Legion of Superheroes/Supergirl and the Legion of Superheroes (50) - I really, really enjoyed the hell out of Waid's version of the Legion. Bedard wasn't bad, but once Shooter took over, it vented everything that made it fun and cool and just died on it's feet. Funny how he basically said it was Manapul who killed the book when Flash is doing SO WELL.
What an interesting piece of work that is. I have to say, from the perspective of today, it looks kind of dated and done to death. Obviously, back then, this extreme deconstruction of a character, especially one as quintessentially kooky as Miracle/Marvel Man was obviously a massive expansion of the Mythos and ideas. I was just a bit bored of it - These days we've seen it before, power corrupts or rather it doesn't in the case of those truly heroic.
I think what's so different about the Moore run compared to the faded Gaiman run was that Gaiman had to set cast, as such and was exploring the interactions and effects of the Miracleman 'Gods' on Humanity, and how their myriad ways of fixing things benefited and destroyed humanity simultaneously, whereas Moore's run was based firmly and solidly in the conceptual realms of understanding how a superhuman would work in a world like ours. Moores was less character (dare I say it) giving us a way to examine Miracle Man without actually understanding of him. It's true third person, even if the internal narration was often from Miracle Man's perspective - we never really understood or cared for him. Or at least I didn't. Great swathes of text detailing how he felt in flowery prose as he soared through the skies was very nice to read, but I felt it didn't add much to the atmosphere or the content of the book.
The creation and relationships with the other Miracleman family characters, i.e. the Corruption of Kid Miracle Man, the death and subsequent rebirth of Young Miracleman, Miracle Woman etc. was mostly interesting, but all in all, I don't think that if this comic existed in today's market it would survive at all. Deconstructions of Golden Age characters don't tend to go over all that well these days - Project Super Powers is a good example of something which in execution I thought was pretty decent, but the characters were lacking, the plot was occasionally ponderous and it didn't really add anything new.
Miracleman did all of this at the time, in the early 80's, when it blazed a trail of the grim and gritty realisation of the times. The same way Predator and Robocop and all the other 80's films managed to balance the slightly insane elements of science fiction and make them real, and hard and gorey. Miracleman was a perfect predecessor to the modern and mature comics of today, and if you view it in the time of 20 years ago, I am sure it's probably one of the best comics around. Viewing it with a slightly jaded 15 years work of reading comics, in all forms and variations, it's actually just a bit stilited.
I'd like to have seen the continuation of Gaiman's Miracle man stories. The idea of Young Miracle man coming to terms with his sexuality and his love of Miracle Man on his resurrection would have been interesting to explore. Especially in a world which was a liberal and open as the one the Miracle Family created.
Don't pretend to know what Liberal means in the states, but over here in England Liberal is a good thing, or at least it is to me. Currently we have a Government who feels that servicing the people who already make STUPID MONEY at year is a better plan of action than dealing with things like Immigrations, Unemployment, the state of the NHS and all that jazz.
So the idea of a Liberal Activist Superman doesn't exactly sound BAD really does it? Doing something about the state of people for the people isn't a communist idea so much as a humanist idea. For some reason being nice to people and trying to provide a baseline existence for humanity is labelled as Socialism or Communism instead of being humanism. Providing basic things like not getting shot in the face, and being able to feed your children isn't a bad thing so I don't understand why giving Superman a Liberal activist stance is going to cause the uproar I can already see on Bleedingcool. This is like Superman giving up citizenship for America - When your identity is fluid, and based on your personality, nationality doesn't even play a role, it's simple a place where you are born.
I don't tend to see a lot of Conversation elsewhere on the internet, or forums, or even amongst comic fans about Independent Comics. I guess because probably the majority of really, really Independent stuff, I.E. Stuff what is published by people in their homes by paying for smaller companies to print it doesn't generally involved Super-Humans. A huge amount of it does, but a lot of it is a much more personal tale, or horror based or...all of the other things you get from Independent Comics.
A lot of comic-book professionals actually started off self-publishing. They started off making and writing and sweating over their comics which got ignored by most people because it didn't involve some geeza in a cape whizzing around and punching a glowing monkey through a building. It didn't involve a 70 year old character who possesses no powers outwitting someone because he can't get over his parents Death. It involves, the majority of the time, interesting protagonists and some fairly sketchy art.
