Saturday, 14 April 2012

Superman & The Ti-Girls; Preaching To The Unconverted (Part 4 of 3)

Continued from here and here and here; "The superhero comic is an impossibly tough sell, so how to convert the blissfully unconcerned heathen who isn't already predisposed towards the adventures of the cape'n'chest-insignia brigade? ... Which books might just convince a broad audience of folks who aren't adolescently-minded shlock-shock addicts to buy into the super-hero habit" 

      
8. Superman: Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow? by Alan Moore & Curt Swan

A man convinced that he's soon to die slumps and weeps with despair while his steadfast pet dog lies by his feet and looks up in concern. Presented with a restraint which trusts the reader's capacity to empathise without a heart-clogging injection of schmaltz,  it remains one of the most quietly anguishing images ever presented in a superhero comic. For those who know anything of the history of the characters, the sheer impossibility of such a situation simply accentuates its power. After all, Superman neither weeps nor crumples - even temporarily - under the weight of an inescapable fate which he can't out-punch, out-think or even escape. To all but the most disinterested of those who lack the slightest familiarity with the backstory of Kal-El and his Kryptonian hound, the moment remains at the very least an intriguingly unresolved situation. The juxtaposition of the strongman in his circus tights and cape with his own hopelessness; the landlocking of Superman's slumped frame far from the eye's natural exit point from the page; the presence of an exhibit of a metal girder once bent and twisted by some unimaginably powerful process, a symbol of a remarkable and yet now quite apparently useless measure of strength; the looming shadowed presence of an alien pterodactyl-like creature suggesting nothing but the worst of ill-fate ahead; Curt Swan's design for the largely wordless full-page shot is exquisitely well-judged, complimenting the pathos of Moore's script without curdling the moment with an easy excess of syrupy sentimentality.

  
Unlike the previous selections in this list, Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow? is a comic that's saturated with the weight of continuity and peppered by super-people who can't possibly be regarded as anything other than entirely absurd. It is possible, with a considerable denial of reason, to find something of the everyday in the acrobatics and super-science of the likes of Batman and his various costumed street-fighting progeny. But Superman is an essentially all-powerful character who the literal minded will always struggle to empathise with. From his capacity to fly faster than the speed of light to his less-exploited gift for super-ventriloquism, the Silver Age Man Of Steel and his bizarre and crowded pantheon of supporting characters remains a quite obviously poor fit for any tilt at comic-book realism. Yet only the smarter-than-thou snob and the irredeemable idiot conflates a fiction's lack of realism with an inability to express emotion and ideas.  

         
Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow? draws a great deal of its power from the discussion of the loss of potency and purpose with age which underpins the beats of Moore's script. Faced with the accumulating and psychotically-threatening consequences of his years spent at war with petty criminals and tyrants alike, Superman finds himself impotently watching on as his friends are threatened and murdered, as his own life and its achievements appear destined to end in failure. Yet what appears to be at first a superhero Gotterdammerung concludes with the sight of the now powerless Man Of Flesh And Blood attending in anonymity and good humour to the business of being a husband and father, having become a far less self-obsessed individual who's found a host of less conspicuously planet-saving ways to contribute to the everyday world around him. If our imaginary would-be reader of super-books could be presented with a single example of how a labyrinthine mythos with its army of logically preposterous characters can produce a tale that's entertaining, moving and gently thought-provoking, then Moore and Swan's Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow? should surely be it.


9. Ti-Girls Adventures by Jaime Hernandez (Love & Rockets #1, 2008)

Whatever the typical sluggardly modern-era super-comics is, Ti-Girls Adventures very much isn't.  Exuberant, smart, politically vibrant, inventive, hilarious, ambitious, it's a joyous rush of a tale which refuses to accept that the superhero's adventures ought to be anything other than consistently entertaining and constantly inventive. In that, Jaime Hernandez taps once again into the imperatives which drove the storytelling of the very best of the sub-genre's creators in the Golden and Silver Age. Most of today's writers and artists tend to imagine that their responsibility is to write to the page, as Warren Ellis once said of Alan Moore's method, and it's a way of thinking which has somehow resulted in the belief that a side of a comic need really only carry a moment or two that's in any way noteworthy. There's no little irony that Jaime Hernandez understands his super-book history in a way which so many of the Big Two's current curators have clearly never cared to grasp, because he knows that the work of the Lees and the Kirbys and Ditkos, to take but three examples, was concerned not with what the page might be made to say so much as what each individual panel could be designed to shine with. For the artists and writers of the best Marvel superhero books of the High Sixties, to name one conspicuous high-point in the sub-genre's history, the worst sin of all was to risk losing the audience's attention before their eyes leapt the guttering between one frame and another. Every panel had to count, every row had to shine, every page had to strobe with distraction and novelty. The super-book is at its best when it's at its most fiercely ingenious, when it's most captivatingly densely-packed, and that's exactly how Ti-girls functions.

