Superhero Deconstruction

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Superhero Deconstruction

Post by Mbast1 on Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:43 pm

I found a trade of something I'd started reading years ago, and never finished. Rick Veitch's Brat Pack. I finished it, and I find myself thinking about all the "deconstruction" works done in the late 80s and early 90s. Marshall Law, Watchmen and Miracleman being the big ones I remember.
I have loved superheroes since I was a kid, but one of the things I missed was just how rarified the setting has to be for them to work. Add in any realism (by which I mean reference to reality, not just more graphic sex and violence) and they simply don't work. They become ugly, and almost fascist. I mean, they're basically about people who use violence to make the world as they want it. Without us "knowing" they're the good guys that would be a real problem.
Can anyone recommend any other good ones? If I haven't heard of them, or read them, I might give them a try.

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Re: Superhero Deconstruction

Post by tony ingram on Sun Jul 29, 2012 4:00 pm

The pedant in me won't let me pass up a chance to point out that much of Marvelman/Miracleman as well as Watchmen was actually created in the early-to-mid 80s. But regardless...would Morrison's Animal Man count? It deconstructs not only superhero comics but comics in general pretty conclusively, I think. Very Happy

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Re: Superhero Deconstruction

Post by Mbast1 on Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:51 pm

tony ingram wrote:The pedant in me won't let me pass up a chance to point out that much of Marvelman/Miracleman as well as Watchmen was actually created in the early-to-mid 80s. But regardless...would Morrison's Animal Man count? It deconstructs not only superhero comics but comics in general pretty conclusively, I think. Very Happy

But, I didn't see it until the mid/late 80s...

I think Animal Man counts, I hadn't thought of that. Thanks!

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Re: Superhero Deconstruction

Post by tony ingram on Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:36 am

I still think that series was the best work Morrison ever did. And at the time, it was quite a risk DC took in publishing it-nobody had tried anything like that before. The eighties, to me, were one of the most exciting and innovative periods in comics history.

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Re: Superhero Deconstruction

Post by ramonschenk on Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:02 pm

Another good one is his run on Doom Patrol. Especially the first twenty or so issues.

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Re: Superhero Deconstruction

Post by tony ingram on Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:22 pm

I loved a lot of what he did there-the Men from N.O.W.H.E.R.E, Flex Mentallo (who but Morrison would bring a character from a long running advertisement into continuity?), Crazy Jane and the evolution of Negative Man and Lodestone in particular. But it did become somewhat hard to follow at times-I used to find I needed to let them build up until I could read four or five months worth at once in order to keep the plots straight!

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Re: Superhero Deconstruction

Post by ramonschenk on Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:26 pm

Absolutely. I did the same, and only got to really appreciate them when they were collected in trades. The later issues got a bit odd, though, I agree!

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Re: Superhero Deconstruction

Post by tony ingram on Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:30 pm

It got even odder after Rachel Pollack took over. I couldn't really get to grips with her stuff, no matter how hard I tried.

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Re: Superhero Deconstruction

Post by Mbast1 on Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:11 am

tony ingram wrote:I still think that series was the best work Morrison ever did. And at the time, it was quite a risk DC took in publishing it-nobody had tried anything like that before. The eighties, to me, were one of the most exciting and innovative periods in comics history.

I agree about the 80s, and that's one of the "lost opportunities" of my comics generation. They had a chance (American comics) to move beyond just superheroes, and they didn't want to.

I'd say, though, that Invisibles is Morrison's best work. And, I also think he really only works in long-form. He rarely writes a "one and done" book that works. He needs to be read in trades.

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Re: Superhero Deconstruction

Post by Mbast1 on Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:14 am

ramonschenk wrote:Another good one is his run on Doom Patrol. Especially the first twenty or so issues.

I have the trades of both this and Animal Man. Haven't read them all.

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Re: Superhero Deconstruction

Post by tony ingram on Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:04 am

Mbast1 wrote:
tony ingram wrote:I still think that series was the best work Morrison ever did. And at the time, it was quite a risk DC took in publishing it-nobody had tried anything like that before. The eighties, to me, were one of the most exciting and innovative periods in comics history.

I agree about the 80s, and that's one of the "lost opportunities" of my comics generation. They had a chance (American comics) to move beyond just superheroes, and they didn't want to.
People like Karen Berger tried to push just that, and to an extent succeeded (a lot of really interesting stuff was done in the 80s and early 90s) but ultimately, publishers publish what their readers will buy, and sadly a lot of comics fans don't want anything but more of what they're used to. Depressing, but true,

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Re: Superhero Deconstruction

Post by Mbast1 on Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:08 pm

tony ingram wrote: and sadly a lot of comics fans don't want anything but more of what they're used to. Depressing, but true,

True, I won't argue you're wrong, but I think there's more to it. Publishers lost their nerve, I think, and retreated to the "comics are for kids" way of looking at things. From the way they treated freelancers, to their proposed ratings policies and to their increasing unwillingness to publish (and draw attention) I think the publishers (DC in particular) do deserve some blame.

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Re: Superhero Deconstruction

Post by tony ingram on Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:06 am

I'd agree with that. DC have certainly regressed, in terms of what they're publishing and also their attitude to the creators, to a pre-Vertigo model. If not for the relentlessly grim storytelling you'd think the eighties never happened. And Marvel, while I enjoy a lot of their product, are determinedly sticking for the most part to promoting the Avengers and X-Men franchises, sticking with what they know will sell at the expense of any kind of diversity. When they do try something different, they get it wrong: their John Carter book was consistently underselling, and that isn't entirely the fault of the movie being a flop. Dynamite's Warlord of Mars was getting almost twice the sales of Marvel's John Carter a few months ago, something like 9, 000 (which is respectable, to a small company like Dynamite) to 5, 000 (which is abysmal for one of the Big Two). The difference being, of course, Dynamite use their top talent and relentlessly promote WOM, while Marvel gave John Carter a lacklustre creative team and no promotion at all.

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Re: Superhero Deconstruction

Post by Mbast1 on Fri Aug 03, 2012 5:04 pm

tony ingram wrote:sticking with what they know will sell at the expense of any kind of diversity. When they do try something different, they get it wrong:

That's exactly the issue. Many fans want no kind of diversity, so they don't publish new/different often. And when they do, they do it poorly, and tentatively. At least the major US publishers. Plenty of others do things better. And that's where I'm concentrating now.

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