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#46804 - 04/22/00 06:02 AM Gene Phillips and the JLA
Anonymous
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Quite simply put, I am astounded!

I have NEVER read a review quite like the one Ive just re-read for the second time.

In the current issue of TCI (The Comics Interpreter) Gene Phillips does about the most amazing thing I've ever seen as a vehicle for doing a review.

Splitting himself into four personas, he delves into so many different aspects of the Grant Morrison run of JLA that I actually got up off my butt and started reading them.

This vehicle, the four personas discussing the four aspects is lovely, and very entertaining, unique and original!

Dont miss it, its a very sweet read!

THANKS Gene for a very cool way of looking at something!

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#46805 - 04/24/00 03:55 PM Re: Gene Phillips and the JLA
gene phillips Offline
Member

Registered: 09/30/99
Posts: 5910
Loc: Houston, TX
Thanks for your enthusiastic review, Jack. The piece was fun to write.
I plan to use the "Fragmented Four" again in future; I just haven't decided on what yet.

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#46806 - 05/22/00 10:08 PM Re: Gene Phillips and the JLA
Robert Offline
Member

Registered: 02/23/99
Posts: 851
Loc: The belly of the beast
Agreed, Jack!

Now everyone can enjoy the erudite Mr. Phillips' essay online. His APOCALYPSE NOW: IS IT CRISIS YET? is a great read, whether you follow the JLA's cosmic escapades or not (I don't).

http://hometown.aol.com/creednail/JLAESSAY.html

------------------
~~~Robert Young~~~
http://hometown.aol.com/creednail/index.html
The Comics Interpreter Online--Updated (Jan. 2000). And no longer in smear-a-vision



[This message has been edited by Robert (edited 05-22-2000).]
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#46807 - 05/23/00 04:19 PM Re: Gene Phillips and the JLA
Joe Zabel Offline
Member

Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 2546
Loc: Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
Gene--

I agree that it was a brilliant means of presenting a review. I can't seem to link to Robert's site, but some thoughts from memory--

The review seems to mostly be a dialog between 'Thought' and the other persona that likes realistic stories. Why not make the other personas more articulate about their points of view, rather than having them be interpreted by 'Thought'.

I think a truly great work of art appeals to the whole person. It seems that you disagree. You portray a situation in which the work in question, a JLA comic, appeals to 'Thought' and the two inarticulate personas, and completely alienates the persona that enjoys realistic stories.

Since readers who enjoy realistic stories are whole, complete individuals, is it fair for you to portray them as being only one of four personas in the human personality? Are you suggesting that we are somehow retarded or repressed, or should be institutionalized? [img]http://207.69.158.95/ubb/smile.gif[/img]

Your character who likes realistic stories cites Balzac and auto-biographical stories as his favorites. I guess such people exist, but it doesn't seem representative. When I think of realism, I think of a rich and still vital tradition. Not that there's anything wrong with Balzac, but I think of a wide variety of authors-- Flaubert, F. Scott Fizgerald, Tolstoy, Jane Austin-- and much of the best in motion picture history-- THE SEARCHERS, THE BEST YEARS OF THEIR LIVES, THE GODFATHER, FARGO. Also, auto-biographical stories are a small part of realistic fiction, and certainly not the best part; you have to reach beyond yourself to capture the scope of society realistically portrayed.

As I recall, the character who likes realistic stories represents the side of the personality that enjoys character development and a coherent structure. Are you suggesting that the characters in the JLA comic aren't worth very much, and the plot is incoherent?

You make the remark that the opposition to evil in the JLA comic is merely a pretext to send the characters on a mission to other planets. That doesn't make sense to me-- surely the opposition to evil is one of the indispensable conventions of the superhero genre. The best way to send characters on a journey to strange lands is to set them on a QUEST, for a chalice, a lost arc, a magic ring, or a big fat green diamond. If Morrison could have dispensed with the superhero structure, he would have been better off using this classic device. Of course, I haven't read the comic; I'm just commenting in general.

Sorry for the sloppiness of commenting thusly without the article in hand. Unfortunately I have to log on from the library, and have left it at home.
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Joe Zabel

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#46808 - 05/23/00 08:46 PM Re: Gene Phillips and the JLA
RICK Offline
Member

Registered: 05/03/99
Posts: 1805
Loc: Whitesboro, New York, USA
Gene-- You do the K-a proud!
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Organized Readers of Comics Associated
http://www.ORCAfresh.net
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#46809 - 05/24/00 06:53 PM Re: Gene Phillips and the JLA
gene phillips Offline
Member

Registered: 09/30/99
Posts: 5910
Loc: Houston, TX
Thanks for the in-depth consideration, Joe. My responses won't mean much to anyone who hasn't read it, but maybe that'll simply spur more people to seek out THE INTERPRETER.
You correctly observed that the piece is principally a dialogue between the characters representing "Thought" and "Feeling," while the other two, "Sensation" and "Intuition" take something of a back seat. Frankly, however successful it is, this is as I intended it; to follow closely (tho I hope not slavishly) Jung's concept of the four functions. In one aside Jung notes that Sensation and Intuition are the more obscure of the four in terms of how human beings experience and/or become aware of them, because they operate in non-logical ways. As such, they can punctuate a logical argument with assorted digressions or observations but not actively take part, in my conception.
I think a great work of art can in theory apply to all functions within a person, but that even so some tend to emphasize this or that function. A Jane Austen novel, for instance, is rooted much more in Feeling as I interpret it; Melville's MOBY DICK, not as concerned with character interaction, is biased toward Thought and perhaps Intuition.
As caricatures, all the personas have limitations, not just "Feeling;" so none of them are "whole, complete individuals." They all have some relevant points to make about a given work; sometimes one will be undercut by another, sometimes not. (Note that Thought did not refute Feeling's point about the motives of corporate DC for their superhero extravaganzas.)
Similarly, from the point of someone who likes well-characterized stories, there's little doubt that Morrison's JLA would be a freaking mess. It's only when seen from other viewpoints that certain qualities of that opus come forth.
Lastly, I think most epic structures do require a villain of some sort, even one well in the background like Tolkein's Sauron. There are exceptions, but I think they prove the rule. In order to be questing around, the hero usually needs to be preventing some vile villainy-- which takes us back to my point about the prevention of evil being largely an excuse to go adventuring.
There may be more but I gotta go. Thanx again--

[This message has been edited by gene phillips (edited 05-25-2000).]

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#46810 - 05/25/00 11:16 AM Re: Gene Phillips and the JLA
Joe Zabel Offline
Member

Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 2546
Loc: Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
One other point occurred to me, Gene-- FEELING always expresses his dislike of the JLA in very general terms. It's as if he hadn't read the comic. It might be an interesting challenge for you to show how he'd criticize the specifics. For example, he might say, 'Look at this monster here-- the artist has drawn his teeth so big that he can't possibly close his mouth, much less talk. Obviously the intent of this over-the-top art is to satirize and ridicule the fantasy genre! Bah, humbug! Where'd I misplace my copy of COUSIN BETTE?'
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Joe Zabel

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