Carnival of souls

* Very stimulating discussion of last night’s episode in this week’s Lost thoughts thread, including some stuff that made me change my mind about something I wrote in the post itself. Join in!

* Hey look, Josh Cotter got himself a new website. (Via Chris Pitzer.)

* Frank Santoro and the Silver Surfer are a great fit. (Via Tom Spurgeon, even though this popped up in my RSS reader last week and I guess I just totally whiffed on it.)

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* Jesse Hamm explains Frank Frazetta’s technique, the kind of stuff that makes his work stand out even amid a sea of imitators. (Also via Tom.)

* Siege wrapped up today. The thing that bothers me about the series is that it really should have taken the commonly understood definition of its title as the blueprint for its action. What happened was a bunch of villains and army guys breezed in and attacked Asgard, zapping at things and messing things up; then a bunch of heroes breezed in and attacked the villains, zapping at things and messing things up; then a big giant strong villain knocked the city out of the sky, then a big giant strong hero knocked the big giant strong villain out of the sky and then threw him into the sun. So that’s one way to go about this. The other way would be to take, say, the Helm’s Deep sequence in Peter Jackson’s film of The Two Towers and model your four-issue fight scene after that. So instead of fighter jets and Ares and Moonstone and the U-Foes basically walking right up to the Asgardians of their choice and zapping at them, as though they may as well have been fighting in a soccer field instead of a giant fortified city of the gods, actually map out those fortifications like you’re a Dungeon Master, then methodically show the characters attempting to break through those fortifications and hold what they’ve taken against both the defending Asgardians and the cavalry of Avengers who show up afterwards. Instead of a bunch of splash pages and double-page spreads where you have a lot of characters punching and stabbing and zapping lasers in all directions, with really no sense of where any of them are in relation to one another and certainly no sense of what would happen to the fortunes of the overall battle were this or that character to win or lose each particular fight–you know, do the opposite of that. A rigorously choreographed four-issue battle could have been the mintest thing ever. “Remember when Ares took the Rainbow Bridge? Remember when Iron Man and Bucky dislodged Venom and his HAMMER troops from the tower? Remember when Hawkeye hit just the right cornerstone for that fortress to collapse right on top of Norman Osborn?” Bendis did this once, in the breakout sequence from the first few issues of New Avengers, and there’s no reason it would have had to eat up more real estate than the action we got, so you’d still have plenty of room to hit whatever beats you wanted about Norman losing it and the Avengers getting the band back together and so on. It would have been cool.

3 Responses to Carnival of souls

  1. Jon Hastings says:

    I stopped reading Siege, but my take on it was that it was Bendis trying to do a Grant Morrison comic. And what you’re saying Bendis should have done seems to be almost exactly what Morrison is doing in Joe the Barbarian. Morrison is a Big Idea guy, but, unlike Bendis, he’s also really strong on action sequences.

  2. I don’t get Morrison vibes off this at all, it’s way too “superheroes as military operatives” which is a Bendis trademark, but you’re certainly right about Joe the Barbarian. Cameron Stewart’s stuff in his Batman and Robin arc comes to mind as well.

  3. Jon Hastings says:

    I think the premise of a mythic city of the gods, manifesting in our world, besieged by forces led by the personification of the American Empire is very much Morrisonian. I do agree, though, that with Morrison it wouldn’t have been handled as much as a military-action thing.