        
To enjoy Ti-Girls is to find many of the prejudices which underlie most of the Big Two's product becoming even more obvious, inexplicable and incisor-grindingly frustrating. Here there's no age barrier to the rank of costumed protagonist, let alone a taken-for-granted fatwa on the respectful, playful representation of a broad range of female body types. There's also nothing of the oh-so-common whitebread machismo or the doctrine of stab-'em-in-the-guts-shock on show, of course, but what there is a delightfully imaginative tale depicting generations of super-women drawn together by the threat posed by an old friend who's now both super-powered and "beserk". Super-book aficionados faced with the first few chapters of Ti-Girls might choose to dwell upon the best nine-panel fight scenes for several decades at least, while others will find themselves seduced by the friendships which develop, and on occasion don't, between the various members of the book's compelling cast. Along the way, readers will find the strip's pages saturated by the kind of smartly ludicrous inventions which Grant Morrison has often complained are almost entirely absent from the superhero narratives of the 21st century; a tiny one-inch high baby living in the belt buckle of its super-heroine mother; the shriek of Penny Century growing louder at ground-level as she nears Earth from space; drunk super-powered arm-wrestlers mind-controlled into believing that their sole good-for-bar-fighting limb has been severed from their shoulder.

       
The truth is that Ti-Girls is joyously good fun. In establishing how wrong-headed a great many of today''s super-book creators are, it re-establishes how dynamic and delectable the superhero comic still can be.

Superhero Books To Convert The Unconverted

1. Catwoman: Wild Ride by Ed Brubaker & Cameron Stewart
2. Batman: Year One by Frank Miller & David Mazzucchelli
3. Batman: Mad Love & Other Stories by Paul Dini & Bruce Timm, and esteemed colleagues
4. The Amazing Spider-Man by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko (Marvel Masterworks #2, #11-19, Annual #1)
5. Spider-Man Loves Mary-Jane by Sean McKeever & Takeshi Miyazawa
6. Men Of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters & The Birth Of The Comic Book by Gerard Jones 
7. Daredevil by Mark Waid, Paolo Rivera, Marcos Martin, Kano et al

8. Superman: Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow? by Alan Moore & Curt Swan
9. Ti-Girls Adventures by Jaime Hernandez (Love & Rockets #1/2, 2008/9)


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14 comments:

  1. Hello Colin!

    Congratulatiosn on wrapping up this wonderful series of recommendations!

    I was extremely happy to see that you included a Superman story in the end, and what a story! As you point out, even the most fantastical elements can work, if they are grounded in emotional authenticity. Plus, you showing the conclusion of the story made me realize that I was subconsciously riffing on the same idea when I came up with the ending for a graphic novel I'm preparing! I guess Moore is one of those inescapable influences nowadays...

    Unfortunately, I didn't read Ti-Girls because my LCS didn't get me a copy, despite the fact that I ordered it. But thos peges look great, and I love Jaine's work! So I guess some Internet shopping is in order!

    Great list Colin! Filled both with things that I love and things I need to check out! I, for one, would love to know which books you considered but didn't make the final cut.

    Cheers!

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    1. Hello Guido:- Thank you. I really wasn't sure that I'd have a Superman tale in the list. But that story is a brilliant example of how continuity, and a huge cast of silly and yet wonderful characters, can be out to good use. And I've never had a chance to chat about it before, I believe, so a win-win situation.

      It's worth mentioning that Moore did once have a habit of producing endings which had previously appeared in other folk's work, such as with both Watchman and, in certain key ways, Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow too. Picasso did say that great artists steal ...

      Ti-Girls is a pleasure which I've unforgivably only read recently. I'm very much looking forward to the arrival of the next issue later this week.

