Must reading: Today's crappiest comics genres

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201009171143 Must reading: Today's crappiest comics genres
Over at Techland, Douglas Wolk pinpoints 14 different kinds of comic books that we could do with less of, using the hideous sight of a crying Dr Doom as the symbol. Samples:

Revivals of long-forgotten comics that weren’t so hot the first time. I don’t care if you can get Alex Ross to draw the cover of every issue of your new Fatman, the Human Flying Saucer series.

More specifically, any additional Green Hornet-related series. There is no such thing as the commutative property of Kevin Smith’s cachet.

Comments

  1. Charles Knight says:

    “Creator-driven series that continue after the big-name creator has left.”

    Yep, they should just wrap up Batman and Robin after issue 16.

  2. If what Mr.Wolk is suggesting were to actually be implimented, we’d lose about 90% of all books currently being published.
    But he does have a point.

  3. I am now using the epithet “Doom wept” whenever I read a bad comic.

  4. “Any series that misses the ship date for its first issue.” haaahhaaa, excellent.

  5. Synsidar says:

    Yep, they should just wrap up Batman and Robin after issue 16.

    The point of that criticism, I suppose, is that when someone sets out to do a series, he’s taking a certain approach to the characters and has a few stories in mind consistent with that approach. After those stories are told, and he has to work to come up with plot material, he could just as well end the series. If someone tries to continue it, he won’t be able to duplicate the other writer’s approach, and if he’s inferior to the original writer in terms of creativity, attention to details, or other areas, he’ll just make himself look bad. Someone who’s skilled at literary analysis could look at the writer’s work and determine what made the stories succeed, what aspects of the characters were crucial, etc., but that still wouldn’t position him to duplicate the writer’s style, and if that style was part of the series’ appeal —

    There might already be lists of plots one never wants to see again. One would be the character with a mysterious origin that the series starts off with. Once that mystery is solved, is there any point in continuing the character’s story? If the writer has to strain to think of interesting things for his hero to do, the answer is “No.”

    SRS

  6. “Any series that misses the ship date for its first issue.”

    CAPTAIN AMERICA: WHITE comes to mind. I was interested in that once upon a time.

    The one about crediting creators of public domain work and identifying where the stories originally appeared stands out to me. I’m often frustrated by the exclusion of that type of info in Golden Age reprints.

  7. I liked Erik Larsen’s SPIDER-MAN better than Todd McFarlane’s.

  8. “Creator-driven series that continue after the big-name creator has left.”

    Case in point: Superman/Batman. But I’m sure that some can speculate why DC keeps doing this, with Batman and Robin, and Green Lantern spin-offs.

    Marvel tends to go the other way to achieve a similar dilution of the brand, by throwing C-list characters into an A-list character’s book (Hercules for Hulk, Bucky for Cap, and soon Black Panther in for Daredevil).

  9. Kevin Hynes says:

    Oh Doom weeping, so ridiculous and strange. I agree with a lot of this. (But I also liked Erik Larsen’s Spider-Man quite a bit at the time).

  10. Fake Name says:

    “If what Mr.Wolk is suggesting were to actually be implimented, we’d lose about 90% of all books currently being published.”

    I think that would be a good thing. The glut is likely more responsible for bad sales than anything else. More does not equal better.

  11. “More does not equal better”…..I agree wholeheartedly! 2 Hulk titles now that Loeb is leaving? Silly. 6 Batman titles? Insane. 3 Green Lantern titles? Makes a little sense if one of the Corps titles is about the other 6 groups of lanterns….otherwise, overkill.

    Bringing Tony Bedard to GL Corps, while shipping off Tomasi & Gleason to Batman & Robin, while Morrison goes to Batman Inc. (where he will stay for only about 12 issues or so)…..all this so they can have 6 Batman titles & 3 GL titles is taking it a little far.

    “Superman/Batman”…..though it wasn’t as good as when Loeb/McGuinness were there, Verheiden, Green, Johnson, & company have done a good job that no one notices because their name isn’t Loeb, Morrison, or Johns.

  12. Sorta speaking of this, but yeah uhm, not really – this guy is my NEW idol! Seriously, he goes a tad off tangent at the end, but his basic idea is ON mark. NO MORE VARIANTS.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DowjMERHhaA&feature=player_embedded

  13. pulphope says:

    Doom sneezed.

  14. Perhaps Doom crying will be as popular as the native American Indian who cried when he saw trash strewn on the roadways.

