Tuesday, July 13, 2004

He's going to pretend they're literature

Good NYT article on "serious" comics. You can tell that it's not by a comics person because there's no mention of Eisner or Tezuka and he seems a tad unclear about exactly what function Stan Lee had. Plus referring to From Hell as "a story about Jack the Ripper" is like saying Ulysses is about a guy in Dublin: true but completely inadequate. It's no surprise that the author avoids superheroes entirely even though there's work there at least as substantial as anything mentioned in the article. (Though here I'll have to admit that I've always found Maus to be second-rate and feel that its acclaim comes from what it is than what it achieves, sort of like the response to Johnson's walking dogs.) That's one thing that interests me about superheroes is that in a world where horror films, Buffy, dime Westerns and roadside attractions receive serious attention, superhero comics are still disreputable. Spider-Man 2 is racking up rave reviews (93% at Rotten Tomatoes, the highest for a studio film so far this year) but it doesn't have anywhere near the depth or complexity or even smarts of the comics (where Parker definitely makes sacrifices; the movie rewards him for nobility with a smugly happy ending).