NEWSARAMA

NEWSARAMA (http://forum.newsarama.com/index.php)
-   FEATURES (http://forum.newsarama.com/forumdisplay.php?f=4)
-   -   BAKER'S FUTURE IN PLASTIC: KYLE BAKER ON PLASTIC MAN (http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=4442)

MattBrady 07-07-2003 03:21 PM

BAKER'S FUTURE IN PLASTIC: KYLE BAKER ON PLASTIC MAN
 
Later this year, Plastic Man by Kyle Baker will debut from DC, and it’s going to be…different. Mix Jack Cole’s original vision with Looney Tunes, and you only start to scratch the surface. Newsarama chatted with Baker about the series, and, well, hit all topics, from Batman to The Authority and back again.

“Originally, years ago, somebody had suggested that I should take on one of the older characters and fix them up,” Baker said, remembering how he landed the gig in the first place. “Originally, they suggested the Creeper, and they sent me a copy of Steve Ditko’s first Creeper comics. I couldn’t figure out anything to do with it, so I tossed back the idea of doing Plastic Man, because at least I knew I could do a good job on Plastic Man.”

Baker’s confidence for Plastic Man came from a Splash Brannigan story he had done for Alan Moore’s Tomorrow Stories anthology series at ABC/Wildstorm. Brannigan’s gimmick was that he was made of ink, and therefore, had powers similar to those of Plastic Man.

”Alan, actually, has a really good knack for seeing things in my work that other people don’t,” Baker said. “The Splash story had a ‘30s Coco the Clown-type character, and some Bosco the Dog type, Fleischer style stuff that I had never done before, but Alan was actually right – I was good at it.”

As it was originally announced, Baker’s Plastic Man story was going to be a graphic novel, but was changed into an ongoing series after his work started coming in. As such, the storyline that was originally going to be the graphic novel will stretch over the first four issues of the series.

From the outset, Baker said he felt he was on a tightrope of sorts – make the character true to his origin and intent of creator Jack Cole, but yet make it as appealing and unique to a modern audience. The first task for Baker comes in issue #1 of the series, re-telling the origin of Plastic Man, who was once a small-time crook named Eel O’Brien. In doing so, Baker found he had a lot to play with.

”When Jack Cole did his Plastic Man stories, they were really short, and worked on getting to the action as quickly as possible,” Baker said. “So, Cole gave Plastic Man this radical character shift in basically one panel. He was a bad guy on page one and he was a good guy on page two because he got shot. I got to stretch that out to a couple of pages or more to explain the character shift. But still, there wasn’t too much I could do, because if I change too much of it, people would get mad.”

Baker’s approach to the character is a little nebulous, and the creator dodges attempts at trying to pin it down. “I find a good way to approach a character these days is to come up with what kind of character they are first, rather than what they do,” Baker explained. “So, my answer to ‘Who is Plastic Man?’ is: ‘He’s the kind of guy who would do that.’ He has to be that sort of a character.”

In addition to a return to a monthly superhero comic in roughly 15 years, the Plastic Man series will be a chance for Baker to apply a lot of the tools he used in a Warner Brothers animation stint, first and foremost: let the pictures do the work.

”At the time I started this, I had just come off of Looney Toons,” Baker said. “And he big thing I don’t see in comics now is the same as it was in animation – there’s little emphasis on the pictures. I think people watch cartoons for the pictures. If I want to hear jokes, I’ll watch Jerry Seinfeld. I’m not knocking jokes – Jerry Seinfeld is good, but if I buy a comic book, I’d like to look at either funny pictures if it’s a humor comic, or action if it’s action adventure.

”What I see in comics now is the same thing when I was working on Warner Brothers’ cartoons, like Tiny Toons – it was all dialogue. They’d write more jokes in every chance they got. Even on something like The Simpsons, there’s no friggin’ reason why they need to talk more – it’s a cartoon. If you’re going to rely on the dialogue and jokes to sell it, why is it animated in the first place?

