Neil Gaiman says:

Neil Gaiman says:
pic by Allan Amato

Monday, July 09, 2012

Just Stop


Some people get extremely excited at the proposal of something new coming their way. And, new things can be fun. Unfortunately, certain things aren't really new, are they? They're redone old things that are pretending to be new. And that is not a good thing. That's actually pretty depressing; especially if you really liked the 'old' thing better and all the sparkles and glitter on it just makes it something you wish you'd never invested your emotions into in the first place.

Most people realize that when something isn't broken, you should not undo all the screws, replace them with gum and spaghetti and then put it back together again. It wasn't broken to begin with...and it sure is not going to work when you're finished fiddling with it. Please, for the love of whatever religious or spiritual power you tip your hat to: do not redux, reboot, rewrite, re-do, re-configure, twist-up, bend-over non-broken iconic superhero characters, books, movies and the like.

I'm not being a whiner; I do think some re-jiggering and mash-ups of genres can be fun and that cool things pop out of unexpected places (zombies & everything; pirates & everything; ninjas & everything; sharks & apes...) But, really. Think about it. Do you really, really REALLY need to re-tell yet another rendition of a known super hero movie?

The ancient Greeks used to  attend plays and went in knowing the script by heart. They'd watch the same plays over and over again. Is the current crop of reduxed comic movies and books just a version of Greek theatre? Is retelling Spiderman, Superman and the Hulk what people want to experience? Can't we just agree to be content with a version of the heroes' stories and continue to write new stories within that context and see what happens next? Do we have endure the retelling of everything from the beginning and grind the ORIGIN in audiences' faces, yet again?

We know Superman is the last son of Krypton, we know Uncle Ben dies, we know Bruce Banner has anger issues, we know Bruce Wayne's parents die. We know these things. This leaves studios with a couple of options: Write Something New. (AGGGGH!) Ok, no, I know branding and money and test audiences reveal that Writing Something New is dangerous. Dangerous-- if you're on the wrong side of it, can either kill you, or make you extremely poor.

That leaves the studios with: Write Something Within Context. Safer, for sure. But it requires some reading, a bit of research and a (hopefully) love and respect for the material one is handling. Accept that it's OK if you can't get the original cast back, and they're off someplace doing legitimate theatre. Viewers aren't dummies. We really aren't. Honestly. We know what Clark Kent looks like. He's the guy with nice hair and glasses who stutters around Lois Lane. We know what the Hulk looks like. Truth to tell, when I watched Hulk II, I literally thought it was Hulk II. I thought it was a continuation of the Hulk story; because he is an iconic, easily recognizable character. I didn't need to see the original actors to recognize Bruce Banner. For me, for that movie, somehow it all worked.

Is it so difficult to continue a superhero's story and not have to retell his beginnings? Things don't have to end in trilogies. They can just keep on going (look at the endless Planet of the Apes movies from the 60's) You can have spin-offs and 'son-of' or 'daughter-of' stories, leaping from iconic characters. What about movie serials ("Zorro's Black Whip"). Pick up the story and get going with it. Try a new villain once in awhile. How about Superman vs someone who isn't just some human millionaire? That might be interesting. Or, Batman vs someone who isn't a gibbering lunatic?

Please, be brave and patient.  Take the time to read the background material; make use of the wealth of comic stories that have piled up for decades behind iconic characters and see what you can do to continue those tales and write in the spirit of those characters. Don't reboot, redux, reconfigure, rise Phoenix-from-the-ashes with yet another retelling of an old, dead horse. We KNOW the Origin Stories. Surprise us. (Or Write Something New).

Or make all the male characters girls. That would also be ok.


Saturday, July 07, 2012

Ants in Pants

Hello All,

I've found for some reason that I'm in an emotional/ mental slump; exacerbated by the internet. I'm not sure why this is, but getting online makes my mood worse. So, taking a page from the fantastic Neil Gaiman quote: "Make Good Art" when things go to sh*t, I decided to give it a go. Thankfully, I'm not experiencing a creative slump at the same time as my emotional/ mental one. When they all go together, I usually end up curled in bed with junk food and a stack of paperbacks.

But... comic first, then 'spoilers' n__n
You can either enjoy the comic here, or on my Deviant page (which has bigger images).

"Ants in Pants" came directly from an ant infestation last weekend. The title is taken from a hilarious episode of The Tick (thanks Ben Edlund!). The Ghandi quote I dug up online, when I was trying to look up quotes on 'compassion'. It seemed to suit. I'm not really trying to be preachy (as an omnivore, I guess that would be hypocritical). I guess, I'm just trying to get people to think a little before they grab the "R@!D" or "Kill-X" or what-have-you to eradicate whatever pests are bugging them.

Most bugs can be encouraged to go outside (my Mom spent years as a teacher, calmly showing kids in portables that they could safely 'trap' wasps under a cup, using a piece of cardboard, to gently slide underneath.) She also was instrumental in teaching me tolerance for spiders. She has a great story of returning a large spider back to a rural area where it had originally been captured, and had to take it on the train. Ask her about it sometime n__n.


PS--If you're curious about the role-reversal of ants/ humans or humans as pests; check out the amazing book by William Tenn "Of Men and Monsters".

All artwork (c) 2012 Suzanne A. Marsden