Monday, February 28, 2005

Darwyn Cooke is Elijah Craig

So Silver Bullet Comics has a new interview with Darwyn Cooke up. It's good stuff, and hats off to those guys. But I want to talk about it now so here goes. See, Mr. Cooke is like Elijah Craig to me. Who's that? Christ, Google it. OK, fine. He was an early bourbon maker in my old Kentucky home. But I'm not talking about the man. I'm talking about his fine, aged single-batch bourbon. It's just like Darwyn Cooke: intoxicating, rare, and better than you can imagine. His work is just fantastic squared, from his fun Spidey one-shots to the masterful New Frontier. And his interviews are always interesting, as he never holds back or chases his comments with apologies. When he sees something that isn't good, he calls it. I love it.

On comics and the mass market:

Comic creators, editors and publishers would actually have to do their jobs — sell populist fare by the truckload that appealed to the mass market. They would have to give up this tight little circle where people care more about Bruce's feelings than they do whether there's a Batman story actually taking place. They'd have to work all ages with public light cast on the book's actual content, they'd have to compete with better written and produced entertainment from other media. Books that didn't sell would die. "Creators" who couldn't meet a monthly schedule would be restricted to specials and one-shots. Public taste and trends would have to be embraced. The precious superhero would have to share the stage with other more relevant genres like Romance, Crime, Horror, Humour and the like. Dicks like Kevin Smith would have to save their juvenile, oral-sex innuendo for something other than a mainstream DC comic.

The comic book industry in America is a cottage industry aimed at a very exclusive audience. That's why they don't sell. For 20 years, Hollywood has been making millions off comic properties and the zombies chant about how it will translate in sales... and it never does. Because the comics are cryptic, inaccessible, overpriced and aimed at anything other than a mass market.

If I could, I'd change the subtitle of our blog to that. Perfect.

This may as well have been in my cynicism post:

NASO: Why do you think deconstruction is so popular right now?

COOKE: Because its much easier to write, and it is servicing an aging, bored market that wants it.

And here's the kicker, emphasis mine:

When NF was wrapping up, my editor, Mark Chiarello, suggested that I consider a monthly. I pitched DC two ideas for a monthly I would write and draw; one involving a Spy/Espionage unit that was on the periphery of the DCU and the other was a real hard assed, straight, no chaser Batman arc where I had about six original villains I would roll out. My caveats where that I wouldn't have to contend with "event" crossovers, and that it be an A-list book. With DC's plans for the next while, there wasn't room for either of these things to happen. My plate is very full with a few other things right now, so it's all good, and Dan and I will probably talk more in the future as areas open up.

Words can't express. Darwyn Cooke pitches two ongoings and fucking Identity Countdown Crapshitty takes precedence? Oh, Didiotic DC. When will you learn? My little brain may never read these fine works now, because they didn't "fit in" with the DCU. They didn't fit in with rape and graphic babymurder. In other words, they were good. Nice going, DC Editorial. I can't wait for the wonderful things that will be there instead of these books. Let's see what secret government plant is watching superheroes, cause that's really interesting. How about all the villains get together (again)? Or maybe the Spectre will do something no one gives a shit about! MY GLEE IS OVERWHELMING!


Anonymous Brad Curran said...

This is as close as I can come to jumping on the hate for Didio DC bandwagon. I mean, I don't like Identity Crisis and its ilk, but I can safely ignore them as long as I get my Seven Soldiers and Plastic Man But yeah, to see that two Darwyn Cooke stories might never see the light of day because they don't fit in with what's going on in every other book... that's pretty damn depressing.

Of course, he's got a creator owned graphic novel he's working on (with giant robots!), which softens the blow quite a bit. Even if I would really like to see what he could add Batman's Rogues Gallery. If nothing else, here's hoping that he does the espionage book as a creator owned project, too, if DC doesn't get their shit together.

2/28/2005 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Rice said...

No doubt. In honestly, I'd probably rather see some good original stuff that him doing good stuff with old tired characters . . .but the reasoning behind it in this instance is annoyingola.

2/28/2005 04:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Brad Curran said...

"... but the reasoning behind it in this instance is annoyingola."

