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#475251 - 09/22/01 01:22 AM Re: TERRORIST COMICS: Time to Take a Stand!
Charles Reece Offline
Member

Registered: 08/18/99
Posts: 10013
Loc: us of fuckin' a
And some major works of literature have been nihilistic:

Barth's first 3: The Floating Opera, The End of the Road, and The Sot-Weed Factor

and

Celine's Journey to the End of the Night

and

Turgenev's Fathers and Sons

and

Gide's The Immoralist

and

Camus's The Stranger

Just off the top of my head, so what's wrong with nihilists? Of course, all of these were brilliantly executed, and not likely to paralleled by Ennis and colleagues (nor Stan Lee and any other writer/artist of superhero comics). So, if it's bad writing that's being condemned as evil, I'm on Jim's side!

[This message has been edited by Charles Reece (edited 09-22-2001).]
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#475252 - 09/22/01 01:24 AM Re: TERRORIST COMICS: Time to Take a Stand!
John Roberson Offline
Member

Registered: 11/25/98
Posts: 492
Loc: Chicago
If there's enough of us, we can put the irresponsible bastards out of business and out of our lives with terminal efficiency

This sounds very close to a death threat. Or, more specifically, a fatwah. And it's touching to see Jim's admiration of the Taliban and their efficiency at keeping order. I'm sure he'd like America to take a cue from them.
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#475253 - 09/22/01 01:57 AM Re: TERRORIST COMICS: Time to Take a Stand!
Fernando H. Ramirez Offline
Member

Registered: 02/21/00
Posts: 373
Loc: San Antonio, TX, Bexar
Jim:

I too believe that the world would be better if the prostitute superhero book didn't exist.

But your rant is basically reiterating stuff that everybody here already KNOWS. Crap that only promotes sex, violence, and non-values will ALWAYS be out there... no matter what the medium (music, film, art, comics).

I wonder if you are really informed about the current comics marketplace. Is this rant an opinion formed on a cursory reviewing of the latest PREVIEWS? I guess I question whether you really spend any time in the week to week trenches of today's comics marketplace. Because if you DID, then you would know that has never been a better time for the comics medium than THE HERE and NOW.

As a consumer, I don't remember ever having a better selection of material to choose from. There is better stuff out there TODAY than the industry has ever HAD. Honest work, GOOD intelligent work... work that makes you think, feel, and wonder. Work that makes you want to be a better person. And it's true that much of this work is finally beginning to become PROFITABLE... and finding a voice in major bookstores across the country.

I'm doing my part as a consumer.... actively purchasing and promoting what I consider to be good work. I don't buy the violent, gratuitous bullshit. But... as a person of influence, I would like to hear what folks like YOURSELF are doing to improve the comics industry for the rest of us.



------------------
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nando_ramirez@hotmail.com
http://www.fernandoramirez.com
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#475254 - 09/22/01 02:14 AM Re: TERRORIST COMICS: Time to Take a Stand!
gothicguru Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/26/01
Posts: 29
Loc: Fayetteville Ar USA
All I can say to that is WOW! I wasn't expecting any reaction from comic book professionals bordering on that kind of stance.

I do think it is time people do decide what they believe in and what their values are and act accordingly. It doesn't mean to me that anyone has to stop doing what they are doing necessarily - but just a few changes about how it is handled maybe. I think for example simply making it clear what your book is about and what you believe.

I love Poison Elves - the main character there is an assassin who shows little if any remorse ever - but I know that about the book and I know the spirit with which it is written and it works for me. I also like Castle Waiting for it's humor and broader appeal - it's a book I can share with my nephew and nieces. I believe they are both valid and appropriate for their markets.

What I don't appreciate is when a book like Fantastic Four is turned over to a creator that takes it into another genre. I don't want a book I should be able to share with my younger family members - suddenly dealing with mature themes and using curse words etc when for 30+ years they never did. That was also why I thought the Cicada storyline in Flash was out of line - it was just too dark for that title. It's not like bad things can't happen in these titles - it's just that when they do traditionally they are handled with discretion towards the audience rather than showing maximum blood and gore.

