »

Quote from: "Great Rao"
Here's an excerpt from the link Kurt posted:

Quote from: "Comics Code Authority circa 1989"
VIOLENCE

Violent actions or scenes are acceptable within the context of a comic book story when dramatically appropriate. Violent behavior will not be shown as acceptable. If it is presented in a realistic manner, care should be taken to present the natural repercussions of such actions. Publishers should avoid excessive levels of violence, excessively graphic depictions of violence, and excessive bloodshed or gore. Publishers will not present detailed information instructing readers how to engage in imitable violent actions.

I never read Tomb of Dracula, nor X-men, so I can't comment on whether or not the way these things are presented now is the same as they way they were presented in the 1970s.  I expected the CCA to stand for something - but I was apparently mistaken.


I never expected them to stand for much, myself.

But mainly, in this case, you disagree with them on a subjective matter.  I think it's hard to say that anything in SUPERMAN 651 is "excesively graphic," but to each his own.

kdb
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Kurt Busiek
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« Reply #21 on: April 27, 2006, 06:44:34 AM »

Quote from: "Great Rao"
Marketing books strictly towards kids isn't necesarily the same thing as creating books without graphic violence in them.


Didn't say it was.

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The assumption you are making is that it is a story's natural state to contain graphic death, and that anything without graphic death must, by definition, be strictly kiddy-fare.


No, I'm not making any such assumption.  ACTION 837, for instance, had no graphic death in it, nor does 838, if I'm remembering correctly.

I'm making the assumption that the level of violence and minimal gore in SUPERMAN 651 is not something that needs to be avoided if it comes up in a story, unless you're specifically trying to do so.

If a story has such content, fine.  If it doesn't, also fine.

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I would argue that having graphic violence and death in a story is an abberation


And I think that's preposterous.  The Bible is an aberration?  The Count of Monte Cristo is an aberration?  James and the Giant Peach is an aberration?

No.  They're not.

I don't think there is such a thing as a "natural state" for stories, that says that stuff I approve of is normal and stuff I don't like is aberrant.  I think stories can have many, many different kinds of things therein, and that there is no peculiar dividing line that declares Anne of Green Gables to be "natural" and Catch-22 to be "aberrant."

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and that it is a worthy goal to create well-written adult stories without visceral gore.


I think it's a worthy goal to create well-written stories.  Limiting worthiness to adult stories or to stories without blood in them seems to me as pointless as limiting worthiness only to children's stories or to stories with visceral gore.

I also continue to think that if SUPERMAN 651 is considered a gory story, then the scale of acceptability is very narrow indeed.  If it were a movie, it wouldn't even rate a PG-13.

kdb
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nightwing
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« Reply #22 on: April 27, 2006, 02:23:40 PM »

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I think it's a worthy goal to create well-written stories. Limiting worthiness to adult stories or to stories without blood in them seems to me as pointless as limiting worthiness only to children's stories or to stories with visceral gore.


I'm following this debate with interest.  Thanks guys.  Smiley

Without addressing Superman 651 specifically (I still don't have it) or Kurt's work in general (which I tend to enjoy), I will pipe up at this point and say I always have trouble with the word "adult" being treated as analogous to stories with dark themes, violence and cruelty and "children's stories" being analogous to uniformly bright and cheery pap.

Of course we all know there are many classic children's stories with death and mayhem...Grimm's fairy tales can be the stuff of nightmares.  But the point I want to make is that adding in blood and gore and murder and rape just for the heck of it does not make a story "adult." It may render it inappropriate for persons under a certain age, but it doesn't convey to the tale any great sophistication or intelligence or literary worthiness just by being there.  Violence, sex, etc have their place in fiction, but it's not so very difficult to tell when it's gratuitous and tacked on, and for my money, that's just about every time they show up in superhero comics.  These are stories about people who wear their underwear outside their pants, parade around in capes, shoot power beams out of their eyes and fingertips, and fool their closest friends with flimsy disguises.  The whole superhero genre is childish and silly and no amount of sexual assaults, dismemberments or decapitations will alter that basic fact.  Superhero comics with "mature themes" are not any more "adult" than their 1950's counterparts.  What they are is a niche genre for really oddball tastes (if not perversions).  Honestly, to me a guy who enjoys watching people in spandex kill and mutilate each other is every bit as weird as the guy who fantasizes about fuzzy animal cartoon characters doing porn.

I'm ranting.  Anyway my point is that the "Adult" label has gone from what it was originally meant to be -- a warning -- to something entirely different...a boast.  And an empty one, at that.

I'm reminded of what David Letterman said about those joints in NYC that  had little booths where you could screen a porn movie in privacy.  They were advertised as films with "mature themes and content." As Dave said, how "mature" is it, really, to watch a movie with your pants around your ankles?
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Michel Weisnor
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« Reply #23 on: April 27, 2006, 03:03:20 PM »

Post-IC Superman reflects the changing DCU. Now, there is quite a difference between heroes and villains. For example, Lex Luthor was in character when torturing Metallo. This is the same Lex Luthor whom feigned friendship to Superman; then murdered Superman while Clark's friends watched in Superman 169. Lex is being Lex.
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