This weeks post was originally going to be on the conclusion to Jason Aarons Punisher MAX series, but that post took on a mind of its own so it won't be done till next week. So in the grand tradition of lazy blog posting here are random links / comments and a couple random thoughts thrown in to pad the word count.
Comics Alliance is doing a month long expose on "sex" in comics, most of these posts are little more than jokes about boobs, but two of them (so far) have been quite good.
The always wonderful David Brothers talks about how the over sexualization of female characters has hurt the story telling ability of artists. This is primarily due to, like the over reliance on splash pages and double page spreads, artists creating pages for collectors instead of as devices to tell the story. What strikes me as odd is that most of the artists who spring to mind doing this draw some hideous looking woman. While the more subdued artists, primarily those who routinely draw female characters in the nude, know how to restrain themselves. It's a odd variety of repression afflicting the direct market, if only some artists could draw a nipple every once in a while we may be saved from 20 pages of ass shots.
On a side note Brothers also wrote a exquisite piece of comic-journalism about who exactly is pirating Marvel comics (which was quickly picked up by dozens of comic websites, who i assume payed him for his article and didn't just run it as "general news")
The other Comics Alliance story which i found interesting was Jason Michelitch piece on Milo Manara. The main thrust of his argument is that Manara's frankness about sexual exploitation is more about confronting the readers own feelings towards sex and exploitation than it is about drawing pretty girls fucking. While Manara is certainty more than simply producing Tijuana Bible's i think this reading may be over-intellectualizing his body of work. There are certainty instances of his work transcending the confines of the genre (that genre being S&M spank books) ,but the vast majority of his work is simply meant to be scene as pornography. Its one of those readings which is used when someone praises 120 Days of Sodom for its brutal use of sexualization and violence to convey a philosophical point about the nature of man, while dismissing entire genre's of exploitative films as trash. If exploitation is read as being art its given a pass on most fronts, while if it not its reviled.
The Comic Journal featured an old Gary Groth interview with Kevin Eastman (co-creator of The Mutant Ninja Turtles) in a two part interview, the first focusing on the Turtles, and the second on Tundra press. The first section is a great read about their struggle to retain the rights to the Turtles, and how difficult it was to manage a multimillion dollar corporation while trying to follow the tenants of the creator rights movement. The second part of the interview though is an amazing look at how comics as a whole took advantage of Eastman, just inundating him with pitches and please for work, only to take his money and never deliver. The section on Big Numbers is especially fascinating.
Alex Berry does a great job summing up why Glory may be one of the biggest steps forward for female characters in comics in a long long time. I would also like to add, in addition to not spending 20 pages proving to me Glory has a awesome rack, Glory also features only one splash pages. This choices allows them to parse our the necessary exposition over 20 pages instead of info dumping it in the last two pages following nine double page spreads of ass / tit shots / people looking EXTREME!
I'm late to the game on this one but Chad Nevett's '28' series of posts is one of the best things I've read in a while. Its not so much a series of reviews as Chad just looking back on how he's changed since the first time he had read these books. Its a level of honesty and frankness that's missing in comic journalism. Also its great reading Chad work through his cynicism towards everything.
I also listened to an old Splash page podcast (episode 22) were they discuss a clip in which someone threatens to punch Tim Callahan in the throat because he didn't like X-Factor. I love the fact that a review, however mundane, could elicit such a reaction. I'm not sure if its that certain groups of fans are easily angered at any perceived criticism of their favorite "thing" or that people just like to punch other people in the throat for no reason. Even more interesting is that a person who would go so far as to threaten a critic, would then tell said critic that they take comics to seriously...i wish it was satire, because that would be brilliant, but i doubt their smart enough for that.
Well that's about 800 words and required next to no thought. Ill try and have a real piece up next week, which sadly enough will have taken 10x as long and might be 200 words longer.
I now see the appeal of "Copy and Paste" journalism.