I won't agree that Garth Ennis, Amanda Connor, etc are siding with the terrorists though. I especially have a lot of respect for Amanda Connor. Garth hasn't really written anything that has appealed to me - though Goddess came close. I think as long as what he does is solicited correctly I don't see a problem. I never bothered to pick up a copy of Preacher because I knew by how it was solicited that I would not like it. Same thing with Hitman. But I had friends that liked both titles and they weren't maniacs - nor were they damaged by reading those titles.

I think the problem with some titles is the way they handle the violence - there is no remorse - no regret to causing death. I have been re-reading some Elementals stories from Comico - Bill Willingham I think had the right approach in keeping it real - ie: deaths happen and even the good guys can go to far - get angry - and make mistakes - but his characters FEEL and show their regret

Steranko I commend for his thoughts and stance. It will be interesting to see how others react to it - if indeed they do. I expect to see some other opinions scattered about from each extreme and I hope to gain a little insight and understanding from each as they come up.
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#475255 - 09/22/01 02:19 AM Re: TERRORIST COMICS: Time to Take a Stand!
David Seidman Offline
Member

Registered: 10/19/99
Posts: 261
Loc: West Hollywood, California 900...
Steranko wrote:



Steranko has an interesting point--a number of comics (and their creators and fans) do revel in harsh, bad-ass, grim-'n'-gritty characters. I don't know why it took the World Trade Center attack for him to speak up, though. For years, people like Mark Waid and Alan Moore have said the same thing.

What's more, they've been doing something about it, writing characters who have a respectable set of morals. So have Kurt Busiek and Paul Dini and Peter David and Devin Grayson and Tom DeFalco and Dan Jurgens and lots of others. Even Frank Miller, who's done some of the bloodiest, hardest-boiled comics in recent years, has said that his upcoming DARK KNIGHT series will present a more uplifting look at comics heroes. Then there are the independents: Terry Moore's STRANGERS IN PARADISE, Stan Sakai's USAGI YOJIMBO, Jeff Smith's BONE, Linda Medley's CASTLE WAITING, Mark Crilley's AKIKO, the whole ARCHIE line, and lots of others.

You can page through issue after issue of these books and rarely if ever see gore, fan-boy rage or T&A chaos. If it does show up, the stories' heroes oppose it.

Finally, on a personal note:

What sparked Steranko's letter was a press release on a new comic by Garth Ennis, Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti. "They obviously think of themselves as cultural terrorists," Steranko wrote. "If you fancy yourselves as terrorists, there are those among us who'll treat you as terrorists....We can put the irresponsible bastards out of business and out of our lives with terminal efficiency--and if that doesn't work, I'll personally provide tickets to the caves of the Taliban."

I don't think I've ever met Garth Ennis, but I know Jimmy Palmiotti a little bit and Amanda Conner pretty well. Amanda and Jimmy are good folks. For Steranko to threaten them just because he doesn't like the description of one project that they're doing is a pretty clear example of "scowling indignation, virulent language, towering disrespect, and open hostility"--things that Steranko opposes.

David Seidman

[This message has been edited by David Seidman (edited 09-22-2001).]

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#475256 - 09/22/01 02:48 AM Re: TERRORIST COMICS: Time to Take a Stand!
John Roberson Offline
Member

Registered: 11/25/98
Posts: 492
Loc: Chicago
There are some images that summarize some phenomena and sorts of people.

Knowles, does this look at all like a mirror?
[img]http://members.nerve.com/jlroberson/files/trumpets_clip.GIF[/img]

(image (c)1998 Al Columbia)
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#475257 - 09/22/01 03:27 AM Re: TERRORIST COMICS: Time to Take a Stand!
Korvac Offline
Member

Registered: 02/08/00
Posts: 1686
Loc: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Mr Steranko,

I don't need to give you a crash course in the dynamics of drama and conflict, you're a master story teller. You understand the value of tropes like the anti-hero and you know that censorship is a slippery slope that could disapear under our feet in an instant.

I really hope you know that.

