Thursday, August 17, 2006

to Retro or not to Retro...

Absorbascon has a nifty post on the cyclic nature of superheroes, amd this fits in with my own personal theory of how best to read the material these days. since the property has to continue on, you just have to pick the personal era of the characters that speaks to you and stick with it. I know people who hated Steve Englehart's run on the Avengers in the '70's, as they didn't feel that they were a patch on the Roy Thomas years. Me? I loved the Steve Englehart stories. Gimme my celestial madonna, gimme the Avengers versus the Defenders, gimme a great dovetail with the Thanos epic over in Captain Marvel.

I may have read plenty of issues afterwards, but these days, the X-men, to me, ends with Kitty Pryde as Ripley from Alien. That Claremont/Byrne/Austin run still can't be beat.

And yet, i still keep looking for the new run on the books where they do a good slant or just a damn different slant on a fave character. I loved Don McGregor's run on Black Panther in Jungle Action, and didn't like anything with the character until Christopher Priest's version showed up. while I love the Bill Finger/Bob Kane version of Batman, the Englehart/Rogers/Austin is still the best I've ever read. And yes, I've seen the Neal Adams stuff. And the Kaluta, and the Wrightson, and the Golden, and the Aparo, and even the Dick Sprang.

Why do I keep looking for a new twist? Maybe because i can't let go of the kid nostalgia for certain characters, while the adult me understands the marketing forces that drive the current version of the industry. and because there is a level of fun to see just how far you can twist certian things into new pretzel-like shapes (i.e. the Morrision/Jones Marvel Boy).

Makes you wonder, however, just how much this mental energy being exerted in the service of pretzel twisting keeps people from creating new ideas and new icons. WWJKD? What would jack kirby do? Jack freely borrowed from himself when the need arose, but he also was wandering in to the wilderness of new ideas and new concepts decades ahead of just about everyone else. Innovate or die? Sounds about right to me.

1 comment:

jason @ RIOT said...

thanks for swinging by my site. sorry you caught me during my "grumpy" week!

hey, when are you going to scan some of your work for the masses to drool over?