Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Subway Pirates!

I haven't been to the comic shop in ages.

I might make it tomorrow.

In the meantime, the new Entertainment Weekly lists "5 Reasons We Love SEVEN SOLDIERS," and at least one of them got me thinking:

"5: Morrison stuffs each issue--each page--with myriad wild ideas, a long-evolving style he calls 'compression.' It reaches maturity in SOLDIERS. 'Most comics spread a story too thin,' says Morrison. 'I'm throwing down the gauntlet. I'm saying 'Pick up your game.'"

I've only seen one issue of GUARDIAN so far, one of Morrison's SEVEN SOLDIERS titles, but in the first few pages we're introduced to this idea of subway pirates--they hijack subwar cars and run them on forgotten tracks in the underground rail system of New York City. They're tattooed and pierced and scary, looking like a good pirate should, and I can't help but think that in the hands of other writers, the idea of subway pirates would have been drawn out for six issues--first, the mystery of disappearing cars, by issue two Our Hero finds an outdated map showing unused lines, and maybe by issue 3 or 4 we get our first sight of the pirates. But with Morrison, and with GUARDIAN, we get right to the action. There's no slow reveal of what we already know is going to happen from reading PREVIEWS two months ago--subway pirates, page two, and on page three, more adventure!

I know I've gone on about ALL-STAR SUPERMAN already, but from what I hear the destruction of Krypton happens in the first quarter of the first page, and the rest of the issue is sci-fi superheroics. From time to time I think I might want to pick up a random issue of a superhero comic, just for the pure, four-color enjoyment of it; and in my heart of hearts, I'll always be a Marvel kid. I really like Spider-Man, for example, but I know if I pick up an issue of ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN I'm as likely to get a four page spread of security guards talking about Spider-Man as I am 30 pages of a fight scene that still isn't resolved by the end of the issue. That's "writing for the trade," I guess, or what the kids these days are calling "decompression," but it's just bad storytelling, to me. It's what makes the new STAR WARS pictures seem so thin. Also in a recent issue of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY (you see where I get all of my media news, huh?) George Lucas said that 60% of the backstory he had for the prequels is in EPISODE III, while the other 40% was spread between the other movies. That's awful! That's the worst thing I've ever HEARD from the mouth of George Lucas, including the dialogue he's written!

I'm talking about comics, man! Serialized comics, work that comes with an almost 70-year tradition of solid adventure stories, a slice of culture as Mr. Alan Moore likes to call them. I want subway pirates in the first three pages, not at the end of issue four!


Amy said...

I thought this forum was going to be NOT whiny. What happened to the dream?

Matthew Jent said...

Is this whiny? I'm talking about why I like SEVEN SOLDIERS, as opposed to just complaining about something.

Amy said...

It seems that what I mistook for whining was really your unbridled passion for subway pirates. My deepest.