”We’re in a weird spot now with comics – when I was a kid, comic books were the only place you could see things like spaceships or dinosaurs or a guy flying. The movies at the time were just lame – Godzilla was a guy in a costume, Superman was a guy on a wire, and Buck Rogers led a fleet of tiny models swinging against a black sheet with white flecks on it. So comics – something like a Jack Kirby comic was the only place you could really see some cool stuff. Now, if I want to see something in the vein of Starship Troopers, I’ll see the movie before I read the comic book. The art’s better, the girls are prettier, and everything is cooler.”

With a character like Plastic Man, there’s a lot of room for visual tricks and gags, which Baker is planning to play to the hilt, rather than go heavy on exposition and dialog. ”I don’t mind talking and explanations of why things are happening, but if I want talking, I’ll buy Mark Twain,” Baker said. “The talking is better. For example, I read a whole bunch of JLA issues before starting this, and - I don’t want to get on anybody’s case, but Plastic Man never changed into anything. His neck got longer. Again, I’m buying a picture book, and all this guy is doing is making his neck longer.

“The thing about something like Plastic Man was that I was thinking what I could do with a comic book that justifies its existence. What could I do in a comic book that can’t be done anywhere else? I know that people enjoy the photo realism that’s in a lot of comics, but again, I can see a photograph. I can go to the X-Men movie right now, and see photo realistic superheroes doing amazing things, or I can go see the CGI Hulk doing things that are way more interesting than seeing a photo realistic drawing of the Hulk.

”Beyond that, you also have to respect the writing side of things, and think about what you can write that will be the best comic book, not something else. A lot of times when I read a comic these days, I feel like I’m either reading someone’s movie pitch that got bounced, or someone who’s using the comic to pitch a movie. Why am I paying to read a movie when I can use the same three bucks and go to Blockbuster and rent a movie?”

So – applying his views to Plastic Man, Baker says it’s fairly simple – he starts with the pictures, and the words come later. “I start with thinking of a bunch of funny things you can do with a rubber guy,” Baker said. “You can change him into shapes, or get him stuck somewhere like a trash compactor room like the one that was in Star Wars. So - in issue #2, a villain lures Plastic Man and his companion, a beautiful FBI agent into one, and while it’s not a problem for him, it is for her. So, Plastic Man is changing into a bunch of different stuff to keep the room from getting smaller, and nothing is working. Things like that – that’s what you can do with a Plastic Man. Of course, the reverse to everything I’ve said applies – when I take funny pictures and try to explain them with words, it sounds pretty humdrum, but it is funny.

”Look at the best Warner Brothers cartoons – you’ll see what I’m talking about with the pictures versus words. Back at Warner Brothers, we got stuck once because we couldn’t get Sylvester’s dialogue right, so I watched a bunch of old cartoons, and it turned out he didn’t have any dialogue. He didn’t talk in those cartoons – he got hit in the face by Tweety. The idea again, in that universe, is doing things in a cartoon that you can’t do in real life. If you hit a guy in the head with a frying pan, his head is going to be shaped like a frying pan.”

Using pictures as your primary vehicle for a story does take more space, Baker said, but he has more than Jack Cole had in his original stories, which gives him room to play with some of the morphing from one form to another. Along with that, Baker uses Plastic Man’s plasticity to convey more about his character than exposition alone ever could – it’s that whole picture being worth a thousand words thing.

For example, in one scene, Baker has what looks to be Plastic Man at a party, dancing, snuggling on a couch, shmoozing, and having a good time. A closer look reveals that all the versions of Plastic Man are extensions of him – the “real” Plastic Man is sitting on the roof, looking at the stars, a poignant picture that speaks volumes about the character’s loneliness.

Baker also plays with Plastic Man’s personality through images and the character’s ability to change shapes. For example, in Baker’s series, when Plastic Man dreams, he takes on the shape of a piece of the dream, and more often than not, that piece is Eel O’Brien, a four-panel morph itself suggesting that Plastic Man is still very much Eel.

