Friday, December 5, 2008

Expressions of Dread

This post is comic geeky, just so you know. DC is publishing a book called FINAL CRISIS, and its written by Grant Morrison, the guy behind BATMAN RIP. JG Jones is doing the art, and he is best known for doing the 52 covers for DC's weekly comic in 2006-7, 52. The man can convey dread more than any other artist I know, if the sky is raining blood, I know it. The idea behind FC is that Morrison has taken every single mother-loving character Jack Kirby ever created in the 1970s for DC and put them in these pages, basically using the Anti-Life Equation to spread across the Internet and usher in the Fifth World of Gods (both good and bad). A defining moment is when Barry Allen and Wally West run two weeks into the future and realize that shit has gone down in those two weeks, as they see Wonder Woman in a Hannibal Lecter kind of mask and Batwoman with a ball gag, riding on top of giant pit bulls. The sad part is that Jones was falling behind on the over-sized issues and DC brought in Doug Mahnke to replace him on the final issue. Won't be the same, but at least I'm relishing the current pages. I've talked about how I dream in the past, its like how Jones illustrates the night, the reflected shadows in rain puddles in the alleys. Anyone who has ever read comics will know of Jack Kirby's input, going back to the 1940s. To see Grant Morrison bring his creations back for one last wild ride, Lois Lane with shrapnel in her heart and Superman using his heat vision to keep her alive (and keeping him out of action), the Fantastic Super Young Team, fetish heroes from Japan, an example being Sexy Shy Lolita Canary. Pure insanity, a comic that reads more like an adult book, but, as the illustrations show, this book would be next to nothing without the art of JG Jones.


HemlockMan said...

Usually there's something else involved when they take an artist or writer off of a project for any public reason.

I remember when Roger Stern and John Byrne were the writer/illustrator team on CAPT. AMERICA and doing a pretty nifty job of it. Marvel at that time had a rule that if an artist/writer team worked on a book for twelve uninterrupted issues, they would get a cash bonus. For no reason at all, other than to keep from having to pay the bonus, Marvel management inserted a backup story to prevent twelve uninterrupted issues of Stern/Byrne.

Or so it was related to me by another comics professional at the time. It made sense.

As for Jack Kirby--superhero comics has never seen anyone like him, and likely never will again.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

No, this was a case of the books being done with Alex Ross precision, having them over-sized and cutting the lead time dramatically. They had planned to skip a month (once it became clear DC editorial fucked up yet again), and Grant Morrison, in his infinite wisdom, had the Flashes run two weeks into the future. Believe it or not, the next book shipped 11 weeks late, so Jones just couldn't do it, Morrison having tons of nine panel pages, too.

Amazing about Kirby, though. Every minor character from his DC work has shown up in the last two years, with Final Crisis being called "The Day Evil Won," meaning Darkseid and all the creepy bad guys Kirby created. Hell, in Batman RIP they even used The Lump, a goofy character from about three pages of MISTER MIRACLE#8. That Super Young Team from Japan is getting played up as the new incarnation of The Forever People. I gobbled those Fourth World books up like mad, this was when I was "too young" to see ZARDOZ or PLANET OF THE APES. I really dug, KAMANDI, THE LAST BOY ON EARTH and OMAC. Kirby was never underrated, but if he was in any small way, it was because of those books. Which is too bad. And I never thought I'd enjoy a book as much as FINAL CRISIS.

Charles Gramlich said...

Sounds like it's got a little bit of everything. AFter the Watchmen, I'm willing to give something like this a try. Going to check it out.

G. W. Ferguson said...

Speaking of (non-comics) "Expressions of Dread," here's some more on numbers broadcasts.

Steve Malley said...

You're right, Wayne. Artists fall behind all the time in comics. Sometimes badly enough that pencils get scanned uninked, sometimes so bad that a pinch hitter gets brought in. It takes a long damn time to draw all those panels, one reason I seem to have switched to writing prose.

Btw, thanks for putting Supergirl up at the top. That way I got over the belly-top-induced brain fog in time to actually read your words! :)