Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Name those imaginary breasts! Episode 1

So, I'm going to do a little regular "segment" here where I post a pair of breasts from a female comic book character. One point for naming the character correctly. One point for naming the artist correctly. Minus points for saying something obviously misogynistic. No points for imaginary bra size.

Because, you know, isn't this what modern American comics are about?

Separated at birth?

So, I have a theory that Ari Fleischer (of shitty white-house era fame), Rob Corddry (of Daily Show and playing Ari Fleischer fame), and most importantly Alex Ross are triplets or clones. Not sure which. Anyway, these are just a few of the images I would use as evidence at their trial...uhm...the one we're going to have to, uhm...prove they're related? Or something.

Comic-based movies that should be animated (rather than live action) and why...

Okay, so Hollywood is missing the boat here. They could easily produce an amazing series of animated films based on comic properties for much less money than the live-action CGI monsters they are doing now. Persepolis and the Amazing Screw On Head pilot are both great examples of how an individual artist’s style can be translated into animation and (in Perselpolis’ case) actually made “better” or more accessible. You would be doing three things if you did more top-notch possibly hand-drawn pieces of animated majesty for the silver screen…

1.) You would throw down the gauntlet for all, including animation monster Japan, to see. Using the original artist style of the comic book as a guide and building an animated feature film around it...well, this would open up doors for the American movie market...making us trail-blazers and allowing us to pursue animation on two levels...the beautiful, artistic, hand-drawn translation of comic books into film and the CGI Disney/pixar track we’ve already mastered.

2.) You would be creating a film version of the comic that is much more in-synch with the original piece. Visually, there would be no disparity when a fan went into a comic shop looking for the “original” or for “more tales of...” this or that character. Merchandising would be easier, as no figure would have to look like an actor. It would also be easier to visually recognize one movie from the next...based on art styles.

3.) Translating comics that can be allowed to be themselves and have the pacing of, say, a Miyazaki film rather than a Brett Ratner flick, would mean so very much in terms of allowing American movie-goers to evolve/mature AND buck the trend of animated features being just for kids. The tales you can tell with animation are, like comics, not limited by budget for special effects but also not limited to being the same cookie-cutter Disney-naut and/or boob-jiggling hyper-violent anime.

So, some films that have already been made live-action that, based on iconic art style, would benefit from the animated treatment over the live-action are:

The Spirit (should have been an Eisner-esque...paying homage to his skill and style and keeping the fun of the original comic...)

300 (though true to the source material, would have been much cooler if animated in the Miller style)

Sin City (because Miller’s art-style is so singular...all the translations of his work from comic to film could really be done in an amazing animated piece with as much vim and vigor as the live action...if not more)

Bone (was scrapped by Jeff Smith when Disney wanted to put pop songs in the animated version...but a version that retains the look and feel of the original might be made someday. if so, it could become an instant classic...as has the source material)

Scott Pilgrim (being made into a live-action flick but why? o‘malley’s art style is so unique and a mix of 8-bit parts and amazing animation would really rock this thing...)

The Goon (I hear that it’s going to be made into a film...and I’m sure it will be live-action...which is sad. Powell’s artwork is gorgeous, creepy, and organic. animating it would be difficult...but well worth it)

Tank Girl (if you’ve seen the Gorillaz, you’d know how good this could have been...)

TinTin (though I’ve heard rumors both ways...if this piece ends up being live-action in any way...which they’ve already done btw, then what’s the point? Herge’s style is classic and needs a proper animated treatment)

Madman (I heard a live-action piece was going to be done years ago...but Allred’s artwork is so unique...it deserves proper animation)

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (imagine a version of this that is ripped from the pages of the comic...and retains Kevin O‘Neill’s genius stylization)

Black Hole (a live-action adaptation of this is being made...but why? Charles Burns’ artwork is freaky and powerful...and should be animated instead)

Hellboy (of all the live-action films on this list...Hellboy really didn’t translate like it could have easily as animation, particularly since we’ve seen the Amazing Screw-On Head pilot...which is as good a translation of an artist’s style from page to screen that I’ve ever seen. had the Hellboy movie been done with as much adherence to the art style as the story...it would be an amazing thing to behold)

Films I’d like to see done as animated features...are as follows (this is just an excerpt):

The Sandman (done in various styles...would be an amazing, dream-like film)

Powers (Oeming’s style is dying to be animated)

Casanova (the color palette and line-work intact, this film would be unique)

Hard-Boiled (an animated retelling of Darrow’s detailed world of crime and grime would be awesome)

Liberty Meadows (I think we would all love to see a series...maybe on Adult Swim?)

Groo (also, an adult swim-esque series would rock...)

