mama can’t tell me nothing

September 9th, 2011 Posted by david brothers

All of these are taken from the first five (seven, in one case, but I forget which) pages of Scott Snyder’s most high profile work: American Vampire (with Rafael Albuquerque, Daniel Zezelj, and Dave McCaig, Detective Comics (with Jock, Francesco Francavilla, and David Baron), and Swamp Thing (with Yanick Paquette and Nathan Fairbairn). Snyder’s had fifty or so comics published thus far, but all of these hit in the last 18 (or so) months. American Vampire is 18 issues deep, his run on ‘Tec was 11 issues, and Swamp Thing just started.

Do you see what all of these have in common? “[Aged male mentor figure] used to say [anecdote relevant to the plot].” He switches it up in American Vampire 12 with “Someone once told me”, and he pulls out families and tv shows for another. The real twisty one is ‘Tec 875, where Harvey Bullock, the aged male mentor figure, talks about how kids these days just don’t get it and AM radios are a thing that exists and here’s how to survive in Gotham. Never a mother, interestingly. Always either dudes or groups that are traditionally led by dudes.

All of these are basically the same thing. Anecdotes to kick the story off and show what sort of things the issue’ll be dealing with. It isn’t a bad technique, exactly, but it’s in half of ‘Tec, a quarter of American Vampire, and the first issue of Swamp Thing. It’s substantial, and it’s noticeable, when what it really should be is invisible.

It’s like Garth Ennis and Ireland or (expletive)(facial feature), Brian K Vaughan and stupid trivia, Chris Claremont and BDSM, Brian Bendis and his style of dialogue, Greg Rucka and characters like Sasha Bordeaux/Rene Montoya/Tara Chace/Dex Parios/what’s her name, the lady cop from Adventures of Superman/Elektra/maybe the newlywed widow from Punisher I dunno/the marshal from Wolverine/etc, Mark Millar and really specific numbers and/or really out of place diminutives, Frank Miller and hardboiled/Dirty Harry-style heroes, Warren Ellis and his hard-drinking British dude or lady who takes no guff off anyone and comes up with clever insults while moblogging all the way up and down the Web 2.0, Alan Moore and rape, Nick Spencer and writing terrible comics, Grant Morrison and dead cats, Frank Cho and impeccably drawn but super out of place boobs/butts, Ed Brubaker and women being arm candy for troubled dudes, Peter Milligan and identity issues/questions, and Bruce Jones using “______ THIS!” as a response entirely too often. It’s a tic, and once you notice it, you can’t not notice it, and it yanks you out of the story. It’s the FedEx arrow.

I don’t know how I noticed it, or how whoever told me noticed it (it was my man Luis, as a matter of fact), and his editors didn’t, but man. I opened Swamp Thing 1 and immediately rolled my eyes.

It sucks, because Snyder is a pretty good comics writer (American Vampire is definitely ill), but this is just so… lazy. Like “How to setup history and foreshadow a resolution to a cliffhanger for dummies” lazy. If this was some wack writer who kept trotting this out, I wouldn’t care, because I wouldn’t be buying his comics.

edit: from Amy K, here’s an example from Severed, Snyder’s creator-owned book, where a kid doesn’t have a father to tell him stuff like “Don’t take wooden nickels” and horrible things presumably happen to him as a result of taking a gang of wooden nickels off some demon-possessed hobo or something:

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Fourcast! 42: We’re The Losers, Baby

April 26th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

-We talk about The Losers, the recently released adaptation of Andy Diggle and Jock’s Vertigo comic.
-I mean, we kinda talk about it. We kinda go all over the place.
-You listen to the Fourcast, you know how it goes. Sometimes we just gotta talk about sitcoms.
-Something something Grey’s Anatomy.
-Blah blah John Constantine blah.
-David can’t tell actors apart.
-Chris Evans sidebar.
-A little bit about Shane Black.
Die Hard is from 1988, not 1989.
-Overall, though, we liked it. Solid B+, feel good 80s-style action movie of the spring. Nothing too deep, but you’ll never be bored.
-6th Sense’s 4a.m. Instrumental for the theme music.
-See you, space cowboy!

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The Losers Film Is Coming

January 29th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

Andy Diggle and Jock’s The Losers has probably the best last line of any comic ever (if you’ve ever read it, you know it) and the movie drops later this year. MSN has the hookup on a full length trailer, presented here with a tip of the hat to iFanboy, where I watched the footage.

<a href="http://video.msn.com/?mkt=en-us&#038;from=sp&#038;fg=MsnEntertainment_MoviesTrailersGP2_a&#038;vid=1b9d070f-aff2-47f6-8a86-9b2b44ec4fc6" target="_new" title="'The Losers' Exclusive Look">Video: &#8216;The Losers&#8217; Exclusive Look</a>

I like it. It looks great, it feels like the book, it’s well-cast, and it has a good sense of humor, something that The Losers definitely had when it was appropriate. Another thing I really like: they aren’t afraid to step away from the source material to make the movie work. There were a few scenes I didn’t recognize (Aisha in the tub, the Blagyver stuff, Aisha being fairly talky talk) along with a lot that I did (Chris Evans dancing in the elevator, Aisha blowing up the tank). A good comic book movie, even when adapting a specific story (such as 300 or Sin City), includes something new, rather than just being comics turned storyboards turned script turned movie.

Freshen it up some. I loved Sin City, but it is faithful to the point of being annoying. I knew all the twists, I knew all the lines, and while I liked it, it wasn’t as dope as it should have been.

But yeah, back to the point: The Losers. Dope.

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