DC's New 52: Reviews and Discussion (Spoilers welcolme and likely)

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by JD, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes and yes. What you are saying would be like saying that Tin Man was only worth watching for the FX, or that they should have cut out a third of the dialog in exchange for more FX, which would be bull. Tin Man was a well crafted story that would be nothing without the skill of the writer.

    I find it astonishing that as a writer yourself, you would place more value on the visuals and the 'splosions more than the story.

    Big Michael Bay fan, are you?
     
  2. Broccoli

    Broccoli Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Perhaps. I bet if JL #1 was released as the "reworked" version, it would be considered "just as good". I'm not intending that as an endorsement of the reworked over the real version; just an observation.

    Not to speak for Dennis (and quite frankly, who would want to? :p), but a comic writer pretty much writes not only the dialogue and storyline, but also how each page and panel is set-up. A lot of what you see of the artist's work on the page was "ordered" by the writer. Sure, an artist might have some input, but it is mostly the writer's ball. So if Lee drew a lot of splash pages, it's because it was what Johns wrote and what he wanted to see.
     
  3. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Of course, I don't dispute that. in fact, in my op on this topic I called out Marvel's Bendis as being a big offender of this kind of de-compressed story-telling.
     
  4. Broccoli

    Broccoli Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Right. So, I don't understand your earlier complaint. The comic writer has to place an emphasis on visuals, because comics are a visual medium. Without the pictures, comic books aren't much.

    So, Dennis is kinda right in that the reworking sacrifices the art. However, I'll go and add that it also sacrifices the writer's intention of how he wanted the book to be read.
     
  5. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    True as well.
     
  6. Admiral_Young

    Admiral_Young Fleet Admiral Admiral

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  7. theenglish

    theenglish Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think the only really argument that can be made here is that it is possible to get more dialogue based story telling in a comic than what many writers today do. Using JL1 as an example is fine to illustrate a point, but I don't think you can judge the merits of that issue or a particular comic by doing this.

    If a company were to set this up as a policy, it doesn't change the quality of the dialogue. Five extra pages of storytelling will not improve the comic if it is still bad story telling. (I am speaking in general here, not about specific books.)
     
  8. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Vice Admiral Admiral

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    *sigh*

    My complaint (and the point of the compressed JL #1) is in that there is at times a serious lack of bang for buck in today's comics story-wise. A book can still have stunning visuals without sacrificing denser storytelling.

    Take this excerpt from a review of the long anticipated recently released graphic novel New Teen Titans: Games by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez ...

    Thirty-one panels? On one page? That's fucking awesome! There are barely 31 panels in all of JL #1! ;) Hell, Pérez probably could've drawn JL #1 in twelve pages and still have drawn circles around Jim Lee. ;);)

    Granted, there is only one George Pérez, but it demonstrates, to my mind anyway, how a comic should be drawn (and written)-- without any wasted space on the page and filled with as much story as possible, and written so as it feels that you got something complete with every issue. Even the individual issues of an extended arc can and should feel complete unto themselves. Both Stan Lee and Jim Shooter largely practiced this policy as Marvel EiC, and it worked well for them.

    As much as I did enjoy JL #1, I did not feel as if I had read something complete unto itself. It felt too short and ended too abruptly with too much wasted space on the page that could better be used for more storytelling.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011
  9. Admiral_Young

    Admiral_Young Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I think your point has been made and brought up by others in the thread who were disappointed with the issue and how it was written. I'm surprised that there hasn't been more bitching about the constant page after page of adverts in books, the ads at times really do more to take me out of a book than the writing or pacing. I understand why they're in there but it can get annoying. This is another reason why I normally wait for the trades to come out.
     
  10. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There are, in fact, 87 panels in JL 1. I counted. :lol:
     
  11. Myasishchev

    Myasishchev Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I dunno, in a way it did--if you use the old definition of splash as a "large panel," versus a full page (and usually full bleed) panel.

    From #1: Rorschach's entrance, Dreiberg sitting lonely and sad next to his Nite Owl costume, Ozymandias looking out the window into the rain with his goofy toys on his desk, and the first appearance of Dr. Manhattan--all 2/3 page splashes. And the squid scene from #12 is four full-page splash pages in a row, iirc.

    Watchmen succeeds in being a dense experience not because it eschews large panels entirely, but rather through 1)the careful choice to use these images, and the use of them as integral parts of the narrative; 2)filling them with detail that informed character; and 3)otherwise using panels that took up more than 1/9 of the page sparingly and for just cause.

    Point 3 seems a little contradictory, but lemme explain--outside of the splash pages, Moore and Gibbons used the 1/3 page panels or even 2/9 page panels much less often than the densest creators use today. 1/4 seems to be relatively standard nowadays for the kind of moments captured in Watchmen's nine-panel grid. Thanks Warren Ellis! You ass!

    So even with the (not infrequent) use of 2/3's, Watchmen still fits a lot in by doing what's done in 1/4's today in 1/9's.