”My goal when doing a comic book is that you should be able to read it and know what’s going on without actually reading the words,” Baker said. “I’m from the old school, I guess. It’s a completely different business now, but when I started, it was the early ‘80s, and we were selling comics in the 7-11s and newsstands. There were certain things that you had to remember. One was that the majority of your fans couldn’t read, because you were selling it to children. That’s something that I’ve always stuck with. Again, with comics, you’re buying the pictures, so you really want to, whenever possible, tell the story with the pictures.

“I could have had Plastic Man change to Eel O’Brien in one panel, with an explanation underneath, or I could have put a caption there, saying, ‘I used to be Eel O’Brien, blah blah blah blah blah…’ But I wanted to say that with pictures, and that’s another thing – if you’re telling a story with pictures, you need a little more room, but you can say just as much, or maybe even more than you can with words.”

Something else that’s important to the series in Baker’s eyes is being true to the character, and making sure the character stays in character, otherwise, why have a Plastic Man series at all?

”One of my favorite comics was the old Jack Kirby Fantastic Four where everybody was in character,” Baker said. “I haven’t read it in years, so I’m not sure what they do now, but that stuff was very much about the fights, but they still kept the characters. The Thing acted like the Thing all the time. Mr. Fantastic always acted like Mr. Fantastic. That’s my problem with a lot of the other DC comics where Plastic Man has shown up – he was just another guy in a costume. You need to have Plastic Man solve a problem in a way that only he can solve a problem.

“A lot of these characters have had a lot of thought put into them – Superman and Batman for example. You can actually see a difference in personality between the two of them. If they solve a crime together, they have different approaches to it. But then, there are pretty much characters who are treated like generic characters, despite their powers, who usually end up solving a problem by hitting someone. Anyone can hit someone else.

”Plastic Man was always the good guy – and there is a character there. Woozy [Winks] is a solid character as well, so a lot of this stuff is already worked out. Now, it’s largely a matter of getting stuff back to what was working in the first place.”

Along with sticking to his “old school” rule of telling the story with pictures, Baker said another maxim he holds to is one so simple it’s often overlooked: assume that any comic is the first issue a person is picking up, and knows nothing coming into it.

”One of the reasons I don’t read a lot of comic books is that I try and can’t follow them,” Baker said. “I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and I don’t know what the hell is going on in some of these books. Whenever you do one of these jobs, you have to read up on some of the older issues so you know what’s been going on, so for Plastic Man, I read a bunch of JLA issues. People show up and I have no idea who they are, and it’s done as a big reveal. I don’t know if I’m supposed to be happy that it’s the character or sad that it’s that character. Fixing that is something as simple as adding a line of dialogue.

“I decided to tell the whole origin story in Plastic Man #1, because it’s the first issue, but all you have to do is have a simple line of dialogue if you’re not telling the origin – ‘Ever since the accident that robbed me of my sight, I’ve had super-senses.’ It takes five seconds, and it doesn’t run the book, and it used to be the rule. That’s one of the big things that are killing us. I go to conventions and stores, and the fans are getting older and older. We’re going to end up like dime novels – those were a huge market and collectible until their entire fanbase died. Literally died.”

Back to happier thoughts, as mentioned earlier, the Plastic Man series’ storyline will run the storyline from the graphic novel in its first four issue – something that only required a slight shift on Baker’s part. “The only thing that had to be figured out was to figure out the breaks within the larger story from the graphic novel and add in cliffhangers,” Baker said. “It used to be that every issue had to be satisfying on some level. We tried to stay away from continuing stories. Again, a lot of it was due to distribution – you couldn’t be sure that your reader was going to be able to get to the 7-11 next month, or that book would be there if they did, so you tried to have a self-contained story.

“If it was a continuing story, you still had to have it be satisfying in some way. They may defeat one villain, but they would find a clue that would take them to the cliffhanger leading to the next issue. So many books today – like the Captain America book [Truth], we were told not to make anything happen in the first issue. They like that, I guess. I have no idea what that’s about.