      I suspect that a future blog - quite possibly on Friday - that there'll be a list such as the one you suggest going up here. Never waste a good excuse for a blog ....

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  2. Hey Colin,
    Great list! I agree that that Catwoman story is pretty great, and it must be underrated, since not too many people talk about it! Do you really think it's the best for new readers? I remember being a little confused about who Selina's young friend was at first, though maybe new readers will be more okay not having her entire backstory at first. Still, that story is probably the main reason I'm excited for Before Watchmen, at least Darwyn's contribution to it.

    On a similar bent, do you think people not familiar with Harley from B:TAS will "get" her character? Again, I guess the book lays it out pretty well from the off. The only thing missing is her weird Noo Yawk accent.

    I also have to be in the severe minority in not quite "getting" Year One. I remember liking it, but being most struck by the similarities to, and ways Batman Begins had used it to build its story. Also, the whole thing with Gordon cheating on his wife just didn't sit right with me, and Selina as a prostitute just felt unnecessary. Also, paradoxically, having loved DKR, and being at least familiar with DKSB and A-SBAR, YO's lack of over-the-topness, in drawing style or tone, just didn't really jump out at me.

    But I do suspect that a re-read will give me far more insight into the book, so I'll be sure to do that at some point.

    Spiderman <3s MJ is pretty great, what I've read of it- I haven't gotten a collection yet, only individual issues. McKeever manages to write that age very well, indeed.

    I also wanted to mention, regarding your well-known interest in comics as individual issues, that I just read Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly's Local, and I think you'd love it. It's designed to be read in individual issues, each taking place in a different town, but it also has a through-line that is surprisingly emotional and touching. Most of Wood's stuff I've read recently (I read an interview of his, so I went on a library spree for him) seems a little overtly political, maybe a little too clever- like I know what he's getting at, but it just doesn't really interest me that much. But Local really has a great, personal feel to it that I really dig. And I do think it would be a good first comic for someone, though it's not superheroic in any way.

    To add my own recommendations, I've recently recommended early FF and Wonder Woman to friends. I think it still holds up. Metamorpho, too.

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  3. Hello Historyman;- Thank you. It was that Catwoman collection which made me think of the list in the first place. It just struck me as the perfect comic to put in somebody’s hands. It wasn’t hard work OR insultingly shallow. It was pretentious, it wasn’t thick-headed. It just seemed to be a book which anyone could pick up and immediately enjoy. This isn’t, of course, a very common situation in today’s super-books.

    I’m not sure that folks will even be very familiar with B:TAS at all. Certainly in Britain it was only ever shown on Saturday mornings, split into 2 parts during a kid’s magazine programme. So Harley certainly isn’t going to be very recognisable beyond comics readers, and a few gameplayers, in the UK. Still, as you suggest, Mad Love is always there to perfectly introduce the character.

    I have very much warmed to BYO as time has passed. I shared your concerns even at the time the comic was coming out. If I say I’ve changed my mind, it’s not to suggest that you ought to. But as time has past, I have come to see it as being about how individuals rise about their circumstances, rather than one in which folks descend into dodgy situations. It’s not perfect, but then what is? I agree that the Catwoman stuff is the most awkward material in the series.

    Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly’s “Local”. OK, it’s added to the list, alongside Seth’s History Of Canadian Comics. There’s another book you’ve pushed me towards which I’m thinking of reviewing in the near future, for what ever little that’s worth. I’ll leave that a mystery simply because I can’t recall title or creator, though I can every panel of its content.

    Metamorpho? The haney/Fradon is wonderful, isn’t it? You might want to see if you can read – if you haven’t already – the Neil Gaiman series in Wednesday Comics. It’s very much a homage to those early issues, and very fine too.

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    1. Hi Colin,

      I did read Wednesday comics, and while I liked some of them- Wonder Woman, Metal Men (though I didn't quite love it the way some people did), and a few others I can't remember at the moment- maybe Kamandi? - Gaiman's Metamorpho just didn't do it for me. It felt too "dumbed down", too much like Gaiman being cutesy and not really just writing a solid adventure. Maybe I was expecting too much, but it just didn't seem to have Gaiman's storytelling at his best. But who knows, maybe a re-read will give me some more insight.

