Saturday, February 12, 2005

Kevin Smith's Writing - SHOULD He Feel Insecure?

Recently, on Newsarama, they posted an Instant Messanger conversation between Joe Quesada and Kevin Smith. Here is the link.

In it, Smith has some interesting things to say about his insecurity about his comic writing.

Specifially, "And we should talk about part of the reason I couldn't get back behind the keyboard for 'Spidey.' My insecurity. It took me two years to get over the fact that I'm not Bendis. I was like 'Why should I bother? He's better and quicker.'"

Now, let us forget for a moment whether Smith is telling the truth. He seems to be playing it straight in the conversation, but you can never tell for sure, so let us just presume that he is telling the truth.

In that case, should Smith feel insecure about his comic book writing?

What did you think about his run on Daredevil and Green Arrow? Would you put them on par with the work of Bendis? Or do you think that Smith's work does, in fact, pale in comparison to Bendis' comic work?

I was not a fan of Smith's Daredevil, in that it struck me as the worst example of "outside guy playing with the toys without any care for whether it made sense or not."

His Green Arrow, I thought, was better. It was closer to his comic work on his own characters, in that it felt more confidant and assured, and felt less like he was just trying to show off for X amount of issues (which is the sense I got during his Daredevil run..."Look what I can do with the characters!").

With that being said, a good deal of his Green Arrow run was sorta tied up in minutae. The hows and the whys of Ollie's return. And I dunno if that was exactly the best approach on a Green Arrow comic book.

Finally, his Spider-Man/Black Cat, I thought, was decent enough...if not a bit more of the "look what I can do!" approach. I wonder if that has to do with the effect of his editors.

Perhaps DC was a bit stricter?

Finally, Daredevi:Target had one I have little to say about it.

In any event, while I may not have been that into Smith's comic writing, most of it was not that far off from the work of Bendis, I do not believe.

Bendis HAS done the better comic work of the two, but Bendis also has devoted more time to comic work.

I don't think comparisons to Bendis should give rise to feelings of insecurity in Smith.

Does anyone disagree?


Blogger Greg said...

Smith is an up-and-down comic writer, but so is Bendis. Smith's work on the Jay and Silent Bob comic (where they go to Illinois) is flat-out hysterical. Maybe Smith was referring to Bendis' speed. He certainly can't feel insecure because of "Avengers Disassembled," can he?

2/12/2005 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger Brad Curran said...

You're really asking for it, Cronin, posting about Kevin Smith without ever using the phrase "is the hackiest hack ever and also fat" on a blog where Joe contributes.

I was at one point a huge fan of Smith's writing, and do still enjoy his movies. His Green Arrow and DD runs were among the things that got reading comics again.

That said, I can't feel any sympathy for him, as I don't find his bouts of insecurity a good excuse for taking two years to finish a pair of fucking mini-series. I'm pretty sure writers of all stripe feel insecure comparing themselves to other people in their chosen fields, but I doubt feeling like you aren't as good as Alan Moore or as fast as Bendis would get most guys in comics the kind of slack Smith has in being so ridiculously late. Feeling insecure is one thing, but saying that was the reason you didn't "get behind the keyboard for 2 years" just doesn't wash with me.

2/12/2005 10:43:00 PM  
Blogger Brad Curran said...

Answering your question a little better, I don't think Smith should feel insecure about his comics work. There's always going to be someone bettter, or at least with strengths in areas where you have weaknesses, in any field.

And really, given the guy's deadline history, Joe Q and the higher ups at Marvel deserve just as much of my self righteousness for publishing his books without having all of the work in the can. It's just that any mention of Smith's books gets my back up, because I've moderated Spider-Man and Daredevil related message boards since these books came out, and it annoys me to no end that people are still having to ask whether these comics will ever be published.

2/12/2005 11:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think Kevin Smith should feel insecure about his comic book writing. I should feel insecure about picking up the fucking things and thinking they might be good.
I don't care about the wait times as long as the issue that comes out is amazing. How long were the delays on Miracleman? A year between issues fourteen and fifteen? Whatever. You don't notice reading it in trade.
I disagree that Green Arrow was a decent piece of writing. It was terrible. My first comic story was What Can One Man Do? by Elliot S! Maggin and Neal Adams. Even the Denny O'Neill issues look like shit next to that.

2/12/2005 11:23:00 PM  
Blogger Chad said...