“So, back to Plastic Man, the big thing I had to figure out was where the cliffhangers were going to be and how to make these things self-contained in some way, even though each is a part of a four-part story.”

From there, Baker does have plans for the next story arc, which, well, if you think Jim Lee and Jeph Loeb’s Batman storyline is one of the best things since sliced bread, you may not want to read any further. While the Batman arc is entitled “Hush,” Baker’s second Plastic Man arc could easily be called “Skewer.”

”I want to do a story that takes place in DC continuity and is amazingly continuity heavy and totally works,” Baker said. “It will be something that ties in with everything. Every DC character will show up.”

Baker’s motivation for the arc, while touching on Batman also comes from his experiences on Truth. “I’m getting the impression – and I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, it just seems to me what people want to buy – that the continuity of the stories seems to take precedence over almost everything,” Baker said. “With Captain America, people get on my case for ‘changing’ Captain America. We got a lot of grief from the Captain America fans on that series until the fifth and sixth issues came out; when it turned out that we hadn’t tinkered with the continuity. Before that, everybody was very upset, because our story started with Pearl Harbor, and everybody knows that the first issue of Captain America took place before Pearl. Somewhere in the middle of the series, its revealed that Cap already existed, and we hadn’t tinkered with the timeline, and suddenly, the book is okay.”

From that, Baker explained, he’s learned that continuity matters more than the characters. And from Batman

“There was a recent issue of the new Batman comic by Jim Lee,” Baker said. “It’s great stuff, but it was 22 pages of Batman hitting the Joker. A lot of that storyline seems to be that nothing happens except that a character shows up and I’m supposed to be happy that the character shows up. I know I’m supposed to be happy because it’s done as a reveal. A person opens the door and says, ‘It’s you!’ and then we turn the page to find out it’s Poison Ivy, and I’m supposed to say, ‘Wow! Poison Ivy! Excellent!’ and then she doesn’t do anything.

“In the issue with the Joker then, it was all flashbacks while he was beating on the Joker. Batman was like, ‘I’m hitting the Joker because I remember what he did to Batgirl!’ and then a flashback of the Joker shooting Batgirl. Then, Catwoman shows up and tells him he can’t kill the Joker, but Batman says he can, because he killed Robin – so now we have a flashback of that, and keeps hitting him, and knocks out Catwoman.

“Then, there’s a gun at the back of Batman’s head, and – this is the big reveal – it’s held by Jim Gordon! He tells Batman not to kill the Joker, but Batman says he will because of what he did to….Gordon’s wife! And another flashback. Then Gordon tells him he really doesn’t want to do this, and Batman agrees, and stops. So – nothing really has happened in the entire issue. But then – the big ending is that the real villain shows up and does the ‘Ha ha! I’m the real villain!’ from the shadows and flips a coin, so we know it’s Two Face. But again – you need to have read a bunch of Batman comics to know that this is Two-Face just from the coin toss. And I’m supposed to find this really satisfying, despite the fact that his name is Two-Face, but in the story, he isn’t Two-Face. He’s one face. He’s not even himself.”

While it may sound like Baker is bitter, he’s really not. “This book is selling, so I can’t really criticize it, but it seems to me that fans really want a book where nothing much happens, except that you seem to hit all the past high notes, and repeat the continuity with big reveals.”

What happens when you mix the one (continuity over character) and the other (don’t do much in an issue) lesson together?

“We’re going to do a three or four issue story arc where as characters show up we go along the lines of, ‘It’s Hal Jordan! I can’t believe it! Remember when we went to Mars and talked to the Martian Manhunter?’ and then we’ll show that. Then we’ll have a friend be a villain because their mind is being controlled. But that’s the kind of story it will be – Plastic Man will meet up with another hero, and say something like, ‘Didn’t we fight Lex Luthor together?’ Flashback. And then someone like Catwoman will show up and say, ‘I hate Lex Luthor for what he did to me!’ Flashback.”

And yes, speaking with a sincerity that matched his explanation of Batman #614, he’s not just talking smack about his contemporary creators. Baker’s pretty damn serious about the storyline.