      I'm glad you've added Local to your list. I think, and hope, that you will find it worthy. Wood's other stuff just feels a little obvious: CONSUMERISM BAD!!! but this really feels like it goes deeper. And Seth's GNB Double C, as well as Wimbledon Green, really have a great way of delving into nostalgia for something that never existed. I think the other recommendation of mine you were pursuing was Ross Campbell's Water Baby and/or Shadoweyes.

      I suppose Catwoman starting as a prostitute fits into the theme of transcending your circumstances and limitations, and the theme of friendship is an important one in YO. I'd argue that what makes the Batman vs Superman fight in DKR so affecting is that we see the depth of their friendship before, as well as after it. And DKR also has the central friendship between Bruce and Gordon (though I think it gives Alfred short shrift. Why did he have to die? To keep up appearances? Because it was as good a time as ever?)

      You're right about Cooke's Catwoman- it has that quality of making me want to discover more about the characters, rather than feel obligated to. Wildcat, for example, is used perfectly here.

      I really want to read Moore's Superman story. As i've been generally very excited about Moore recently, I'm sure I'll love it. About great artists stealing? I dunno, I think it's all about how you integrate your influences. There's miles of difference between using an ending that creates more resonance, and feels satisfying, and sticking a Superman/Batman fight in Hush cause it was cool last time. That's one reason the Watchmen movie fell a bit flat- without all the Moore craft having been translated into movie craft, it felt more like a collection of influences than a fully integrated story.

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    2. Hello Historyman:- I'm always fascinated by the way in which anthologies illuminate folk's different taste. I didn't enjoy the Wonder Woman feature in WC, for example, and I thought the Metal Man was an example of beautiful art masking a story of no conspicuous virtue. Whereas, I did find the Metamorpho tale charming. Horses for courses ...

      Similarly, I find the presence of Superman at the end of TDKR to be a typically bolted-on Miller ending, in which a bright idea developed as a project was being worked on - or so it seems - suddenly takes on a life of its own. I look at the same pages as you and I don't believe a word of it.

      Alfred died in TDKR? I search my memory and I can't find a memory of any such thing. That's a worrying sign, isn't it? Oh dear.

      I'm chuffed for you, to think that you've got Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow before you. I seem to recall that there was some talk about AM writing Superman in the mid-Eighties. What an oppurtunity wasted. Mind you, I've rarely felt fond of the post-Crisis Superman, so Moore's work stands as a summary for me of the qualities I most loved about the character.

      Oh dear the Watchman movie. All that hype, all that fan-talk, and in the end, a closing ounch-up that was less convincing than the Camp Bat-Man TV show's fights.

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    3. Yeah, that is an interesting thing about anthologies- have you read the Flight anthology, btw? It's a bit of a grab-bag, but worth checking out. I've read a few volumes, and there's some beautiful stuff.

      I can't say I loved Wonder Woman, but I thought it was an interesting format, and a great conceit, a la Little Nemo, to have her wake up at the end of each panel.

      I didn't love Metal Men either, but it was relatively fun, and the art was great too. It, like the Gaiman, felt a little like a modern writer trying to do a throwback style comic and not quite getting it completely.

      I dunno, maybe I'm remembering it differently in retrospect, but that first scene in DKR (or is it TDKR? do "the"s count?) where Bruce and Clark meet, in like a field of daisies or something, and Clark looks all majestic and stuff, it felt like there was this deep friendship there, despite the different sides of history they'd ended up on.

      Don't remember Alfred thinking, "how utterly proper" and his heart stopping as soon as Bats dies? That, THAT felt like an afterthought. Was he just doing it to keep up appearances? I don't know.

      Yeah, I'm looking forward to Whatever Happened? I liked Gaiman's Shatever Happened to the Capes Crusader, and although I know there's only superficial similarities (or maybe not?), I'm looking forward to more Moore.

      Regarding All-Star Superman, I agree with you about it not being a goo starting book. After hearing everybody in the world talking about how it was the single greatest comic achievement in the world, etc etc, it was a bit of a let-down not to "get it" when I did read it. I've read it again recently, and I do appreciate a lot about it, but I can't ever imagine putting it on my best-of list.

