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#24503 - 02/06/07 10:57 AM BYRNE: "I wish Watchmen had never been written"
Shoegaze99 Offline
Member

Registered: 06/15/02
Posts: 5325
Loc: Not Applicable, USA
Yet another long JBF debate on what is Right to do in comics and what is Wrong. No great surprise there, as teh majority of comic discussion there has to do with how much they all hate comics. Watchmen came up, as it frequenly does. More of the same.

As far as John Byrne is concerned, Watchmen was the Wrong Thing To Do, so much so that he wishes it had never been written.
http://www.byrnerobotics.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=16816&PN=1&TPN=12

Quote:
POSTER:
Doesn't great work justify its existence?

BYRNE:
No.
Quote:
POSTER:
So you would prefer that Watchmen and Dark Knight (Returns) never have been written?

BYRNE:
WATCHMEN, yes -- tho it would be sad to lose that beautiful artwork! DKR -- let's just say I wish the second half had told the same story as the first.
Watchmen, Byrne argues, helped ruin the comics industry:
Quote:
WATCHMEN and DKR might have been huge financial successes, but the overall "darkening" they brought to the industry led only to a spiral of ever diminishing sales.
Interesting. So love it or hate it - and if people dislike Watchmen, fair enough, in my opinion - but to argue that it should never have been written?

Discuss.

(Take note, Byrne mentioned twice in the thread that he has never read past issue #5 of Watchmen, something he has said on previous occassions, too. This has not stopped him from commenting on the quality of the work, though.)
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#24504 - 02/06/07 11:41 AM Re: BYRNE: "I wish Watchmen had never been written"
Not From Around Here Offline
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Registered: 06/20/05
Posts: 1489
While I don't have much use for John Byrne, I do share the sentiment. "Watchmen" and "DKR" were like the beginning of the end for most of what I enjoyed about superhero comics. Alan Moore himself seems not to have intended for the "darkening" to go as far as it did. I've seen a quote from him in Jacobs' and Jones' "The Comic Book Heroes" to the effect that he had "unknowingly ushered in a new dark age in comics."

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#24505 - 02/06/07 11:57 AM Re: BYRNE: "I wish Watchmen had never been written"
Emperor of the Gutters Offline
Member

Registered: 03/12/02
Posts: 316
Quote:
Originally posted by Shoegaze99:

(Take note, Byrne mentioned twice in the thread that he has never read past issue #5 of Watchmen, something he has said on previous occassions, too. This has not stopped him from commenting on the quality of the work, though.)
Or making reference to the final scene just to complain about how Watchmen isn't realistic (this happened in the letters page of NEXT MEN).
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#24506 - 02/06/07 12:34 PM Re: BYRNE: "I wish Watchmen had never been written"
Shoegaze99 Offline
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Registered: 06/15/02
Posts: 5325
Loc: Not Applicable, USA
So, NFAH, you wish that Watchmen had never been written? Or is it just that you don't care for the imitations that have come along?
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#24507 - 02/06/07 01:22 PM Re: BYRNE: "I wish Watchmen had never been written"
David Porta Offline
Member

Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 4823
.

Okay, analyse that.

1. Sales of Watchmen and Dark Knight were very high.
Let's say that is TRUE.

2. An " overall 'darkening' " WAS "brought to the industry" in the wake of this.

3. This, in turn, "led only to a spiral of ever diminishing sales."

I submit that editorial departments' simply misinterpreted what buyers' liked about those two series.

It wasn't the darkness of Dark Knight that I liked. It was the humor, and the way that the pictures used pantomime to impart dramatic effect.

It wasn't the darkness of Watchmen that I liked. It was the humor and eccentricity of the Rorschach character, and of other characters.

There was plenty about each series that I DIDN'T care for, but the good outweighed the bad.

I mean, imagine if editorial departments had decided that the reason Watchmen had high sales was because of the text page inserts (a la John Dos Passos' U.S.A. trilogy), and decided to put out a host of comic books using that technique: would anyone have analysed THAT decision as a correct one, and then decried Watchmen having ever been released, because of editorial's [mis]interpretation of sales?

.

