Monday, April 19, 2010


PLANET GRIFFIN has received a few emails regarding the critical state of the comic industry (Keep'em coming gang!, and with the timing of certain comics-turn-media properties, I decided to introduce a new rant/comics critique section on the PLANET, now known as SHOTGUN MESSENGER!
(Named after the George Yepes painting) Today's double barrel is trained on the newly released post KICK ASS comic, NEMESIS, as well as news and reactions to some of the crap that has yet to flush...

In the world of comics, it seems lately that no one's getting more press copy than MARK MILLAR, who just announced on the opening of his latest property-turned-celluloid reality, KICK ASS, that HE himself will be directing his next comic adaptation in his native Scotland, slated to begin production this summer, as well as following up with WANTED 2, which is already in active development. To top it off, Mark made a related statement, stating that Kick Ass was "...The reinvention of super heroes..."


Not since the likes of FRANK MILLER, ALAN MOORE, and NEIL GAIMAN has anyone reached the tipping point of success on two fronts as Millar has. He says that his goal is to have the same type of impact as STAN LEE had in the 60's, but for a modern audience. Millar states that he's been approached by several directors, hungry to adapt Nemesis, even before anyone had seen the story or artwork (Millar calls them 'pompous vultures')! The writer says that he'll hold out until he can be sure of the quality director that he feels Nemesis warrants.

Millar's been catching alot of flack lately about tooting his own horn, which has raised quite a few hackles on the necks of many. ("...I don't like him because he toots his own horn...", "I think he's buying into the hype...", etc....) Quite frankly, I don't see the big deal in it... He's merely 'getting in touch with his inner 15 year old', right? Therefore, he's doing the triumphant dance that a 15 year old would do, so let him dance. Some of this is actually coming from RETAILERS, which makes no sense to me--- the books are SELLING like hotcakes, DESPITE your opinion of it, not to mention the fact you're pimping this title WHILE you trash it, so that makes you look somewhat STUPID for it. Good grief, folks: YOU HYPED HIM!

But I digress.

Anyways, NEMESIS is nothing more than a simple flip of a tried and truly tired concept: What if Batman had the mindset of the Joker and fought the law rather than uphold it? DC is up in arms on the subject (and despite what you may have read on the contrary online, my source inside DC says 'the higher ups are grinning through clenched teeth on the subject'), which I think boils down to the fact that MARVEL FINALLY got a Batman archetype of their own, and DC can't touch them... (The idea is super simplistic in the same way that Seth MacFarlane dumbed down the Simpsons formula to create Family Guy... 150 million and a multimedia franchise later... Same thing here.)

After reading the first issue in less time than it takes to fry eggs, I cannot see what all the lambasting is about... Really. Okay, let's look at the story itself, since McNIVEN earned his money on the interiors...

NEMESIS opens with a little bit of simple misdirection--- Tokyo's best cop is held hostage by the titular villain, with the cavalry rushing into a building to save our hero. In fact, the cavalry is looking in the wrong place, as their entry is cut short by enough explosive to level the building in which they stand. Our hero is actually liquefied by an oncoming bullet train which happens to be on time.

Fast forward to Washington DC where we meet our next target, CHIEF BLAKE MORROW, putting down an armed robbery single handed. Shortly thereafter, he learns that he's been targeted by the Nemesis in the form of a small card detailing WHO will die, WHEN he dies, and HOW he dies. Meanwhile, high above the city, Nemesis stands on the wing of Air Force One ( a la the gremlin from Twilight Zone, with the President acting as John Lithgow), preparing his forced entry into the plane by way of solid slugs from a railgun! Now, one blogger went so far as to call this particular sequence as '...The silliest thing he's ever seen...' C'mon man, we're talking about COMICS here! Besides, if Batman can do it--- my point made.

The book ends with Nemesis making a televised announcement to his new opponent that the game is about to begin, and just to drive the point home, the camera pulls back to reveal his latest hostage--- the United States President! (Not Obama, who's been in enough bandwagon-riding comics to last me a lifetime!)

Nemesis in 23 pages... The 24th page is devoted to Millar himself. It's here that I see audiences' nitpicking. Sure, he's cocky to the point of a confidence that most DON'T have (But again, he's smelling his own ass right now, and unless you're the ones holding his ass cheeks open, then let the man inhale!). Mark exclaims,
"... we're literally working for free in order to own the rights entirely (Keep in mind, McNIVEN is the only one working for free, while Mark is STILL riding that WANTED paycheck... Hey Mark, what happened to your collaboration with TONY HARRIS and WAR HEROES?! Tony got stuck holding the bill and suffering foot-and-mouth disease following YOUR lead) and believe me, there is no greater feeling in the world than owning your own creations. (So true.) It's glorious and very satisfying and maybe just exactly what we need right now in an industry where sometimes we rely a little too much on the work and ideas of other people. (Yeah Mark, it was called your entry into this business) It's also worth remembering that without our predecessors we wouldn't even have the kind of deals we have at places like ICON (Owned by MARVEL... That deal was made lip blistering special for your chapped ass, dude... Think about how you pitched Nemesis in the first place and tell me you couldn't smell rival opportunity in the room...?) and it's to the men and women who paved the way for creator-owned comic books that I'd like to dedicate this series."

Immediately following that statement, he concludes: " Fucking hell, that all actually sounded worryingly sincere."

Now, these things are only pompous if you allow them to be. PLANET GRIFFIN can also see the humor in it, so we can't nitpick to hard with these things. As long as Mark never forgets that his livelihood is based on those who BELIEVE in his works, he should be okay... Of course, his spoken demeanor and his written voice are two completely different things... Judge wisely in divining such words...

But what do I know?! I talk it like I walk it, and that record's spun daily! This is PLANET GRIFFIN, where the orbit doesn't change on account of bad weather!

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