Dawn (retaining Linsner’s style would be a challenge, but well worth it...and would be an instant cult-hit)

Criminal (though Phillips does a sort of noir realism, i think his style is strong enough to justify the animated treatment)

The Savage Dragon (his Kirby on acid style would make for a wonderful film...maybe following his first fight against the Vicious Circle)

Akiko (not adult...but totally needs to be made into an animated film for kids)

Chickenhare (also, not adult, but would be a great feature film or series of dvd films)

Love & Rockets (switching between the styles of the two brothers, this would be an instant classic once it hit the screen...or an amazing tv series with unforgettable animation)

Marshal Law (would also be amazing to see this Kevin O’Neill illustrated series come to life in animation)

Love Fights (any of Andi Watson’s tales would be nice animated in his style, but this one would probably have more screen appeal)

The Amazing Joy Buzzards (a movie or a series based on Dan Hipp’s artwork? what’s not to like?)

Cerebus (I would like to see this done in the Dave Sim style...and think it could be pulled off for a series of films)

Popbot (crazy washes and angular organics would make this one of the most intense and surreal animated features yet)

Boneyard (either as a series or a film...this book would make for a great story on the big screen...and Richard Moore’s style is so “him” that it would make sense to keep that in the moving version)

Screamland (though it’s new...Hector Casanova’s artwork is so original and moody that it would make for a gorgeous and complex flick)

The Airtight Garage (actually, any animated piece keeping with the Moebius look and feel would truly rock...)

Well, what are your suggestions? Are there films that have been made live action that you think should have been animated (based on comics or manga) and/or can you think of some comics you think would be truly stupendous as an animated film or series? I’m curious to know what other stuff you think would be best kept animated.

A few thoughts on the Watchmen movie...

1.) Okay, the first fight scene was cool, if a bit long. Aside from watching the Comedian get his clock cleaned, though, I thought the fight scenes were dumb and “Batman & Robin“-esque. Particularly the alley-way and prison fight scenes.

2.) If you’ve never read Watchmen, then it’s probably an entertaining flick. It would be akin to watching the “first” three Star Wars films without ever having seen the “original” three Star Wars films. You’d have a completely different perspective. I almost wish I had gone into it not having ever read Watchmen…

3.) It was clear in watching this film, even more than 300 which seemed more stylized, that Zack Snyder is not a “mature” director. Maybe he just hasn’t found his style yet...or maybe his style is crap. I liked both “Dawn of the Dead” and “300”, but I felt like the look and feel of “Watchmen” was recycled. Green-screen-tastic, painfully so, at times. In talking to Doug, we realized that part of the problem with this film is that Snyder has shot a rather soul-less picture. It has no vim, no vigor...and in attempting to be a shot by shot adaptation has become not an exciting live-action version of the comic, but rather a boring, oversaturated Dick Tracy (starring Madonna) version of the Watchmen comic. Imagine, if you will, if this had been handled by a director with a real voice and some level of actual artistry behind his interpretation of this comic book classic. That would have been more interesting than this. I would have liked to have seen the Nolan, Burton, Lynch, Spielberg, Coen Bros., Gilliam, or any other non-Lucas director of note...someone who has a real actual cinematic touch...any of their versions would have been at least more interesting to watch as a movie.

4.) I didn’t have a problem with the slow-mo. I didn’t have a problem with the Dr. Manhattan special effects. I didn’t feel like the removal of the alien menace idea (from the comic) made for a better film. It seemed pointless and arbitrary decision that was probably made to cut costs. It didn’t feel like it was made, as I had initially heard, to give the film a more realistic and potent climax. Also, when the climax does occur, the repercussions are so glossed over it’s as if something terrible didn’t happen at all. WTF? Do we not get to see how heavy and awful a decision Ozymandias has made for everyone? Shit, even if we did get shots of the devastation that lasted more than seconds...well, it probably wouldn’t matter because NOTHING has been done to establish an investment in the characters and people that inhabit this world (with the possible exception of Nite-Owl and Silk Spectre...and even that seems like a minor connection established between the audience and the characters). Again, this movie has no soul...and that extends to the soul-less way it treats the entities that people its universe.

5.) Speaking of a lack of depth, the casting of this film was pretty awful. Or maybe, again, it was the direction. It’s hard to tell. Granted, the guy they got to play Rorshach (sic?) looks like him, to some degree...but either Snyder under-directs/anti-directs his actors (ala Lucas) or the people he got just can’t pull off the level of emotional range/depth that is required to convey the emotion that, say, Rorshach would need to get across when faced with his own death and a challenge to the very purpose of his life. Also, the Silk Spectre actress didn’t have the chops to pull her role off, nor was she really old enough. Her mother was even worse. Talk about a cartoony, one-dimensional version of a character that brings a level of weight and sadness to the source material. Jesus. The Dan Dreiberg actor was okay, the guy who played the Comedian was so-so. I didn’t have a problem with the way Dr. Manhattan was portrayed/played but I would have liked them do to more with some sort of voice reverb to make him different than everyone when speaking...but that’s a minor thing.