Indie comics offer the opportunity for people to read something truly different and changing. Story lines that evolve and grow and change characters, not story lines that go back and destroy continuity and history and storyline potential for the lazy and the non-confident. Comics should be able challenging things and ideas and concepts. So you should all go to Cons and instead of buying that new super hardcore edition of Superman lasering off someone's arms and eating them while dressed as a cheerleader, you should purchase ONE Independent comic you have never read. They will either change your view of comics, or not. Either way, you are paying for someone to become the new Bendis. The New Millar. You are recognising someones creativity on a level that you do not get to do with mainstream comics because you buy the comic from them. They are there with their slightly strange appearing wife, and child who appears to be six but still eats food from a jar. You can tell them it's your first, they will hold you for a while afterwards and you will always have that memory. You will always remember your first time a huge sweaty man with an unkempt beard and a love for drawing crude weaponry.
I'm not calling myself a prophet of Independent Comics or anything, what I am trying to say here, is that in my experience, Independent comics are often better than Mainstream comics. They're not limited by editors enforcing company values, stocks, or previous continuity, or preserving the Status Quo. For an "Indie" comic that busts the Status Quo to pieces storyline after storyline, lets look at Savage Dragon. It's brilliant, it's not got Superman in it, but like Invincible which followed it, Savage Dragon spawned a whole line of books from it's own hugely popular universe based around the idea that anything can happen.
Now drop it down a level, has anyone here read any of Warren Ellis' more Creator owned stuff? Switch-blade Honey, City of Silence, etc. It's short and powerful and full of ideas that wouldn't necessarily make it into mainstream comics. What is essentially a three person sexual and mental relationship would never get green lit by a comic company because it's going against "old fashioned values". Now lets drop down another level.
Actual independent Publishers, we're talking Moonstone press, and companies like Radical, or even companies like Markosia. I often visit the Markosia stand when I head over to comic conventions here in Birmingham, or London, or Bristol. They have a huge rang of material, and a lot of it is very, very good. Fiona Staples of Hawksmoor and North 40 fame started off her artist career there illustrating a Vampire Story.
Finally, we move onto the smallest of the small. Two guys or one guy writing and drawing his own stuff. It's nearly always guys. Often you find that this stuff is either really out there, trying to be desperately mainstream, or just isn't working in a genre that wants it. Books like Mr. Glass, a near-silent comic about a boxer that is drawn in a beautiful surreal style, almost cartoony, but packs a script that'll bring a tear to your eye. Essex County by Jeff Lemire, who's work was so beautifully deep and emotional, it made me, a man without any emotional aptitude, care or any other description for having a hear that isn't moulded from granite actually choke up a little bit.
Go and read some Independent comics. Go and read something that someone put their heart and soul and words and voice and sweat and blood into. Go and read someone's heart noise spread in dead trees across some more dead trees.
Independent Comics aren't the Future. They're the history and the Gods of Mainstream comics, and sadly, like all Gods, they eventually get forgotten once NEW SHINY BURNING GOD WITH LASER COVER comes into play.
There's a lot of talk about comics and print and all this sort of thing. Is it dying, are we going to completely lose comics as a paper artifact?
No, because we've been using paper since we lived in deserts and wore pants on our heads. Ain't happening. Forty Years ago my work colleague as at School and they were telling him there would be a paperless age by the time he was 50. Yet, here we are, still reading books on paper and pamphlets and booklets and informative post-its. The World of Print may be meandering towards being obsolete apparently within the realms of the computer age, but that doesn't mean it's going to die out.
Insects were replaced with something better, and so paper won't be replaced with horrific iPad Screens made from stretched out LCD tablets over our mutilated faces. We're not going to be replaced, and we're never going to detract from the scent, and then feel and the look of paper. There's a reason it's made it this far.
Mental Health and an obsessive disorder had marked his life for thr past six years. Four separate occasions had been marked on his calender for his sectioning and subsequent release.
Divine intervention perhaps? Or he was simply too sane to be allowed to convert people to his way of thinking. The other patients nicknamed him the Enigmata. Something that stuck to him as violently as he did to his convictions.
He muttered his stylised prayer to the Godhead of the day and scratched at the scabs that marked his pierced palms. He smirked as he got up from his kneeling position in the middle of the busy street, collecting his rainbow matt up from its dirty streets.
An obviously disgusted woman blocked his path, an oversized cross dangling around her neck. Her tutting filled his ears as he turned his decorated face towards her, red dot in the centre of his forehead and salt markings streaking over his face.
"Your sins will be forgiven in the End." She strains, trying desperately to act the part she wanted to portray.
"I stand accountable for my own Sins," He replied calmly, touching his pierced lip absent mindedly.
"I guess he must have died for yours instead." He muttered staggering off into the dank side-street, bent joint hanging from his mouth.