  15. The crying Native American was actor Iron Eyes Cody, who, as it turned out, was Italian.

    To keep on topic:

    Genres I’d ease up on: rogue government agents on the run from their government/agency/mommy and daddy/whatever. Yawn.

    New origin retelling, radically different from last origin retelling, recently retold.

    Deadpool.

    Stan Lee Rubber-Stamped Enterprises.

    Dull autobio comics about dull cartoonist making dull autobio comics (see also Diary Comics by people who rarely leave the house)

  16. I’m not sure that I understand the Green Hornet comment. Is he saying no one should write the Green Hornet after Kevin Smith? A viable concept, good characters, lots of potential — just shred all the remaining copies of Kevin Smith’s comics and move forward.

  17. Stephen C. says:

    It sort of gets my goat when someone loudly asserts that a comic or type of comic they’re not reading anyway simply shouldn’t exist. People are free to just ignore comics that don’t interest them. I can’t say I’m a fan of many of the “genres” Wolk identifies in his article, but I’m sure a talented creator working in any of them could produce something decent or even great.

  18. spike says:

    This isn’t true in every case
    “Revivals of long-forgotten comics that weren’t so hot the first time. I don’t care if you can get Alex Ross to draw the cover of every issue of your new Fatman, the Human Flying Saucer series.”

    Animal Man by Grant Morrison was a hit.

  19. I’m not sure that I understand the Green Hornet comment. Is he saying no one should write the Green Hornet after Kevin Smith?

    Pretty sure the point was that there are about numerous Green Hornet books right now by different writers, with little obvious demand for so many. Green Hornet is a fun character, but Batman or Wolverine he’s not.

    FYI, current or recent Green Hornet series from Dynamite:

    Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet
    Kevin Smith’s Kato
    Kevin Smith’s Kato Origins
    Green Hornet Year One
    The Green Hornet Strikes!
    Green Hornet: Parallel Lives
    Green Hornet: Blood Ties
    Green Hornet Golden Age Remastered

    I’m not sure whether that list is complete.

  20. Synsidar says:

    I can’t say I’m a fan of many of the “genres” Wolk identifies in his article, but I’m sure a talented creator working in any of them could produce something decent or even great.

    I disagree..

    No matter how talented a writer might be, his story (assuming he’s writing commercial fiction) will have to feature characters and a plot. If his story has excellently-written characters but no conflict — a slice of life story — then the story is missing an essential element. Combining excellent characters with a hackneyed plot — everything you know about ____ is wrong; ____ will destroy the universe if he’s not stopped (and the only person who can stop him is down for the count); the hero is confronted by the embodiment of his worst fears; the hero has only his steely resolve and ebbing energy to draw on and is terribly overmatched; etc., etc. — will bore anyone who’s read stories with such plots ten or twenty times. Someone who’s unfamiliar with the genre might be entertained, but the writer shouldn’t be concerned only with new readers and take other readers for granted. A good story will have a well written protagonist, at least, and a plot that has some creative/original elements in it. Even if the elements in a plot have been seen individually in stories before, a combination of them can still be unique.

    There’s also the matter of continuity. Various people have publicly stated that continuity shouldn’t interfere with a good story, but that reasoning is flawed. Mistakes in published stories can be ignored. If aspects of a character conflict with each other, then the writer can work up a character profile based on his published history and exclude the aspects that don’t make sense as part of the profile. The same reasoning applies to the history of a device. If the desired plot conflicts with a character in obvious ways — “Avengers Disassembled” is a classic example — the superficial excitement generated by the plot is no justification. Reading a story is supposed to be an intellectually satisfying experience. Discontinuities ruin the experience. The fact that a writer is working on “n” series and publishing a standalone story with a new character and his desired plot wouldn’t fit into the series is no justification either. The reader is paying to enjoy a story, not to help the poor writer meet his deadlines.

    SRS

  21. Army of Dorkness says:

    “There’s also the matter of continuity. Various people have publicly stated that continuity shouldn’t interfere with a good story, but that reasoning is flawed. ”

    Depends on context. The context you provided is only one aspect (or maybe a few aspects) of the whole issue in regard to continuity. There are times when “continuity shouldn’t interefere with a good story” is flawless reasoning and should be supported. I don’t think you’re talking about those specific times, though.

  22. Julian says:

    God, what a shitty list of wannabe witticisms.

  23. One word…Zombies.

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