Monday, May 7, 2012

The Stack (3)

Okay-doke, weeks behind schedule. But continuing, continuing. Here we go, completed since I last wrote on this interminable topic.

- Stick Fly, a play (a good play. I'd like to see it, although it is kind of one of those plays that perhaps, having read, you don't super need to see. But I don't mean that as a slight. It is very good; nice and tightly constructed and lived in and some good lines.)
- 1 issue of Westways magazine ("The Magazine for Auto Club Members"). note: Hey, slimbuttons, you complain all the time about not having time and the oppressive-ness of "the stack" piling up and all of that. But you spend time reading, or even perusing as you did here, stuff like this? Why? That makes no sense. note-response: Shut up. You are right. But actually I found a possible idea to pitch for a piece out of this, so shut up.
- 5 issues of Savage Dragon (173-178, minus #174)
- 6 issues of Captain America & Bucky (620-626)
- 5 issues of The Goon (35-39)
- 3 issues of The Walking Dead (95-97)
- 1 FF (17)
- 1 Fables (116)
- 1 BPRD, Hell on Earth: The Pickens County Horror (2 of 2)
- 1 BPRD, Hell on Earth: The Long Death (3 of 3)
- 3 New Yorkers
-2 The Economists

The things I have to say, such as they are.

The New Yorker is a really good magazine. I enjoyed a poem in the January 2012 edition by Eric Weinsten. I tend to like the non-fiction more than the fiction. Have I said that already? It's just a good magazine, very pleasurable. I'm going to stop talking about this now, I think.

The Goon is just phenomenal. Here's a thing about it. It is dirty and prurient and twisted and very incorrect and all of that. But it is also one of the best dramatically constructed books sold today, I think, in terms of both the freedom and discipline of its storytelling. Like the Dark Horse Hellboy stuff, the storytelling is just very very good, within each issue as well as between issues. It had a parody issue (39) I think, in which Powell attacks mainstream comics, which was very funny.

Which brings me to Captain America & Bucky. This s**t was risible; I'm upset that I spent money on it. The thing is, it almost worries me because it isn't storytelling. It's the idea of storytelling - this broadstrokes bullshit in which the idea of a character supplants a character and things don't have to happen or actually be, they just have to recollect or connect to ideas/things that the reader is aware exist in other stories (people fall in love, people care about their friends, people learn lessons). What worries me is people, particularly obviously kids, getting the idea that this is storytelling. It isn't, and that's upsetting because storytelling is a really really good thing. It's super fun and awesome, and also I suspect has some value with respect to sympathetic and empathetic abilities in other areas (but I don't know jack about that; I think this book, which I did not read nope, touches on it). It's rubbish, and while I would not be at all surprised if the creatives behind it made a really good faith effort with what they were given, whatever complex of market and editorial desire creates stuff like this is excretory marketing masquerading as narrative.

On the other end of the scale, Savage Dragon is really satisfying because it plays with "ideas/things that the reader is aware exist in other stories," but it does something with them. It exists in this kind of exaggeratedly comic booky world. I'm not sure if Erik Larsen means to do this or if it's just what he does, but either way it's awesome: there's a freedom and vitality to his unselfconscious joy in the silliness that makes the book really fine (even if it takes a minute to slip into). I really wish he'd give some female characters something better to do, though. This is maybe where the book's unselfconscious abandon would benefit from a self-conscious tweak.