Writer. Creator. Large mammal.

Category: 20 Broadway Comics

Made to Order – Part 2

A Miracle

In terms of unit cost, this must be one of the most expensive comic books ever printed:

Broadway Comics was funded by Broadway Video Entertainment, which was a division (or subsidiary, I forget) of parent Broadway Video. Broadway Video is the co-producer of Saturday Night Live and also a world-class video production house. Each year they give a snazzy holiday gift to their most important video-editing clients. In 1995, BV management asked us at Broadway Comics to create a special, collector’s item comic book as part of a holiday gift package.

Action Comics

This comment got me into full honking mode:

srp has left a new comment on your post “Regarding What Has Gone Before and a Modest Propos…“:

With regard to the earlier discussion of writing and decompression (much of which I agree with), I would like to emphasize a particular pet peeve about modern superhero comics: Lousy action sequences.

To me, action sequences in a superhero comic are like musical numbers in a musical or fight scenes in a martial arts movie. They are not disposable interludes that can be kissed off to advance the story. You’d think, in a decompressed environment dominated by fanboy aesthetics, that the action sequences in modern comic books would be awesome. But they aren’t, in what I consider a lamentable lack of craftsmanship.

Typical fight scenes now lack clear spatial relations, identifiable figures, logical and continuous flow across panels, and any semblance of consistency in who wins and why. All the characters are superimposed on each other in melee fashion with no sense of perspective. Mutant comics seem to be the worst offenders these days, but it’s a pervasive problem. (Something similar has happened in the movies, with many action films using quick-cut close-ups during fight scenes that make it difficult to tell what’s going on, but it doesn’t always happen.)

Lack of attention to superhero action scenes undermines sales to both the youth/new-user market and the established older market, since what is cool about superheroes, especially of the Silver Age type, is their distinctive visual and kinetic properties. I don’t mind the later “realistic” style that stressed winning with the first blow and mostly portrayed mismatches (e.g. Ellis and Moore) because a) there’s a certain logic to those choices, since even super people wouldn’t tend to pick fights they might not win and b) they usually depicted these swift battles in a clear and compelling visual manner. But if you’re decompressing, a long, high-quality set of battle scenes seems like a legitimate mode of storytelling because one thing superheroes are ABOUT is the skillful exercise of their powers under stress.

I suspect that modern creators take a somewhat “adolescent” attitude toward action sequences–they don’t want to be seen as “childish” by playing up the fantasy aspect of the characters, preferring to dwell on various extrinsic shock stimuli to seem more “adult.” But getting to see Iron Man use his resourcefulness to figure out and defeat the Raiders for an issue (to take a typical mediocre example rather than a classic) was a lot more entertaining and satisfying than much of what gets printed now.

Posted by srp to Jim Shooter at January 11, 2012 7:44 PM

The Web of the Snyder – Part 1

First This
Sorry it’s been so long between posts. Harsh reality sometimes asserts and fun has to wait.
Now This
In an answer to a comment regarding “What Has Gone Before and a Modest Proposal” I said this:

In any other medium besides comics, the person who has and reasonably develops the original idea is the creator. Usually the writer. Ask 1,000 people who created Star Wars. George Lucas, not the army of designers, artists, even re-writers who participated. Ask 1,000 people who created Jurassic Park. Michael Crichton, not the designers and filmmakers who developed the visuals, or even David Koepp who wrote the shooting script for the film. In comics, however, even a work-for-hire artist following a design made by the writer, a description given by the writer or instructions from the editor is given co-credit as creator. Does anyone else think this is unusual?

That sparked some debate, people weighing in on who deserves creator credit and under what conditions. And that’s fine. It’s an interesting topic. However, I suspect that some people thought I was asserting that the writer should get credit as creator. Nope. I said:

Note, everyone, that I’m not offering a position, here, I’m just asking questions.

Merry Christmas!

January 7th is Russian Christmas.  May your days be merry and bright, and let nothing you dismay.
A Gift From Fatale
This is a gift I received way back in 1995 from Fatale actress Traci Adell:
Perhaps she noticed my abiding interest in photogenic women. It’s a terrific book, by the way. One of the photogenic stars featured is Julie Newmar:

Traci Adell, the WWF, Fatale on TV, and the Web of the Snyder – Part 2

First This

When Fatale is brought up, occasionally I am accused of ripping off the concept of Chris Claremont’s power-stealing character Rogue, created in 1981. For anyone out there who subscribes to this nonsense, I would like to point out that I created the first (as far as I know) power-stealing character, the Parasite 15 years earlier in 1966. If I ripped off anyone, it was “my own, personal self,” as a former boss of mine used to say.

WWF Comic Battlemania

Traci Adell, the WWF, Fatale on TV, and the Web of the Snyder – Part 1

First This

It occurs to me, duh, that I have not yet wished everyone a Happy New Year. Sorry. So, without further ado,
Happy New Year!

The last year has been a tough one for most people I know. Many are unemployed, almost everyone has struggled and only a very few have done well. Here’s hoping that 2012 will be better. And that planet Nibiru doesn’t crash into us on December 21st.

Thoughts for the New Year:

Nike, Inc. “Just do it.”

Jimmy V:  “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.”

Winston Churchill:  “Carry on, and dread nought.”

My Grandma Elsie quoting a mummers play:  “Take a drink from my bottle, let it run down thy throttle; rise up and strive again.”

B.G. DeSylva and Lew Brown:  “Keep your sunny side up….”

John F. Kennedy:  “All of this will not be finished…even perhaps in our lifetime on the planet. But let us begin.”

Me, at DEFIANT:  “Just don’t quit.”

I hope your holidays were groovy. Press on regardless.

More About Broadway and Fatale

On this, the eighth day of Christmas I have no use for maids-a-milking. These items, on the other hand….
Murder weapon as Christmas gift:
A gift I gave to a psycho-chicken Elf who remains at large. “Slay” bells ring….
The tentacles of power:
A gift I gave to myself. Power mad? Yes, I am.
Fatale was an experiment in many ways. Fatale was created to be Broadway Comics’ answer to the “Bad Girl” trend, popular in the 1990’s. Being me, I wanted to do a Bad Girl who was every bit as extreme as those pneumatic vixens who led the charge but less puerile and more real.

And So This Is Christmas Plus More Sex

First, a Few Items

An Apology to Mark Waid

Mark Waid wrote this scene, which I showed as an example of an out-of-character use of Aunt May for the purpose of a shocker:

I had no idea that Mark had written that scene, not that it would have mattered. I’m an equal opportunity complainer. Anyone may find him or herself honked at here.

Here’s where I went wrong: I judged the scene against Aunt May’s character as it was when I was at Marvel. The Aunt May I knew of was a very old-fashioned woman, the epitome of propriety, who no more would have had sex out of wedlock than my Victorian-era Grandma, who was born in 1888. But, I’ve been told that Aunt May became a little more of a modern Golden Girl subsequently, and that the scene is not out of character for her. Okay.

Sorry, Mark.

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