Robot 6

Quote of the day | Joe Casey is bored by your comics

Top panel, L-R: Joe Casey, mainstream comics

Top panel, L-R: Joe Casey, mainstream comics

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.



I often feel the same way. When I read Casey’s stuff, it’s never boring even if I don’t totally dig it. A lot of comics are too…constrained? preplanned? The right phrase is eluding me, but I feel what Casey is saying here.

Casey always gives great interview. And unless I’m mistaken, he’s always done so, even before he was insulated by what I’m assuming is a healthy Ben 10 payoff.

There’s a spectacular amount of irony in posting an Officer Downe image over that quote.

An irony not lost on me, I assure you!

And probably not on Casey, either, as he himself points out.

Joe Casey is right I’m bored with a lot of the writing and now that I think about it I haven’t been to a comic shop in a month or so and have not missed much. Heck the comics I have pulled have been kinda dull but I just still sorta pick them up out of habit or love of the artist on board.

Where Casey gets off dissing Fraction, I don’t know. Casey has never written a decent superhero comic in his life, whereas Fraction has done a bunch of awesome comics (Iron Man, his Spidey annual, The Order, Iron Fist, just to name a few).

I love that his credit is “supervising producer/story editor/head writer of the forthcoming Ultimate Spider-Man animated series from Disney/Marvel,” all in the context of loathing the same old same old in corporate comics culture. Because telling young Peter Parker’s story is something that’s never been done before . . .

^I guess if the quote was about how Joe Casey thinks that corporate comics are an unimaginative, boring constructs by nature you would have a semblance of a point. Alas.

He’s right on. It’s one of the reasons I’m inching more towards manga, alt. and older comics: More variety, more spark for the most part. Truly captivating superhero comics are a rare thing right now, which, to be fair, they always were. It just seems like they’re a bit tougher to spot these days.

Never been a huge fan of Mr. Casey, but I certainly share his sentiment.

Isn’t it ironic of Casey criticizing comics for reusing ideas when his own Ben 10 series was pretty much an uncredited modern adaptation of DIAL H FOR HERO?

Well, he acknowledges it, but that doesn’t make it BETTER, Sean.

Sir Manley Johnson

December 21, 2010 at 4:57 am

Yes, most comics are indeed boring and yet i’m obsessed with them. That can’t be good.

I’m with Chris Jones on slowly heading over to manga and small press comics. Well, I WAS slowly heading over there a year ago, I’m just about all the way there now except for the handful of capes comics that I’m still reading.

It’s difficult to reconcile this interview with the Avengers comic he put out this last year (at least as far as I could understand what that comic was), but– it was a very pleasant interview regardless. I always look forward to these interviews. (Also: I liked Officer Downe..?)

Also– when the topic of mainstream comics being in a poor condition came up in 2009, I seem to remember Robot-6 responding with a rather lengthy response, characterizing anyone who felt that way as being essentially pessimists who just needed to go read the Abominable Charles Christopher or… something. So, the difference in presentation here is also amusing.

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