”There will be lots of pinups of people standing around and not doing much of anything, drawing in a very realistic style,” Baker continued. “That’s the experiment – if the sales go up, I keep it going. If people say they want the feel of the first few issues back, we’ll go back to the way it was through my out – we’ll have either Death or Sandman show up and say it was all a dream or a near-death experience.

“I don’t think we can get Tom Strong or the Watchmen…maybe if I can get the Authority in there. That’s something else I don’t get – I did an Authority pinup and they gave me the first few issues of the series and told me that people really like it, ‘Because it’s supposed to be Superman and Batman, expect that its not them, and they’re gay, and they don’t even look like Superman and Batman. Get it? And they’re fighting people who are obviously supposed to be the Avengers, except that it’s obviously not the Avengers, because we’re not allowed to use the Avengers, but you can tell that they’re supposed to be the Avengers, and that’s why people like it – because it has a gay Superman beating up the Avengers. Kind of.’

“I worry though – it seems that only one kind of comic book will work anymore. But hey, if that’s the one kind of comic book that works, that’s the kind of comic book I’ll do. If you don’t like the first three or four issues, the next arc will be right up their alley. I already have my Alex Ross style drawing done – Plastic Man standing there, not using his powers. That seems to be very popular, so that’s what I’m going to do.”

Resigned to let the market be the ultimate judge, Baker said he’s planning on sticking with Plastic Man for as long as he’s able. “Working on superheroes is interesting, because it’s a different audience. It’s an audience that seems to be only interested in superheroes, and nothing else seems to work. I’m not making any value judgments on fans by saying that – I see messageboards all around where fans think pros don’t like them or are picking on them. I’m not picking on them at all – I want their money. But I’m just trying to figure out what’s going to work as a monthly book. If anything, Plastic Man will be a re-learning experience for me, because superhero comics have really changed. Let’s see if I still got what it takes.”

07-07-2003 03:44 PM

He makes some great, excelent points, but I disagree with one of them.

Yes, Plastic Man should definitely be driven by the art and not the dialogue. The best parts of the toon (he met the character in the comics, I met him through the toon) was when Plas would change into something cool (of course in the toon he would add a one liner to go with the change), but saying that Batman 614 didn't accomplish anything... that I disagree with.

614 is what I'd call a perfect example of how continuity (i.e. experiences) can affect a character.

Here you have Batmna fighting the most dangerous villain he has ever faced. Unlike Mr. Freeze who robs banks or the Penguin who runs a criminal cartel, the Joker has sistematicaly killed every person that Batman or those around him care for. The flashbacks worked to make that clear for the reader.

Without the flashbacks then the story would have just been Batman hitting the Joker for no reason. The flashbacks, I thought, made the story more interesting, they were more like pictures in Batman's mind than reprints of past comics. They were windows into the heroes mind, letting us know what he was thinking and feeling with every punch.

Hmmmm... actually, those flashbacks, one could say, are just like Plas changing into things.

Like we might have gotten the same effect had Batman just thought about those events, but actually seeing them made the point clearer.

d477wt 07-07-2003 03:54 PM

I dont understand why Plastic man is popular at all. I can let this one pass me by.

Taylor Porter 07-07-2003 04:13 PM

This was a very interesting article. I'll have to keep an eye out for this book. Not only do I love Kyle Baker and Plastic Man, but it sounds like he'll be doing some really interesting things with the character.

stlfan79 07-07-2003 04:33 PM

I would usually never buy a Platic Man book but since it is going to be so different Ill give the first arc a try.

DarthRandall 07-07-2003 04:43 PM

I was already sold on this book when I first heard Baker would be doing it. Now, after reading the interview, I'm even more sold on it.

While I like the "new" style of storytelling Baker descirbes with distain, I'm also up for a good skewering of it, and I know Baker will deliver.

Graeme McMillan 07-07-2003 04:48 PM

I love Kyle Baker.

steveupson 07-07-2003 04:56 PM

I've never read much work by Kyle Baker, but I found myself agreeing with most of his commentary about today's (superhero) comics. He seems to have a good eye for what's going on, and perhaps about what might be done differently.