      But maybe that's mostly because of the hype around it? That's the thing, for example regarding the Watchmen movie, of how do you get people excited to see something, much less spend their time and money, without hyping it up? As you said before, I don't even remember the closing punch-up, which says something. I do remember the "noooooooo!!", from NiteOwl, which was of course completely unnecessary.

      (my favorite part of Watchmen, the book, at the moment, btw: the moral crisis the prison psychologist faces, as he tries to balance loving his family and being compassionate to the greater community. The moment when the two women are fighting and his wife tells him not to interfere felt very real to me.)

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    4. Hello Historyman;- I read one of the Flight books, but memory tells me it was before I started blogging. I may not trust my opinions now, but I certainly don't trust them from them. Blogging may be me filling up the ether with piffle, but it does clarify the mind.

      I certainly wouldn't argue with about the Clark/Bruce friendship being strongly suggested in TDKR. But my problem is that I simply didn't believe in Superman as a willing, if reluctant, pawn of Ronnie Reagan. Nope, didn't happen, couldn't happen, daft idea. It only existed to allow the supposed coolness of the big two punching each other at the book's conclusion, so I just ignore it. Piffle, I say, piffle.

      Which may explain why I don't recall Alfred dying, because try as I might, I just find myself switching off during the end of Book 4. But now you mention it, yes, I think the memory is up there somewhere ....

      Gaiman's Bat-book is 100% meta, isn't it? I thought it was well-meant, but very obvious, and the meta existed without being carried by a story. WHTTMOT has a brilliant text AND sub-text, so although I'm glad they both exist, it's the one which I'll be returning to.

      I'll be returning to A-SS soon, as I do want to work out why I think so highly of and yet also suspect that it's in places rather excluding. I confuse myself, as I often do.

      I can't remember the prison psychologist scene!!! Now I'm going to have to go back and watch it again when it's next on. And it's your fault ...

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    5. Nooo wait!!! Don't rewatch the Watchmen movie! I was talking about the book. The movie made the prison psychologist boring and an uninteresting guy who only existed to be scared by Rorsach. In the book, he was far more interesting and insightful. Re-read that scene in WM, for sure, but don't re-watch that scene in the movie, because it doesn't exist. I don't want you watching that on my conscience.

      Hmm, it seems about everything Gaiman has done Bat-related is pretty meta. WHTTCC, his short story in the Batman: Black and White book, the Bat-cameo in Sandman. I wonder why it is. I have to say, though, as meta as it is, the story in WHTTCC, in which Alfred has been staging his entire Bat-career, does seem to get across how much he cares for his dull-witted but enthusiastic employer. It's even a bit touching.

      Hmm, my take on the whole Reagan aspect of DKR has always been "I wasn't politically aware at that time, I probably just don't get it" - but for someone who was, like you, to say it, maybe it's not my fault. For my money, the best Miller political satire is in Elektra: Assasin, probably still my favorite Miller. The art and storytelling are just amazing. It was actually one of my first comics, and I might put it somewhere in your list. No continuity necessary, and an engaging and challenging story.

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    6. Hello Historyman;- It's just as well that you've hauled my deluded self back from re-watching Watchman for a scene that doesn't exist. That would have been doubly frustrating. But I do feel guilty about being so harsh about the film of WM, given that it was so obviously a labour of love.

      Some of my favourite Batman tales are actually Alfred stories. The Chuck Dixon story of the chubby Earth-2 Alfred during Zero Hour is a little classic.

      Elektra Assasin? Oh, dear, I have tried and tried to enjoy EZ and it's always escaped me. I do have it somewhere, I will add it to that long long list of must-read books. BS's artwork is particularly tough for me to engage with, which I'm sure marks me out as a muttonhead. I just find the story obscured by the fireworks of BS's style, though I'm not sure that I care for the story either.

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  4. Great list! I'm very much interested in the books you. considered but rejected, because I instantly thought of the following:

    Daredevil: Born Again - I don't think prior knowledge of DD and his cast is necessary. I can't think of a single other reason to not lend it to the unconverted.

    The Golden Age - James Robinson's story of the post-WWII DC heroes is entertaining but also resonant. He made me care about a host of characters I had either never heard of or had little knowledge of. Paul Smith & Richard Ory provided attractive, clear visuals.

    Superman: Secret Identity - A complete story by Kurt Busiek drawn by Stuart Immonen going above the call of duty, S:SI is one of the best "super-heroes in the real world" comics I've ever read. I can't see any barriers to newbies in that book.

