Saturday, December 13, 2008

Alex Ross Seems Kind Of Like A Dick


I'll take a break from the normal personal recollections and give an opinion on the industry that we found/find ourselves in.

Doesn't Alex Ross seem like he's kind of a dick?

I wasn't reading comics when Marvels came out, but I remember the hubbub of Kingdom Come. I looked at his art, and yeah, it's impressive. Although, something always seems a little "off" to me. Everyone looks like the ideal in the 1950s. The guys, while huge, seem a little fat. I know that's probably "more realistic", but come on. It's comics. There's a dude with a ring that makes giant green shit.

I remember people going ape shit over Kingdom Come, which I never really understood. It's a very "of its time" story. It was basically a reaction to Rob Liefeld, Image comics and the industry in the early to mid 90s. It all seems so dated now, the concern over bad influence super-heroes. People in costumes with lots of leather and tattoos, smoking and blowing each other away. DC let its big, end-of-the-universe-as-we-know-it epic be a response to a fad. A fad that was on its way out by the time the book came out. Besides, if anyone wants to get a peek at what was the best possible way for DC to do its "end of an era/Ragnarok" story then they can take a gander at this. Now, that's a story!

I think the thing that bugs me the most about Ross is that he's a traditionalist. He's one of these people that likes things from a certain era, and that's all he'll deal with. Most people agree that the Barry Allen Flash died a hero, with dignity, in a decent story in Crisis On Infinite Earths. Not Ross. Barry Allen was screwed, and should be the Flash to this very day. Screw the people that have watched Wally West grow into a fine hero of his own for the past twenty years. Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern? Dick Grayson as Nightwing? Not hearing it and not drawing it. Everything should be exactly as it was during the Silver Age. That's when comic books peaked and nothing that came after it was worth a damn.

When does it end, though? I mean, somewhere out there there are fans even older than Ross thinking, "Hal Jordan? Space cops? Fooey! It's Alan Scott or nothin'!" Or maybe "Barry Allen can't hold a candle to Jay Garrick! Now that was a real hero, he wore a WWI helmet and everything!" Fair's fair. What about them, Ross? They were here first.

One of the things that writers like Alan Moore and Warren Ellis talk about is the lack of variety in comics and the stifling urges to do self-masturbatory stories over and over again. Moore said he can't look at super-heroes anymore because all he sees are the dead men they were stolen from. Ellis talked on how going into a comic shop is like going into a bookstore where 90% of the books there are about nurses. Now, there are some fine books about nurses out there, I'm sure, but do you really need such a vast majority of them? I don't go as far as they do. I enjoy a good superhero yarn as much as the next guy (well, maybe not as much as the fat 40-year-old in the stained Gambit shirt) but I don't know if I really need to constantly read stuff that never changes, never grows, and never dies.

So let Iron Man wage war on good old-fashioned costumed crusaders. Let Captain America and Batman croak. Turn the Hulk red. Whatever. Because everyone knows that the industry is full of Alex Rosses just biting their lips in anxiety until they get the chance to make Iron Man mind-controlled, resurrect Captain America and Batman, and make the Green Goliath angry and emerald again. Just ask Geoff Johns.

I think this video kind of has some interesting parts where his douchebaggery can't help but leak all over everything...

10 comments:

creature said...

Is it me or is DC basically letting him re-do everything? He's damned near retconning the 80s and 90s away completely.

Baal said...

I agree he's a dick. His comments about Obsidian in the Manhunter series have had me write him off for life but it helps I've never really cared for his art so no big loss.

Seethe Rogers said...

His homophobia wouldn't surprise me, as he's the son of a preacher man.

And I can't wait for the next big trend to his comics and for all the '60s and '70s fetishism to be retconned away and maybe somebody will introduce some new shit.

Invisible Ninja said...

He was a Fanexpo in Toronto this past summer. I"m not a fan so I wasn't going to see him, but the hoops you had to go through to see him was nuts. Only appeared on the Sunday. You had to line up Saturday to get the ticket to see him (only if you had a certain pass to begin with). The ticket would then tell you where he was going to be signing in secret. Every other artist was open and available, not the "great one" though.

Seethe Rogers said...

I remembering hearing from someone online (for the life of me I can't remember where though. If you know what I'm talking about please comment so they can get the credit) about someone who was in line to see Ross around the time of "Kingdom Come". I think they were 11 or 12 at the time, and they recalled talking to him and saying that they had never read any of his stuff, but it looked pretty cool. Probably something on how they wanted to start. Allegedly Ross responded by saying "get the fuck out of the way and let my real fans through" or something. If Wizard hasn't sucked his cock every year since 1994, he probably would be more humble.

Ah well, I feel his influence is waning, believe it or not. Good.

Invisible Ninja said...

Waning? I wish, companies are falling all over themselves to be able to get him to work for them. Project Superpowers and Avenges/Invaders? Why? Plus the crazy amount of people that come into the store looking for anything new by him just makes me sad. It's so hard to fake enjoyment of his work in order to not lose a sale.

cobraclutch said...

"It's so hard to fake enjoyment of his work in order to not lose a sale."

God, you are not lying. I recently opened a comic book store. Not the biggest fan of Alex Ross. Have you ever seen his commentary on one of the Anthrax Music of Mass Destruction DVD? Total dick. He comes off as an utter dork, an embarrassment to the media, and goes so far as to backhandedly insult the band who is using his art as the cover of their new (at the time) album. I'm not a great fan of Anthrax or anything, but that commentary really turned me off to Alex Ross as a person.

Anonymous said...

He seems like a pretty cool guy to me. Seems like he's very happy to be doing what he loves. I envy the guy. I didn't pick up anything in the video that would make me think the guy was a jerk or anything.

Seethe Rogers said...

We know that it's you, Alex. Get back to pretending that comics stopped existing in 1973!

Anonymous said...

I like that he said that the superpower he'd like is "to make the imagined real", and yet there is a character like that - Kyle Rayner is an artist, literally he paints and draws for a living, and as a superhero he uses the ring to make his art come to life, all the while valuing willpower and courage to stand up for justice. Basically everything he wants in a character, but he still shows no love for him. That's weird, lemme say.