I think he was right on about Batman--I bought the first few issues, mostly for the novelty of seeing Jim Lee draw Batman, et al, but got quickly bored. Either not much happens, or I don't care about the stuff that does happen. And he's right that there are not enough writers who create stories that really make use of the characters well.

Anyway, his art style and approach seem perfect for the Plastic Man project, and I'm looking forward to it.

BoyWndr49 07-07-2003 05:05 PM

Blech
 
I was really sold on this series when I found out that it was to be on-going, but after reading this interview...

I don't know. Maybe I missed the proper tone, but Mr. Baker came off very condescending and out of touch with most things that I like these days.

He thinks dislouge in comics is uneccessary? I don't know about that.

He thinks that having Plastic Man change into things is new and exciting? Which JLA issues was he reading?

Didn't he get that that issue of Batman was very powerful? I thought everyone did.

And does anyone understand what he's talking about with his second arc being all continuous cameos until people decide they like the first arc's style better? Is he trying to train us to appreciate his style by getting his book cancelled? Makes no sense. I enjoy parody but I don't like out-right mocking of my favorite stories and characters.

I just don't think we are on the same wavelength. And it's great if this is an all-ages,younger-focused book, but I don't know if it's for me.

Michael C Lorah 07-07-2003 05:12 PM

Kyle makes some really interesting points. I think it all boils down to one major point- that super-heroes have become basically interchangable. Even Superman and Batman only seem unique when contrasted against each other- in most other circumstances, even they don't seem to have any stand out characteristics any more.

I'm not a Silver Age fan, I'm not hung up on continuity issues, yet I find almost nothing on the super-hero racks that interests me at all.
Kyle actually articulated a lot of the reasons that I can't find much that prompts me to open up my wallet- most notably the rejected-movie-proposal theory, the utterly anti-climatic character-reveals, and the issues in which nothing actually happens.

If Kyle can do things his way, keep Plastic Man unique, and show off his always entertaining art, I should have one more title to add to my reading list.

I'm definitely looking forward to this series.:)

Michael C Lorah 07-07-2003 05:21 PM

Quote:

Didn't he get that that issue of Batman was very powerful? I thought everyone did.



Not everybody. But Jeph and Jim shouldn't take it personally in my case- not even Alan Moore has managed to write a Joker story that was compelling to me.
After so many years, and so many of the same stories, I'm starting to think that nobody ever will pull it off either.

Of course, what little I've read of rest of their run does seem summed up by Kyle's comments about characters showing up just for the sake of having them show up.

Jason Seaver 07-07-2003 05:35 PM

Re: Blech
 
Quote:

Originally posted by BoyWndr49
Didn't he get that that issue of Batman was very powerful? I thought everyone did.

Well, I enjoyed it at the time, but I completely understand where Baker's coming from - nothing happened until the big reveal at the end. It was like "wait for it... wait for it... wait for it... wait for it... wait for it... wait for it... bang!" We get all that set-up and flashbacking for why the Joker is Batman's arch-enemy, but Loeb & Lee don't do anything with it - the Joker is just pushed off the stage so that they can bring Harvey Dent in. It's a tease, especially if you're already familiar with that material.

Quote:

Originally posted by BoyWndr49
And does anyone understand what he's talking about with his second arc being all continuous cameos until people decide they like the first arc's style better? Is he trying to train us to appreciate his style by getting his book cancelled? Makes no sense. I enjoy parody but I don't like out-right mocking of my favorite stories and characters.


