Wednesday, December 07, 2005

"Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due" or "No Passing THIS Buck"

When All-Star Batman & Robin #1 came out, I am sure many of us were taken aback at the seemingly gratutious shots of Vicky Vale in her bra and panties. I mean, not just in her bra and panties, but full page shots of her in her bra and panties. Panels designed just to zoom in on her ass. Really over the top stuff. At the time, I think most of us were pretty sure that Frank Miller told Jim Lee to do this, as it would take cojones of steel by Jim Lee to add stuff like that on his own. However, we did not know for SURE until the script came out. Well, the script is out today (in the special edition of All-Star Batman & Robin #1 ), and I have some transcriptions of the script, and, well, it is definitely allllllllllll Miller.

When I get some time later today, I will transcribe the script (unless someone here wants to do it for me...hehe) and add it to this post, but suffice to say for now that Miller is QUITE detailed about how he wants Lee to make the panels look, and generally, his descriptions run along the lines of "Let's drive the fanboys crazy."

Not for nothing, but beyond the explicit instructions as to how Miller wants Vale depicted, it is intriguing how, beyond Miller's request for graphic T & A, Lee really does not seem to respond to the other parts of the script where Miller asks for subtleties.

For instance, there is a point where Miller asks him to draw (in one panel, from behind) Vale as angry at being interrupted, but do so only using subtle body language, like a raised hand or something. Well, in the panel, Lee draws the raised hand, but there is NO emotion to it at ALL. It just looks like she has her arm up.

This continues throughout most of the story. Lee draws exactly the scenes that Miller wants, but seems to lose a lot of the nuance that Miller explicitly asks for in his script...except, of course, with the Vicky Vale in a bra and panties scenes. There, it seems like Miller knows that THAT Lee can pull off (he even makes an allusion to this in the script, something like, "I know you can do this").

Interesting stuff, all in all.

Always nice to see an example of a comic legend like Miller communicating his ideas...even if his ideas, in this instance, are decidedly low brow.

EDITED TO ADD:

Okay, here are the script transcriptions. The caps are Miller's, not mine:

PAGE THREE

Panel One

FULL FIGURE-VICKI VALE walks, in her bra and panties and not one inch of clothing more, walks - no, hell, she struts - BACK-LIT against the cruel, Art Deco beauty of GOTHAM CITY. Think Rita Hayworth in her prime. She's gorgeous. She speaks to her headset, dictating:

PAGE FOUR

Panel One

CLOSER-MEDIUM ANGLE- VICKI continues. She cocks her head, tossing her hair. Detail her BRA. It'll drive them crazy, Jim.

Panel Two

BODY SHOT-THIGH UP-give us an even better angle on the babe. Front on. Walking right at us. She knows what she's got. Make them drool.

Panel Three

OK, Jim, I'm shameless. Let's go with an ASS SHOT. Panties detailed. Balloons from above. She's walking, restless as always. We can't take our eyes off her. Especially since she's got one fine ass.

That's it for the bra and panties specifics, but here are two examples of where I think Lee drops the nuances of Miller's script (I wish to point out, though, that for the most part, Lee is a good art-bot, and draws EXACTLY what Miller tells him to draw).

PAGE FIVE

Panel Two

WIDER-BACK VIEW-VICKI moves toward a security MONITOR at her ELEVATOR. Keep our eyes on hos good she looks. Something tells me you can pull that off, Jim. Go for a furious gesture. A raised fist, something like that. Nothing vulgar.

I don't think Lee did this well.

PAGES SIX AND SEVEN

MONTAGE: [First, Miller describes the basic scene of Vicki trying on a lot of clothes] Meanwhile, cross-cut as Alfred checks his pocket watch. The old kind.Again. And again. And again. She's taking forever.

I don't think Lee pulled this off well.

But don't take MY word for it, feel free to compare the script to the comic! Have fun!!

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8 Comments:

Blogger Michael May said...

Dammit, now I want to read the script!

12/07/2005 03:44:00 PM  
Anonymous trilobite said...

May I diffidently suggest that there is nothing wrong with drawing -- or enjoying -- pix of hot women in scanty outfits?

Yeah, yeah, it was "gratuitous." So what? It was fun. Fight scenes are gratuitous too -- when was the last time one had an important plot or character point? Comic books are supposed to have some gratuitous eye candy.

Now, Alfred calling her "luv" -- that was gratuitous and kinda creepy. If my valet/chauffeur called my date "luv," I'd sack him. So that actually interfered with my enjoyment of the comic book. The lingerie shots, however, were just good clean fun.

12/07/2005 04:10:00 PM  
Blogger CalvinPitt said...

Alfred might as well call her "luv". Bruce is way too busy with Grayson to deal with Ms. Vale on an emotional level.

Go for it Alfred!

12/07/2005 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger Ed Cunard said...

May I diffidently suggest that there is nothing wrong with drawing -- or enjoying -- pix of hot women in scanty outfits?

Sure. If it's good enough for Jack Cole and Dan DeCarlo, it's good enough for me.

Comic books are supposed to have some gratuitous eye candy.

Er, no. Conflating medium with genre again, and even then, it's debatable.

12/07/2005 05:11:00 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

Oh, I was pretty sure that the script was a pretty specific one; it was Jim Lee's art, but it was Frank Miller's style all the way. Lots of stuff in the rain, and that mountain road overlooking the city shot Miller uses in every Sin City story, and so on.

Lee's certainly not a co-creator on this one; Miller's definitely in charge, and Lee's just there to add his superstar name to the mix.

12/07/2005 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger Jog said...

One of my favorite parts of the Special Edition was where, on page one, Miller writes in regards to Dick Grayson:

"...FLIPS, upside down, through space. Airborne. In circus costume. Keep it simple. A TRAPEZE swings wild behind him. No other background needed."

You then flip over to page one of Lee's art, only to find the most insanely detailed background in the whole issue. It's probably one of the stronger images in the issue, though...

12/07/2005 09:56:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Foss said...

Personally, I'd prefer content and depth and a good story over scantily clad women. If I can have both, great. Wonderful. Give it to me.

But I can get scantily clad women in every comic. I can see scantily clad women online, too. Good stories are harder to come by.

12/07/2005 11:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Brad said...

"Er, no. Conflating medium with genre again, and even then, it's debatable."

What, you don't remember Harvey Pekar's classic epiphany "Comics are words and pictures. You can do a lotta stories about hot babes in their underwear with words and pictures. Not so many words, though."

12/08/2005 08:02:00 PM  

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