Monday, July 23, 2007

Q&A Part Sixteen

Steve asks: who's a "mainstream" writer (novelist, screenwriter) who has recently come to comics that you wish would bugger on off back from whence he/she came, and who's a comics writer that has flirted with other formats that you wish would stay in comics exclusively? (and why in both cases, of course?)

1. I've yet to really enjoy anything Brad Meltzer's written, so I guess I'd say him for the first part. Although does he count as recent? I can't say I've read a lot of work by "mainstream" writers in comics. They tend to work on books that don't look interesting to me. As for Meltzer's work, I think the thing that annoys me the most is the narrative inconsistency: issues will have several narrators for no reason at all (I discussed this in-depth in my review of Identity Crisis). And I think that annoys me more for him than it would others because he's a novelist and you would expect him to understand narration by this point. It's amazingly sloppy and amateurish the way he does it. There's often no reason (other than to attempt "characterisation") and comes off like he's writing the script and just goes "Oh, I think I'll have Superman narrate three panels!" I've never seen anything quite like it.

2. Grant Morrison. I've yet to really experience anything non-comic of his and I know he's won an award or two for his playwriting, but the motherfucker was born to write comics and time writing other stuff just seems like a waste. He lives and breathes comics as a writer in ways no one else does (no, not even Alan Moore--although, he'd be a close second for me). So, yeah, I think he'd be best served by sticking with comics exclusively. Now, I could change my tune about that when his novel eventually comes out or I read his plays.

Steve: you've recommended the odd "Showcase" reprint volume from DC to me from time to time. Which volume have you enjoyed the most and why should people read this reprint series? What is the value of these stories that seem antiquated now and share very little in common stylistically with modern comics?