Dropped the latest batch of QUITTER pages off to DC Comics yesterday with zegas and then we went comix shopping at Jim Hanley's Universe where I picked up ULTIMATES 2, and the excellent denouement to 100 BULLETS' "Wylie Runs The Voodoo Down." We passed a DVD store where I called larrondo up for zombie advice and scored Lucio Fulci's CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD, and Martin Lawrence's BLACK KNIGHT. I think I embarrassed myself to myself.
Forthright White Music Quest: I dug Lou Reed on VELVET UNDERGROUND but I did not enjoy TRANSFORMER. I like a couple of his tunes ["Perfect day," and "Walk on the wild side"] but the overall experience of Reed's voice makes me cringe. However, I love, love, love Iggy Pop's IDIOT, and David Bowie's SCARY MONSTERS [thanks for the recommendation ianbrill], and I'm slowly appreciating ALLADIN SANE. The soundtrack for VELVET GOLDMINE has some serious misfires, but there's something really catchy about that tune "Baby's On Fire," by THE VENUS IN FURS. Meanwhile, I just discovered FELIX DA HOUSECAT and MISS KITTEN, which sounds a lot like the direction I would take "Activate," a black Kraftwerk-type fantasy band zegas and I threaten to form one devious day.
Even though it feels semi-real with those chilling plot similarities [as it's designed to prompt], the subversive 24 is hyper realized cliffhanger television. Not only do I enjoy the drama, I learn new narrative tricks. And, no, I don't think the world can be saved by a cell phone. Wouldn't that be neato? CAPTAIN AMERICA comic books originally had Cap punching out Adolph Hitler in World War 2, and just recently, Cap was scrapping with the Taliban. Sure, it's a superhero farce but our culture thrives on the fantasy for the unorthodox super-cop who protects our skin and spirit when we can't nor know how to. In a weird way, it helps me sleep at night to watch a character like JACK BAUER flex his uncompromised moral code, even when I disagree with some of his tactics. Otherwise, I raise my fist for Jack's dedication. We need a hero when our President can't be. We need a hero when our votes don't count. Unfortunately, the reality of evil, forces you to take a hard side. Am I getting a little right wing in my latter years? Perhaps. But then, I read CAPTAIN AMERICA comic books.
ianbrill wrote an interesting essay about the pros and cons of independent cartoonists tackling franchise characters via BIZARRO WORLD: http://brillbuilding.blogspot.com/2005/01/news-flash-big-company-acts-dumb-fan.html. Do I think franchise comics should be rated? Hell no. I think rating systems qualify and desecrate. Unfortunately, rating systems informs the work in a way that may be unjust. It killed EC Comics and it makes anthologies like BIZARRO less than it could be. However, restriction manifests curious challenges and, sometimes, yields cool results. When accepting a work-for-hire gig I create accordingly and TRY to leave my ego at the door. The author who takes the challenge of creating a story under strict guidelines [and deadlines!] and pulls it off has more tools in their box. It's called "being professional." ianbrill points out that cartoonists, like me, have outlets [our creator-owned fare] that don't compromise our world view editorially, but I don't think my unbridled ideas necessarily befit the likes of CAPTAIN MARVEL proper. Some toys are meant to be played with, not reinvented. Plus, what I write and draw for myself is a very different process than when I imagine a story for OMAC or THE THING. With corporate owned, editorially controlled characters, I'm basing my ideas on their history and study, adding something [new or not] to an established lore. I'm giddy when I've managed to come up with a new angle on a 50-year old sacred cow and able sell it. But, honestly, it's one of the more difficult challenges to ace. What doesn't work for THE HULK and BATMAN, may work brilliantly for BILLY DOGMA and A-OKAY COOL. And, vice-versa. Due to marketing and funds [and lack thereof], fans of the medium are less likely to ever read my DOGMA, but you better believe I'm gonna rock my 5-pages in BIZARRO WORLD to the best of my ability in hopes of securing a new fan or three to sway them into buying my creator-owned fare in PROJECT: SUPERIOR, and later, in AS BIG AS EARTH. They'll decide which work they like better. I hope they'll dig both. There is no right answer.