Friday, August 11, 2006

Lazy Post

Nice pic from Lazybear over at World of Wonder. More pics here soon. It looks as if they raised $200,000 at Lazybear, which is phenomenal. Now why doesn't IBR raise that kind of money?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I do like the name Amadeus Arkham, though

I finally got around to reading Arkham Asylum last night. I'd read it before, of course, but never really understood what was going on. I'd always sort of blamed myself for not getting it, or maybe Grant Morrison for being obscure. Last night, I read Morrison's script alongside the graphic novel.

Now I blame Dave McKean.

There's no doubt that McKean's artwork is showy, and I'm sure it launched a thousand wannabe art careers (teenagers also turned on by the graphic design on the 4AD record label). But overall, it's just too frigging obscure. Batman is a cypher, not a character. I don't think he's ever shown in anything other than silhouette (which, again, may have been a selling point for the untold masses that bought this "adult" graphic novel after Burton's film premiered). The entire Killer Croc sequence, for instance, is shadowy and indistinct.

And I can't tell you how much of a problem I had just *reading* the art. It turns out that several sequences I had misread because I thought that McKean had created a two-page layout, causing me to read the top tier on the left page followed by the top tier on the right page before moving on to the bottom tier on the left, when in fact he had intended you to read the entire left page before moving onto the right. No wonder I felt like I wasn't understanding.

So: overwrought symbolism (check). Obscure but sometimes brilliant art that looks nothing like something that John Byrne or even Dave Gibbons would produce (check). One megaselling graphic novel that I really don't think I'll ever want to read again (check).

Books I'm Reading But Not Writing About

52: The art yo-yoed a bit in the first month, but recently it's improved. My favorite storyline is the Renee/Question/Batwoman arc, but this week's frightfest with Sue Dibny was pretty gruesome (and fun). I should take a moment and re-read this from the beginning.

Supergirl and the Legion: I've liked Mark Waid's revamp since it launched, but the current run with Supergirl (and the attendant mystery of her presence) is pure candy.

All-Star Superman: Insanely great.

Batman, Detective, Superman, Action: the revamp of the Bat and Super franchises has been solid. Morrison's Batman is my current favorite of these.

Daredevil: I think this, and the now-on-hiatus Young Avengers is the only Marvel series that I pick up regularly.

Local: Love the stories, love the art.

Age of Bronze: Every issue Eric Shanower manages to surprise me, someone who's been reading and studying Greek (and Roman) myths since childhood. I don't think there's a better artist in the field who's publishing on a regular, albeit bimonthly, schedule, and he manages to make all those dark-haired characters somehow distinct in a b&w book. Amazing.

Wonder Woman: OK, I have written about this one, but I loved the first issue so much that I can't not mention it. Or something.