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...