No doubt. The fact they'd pass on a Batman arc where he'd create six villains for them alone is enough to bewilder me. Only a giant robot GN could mitigate it, so at least we've got that. And hey, maybe his DC stuff will get in to print over there after this whole IC fad passes.

2/28/2005 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger P'La Jarvinen said...

first time I have had the opportunity to read your blog, and all I can say is HERE HERE! on all points! unfortunately, if all publishers views are equal, the internet community in their eyes interprets into a small number of buyers
chief editors should step up and admit that sales are nothing like they were more than 10 yrs ago.

3/01/2005 05:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd have loved to see more fresh takes on DC, but I've got to say that I hate Darwyn Cooke's stuff. Everything in New Frontier just seemed so corny and smarmy I couldn't even finish reading the thing.
Some people recommended it to me so I flipped through the first five(? The last one I read was the one with the Aquaman cover) issues, and they were terrible. Don't tell me that scene where Wildcat knocks out Muhammed Ali was good. The "Plan B" thing was so wretched.
Every issue of that thing was wretched. Martian Manhunter acclimatisng comfortably to humanity by watching tv? Predictable and wretched. Batman beating up Superman? Wretched. Wonder Woman as an insulting hard ass? Boring and wretched. There wasn't a single original idea in that whole series and every idea he ripped off of someone else was a boring one.
I'm looking forward to the whole run of Seven Soldiers, but Darwyn Cooke I couldn't give a damn about.

3/02/2005 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Rice said...

I think you're anonymous because you have suffered too much brain damage to remember your name. I've never read such crazy dumb! I'm appalled that a keyboard would let such things be typed!

3/02/2005 08:15:00 PM  
Blogger alex said...

Hey Anonymous, get out of here with your lame, shitty opinions. You might infect our awesome blog with stupid-shithead-itis.

This blog is too awesome for people with shitty taste. All our efforts are wasted on you! Stop wasting our time!

Gah! You've sullied our kick-ass site! We must wash our eyes to banish your stupid fucking comments!

Leave this place to never return! When you can appreciate quality comics, MAYBE you may return.


3/02/2005 08:52:00 PM  
Anonymous GregCanu said...

Darwyn writing and drawing a regular Batman book .... I'll believe that the day I see Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely finally do a Superman book the way God and Siegel & Schuster intended.

In every generation of comics the worst ideas seem to come out of the best intentions ... and in every generation of comics there are folks like Darwyn who actually understand how to tell a COMIC story.

Be patient .. believe in the good and it will prevail.

3/03/2005 03:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why should comics be good?
Should literature be only good?`
Or movies?

Are you lot Amish or somehting?

If not then youre wasting your time foolishly preaching about how comics should only develop in one direction.

3/05/2005 07:44:00 PM  
Anonymous GregCanu said...

Hmmm ...

As if bad comics needed any encouragement in order to be prodcued and sold each month.

3/05/2005 10:32:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

"Why should comics be good?
Should literature be only good?`
Or movies?

Are you lot Amish or somehting?

If not then youre wasting your time foolishly preaching about how comics should only develop in one direction."


I mean, "foolishly" suggests that this is an insult...but what OF?

Unless the argument really is that comics SHOULDN'T be good...but that just doesn't make any sense.

So it must be that there is an argument being made that Joe (or this site) is saying that comics should only develop in "one direction."

That's the only reasonable argument I can get out of here.

But if that's the case, I repeat, again, Huh?

One direction?

Unless that one direction is "good," I do not think such a position has been taken by this piece by Joe, or, well, anything else on the site.

Please, there are plenty of reasonable things to take issue with on our little blog (one popular one is that we're too mean)...but you did not go in any of those directions.

You went with criticizing this piece (or this site) for either wanting comics to be good (which is absurd as a criticism) or wanting comics to go in "one direction" (which is not absurd, just unfounded).

I'd love to hear more from you on the issue, though, to clarify your position, so I can better respond to you, as I'd like to go further than just - Huh?

3/06/2005 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Rice said...

He also misspelled "Ahmish." Someone's gotta stand up for the pious luddites of America.

3/06/2005 08:11:00 PM  

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