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200902191232 Links: Craft edition§ Pulse interviews are often comedy gold, and this one with Kyle Baker re his upcoming HAWKMAN story may just be the funniest thing you’ll read this week:

THE PULSE: When you think Hawkman, what ideas immediately came to your mind about what a story featuring this hero HAD to be about?

BAKER: In most of his adventures, Hawkman usually defends Earth from space alien invasion, so that’s what my story’s about. There’s also action on Dinosaur Island, because dinosaurs are always cool. Hawkman carries a mace, so it’s important for a writer to create dilemmas which can be resolved with a mace. A guy with a mace fighting a T-Rex is a good fight to watch.

§ Author/reporterGreg Palast (who works for the BBC and Air America) likes DMZ:

I don’t review other writers’ books. Mostly, because I don’t like what I see. But this graphic novel, DMZ by Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli, is too good to let go by unheralded.


§ Dick Hyacinth looks at some otherwise well reviewed comics with a jaundiced eye.

§ Mark Waid explains what it is editors do:

I think the toughest, most stressful part of the editor’s job is that serving the material and serving the creators don’t always go hand-in-hand. If you’re editing someone else’s creator-owned book, it’s an easier gig; ultimately, you can advocate for whatever you like, but the creator generally has final say so long as the publisher’s still willing to publish his or her work. If you’re working at Marvel or DC or Dark Horse or wherever on corporate-owned properties, you’re expected by your corporate overlords to know where to draw the line between letting these crazy freelancers have their heads and protecting these corporate assets from stories or art that might “damage” them. Worse, the placement of that line changes from hour to hour and depends not only on the ephemeral definition of “damage” but also on (a) the clout of the freelancer, (b) your clout in the company, (c) however corporate might be overrreacting on some mail they got from an aggrieved crank, (d) whether your editor in chief had a fight with his wife this morning and wants to exert some power, (e) how seriously your boss takes the comments on message boards, and (f through z) any number of other random factors.

Comments

  1. Huh. The impression I have of most comics I read today is that they need more editing; as in “tighten this up”, “make this more clear” and “don’t do that, it is stupid” king of editing.

    I don’t have the first hand experience that Mark Waid has in the industry, but it sounds as he speaks of editors requesting cavalier changes based on knee jerk reactions and responding to letter writers, focus groups and imagined trends.

    This begs the question: What do modern editors do?

  2. As my above post needs editing, I might add.

    It should say “kind of editing”, not “king”.

    I bet Jim Shooter just got a “google alert” for the King typo.

  3. Steven R. Stahl says:

    I’ve always thought an editor’s job should be to enforce the publisher’s editorial standards regarding the type of product produced, with the enforcement of those standards resulting in good stories. The writer should be able to justify whatever he does, whether it’s in terms of plot mechanics or character continuity. If he can’t justify something in the story, then take it out. A hard part of editing superhero comics, I suppose, could be to work in an environment where the writer is expected to write down to the youngest or least intelligent portion of the readership, and include just enough sophisticated character bits or plot elements to keep older readers interested. There might be running battles with higher-ups over relationships –”They can’t be lovers!” or “They can’t be married!” — because the institutional attitude is that steady relationships are boring, or over plot material that seems esoteric, but wouldn’t be to SF readers.

    One approach to defining damage to a corporate asset (popular character) would be a change that limits the character’s range, in terms of storytelling possibilities. Unfortunately, whereas an unsophisticated reader/writer would see a change as limiting (“Peter can’t be married to Mary Jane! He needs to have several women to get involved with!”), a more sophisticated reader/writer would see the relationship as creating more possibilities involving emotional stress, conflicts over principles, the need to get along with each other’s friends and relatives, etc. Someone who’s unattached doesn’t have commitments to anyone.

    A change that limits storytelling possibilities has occurred repeatedly in Marvel comics over the years, when a character’s power is increased for the purpose of a superficially impressive ending to a storyline. Then a new writer comes in and complains that “I can’t use (fill in the blank). She’s too damn powerful!” So the reader gets a storyline that is written specifically for the purpose of decreasing the character’s power level. I don’t’ think there’s anyone currently working at Marvel who knows how Dr. Strange can be written well.

    SRS

  4. What do you mean that Baker is doing a ‘Hawkman’ adventure? I thought this was going to be a series…?

    ~

    Coat

  5. Tyson D. says:

    I think point A is interesting.

    Do “names” still get honest feedback behind the scenes if their editor(s) think they’ve missed the mark? Even if the book is selling well?

  6. It’s for a book called “Wednesday Comics”, I think.

    Uh-huh.

    A new anthology comic? With a name that suggests a weekly schedule?

    Edited by Mark “Solo” Chiarello?

    Yeah, like, who cares, amirayt?

    *eyes slowly widen to the size of dinner plates*

    //Oo/\

  7. Blackeye says:

    “Also, drawing funny is a lot harder than drawing realistically, because realistic drawing requires less creative thought. Realistic drawing depends on faithful copying of reference material, while cartoony style drawings have to be created out of my imagination.” – Really, you can’t be serious! I guess that’s why people go to school for years and years and study human anatomy and take life drawing classes. I don’t really think that Jim Davis (Garfield) spent hours and hours studying and practicing his drawing technique. I would think a lot of very talented artists, who render in a realistic style, would take exception to that comment. What an asinine thing to say, it comes across very arrogant and disrespectful. How is drawing things out of proportion and with no rules of the real world, difficult? You basically make up your own rules, and don’t have to be held accountable for bad rendering. I don’t think Rob Liefeld has any problem drawing funny.

  8. “How is drawing things out of proportion and with no rules of the real world, difficult?”

    Simply drawing things without regard to the real world rules is not difficult. However, doing it in such a way that makes the drawing effective and funny, is the difficult part.

    “I don’t think Rob Liefeld has any problem drawing funny.”

    Did you see the cover for the upcoming issue of Youngblood with Obama on it? Liefeld does a pretty good job replicating the likeness of the President. His artwork become problematic when he needs to draw things out of his imagination.

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