Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
I’ll tell you what else… I’m actually seeing things in [work for hire] comics now that I was doing seven or eight years ago. Not just techniques, but actual ideas. I love me some Fraction, but seeing that Tony Stark wants to “change the world” by manufacturing a car that isn’t dependent on gasoline and runs on a possibly limitless energy source that only he can provide… where have I seen that before? Grant Morrison, of all people, had the confidence and the grace to name check me in a Wired magazine interview when it comes to whatever minor contribution I’ve made to the “corporate” angle in modern comics, but he seems to be the only one. And there are other little things I see here and there that I recognize as having done myself, ten years ago. Things that are so specific, I know where they came from, I know it’s not just coincidence. Now before certain people go crazy because I dared say that… no one should read this as me being at all bitter, because I actually think it’s fine. Let ‘em all pick at the bones of the carcasses I chased down and slaughtered in the field… I’m on to the next kill. I certainly did it with the creators that I dug when I was a newbie. It’s just weird to be on the other side of it. Any creators out there who don’t think we all share the same ideaspace are deluding themselves.
But, y’know, it all adds up to one thing for me, personally… mainstream comics have become so boring that I can barely stand it. There are a few exceptions. Morrison‘s work still gives me a helluva charge, Allan Heinberg‘s a favorite (when he’s able to carve out the time to write comics), but it’s mostly lot of insanely talented creators at Marvel and DC and elsewhere just boring the shit out of me as a reader and as a fan of comics. I hope that doesn’t come across as a slam on anyone’s work, that’s just my honest reaction to a lot of what’s out there right now. Most of it, I’ve seen it all before. Some of it, I’ve done myself…! But more than anything, that’s what gets me off my ass to bust out a plethora of creator-owned material… to try and shake things up a little. Maybe I’ve done it before, to varying degrees — I guess that’s a matter of opinion — but I’m more than a little curious whether or not it’s possible to do it again with these new books. On a pure showmanship level, I’m calling out all of the comic book-creatin’ motherfuckers stuck out there in the mainstream wilderness… saying, “Let’s put some swing back into this thing!” Let’s give all the bloggers and the podcasters stuff they can really sink their teeth into. There are amazing online writers out there that are dying for something good to write about in the mainstream arena, not to mention the podcasters that want to talk about comics in a more in-depth way, but seem to have less and less to talk about.
–Man of Action’s Joe Casey, comics writer of long standing and supervising producer/story editor/head writer of the forthcoming Ultimate Spider-Man animated series from Disney/Marvel, calls it like he sees it regarding the dearth of new and exciting ideas in superhero comics. I think we can all agree with the last part of this quote, at least — will no one think of the bloggers???
This quote comes from a lengthy, extraordinarily juicy interview with Casey by the Comics Reporter’s Tom Spurgeon, the kick-off to his annual Holiday Interview Series, one of my favorite comics Christmas traditions. Be sure to read the whole thing for Casey’s as-per-usual no-holds-barred thoughts on the death of WildStorm, work-for-hire comics vs. creator-owned comics (such as Officer Downe, art from which by Chris Burnham is shown above), work-for-hire animation vs. creator-owned animation, his work on Dark Reign: Zodiac and Superman/Batman, making a living in comics, and much more.