6.) And I think minor things are brought up when you have a film that is so unsatisfying overall. If the piece were more interesting in general, I would not be focusing on everything from little to big. I’m not the typical comic purist that wants the film to be adapted EXACTLY like the comic. I mean, yeah, it’d be awesome if that were possible...to make a comic that completely retells the events from a comic it’s using as source material in a respectful and loving manner BUT ALSO make a unique piece of film as art with it’s own fresh take on the concepts. It’s rare that this has happened, in all the long history of translating plays, fiction, non-fiction, and now comics to film. When it does, it’s a revelation. Sadly, WATCHMEN is not that revelation.

My "essential" comics list... (proceed with caution!)

Here's a list of what I think are the "essential reads" primarily chosen from American comics, but including some manga and European pieces. Let me know what you think...

(So, I've compiled a partial list of stuff I've read that exists in trade paperback or hardcover edition that I think make for righteous reads. I guess they aren't all "essential" in that I think they MUST be read, but they are essential in that you should probably read them. I.E. this is not the "cream" but rather the cream and the other crap that you still eat because it's worth eating but you still prefer the cream. Or something. Check it out!)

Green Arrow (Kevin Smith arcs)
Green Lantern: Willworld
Too Much Coffee Man
Grendel (Pander Bros. & Wagner stuff)
Formerly Known as the JLA & I Can’t Believe it’s the JLA
Identity Crisis
JLA 1-14 (Morrison)
JLA Earth 2
Batman: Year One
All Star Batman/Robin
All Star Superman
Batman: Dark Victory, Haunted Knight, The Long Halloween
Superman: For All Seasons
Superman: Red Son
Superman/Batman (first few volumes)
Superman/Shazam: First Thunder
Justice (DC)
Starman (Robinson/Harris)
Crisis on Infinite Earths
The New Frontier 1, 2
The DC Universe Stories of Alan Moore
Dr. 13: Architecture & Morality
Fallen Angel (DC)
Marvel Zombies
Walking Dead
Tank Girl (Hewlett/Martin)
The Boys
Queen & Country
Scott Pilgrim
Blade of the Immortal
Sin City
Noble Causes
Brit (Kirkman)
The Sword
V for Vendetta
How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way
Comics & Sequential Art
The Dark Phoenix Saga
Ultimate Spider-Man


Ultimates (1-2)
The Saga of the Swamp Thing (Moore, Veitch)
Batman: The Killing Joke
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Tom Strong
Top 10
It’s A Good Life If You Don’t Weaken
The Tale of One Bad Rat
Kingdom Come
Calvin & Hobbes
The Replacement God
Daredevil: Born Again
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Punisher MAX
New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract
The Collected Stray Bullets
Daredevil: Yellow
Hulk: Gray
Spider-Man: Blue
100 Bullets
Usagi Yojimbo
New X-Men (Grant Morrison)
Thor Visionaries: Walt Simonson
Authority (not Robbie Morrison)
Iron Man: Extremis
Earth X/Universe X/Paradise X
X-Force (Milligan/Allred)
Love Fights
Skeleton Key
Angry Youth Comix
Castle Waiting
Understanding Comics/Making Comics/Re-Inventing Comics
The Filth
Marvel Boy
Runaways (Vaughn)
Camelot 3000
American Elf
The Maxx
The Crow (O'Barr)
Daisy Cutter
Sam & Max
Gotham Central
Milk & Cheese
Jack of Fables
Pride of Baghdad
Batman: A Death In the Family
JLA: A League of One
Batman Adventures: Mad Love
Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia
Batman: Thrillkiller
Sock Monkey
Ex Machina
Batgirl: Year One
Robin: Year One
JLA: The Nail 1, 2
Shazam (Smith)
American Virgin
Crossing Midnight
Silver Surfer (Moebius)
Conan (Dark Horse)
Shanna The She-Devil (Cho)
Y, The Last Man
Batman: Year 100
Blue Monday
Like A Velvet Glove Cast In Iron
The Complete Concrete
We 3
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Collected Book
Ultimate X-Men (Millar)
Daredevil: The Man Without Fear
Squadron Supreme (Mark Gruenwald)
Supreme Power (JMS)
The Books of Magic
Astro City
The Dark Knight Returns
Ghost World
Jimmy Corrigan
Leave It To Chance
Fancy Froglin
Ghost In The Shell
Antman (Kirkman)

Welcome to the new hotness...I mean Vulture-ness. Osity. Ish. Or something.

Check out the previous three Comiculture Vultures at our old home: Lawrence.com!


And bear with me as I learn how to properly format a blog. I'm an old man and should be given plenty of time to adjust to basic things like image placement, hyperlinking, and not using antiquated web-terms.