Seems to me that this is a convention that can use some mockery, though - the idea that telling a good story right now isn't as important as not contradicting stories that were finished ten years ago can seem a puzzling one, and there do seem to be a lot of stories where someone appearing on stage is more exciting than anything they actually do once they've entered.

jawaplumber 07-07-2003 05:57 PM

Agree or disagree with Kyle Baker's views on comics, there's no doubt the man is talented and PLASTIC MAN is the super-hero comic he was born to draw. I'm really looking forward to this.

tralfaz 07-07-2003 05:58 PM

I too discovered Plastic Man through the cartoon.
I will check this bad boy out becuz Plas is the spaz

L'Zoril 07-07-2003 06:09 PM

I just loved this article. I couldn't stop laughing about Baker's comment on Batman. Well, my thoughts are as follows.
Baker obviously puts pictures on a higher level than words. He wants to change the writing style everyone uses today for one more focused on things happening and less dialogue. That's ok for me and the fact that he's trying it on plas gives him a perfect place to do this experiment. if there's a character he can do this and see how it works is plastic man. I can't see how he would do this on Superman or Batman. But plas? It's a hell of an option.

Chris Galdieri 07-07-2003 07:19 PM

----------

Jeremy Williams 07-07-2003 08:14 PM

I`m sure people liked The Authority because it was a gay version of Batman and Superman. :rolleyes:

It became popular because of the relentlessness of it all. And in a way, The Americans(Avengers spin-offs group) being ultra right-wing zealots rang true for many. A few years later and George Bush would acts exacly like them.

Furthermore if Kyle knew about brand, he would know that DC would never allow for their characters to act like what we saw in The Authority in fear damaging their image. So that`s where the charm of The Authority comes from: if these legendery characters would really let loose without a publisher`s censorship(that didn`t last long). What, Kyle never read any Silver Age comics with alternate-reality stories before? Superman in that time had many of those. And in that Authority issue he read it was a no-holds-bared, anything goes super-hero fight in a place The Avengers would meet JLA without restraints. That simple wishful thinking was enough to bring the excites, in my opinion. If you know the importance of it all, of course.

William Coate 07-07-2003 08:25 PM

You can either offended by his comments or intrigued. I find myself intrigued mostly because comics have become generic and we tend to look for something different from independent labels.

Since I stopped reading Powers, which became a victim of it's own concept, and I was immensely disappointed by the Zatanna oneshot that was supposed to be an ongoing series, this book coming from Baker sounds inventive and different compared to anything else.

I just hope he doesn't drop the ball here. Truth wasn't the break-through concept I was hoping for and I won't mind experimentation if it's done right and with respect to the characters. He seems to understand that pretty well.

So I think this will be something everyone should at least try.

William Coate

MichaelCoughlin 07-07-2003 09:01 PM

I'll bet he HATES DareDevil then. While in an arc, it's awesome stuff to read, there are some issues, particularly when Bendis decides to leave issue 47 with the cliffhanger of, "Oh my, Typhoid Mary burned DD." and then 48 was just how that all happened. at the end of 48 all I could think was, "DAMNIT! WHAT HAPPENS NEXT! THAT'S WHY I READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!"

The Blue Spider 07-07-2003 10:07 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Jeremy Williams
I`m sure people liked The Authority because it was a gay version of Batman and Superman. :rolleyes:

It became popular because of the relentlessness of it all. And in a way, The Americans(Avengers spin-offs group) being ultra right-wing zealots rang true for many. A few years later and George Bush would acts exacly like them.



Complete with superpowers and bare-handed murdering. That's.... insulting. You're insulting.

Quote:

Furthermore if Kyle knew about brand, he would know that DC would never allow for their characters to act like what we saw in The Authority in fear damaging their image. So that`s where the charm of The Authority comes from: if these legendery characters would really let loose without a publisher`s censorship(that didn`t last long). What, Kyle never read any Silver Age comics with alternate-reality stories before? Superman in that time had many of those. And in that Authority issue he read it was a no-holds-bared, anything goes super-hero fight in a place The Avengers would meet JLA without restraints. That simple wishful thinking was enough to bring the excites, in my opinion. If you know the importance of it all, of course.


Oh right. I have always wished that Superman and Batman were homosexual and murderers. Can you tell me how many great Imaginary Stories there were with Supermand Batman having alternate lifestyles and/or brutally murdering villains left and right?