I find it amusing that he feels insecure because he's not Bendis. He's also not Grant Morrison or Alan Moore or Warren Ellis or Frank Miller or Los Bros Hernandez.

But he's worried that he's not Bendis.

That's funny, that is.

2/13/2005 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger Hisham Zubi said...

While I like Smith's work, I never bothered to pick up Target or Spider-man/Blackcat. I felt there was enough Daredevil and Spider-man stuff out already.

Smith's insecurity is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. His delays will probably hurt sales on his books. Plus, readers'responces may be: "We had to wait over two years for that? Its not bad, but not worth a two-year delay."

2/13/2005 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Well, if you read the thread, I'm the guy who wrote the long open letter to KS telling him to buck up, so you know how I feel.

I read his Clerks comics, which were basically the Clerks movie on paper, and had no problem with them. His Green Arrow I loved; it's what made Ollie into one of my favorite characters. DD, didn't read. Spidey/Black Cat, I have all the issues that were published, and it's a decent enough Spidey story; he gets the characters, and the story itself is interesting.

He's not Bendis, but honestly, I liked his stuff better than what little Bendis I've read (Avengers).

2/13/2005 02:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Tim Agen said...

Knowing that Smith's anxieties reach past his comic work (the Green Hornet movie being a well known example), I wouldn't be surprised to learn that he has an actualy social disorder of some sort. Leaving aside the notion of over-diagnosis of such things, he's shown himself to be consistent with his insecurity.

I read his GA and DD in collected forms. His DD was wonderfully engaging until Mysterio was revealed. At the time, I was a new comic book reader (still am, I suppose), and having all the plotlines of DD coming out of a villian as ridiculous as Mysterio really killed my enthusiasm for the story. Killed it dead.

I felt his GA had a similiar tone, but in a DCU of The Spectre and their notion of Heaven, it worked much better for me. Hester and Parks alse helped me really get into his GA.

I haven't read his other stuff since I know that if ever finished, it will be available to me in collected forms.

2/13/2005 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

"We had to wait over two years for that? Its not bad, but not worth a two-year delay."

Haha...that's a great point, Hisham.

It's a total downward spiral!!!

2/13/2005 04:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Kevin Smith should be more insecure about his work as a writer (and director) in general. His movies don't offer much in character development or storytelling. He relies too much on his dialogue to tell the story. And sometimes this works like Clerks and Chasing Amy (to some degree).


2/13/2005 09:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who cares? Seriously, who cares whether Kevin Smith's insecurity is justified? Particularly from some third party's geek-goggled perspective?

Comics will get good when geeks stop liking them.

2/14/2005 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Rice said...

I don't know where to begin, honestly. I don't know what is the saddest:

1. Someone feeling insecure because of Brian Bendis' "writing skill"

2. This pathetic excuse for late comics

3. The entire fucking conversation

What the shit? Are you fucking kidding me? "I feel insecure"? Shit on a brick! That's too fucking bad! Grow a set, why don't you? Or shut the fuck up and get out of creative fields.

All this time I thought Bendis was a poor man's Kevin Smith, honestly. They both write TERRIBLE dialogue-obsessed shit. I can't stand it in any format, in any way. They're permanently stuck in that sophomore-year-film-student-just-discovered-dialogue phase. That phases is one most writers go through, but it sucks like a wet fart.

Ugh. I cannot fathom the idiocy and patheticality of this whole affair. Everyone involved, including me, needs an reality enema.

2/14/2005 04:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wrote a long comment about how shitty Smith's comic work has been, but never posted it due to fear of being too negative.

I really just thought, "Ah, he sucks. Who fucking cares?" and deleted it.

But it's killing me- His comics suck. They're not funny, have dull, meandering plots, if any plots at all, and aren't much more than big chunks of lame dialogue illustrated here and there, when an artst can actually fit shit in the panel.

Add the total lack of professionalism in the way he's operated as a monthly comic scribe, and you have a Shitty Writer. By any definition.

I promise you, if he didn't ave the bullshit indie film snob cred, and he was an unknown

a) people would hate his books


b) he wouldn't get the work to begin with.

Let him stick to film. Leave comics to people who write actual picture stories, not self-indulgent talky horseshit.


2/14/2005 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

Why isn't he insecure about his films, though? He's no Jerry Bruckheimer, either.

(Bruckheimer doesn't write, does he? I hate living. WHATEVER! THE ANALOGY STANDS!)

2/15/2005 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...


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