I don't think Pro will be a celebration of evil. If you'd read any of Ennis's other works you'd know that under the crude shock humor and gore there is an almost religious awe for ideals like justice and heroism.

I think, I hope, that Pro is going to be a subversive work. Subversive in the sense that it will de-glamorize evil. Read Preacher, read Pride and Joy, read his Enemy Ace book. This is a writer who grapples with the ideals of heroism and justice. And yes, he also does fart jokes.

Sort of a well rounded creator, ya know?

In this world, right now the last thing we want to be doing is telling people not to read - look how few do without active discouragement. Try the book, maybe it will surprise you.

-Cliff
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#475258 - 09/22/01 04:05 AM Re: TERRORIST COMICS: Time to Take a Stand!
John Roberson Offline
Member

Registered: 11/25/98
Posts: 492
Loc: Chicago
Well-said, Cliff.

And for the record, Korvac was always my favorite comics terrorist. [img]/resources/ubb/wink.gif[/img]

BTW, aren't most supervillains terrorists in some sense? The Joker, Dr. Doom, those are two that come to mind. And the sainted Stan Lee created one of them! Imagine!

And how many times did classic Marvel comics feature NY being destroyed, its buildings, etc.? Shall the Essential Marvel volumes be banned too?

See how ridiculous that line of thinking can be? But some ridiculous things are not at all funny.

Cliff's definitely right concerning Garth. Behind the vulgar facade is actually one of the most traditional-sounding--and solid--voice of morals and human decency in comics writing. Warren Ellis, who is sometimes just as misunderstood, as well. Decent blokes personally as well.

If you call Ennis a "nihilist," well, read the Vietnam stories in PREACHER. See how much of a snotty nihilist and how disrespectful Garth is.

You ban "nihilists," well, sorry. I like Chris Ware. I like Al Columbia. I like Ivan Brunetti. I like Howard Chaykin. I like Robert Crumb. (far better than I ever cared, frankly, for SHIELD, but maybe that was just the inking)

But there's a place for nihilism, and patriotism, and melancholy, and dissent, and indeed all that the human mind can put IN LINES ON FREAKING PAPER AFTER ALL, and to call for any art--art, for god's sake!--to be banned from a free market is to become all that those who dislike America are. The Taliban, indeed, have issued fatwahs, of course not comcerning comics, that sound just like what you say, Jim, except they have guns.

I am angered by what you said because I love that this country allows me to speak my mind, whether like this, or in text, or in pictures. Or whatever. And that all of us can. Whatever the shape of the thin end of the wedge you may choose, Jim, censorship is censorship. Done to one, it can be done to all. America is not about that. To say what you have illegitimizes your opinion, frankly. I believe that the only invalid political view is that which would like, as its main aim, to shut up all those who disagree. Like Nazis, Jim. Like the Khmer Rouge. Like the USSR. Like the Taliban. It is sickening because I think of your generation, and what you say is, again regardless of the reason, against everything our soldiers have thought they were dying for, not in thousands but in hundreds of thousands, millions, in so many wars in your lifetime and before. You of all people should know better.

America is great because it's not supposed to be about force, but communication. Where others slice their enemies' heads off, we have the option of satirizing them, say. You want the terrorists to win, basically, and you should really think about the principles behind what you're saying. And I think you should be ashamed.



[This message has been edited by John Roberson (edited 09-22-2001).]
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#475259 - 09/22/01 05:26 AM Re: TERRORIST COMICS: Time to Take a Stand!
positronic Offline
Member

Registered: 07/25/01
Posts: 73
Mr. Steranko,

Well, you are right about one thing. I AM angry. Unfortunately, that anger is currently directed at you.

First, a bit of background - I am 44 years old, and have been reading comics for 35 years without a lapse. During that time, I've pretty much seen it all, the highs and the lows, the classics and the crapola. I've always considered myself a great fan of your body of work (relatively small as it is); in fact I would consider you among the 10 greatest comics creators of all time. Yet, I now find that I must take extreme exception to your comments.

