Thursday, December 30, 2004

WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING? AND A DEFENSE OF DAVE FIORE

Why, I got busy at work, had a lovely Christmastime visit in Louisiana, had the kids get sick, got sick myself… everything but blog posting, it seems. Even got involved in yet another John Byrne discussion over at the pop culture bored, but I’m through talking Byrne for now. But I didn’t realize quite how long it had been since I posted, and I feel like I need to get in some serious writing in this week not to be embarrassed at myself.

Christmas was good to me. I received as gifts mostly comic related books, (B. Krigstein Comics, the Smithsonian book, two Joe Sacco’s, Tales to Astonich, Men of Tomorrow, A Complete Lowlife, and Bighead). It was weird being in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The trips back always have an oddly depressive component, as the environment appears to have deteriorated since I lived there, but there is a lot of new construction, and maybe that’s a good thing.

I am horrified by the tsunami deaths (115K and climbing – shit!), which I keep thinking about. What could have been done if there were warning beforehand? Anything? Is this one of the biggest natural disasters in recorded history? I know there was a famine in China (that the government tried to keep hidden) that killed many millions, but how many natural disasters have killed over 100K? I can’t seem to conceptualize the size of it all. Just hearing about one kid dying gets me sick to my stomach. Thousands, though. God.

I have to throw my support in for David Fiore, though, as there has been a little backlash concerning his opinions on Darwyn Cooke’s DC: The New Frontier (see here for the backlash discussion and links). I have to admit that, although I found stuff to like about this series, I was, at the end of the day, underwhelmed by it. The saving grace for me was the style of the thing, which I think accomplished no mean feat by achieving a reliable “feel” of silver age superheroes as seen through the lens of the current public conception of the 50’s-60’s swinging hipster aesthetic (note: I live in Vegas and get a thrill of pleasure every time I pass the construction on the decadently future-deco sign going up in front of the Wynn – so I have something of a weakness for the style in question).

This is why issue 1 fell utterly on it’s face as far as I was concerned (the dinosaur island and boneheaded Hal Jordan pacifist fighter-pilot sequences left no room for the grooviness), and the series most fully captured my attention in the Las Vegas cocktail party sequence. The convertible rides went a long way to making the series worthwhile. But I had no use for the overall plot, theme and subtext which makes the sledgehammer subtle Kingdom Come look like Gravity’s Rainbow in comparason. My reaction to this series reminded me of my reaction to Catwoman: Selina’s Big Score, where the visual and stylistic elements evoked (in a positive way) a period chic (calling to mind –oh, I don’t know – The Getaway where New Frontier recalls The Right Stuff), but the narrative itself felt a bit creaky and clunky. I my mind, Cooke is an excellent stylist who could stand some improvement as a writer.

But I don’t understand the bile directed towards poor Dave. He’s always been upfront about the fact that he views comics through a somewhat narrow prism, and that no one else is compelled to agree with his conclusions. I have disagreed with his position an several occasions (most notably on the issue of whether Lost in Translation is a masterpiece or a failure of a movie with a few redeeming values, and on the topic of whether or not the phrase “it took me out of the story” makes sense), but I can trust that his thoughts are authentically his, and that he will not seek to judge the opinions of others as less worthy than his own (this alone places him above 95% of online commentators). He is the only blogger that has stayed near the top of my blog favorites list for an extended period of time because of this non-judgmental sincerity.

I hope to be back to regular blogging now, I just had a really rough few weeks. I’m going to the Electra premier and after party on Jan 8 (at the Palms – yay!), and I hope to report a bit on it.

2 Comments:

At 7:00 PM, Blogger David Fiore said...

hey thanks Todd!

Dave

 
At 8:30 PM, Blogger Admin said...

Great blog, keep up the good work. Glad to see sites like this.

Here is another good site I said I would pass along.
Las Vegas Vacations
Thanks

 

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