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#24508 - 02/06/07 01:33 PM Re: BYRNE: "I wish Watchmen had never been written"
MBunge Offline
Member

Registered: 07/19/01
Posts: 3386
Loc: Waterloo, Iowa, United States
I'd imagine there's a lot of comic book fans or creators who wish the BATMAN TV show had never been made, because of the lasting impression it made on millions of people on what comic books were like. Heck, I think John Byrne might be one of them. In fact, if you think of the subject as "works within a genre", there are probably certain genre books, movies or even plays that had such enormous influence on the genre that you could find folks who say "I wish (movie X, book X, play X) had never been made.

Mike

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#24509 - 02/06/07 01:53 PM Re: BYRNE: "I wish Watchmen had never been written"
TRaik Offline
Member

Registered: 05/18/01
Posts: 299
Quote:
Originally posted by David Porta:
Okay, analyse that.

1. Sales of Watchmen and Dark Knight were very high.
Let's say that is TRUE.

2. An " overall 'darkening' " WAS "brought to the industry" in the wake of this.

3. This, in turn, "led only to a spiral of ever diminishing sales."

I submit that editorial departments' simply misinterpreted what buyers' liked about those two series.
That's possible, certainly.

I'd also like to submit that there may be an underlying fallacy in thinking there's a clear causal line between whatever "darkness" exists in today mainstream comics back to Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns.

I mean, shortly after these two works, the BWAH-HAH-HAH comedy of Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League was the most popular comics style around--hardly dark stuff.

It'd take a better historian than I to trace all this stuff, but in general pop culture (of all kinds) seems more cyclical than linear in its evolution that I'm not automatically inclined to draw a direct correlation between Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns to whatever's grim-and-gritty today...

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#24510 - 02/06/07 02:05 PM Re: BYRNE: "I wish Watchmen had never been written"
shjonescrk Offline
Member

Registered: 10/31/03
Posts: 1351
Loc: Airdrie, Scotland
Quote:
Originally posted by David Porta:
.

Okay, analyse that.

1. Sales of Watchmen and Dark Knight were very high.
Let's say that is TRUE.

2. An " overall 'darkening' " WAS "brought to the industry" in the wake of this.

3. This, in turn, "led only to a spiral of ever diminishing sales."

I submit that editorial departments' simply misinterpreted what buyers' liked about those two series.

It wasn't the darkness of Dark Knight that I liked. It was the humor, and the way that the pictures used pantomime to impart dramatic effect.

It wasn't the darkness of Watchmen that I liked. It was the humor and eccentricity of the Rorschach character, and of other characters.

There was plenty about each series that I DIDN'T care for, but the good outweighed the bad.

I mean, imagine if editorial departments had decided that the reason Watchmen had high sales was because of the text page inserts (a la John Dos Passos' U.S.A. trilogy), and decided to put out a host of comic books using that technique: would anyone have analysed THAT decision as a correct one, and then decried Watchmen having ever been released, because of editorial's [mis]interpretation of sales?

.
Except that comics sales went up and up following Watchmen and DK and only crashed 10 years after they came out. I suppose their negative effects finally got through. Or maybe they created the speculator boom?

I think Byrne is jealous of Watchmen. Moore is famous outside of the ghetto of comics.

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#24511 - 02/06/07 02:20 PM Re: BYRNE: "I wish Watchmen had never been written"
Matthewwave Offline
Member

Registered: 06/04/00
Posts: 4993
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
If the success of Watchman in any way contributed to the dimming of Byrne's star in the heavens of the comic book world, then the total destruction of the industry was worth it.

Matthew

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#24512 - 02/06/07 02:36 PM Re: BYRNE: "I wish Watchmen had never been written"
Shoegaze99 Offline
Member

Registered: 06/15/02
Posts: 5325
Loc: Not Applicable, USA
Quote:
Originally posted by MBunge:
In fact, if you think of the subject as "works within a genre", there are probably certain genre books, movies or even plays that had such enormous influence on the genre that you could find folks who say "I wish (movie X, book X, play X) had never been made.
I loathe to my core the dozens of generic fantasy Tolkien ripoffs that have been written over the years (Terry Brooks ought to be forced to eat every last copy of Sword of Shannarra), but I sure as hell don't wish The Lord of the Rings hadn't been written so as to avoid the plague of crap, even if that plague of crap did clutter the fantasty shelves for too long.

Don't get me wrong, I get your point and think it's a fair one. I just don't understand the mindset of wishing away an artistic creation, period. (Not saying you are, either.) That whole notion strikes me as wrong.
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