    Look at, say, Mahmud Asrar's Supergirl, which I found to be an egregiously decompressed book, averaging fewer than 4 panels a page. This is something of a grossly unfair comparison, however.

    P.S.: all that said, "31 panel page" is everything wrong with George Perez summed up in three words. I love George Perez, you love George Perez, we all love George Perez, but sometimes he's really hard to follow.

    I like to think of the art and story as inseparable. The words on a page are images, too, after all.

    Not having read the whole edited version so far, I can't say it's all like this, but I have to admit that the panel with Vic on the phone with the recruiters confined to a small part of the background is a damned artful revision, positioning their meaningless noise next to the meaningful conversation Vic wishes he was having, giving a far greater impression of the oppression Vic's feeling about the whole situation. I really like that a lot better than giving them their own (and crappy--sorry, Jim Lee) panel to provide a plot point in.

    Edit: rest of it is denser, but that's not a quality in itself. The layouts wind up sucking. This isn't a knock on the experiment; I don't think the point was to say "This is actually a better comic" but to demonstrate that the narrative could have been condensed better; presumably a top-down remake of Justice League #1 would have superior layouts.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011
  12. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There is one big problem with this "more panels = more worth" - that book is 150 pages long and fuck all happens for the first 56 pages.
     
  13. Broccoli

    Broccoli Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think anyone here was actually disputing that while you seemed to be arguing something else entirely.

    Different writer, different page layouts.

    While Perez is a better talent than Lee in my opinion, Perez would still have to draw within the confines of Johns's script. As such, it probably would have looked largely the same when it comes to splash pages and issue content.



    I don't. I am referring to the current popular trend of one panel, one page.
     
  14. Myasishchev

    Myasishchev Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, my shit sort of falls apart then. :(

    I don't think it's too much to equate them; they serve the same function, only one slightly moreso.

    Also, things like J.H. Williams' virtuoso compositions and John Byrne's more restrained two-page storytelling get left out, even though I think it's reasonable to describe parts of them as splashes.
     
  15. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Story and dialogue are different things, of course, and the fact that, as Myasishchev and Broccoli both note, story and art are important interrelated facets of superhero comics is one reason that this cut-and-paste exercise misses the point.

    I can "tell the same story more efficiently" by chopping five minutes out of the climax of the 1977 Star Wars. I could cram in all the dialogue, no problem.
     
  16. Broccoli

    Broccoli Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, not necessarily. I was just using Watchmen as an example, given that the bulk of it tends to have multi-panels per page, to illustrate a point.

    Somewhere, George Lucas is getting an idea. :p
     
  17. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Hey, I can tell the same story as the Blu-Ray versions by cutting out even more. :lol:

    Looking at the preview for Superman #1 the thing that jumps out at me as most problematic is way too much dialogue and of the wrong kind - too much of it is functional, a lot of narration of events as they happen, with characters' responses to what they're experiencing tacked on as exclamations of one kind or another. "Did you see that?!" and variations thereof are almost as trivial as dialogue handles.
     
  18. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It's a very old-fashion narration style that went out of favour about 25 years ago or more when the audience was credited with slightly more intelligence than the average slow child. The sort of thing where a character would see someone throw a car at them and say "He has thrown a car at me!"
     
  19. Myasishchev

    Myasishchev Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You know, one aspect of the film industry--in comparison to the comics industry--that's interesting is how a hundred and forty minute film doesn't cost any more to watch than a ninety minute one. I've always thought that was sort of strange--all things being equal, longer probably does equate to more expensive, and more proveably theater owners are eating the cost, at least the opportunity cost, of more numerous showings of a different film. But it works.

    It didn't cost 25% extra to go see Return of the King. But jack up the page count to 24, and suddenly it's a $4 book.

    My favorites are the ones where the image is clearly depicted, a narration block explains that Superman threw the car, and then a character shouts "He's throwing a car at me!" Good times.
     
  20. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That's exactly what it reminds me of - looking at those pages is like looking at a Superman comic from the late 1980s. I'm not going to get too much into what I think of the art until I've read the whole thing, but I do know that I'm hoping - rather than expecting - to be pleasantly surprised.

    Good point. The reverse is also true - you don't pay less to see a shorter film, and this brings us back in a way to Supergirl #1. Different kinds of stories work better at different lengths and with different pacing, and if there's something like a standard page length in these comics (I blush to admit that I haven't noticed) then a simpler story or one with a particular mood is going to be "decompressed" in that length compared to a more complicated one with many POVs and characters, etc. IMAO simply because the narrative of a given story might be compressed into fewer pages doesn't automatically mean that it shouldn't be presented as a story standing alone if the authors think it's significant and interesting enough.

    I'm as perfectly happy to pay for the same for different comics that give me very different storytelling experiences as I am to do that for movies - as long as I'm enjoying the story and the techniques.