Man-Size (man_size) wrote,

No mas, neo-retro?

After dropping off my 5pp BIZARRO story [written by Harvey Pekar], at DC Comics on Friday, I had a debate w/an editor about style and fan appreciation. I'm trying to snag more work but that may become an impossible chore. The editor told me that a lot of the artists that draw in a "cartoony," neo-retro style are getting less work in DC's superhero books [not including the animated spin-offs like BATMAN, JLA, Looney Tunes, etc.] and that it's getting more difficult to convince DC fans and the VP's to go for folks like me, Kano, Cameron Stewart, Scott Morse, etc. Which is why DC downsized those neo-retro artists and replaced them w/the likes of Gulacy/Palmiotti on CATWOMAN, and Kirk/Von Grawbadger on H-E-R-O, etc. Not that one is better than the other - it's just a damn shame the style doesn't have broad appeal and he agrees. He's an indie/alt comix fan and wished more folks like that made their franchise comics. Seems that most superhero fans accept watered down Neal Adams/George Perez/John Byrne/Michael Golden artists and/or the new wave of Brian Hitch/Frank Quitely type. Which is cool for some comics [heck, I dig 'em, too], but not ALL of them. Plus, that's NOT what I do.

Whatever happened to ye olde fans of Jack Kirby, C.C. Beck, Steve Ditko, and Alex Toth? Why can't Walter Simonson rock a regular series? Will Howard Chaykin's comeback this year make the intended splash? Not every dark horse [who's paid their industry dues] has a property like Frank Miller to seesaw between SIN CITY and BATMAN. Seems that the superhero biz tries to push the envelope but always gets sucked back into producing the same type of material. After the explosion of '60s Marvel, there was a severe change of the guard in the mid-70s and it never strayed very far from that. Perhaps the heavy influence and success of Manga will finally change that for the '00s? Only, there will be more bad rip-offs of Jap-anime than anything else. Bah! The editors advice to me was to make a BIG HIT in the indie/alt press so that franchise publishers and their fans would want me to draw their superheroes.

Okay -- I'll go make a BIG GENRE HIT in the indie/alt

Still -- DC Comics is taking good chances w/comics like GOTHAM CENTRAL, and CAPERS. Vertigo tries to push the genre envelope a little more w/every year [check out Milligan's HUMAN TARGET, Vaughan/Guerra's Y - THE LAST MAN, and, of course, Azzarello/Risso's 100 BULLETS]. Marvel has recently published some reinvigorating and compelling spins of some of their sacred cows: Bendis/Maleev's DAREDEVIL, Jones' HULK, Waid/Wieringo's FANTASTIC FOUR, Morrison's NEW X-MEN, and even Milligan/Allred's X-STATIX [start w/their hilarious X-FORCE deconstruction]. Bendis/Gaydos' ALIAS was sublime, and THE ULTIMATES is a fun, if not nasty look at the genre. WILDSTORM is kicking all the ass w/books like Brubaker/Phillips' SLEEPER, Ennis' GLOBAL FREQUENCY, and Ennis/Cassaday's PLANETARY - which is probably my favorite superhero comic being made today.

I've been toying w/the idea of editing a book [ala BIZARRO] where all my favorite indie-cartoonists who actually dig the superhero genre, write/draw an original 4 - 6pp superhero story, and collect them all into one big anthology. It would scratch the itch that so many of them have to play w/the genre and yet act as a calling card for franchise editors. Plus, I want to prove a point and show that "we" can do it just as well as "them," if not better.

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