Saturday, January 23, 2010

Things which might make me unpopular

If reading various Twitter feeds is any indication, I'm in disagreement with a great many comic fans about quite a few things. I've been making a little mental list of these differences in geek opinion, presented for you here:
  • I like "Family Guy." I like the "manatee jokes," I like the obscure-reference-based humor, I like the general attempts to offend just about everyone and the jabs at offensive stereotypes. Sometimes I think they go over the line, but I also think that's often the point. The biggest problem I have with them right now is that they're relying too much on callback jokes and reused jokes--the most egregious example being that they ended the second James Woods episode in exactly the same way as the first. On one hand, it was ballsy and funny, on the other hand, it was really lazy. In general, though, I think the show has mostly improved over time.

  • I also still like Kevin Smith movies. I haven't watched "Zack and Miri" yet, but since I'm the one person who enjoyed "Jersey Girl," I don't suspect I'll dislike it. I'm a big fan of Shakespeare, I enjoy Oscar Wilde, but every once in awhile I like to hear an hour and a half of dick jokes.

    His comics? Okay, I'm totally with the crowd on that one...except "Green Arrow," which was quite enjoyable last time I read it.

  • Similarly, I don't have any real problem with Brian Michael Bendis's dialogue. I credited that recently with why I don't have huge issues with the dialogue in Diablo Cody's movies (or at least, the two I've seen), and I think it applies to Kevin Smith movies as well. The scripting is heavily stylized, certainly artificial, overly clever, and sometimes results in multiple characters sharing a single voice--and those are all flaws. But in most of those cases, they're occasional flaws. My biggest issues with "Jennifer's Body" were all with the story; my biggest issues with Bendis is when the "Ultimate Spider-Man" dialogue that fits high schoolers carries over into "New Avengers;" my biggest problem with Kevin Smith is how much of his Twitter feed is about analingus. Dialogue that's somewhat more stylized than normal dialogue (because all written dialogue is stylized)? Not a big problem.

  • I like Alex Ross's art. I've seen complaints about his photo-referencing, and I think that's kind of ridiculous. There's a big difference between staging and taking your own photos to use as specific references, and pulling out the latest Hustler like Greg Land. I understand the complaint that he makes characters look old, and I guess that's just a taste thing. I don't mind it, although I do think it's a bit odd that there's no real difference facially between "Kingdom Come" Superman and "Peace on Earth" Superman. Still, I enjoy his work, and I think it deserves a lot of the credit for helping comics attain some of the legitimacy as mature art that they've developed over the last couple of decades.

  • I'm enjoying "Blackest Night." I suspect that at least some of this owes to my deliberate avoidance of certain tie-ins, like "Justice League of America." But the core story and the Green Lantern tie-ins have been generally quite good. Oddly enough, I think there's been less senseless death and gore than most Geoff Johns crossover events, and I think the story's been pretty compelling all along. Plus, I sincerely doubt that much of this death will stick, and a zombie story's not a zombie story without a few infected heroes. Some tie-ins have been admittedly fairly weak--I've already forgotten pretty much everything about the Batman and Superman miniseries--but that's the case in most crossovers, isn't it?

    The Wonder Woman thing? Yeah, that's just stupid. Johns backed himself into a corner by making all the Star Sapphires female; otherwise Diana and the Atom should have been swapped. As a matter of fact, the only DC heroes I can think of right now for whom the Violet ring would be appropriate are all male: Wally West, Superman, Kyle Rayner, etc.

  • I have almost no desire to see "Avatar." Cameron's hit-and-miss for me; "Terminator 2" was great, sure, but "Titanic" was an overlong cliché story populated by one-dimensional characters. It was "Dirty Dancing" on a sinking boat. Everything I've heard about "Avatar" suggests that it's a lot closer to the latter than the former: an amazing visual spectacle with a crappy paint-by-numbers story. Well, watching that CGI dude smack balls-first into a propeller wasn't enough to make "Titanic" enjoyable, and so I doubt that it'll be enough to save Smurfahontas for me. The only two things that make me want to see the movie at all are that I imagine it'll look better in IMAX than on my crappy TV, and I hear it does a good job of portraying scientists as people rather than cardboard cut-outs. Does that add up to the cost of an IMAX 3D ticket and three hours of my life? Not yet it doesn't.