    The Astro City issue with the Junkman - My favorite issue of a favorite series, Busiek and Brent Anderson crafted a fun story of a super villain who finds that success means little without recognition. It's also a great story starring a senior citizen that's not strictly about aging.

    Runaways: the Brian K. Vaughan issues: just plain good, and starring new characters; there are guest stars a-plenty, but the focus never leaves the kids.

    At any rate, that's just what occurred to me, and I'm sure everyone who reads this will have their own list. I second Historyman's recommendation of Local; there are a few uneven spots, but they're worth pushing through. I thought the last two issues were excellent

    -Mike Loughlin

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    1. Hello Mike;- I'm thinking of writing a piece about why I didn't think certain books would work for the disconnected reader for this coming Friday, so I hope you'll forgive me if I don't respond to the comics you mention which I'm thinking of discussing. What I do appreciate is your suggesting these books; it's always fascinating to consider what comics might be considered "canon" in this matter.

      I think Golden Age is a book which can be dropped into. It does have a huge cast, mind you, and the central mystery of the plot might be too much for those not tuned in to genre conventions. I found the whole business of who survived WWII to be chilling, although in retrospect I find the chacaterisation of that survivor after his rebirth to be unconvincing. (I know why it couldn't be so convincing, of course; it'd give the game away.) I also think the meta-nostalgia of the ending might again be difficult for the UnFan to warm to. Yet, as I believe you know, I love The Golden Age, and I don't mean to suggest that it's not a great book.

      Secret Identity is a book which I've not looked at in years. When I did read it, I found myself thoroughly unmoved. Yet I have a sense that that was my fault. One to return to, I think.

      The Junkman I can't recall, but my Astro City knowledge is spotty. I can say, however, that I was wandering around one of Britain's cathedral cities this morning thinking too much about Astro City.

      I wonder about Runaways as a introductory text for an adult, Mike. It's fun, and I have all the TPBs. I suspect that the idea of the super-villain parents might be a meta step too far. A great book for a second wave of gateway texts, perhaps?

      I will be checking out Local. How can I not, when two of the blog's most esteemed commentors speak so well of it? Thank you for the recommendation.

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  5. I find recommending comics to someone a lot easier when I know a bit about their tastes, (which may still lead to superheroes - they may have liked a movie or just due to the fact that the genre mashes sci-fi, fantasy, crime, action, romance, soap opera, comedy, melodrama, surrealsim and the rest), but you've managed to comeup with a list that's a lot more accessible than the usual approach of "I [lifelong comic reader] love this so of course it should be your first comic." *cough*Watchmen*cough*

    (Although, I would still include All Star Superman - the ending doesn't stop the story being self contained (we've already seen Future Supermen), the imagery is so instantly iconic it seems pretty self-explanatory, and neverending stories are an key part of superheroics.)

    The mention of writing to the page also made me think of this old Eddie Campbell blogpost:

    http://eddiecampbell.blogspot.co.uk/2007/02/in-thrall-to-cinematic-principle_21.html

    Particularly for the comment added by Dave Gibbons. Their respective rules give the two sides to page vs panel... and I wouldn't argue with either of them :)

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    1. Hello Mark;- Well, I've just seen my reply disappear in the ether, so I hope my irritation doesn't in any way intrude into the tone of my response.

      I agree that it's always best to know who it is that's the subject of a conversion bid, just as it is a terrific advantage to be able to offer comics from a host of genres. I was interested in the problem of exactly the opposite problem; what if you didn't know the person, and what if you could only offer them super-books? It's such a difficult challenge that it became one I thought it might be worth blogging about, just to clear up my own thinking. As such, I wouldn't argue with your choice about A-SS; it's all subjective, and the same book was on my own shortlist. It's just that when I came to the final list, I excluded even the best books if there was another option which was even slightly more welcoming. (And of course, it's all opinion, anyway :) )

      It was certainly good for the ego to have to put aside the credible option for a more potentially inclusive one. As you say, Watchman is the credible option, but Catwoman is the more welcoming one. A comic-snob would sneer, but then, a comic-snob would hardly be reading this particular blog.

      Thank you for the link. I'm heading off there just as soon as I publish this!

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