Oh, it's true enough that there are reams of worthless, tasteless dreck cluttering up the comic racks these days - but that's always been true. As Sturgeon's Law states, "90% of EVERYTHING is crap". The difference between today and yesterday is merely one of tone - today's crappy comics are of a different stripe of infantilism (and make no mistake, comics have always wallowed in infantilism), merely because today, in the main, comics are not marketed to kids and teenagers so much as they are marketed to adults over 21. I hope, whether you like that fact or not, you can at least accept it as true.

But here's where I take exception to your comments. Instead of merely walking into a comics shop, and picking up any one of a number of examples of mindless violence, blood & gore to use as an example to illustrate your point, what do you point to? PRO, a comic book that hasn't even been RELEASED yet, so it's completely unfair to judge it since none of us (including you, and probably everybody but Garth Ennis, Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Connor and the editors at Image Comics) have even SEEN it yet. And what is this comic book's theoretical offense to the senses? Its main character is a prostitute. Ah, yes, SEX. The favorite target of the conservative right wing "moral majority". Conveniently lumped in indiscriminantly with the violence and death of REAL terrorism, as an indicator of moral decay, evil, perversity. Somehow, I suspect that if a European or Japanese comics creator was to use a prostitute as the protagonist of their graphic story, you wouldn't raise such a lament -- but let an AMERICAN publisher dare to tackle such story material, and the country's going to the dogs. Are you so lacking in a sense of humor, that you can't see the blackly humourous satire in the publisher's self-description of the comic book in question as "evil"?

While at this point I should take pains to point out that America has an ongoing fascination with the profession of prostitution -- witness such well-received films as KLUTE, PRETTY WOMAN, and LEAVING LAS VEGAS -- I won't bother. I really shouldn't have to lecture you, Mr. Steranko, about the relative evils or lack thereof, of sex. I mean, you ARE the same Mr. Steranko who published Mediascene PREVUE magazine, are you not? The one where month after month, I'd see pages of advertisments for pin-up, girlie, nudie, bondage, fetish magazines [or in street parlance, "stroke books"]? But I guess they are excused because we never see any actual penetration or copulation in these books. They aren't "pornography", they're "artistic". A celebration of the beauty of the female form. Yeah, right. This sudden reviling of sex as a great evil strikes me as extremely hypocritical, coming from you. Or is sex only evil if it's in the comics? Didn't you used to sell books like SWEET GWENDOLINE, and LITTLE ANNIE FANNY? In short, Mr. Steranko, climb down off your high horse. We have a pretty good idea of where your own sexual fantasies lie. Which is fine, to each his or her own. But don't go all preachy on us, or we'll call you on "the pot calling the kettle black".

Now to the other point that most angers me about your diatribe. This is the second proclamation I've read from you in a year or so. The last time, you were begging the comics-buying public NOT to purchase Marvel's reprint of NICK FURY AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Now you are begging me not to purchase the work of a writer whose work I've enjoyed in the past, Garth Ennis. My question to you, Mr. Steranko, is this: what have YOU done for me lately? Why do I only hear from you when you have something to bitch and whine about? What did YOU offer me, as an alternative to puchasing Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D. trade paperback? In the last ten years, I've read interviews with you, all of which contained vaguely worded hints about tons of new projects and concepts that you were waiting to unleash on the world. None have materialized. Were you actually to PRODUCE the work, I'm SURE you could come to an agreement with SOME publisher to publish it. Yet, I've heard no publisher or editor speak of ever having seen such work offered from you. It may be that you feel you yourself want to publish your own work. Fine. You want to raise the tone of the content of today's comic books? You can do it by producing quality work. Trust me, people respect a person who leads by example far more than an armchair critic, and there IS an audience out there waiting to buy it -- but we're losing patience. If you want to talk the talk, you'd better back it up by walking the walk.


[This message has been edited by positronic (edited 09-22-2001).]

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#475260 - 09/22/01 05:56 AM Re: TERRORIST COMICS: Time to Take a Stand!
John Roberson Offline
Member

Registered: 11/25/98
Posts: 492
Loc: Chicago
(Imagine heavy applause)

Beautifully said.
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Creator of Vitriol, and the upcoming October Surprise, and FALLING SKY...

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