Archive for January, 2013

Is It Just Me

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

The first act of The Dark Knight Rises, set eight years after the Batman’s last sighting, delivers an out-of-shape and genuinely hobbled Bruce Wayne in a brilliant encounter with Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle. The scene promised far more in terms of personal conflict than this blowhard of a film could deliver. Wayne’s return to action goes far too smoothly. There should have been more struggle and Batman should have gotten walloped on his first time back: an out-of-practice pianist taking the stage. I assume the producers didn’t want the audience to sit through two disparate Wayne rehabs, but the one they chose just bored me to tears. We all knew Batman would rise—it says so, right there in the title. The lunatic from Frank Miller’s eminently superior The Dark Knight Returns, pulling on the batsuit and going on obvious suicide missions, would have motivated the film much more efficiently. Alfred’s walk-out would have made a lot more sense had two-thirds of the movie featured a clearly out-of-his-league Batman, too angry or too proud to hang it up for good or who needs the humiliation to break through psychologically to the mental state required to resume his career. They could have saved millions on CGI effects and silly explosions had they only written an actual script.

Full essay is here


Should Auld Acquaintance Be

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

No, I don’t know where I’ve been in 2012. I mean it. I have almost no recall of last year other than being trapped, almost around the clock, in my home office working on design and advertising projects while the world passed by on CNN. Looking back over the year, I realized that, outside of working for other people, I’ve accomplished virtually nothing. This stuff is incredibly time consuming and leaves you creatively and intellectually exhausted, so the thought of coming up with some pithy blog post or, even more challenging, a comic book plot, becomes an extremely steep hill to climb. I was actually kind of shocked to finally get back over here to my own website and realize it’s been more than a year since I posted anything here, and at least as long since I’ve checked Jim’s Comic Book Life email over at the DigitalPriest account. The annual Holiday Dead Stop has afforded me a little time to pause and look around, so I’ll be making an effort to comb through what appears to be a 13-month backlog of email while updating this WordPress installation (which means this blog may come down for a while as I update and reinstall).

Presuming anybody’s actually paying attention anymore, I hope and pray you all had a great year. More important, I hope and pray for great things in the year to come. I’ll do my best to be here more  often (which is easy, if I show up even twice in 2013). And my apologies to what I’m sure are a great many people who’ve sent messages to my dead-letter office. Back to you soon.


The Letter “A”

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Back when I was writing comics, I discovered, to my chagrin, that the letter “A”  looks exactly the same, regardless of who types it. Brilliant writers, hack writers, non-writers: the letter “A” looks precisely the same. I also discovered that people who lack this particular gift of expression also lack much respect for it. Respect, I’ve found, comes in two distinct flavors: (a) the phony respect we offer up to people who pay us and (b) the more difficult kind of respect we show for things that exist in a realm beyond our own ability to necessarily comprehend. I have enormous respect for, say, pro golfers and people who paint landscapes. I understand neither discipline. I can be walked out to the water’s edge, beyond which I will happily defer to the experts in these fields. When I fly to New York on business, for example, I usually let the pilot fly the plane. I don’t come up there into the cockpit and start flipping switches.

With writing, though, everybody can type the letter “A.” And, rather than me falling in love with my own words, it is usually the client who does that. Why? Because they are usually not professional writers. They sell hair spray and dental floss. Which is not to put down people who sell hair spray and dental floss but to point out there is a reason people hire professionals. Hiring a professional and then interfering with their efforts to make you richer than you already are is just stupid. I don’t understand people who continue walking past the water’s edge until their hat floats.