Yeah, charming.

Barry 07-07-2003 10:23 PM

Baker makes some good points about the general fan obsession with continuity in superhero comics. For the record, my reasons for not buying Truth had nothing to do with continuity and everything to do with not buying yet another overhyped Jemas/Quesada project. I am, however, really looking forward to Plastic Man and getting a monthly dose of Baker's genius.

Zig Zag Wanderer 07-07-2003 10:28 PM

I recently picked up and enjoyed the first two Plas Archives, which rekindled my interest in the character.

I look forward to seeing what Baker does with the book.

The Blue Spider 07-07-2003 10:37 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by MichaelCoughlin
I'll bet he HATES DareDevil then. While in an arc, it's awesome stuff to read, there are some issues, particularly when Bendis decides to leave issue 47 with the cliffhanger of, "Oh my, Typhoid Mary burned DD." and then 48 was just how that all happened. at the end of 48 all I could think was, "DAMNIT! WHAT HAPPENS NEXT! THAT'S WHY I READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!"


Well, to each his own. Besides, more than one person (but I will speak only for myself regardless) believes that the stories run too long; that their pacing is too slow; and that each individual issue contains too few actual happenings. What that means is that even if the stuff is quality all in all, the audience is limited. There are people who expected literally more or different than what is currently being delivered. Such a guy just won't buy. But regardless of those consequnces, it just has to be acknowledged that some things are not for everybody.

hjcho 07-07-2003 10:42 PM

I am a big fan of Kyle Baker. He is obviously cynical and somewhat jaded, yet he is motivated by a deep respect and love for the medium. His work resonates with the influence of past masters, yet has a unique vibrancy that is not simple rehashing. This interview shows that, while he has great affection for superhero comics, he isn't afraid to call it like he sees it, and that means pointing out the emperor's lack of clothing from time to time.

His analysis is blunt, but accurate. He identified many of the major problems in superhero comics, and by extension, pretty much all of comics.

If you've read any of Baker's graphic novels, you know the man is a comic genius. I'll check this book out for sure!

The Blue Spider 07-07-2003 11:22 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by BoyWndr49
I was really sold on this series when I found out that it was to be on-going, but after reading this interview...

I don't know. Maybe I missed the proper tone, but Mr. Baker came off very condescending and out of touch with most things that I like these days.



so you have differing opinions and preferences? no biggy.

Quote:

He thinks dislouge in comics is uneccessary? I don't know about that.


No offense, but it took me thirty minutes to translate 'dislouge' into 'dialogue'. I understand how the mistake was made and part of the deal is only with me.... but hey, be careful dude. Anyway, he didn't say it was unimportant in every comic but that in some comics it just didn't need to be there. And regardless of those specifics the use of text isn't taking advantage of the strength of the format/medium.

Quote:

He thinks that having Plastic Man change into things is new and exciting? Which JLA issues was he reading?


Huh?

Quote:

Didn't he get that that issue of Batman was very powerful?


It really wasn't. It seemed kinda redundent in some senses.

Quote:

I thought everyone did.


Obviously not.

Quote:

And does anyone understand what he's talking about with his second arc being all continuous cameos until people decide they like the first arc's style better?

Obviously so.
Quote:

Is he trying to train us to appreciate his style by getting his book cancelled?

Probably not.
Quote:

Makes no sense.
I suspect that you're overthinking this.
Quote:

I enjoy parody but I don't like out-right mocking of my favorite stories and characters.

Don't like it? Don't buy it. But don't tell me you know what's in there until.... you either read one issue, four pages, or a detailed review. There. I covered my own ass; I am not a hypocrite (yet) (in this sense).

Quote:

I just don't think we are on the same wavelength. And it's great if this is an all-ages,younger-focused book, but I don't know if it's for me.

Detailed and critical readers who don't purchase things blindly are... valuable and wonderful assets and much needed to get changes in certain series and titles.


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 09:04 PM.

Powered by vBulletin Version 3.5.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2009, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© Imaginova Corp. All rights reserved.