  • I've still never read anything by Warren Ellis to make me want to read things by Warren Ellis. I want to want to read things by Warren Ellis, but so far the desire's just not there.

  • Similarly, the only Mark Millar book I've ever read that wasn't underwhelming and wasn't co-written by Morrison was "Red Son"--and even that apparently had Morrison input. "Chosen" was disappointing, "Civil War" was crap, and two issues of "Kick-Ass" were two more than I needed to realize that I didn't want to continue reading it. The latest idea--what if Batman actually were the Joker?--sounds like Millar read "Irredeemable" and decided to do it with a Batman analogue instead of a Superman one.

There, that'll do for now. I might as well wait for them to come take my comic blogging license away. I wasn't using it anyway.


LurkerWithout said...

Any time a person whose taste I respect mentions liking Family Guy a little piece of my soul dies. Because, man, do I fucking hate Family Guy...

For Warren Ellis, maybe check out Crecy or Orbiter. Both are short, complete stories that could be though of as Ellis-lite...

I'm right with you on Millar though. I think Chosen might actually be his worst bit because it aims higher. No wait, its The Unfunnies because that had the most accurate name EVER...

Tom Foss said...

"Crecy" looks really interesting, and it's one that I've wanted to check out before. I'll see if I can track a copy down next time I have the cash.

Will Staples said...

Three things:

1) I liked Jersey Girl.

2) I too am completely disinterested in Avatar.

3) About Mark Millar, his run on Superman Adventures was actually pretty good. I think the only character he truly writes well - not just in Adventures, but also Red Son and, even though the rest of it was crap, Wanted - is Lex Luthor.

Tom Foss said...

Okay, I had forgotten about Superman Adventures. I've only read bits and pieces of that run, but it's all been quite good.

kalinara said...

I like Family Guy too. :-) Even if it does kill LurkerWithout's soul.

Bronze Dog said...

I like Family Guy, too, though more of the early seasons than the post-uncancelation episodes.

No interest in seeing Avatar, at least not in a form that requires money. It's my understanding that it's the good Native Americans versus Eeeee-ville conquerers IN SPACE trope, only with good CGI eye candy.

Don said...

I take issue with Family Guy. I used to love it when the manatee jokes were relevant to the dialogue instead of shoehorned in lazily like they have been since it got uncanceled. For my cartoon fix, I'll take Futurama any day of the week.

Zach and Miri is really hilarious, and you'll definitely like it. I didn't hate Jersey Girl, but I didn't love it either. I haven't seen Juno or Jennifer's Body because my initial impression of Diablo Cody is that she writes precocious hipster movies, and nothing I have learned since then has disabused me of that notion.

As for Bendis' dialogue, it's certainly problematic when he bleeds his teenager dialogue over into his adults. It happens in Ultimate Spider-Man, too, but he's gotten better. My biggest problem with Bendis in the year or two after House of M was that his plotting was awful. House of M revolved around a grab-bag of dei ex machinae and from there I had to read his almost-as-lame version of The Clone Saga and a bunch of other crap I've put out of my mind.

He's gotten better since Ultimatum, though. I'm really enjoying the new Ultimate Spider-Man. The art is kind of chibi and big-headed, but I never liked Bagley's art, anyway. I don't know why they stuck with him as long as they did.

As for Ellis and Millar, I'd say Ellis's Black Summer is pretty good. The best thing I've read by Millar is Old Man Logan, hands down. The best Wolverine story told in years, even if it is Wanted with Wolverine. And yes, Civil War sucked. It's the reason I didn't bother to read Secret Invasion or any of the "Dark" junk afterwards. Marvel's annual earth-shaking crossovers can blow me. I don't read any mainline Marvel stuff except Astonishing X-Men, anyway, and that's kind of in its own little world. Also Warren Ellis, and not terrible, but not Joss Whedon.

As for Avatar, yes. I wholeheartedly concur. I figure that in 6 months or so, people will buy the DVD or Blu-ray, sit down to watch it on a small, 2D screen, and realize "Hey, this movie is pretty stupid. Unobtanium? It's like they weren't even trying!"

Ever since Titanic and that Tomb of Jesus nonsense I can hardly believe this is the same guy who made Terminator 2, Aliens, and True Lies. Avatar looks like a complete piece of shit.