Thoughts on Charmed and such…
Okay, okay, I admit it. i did the mean thing.
I slated a thing online without saying what was wrong with it: I didn’t say what my problem was, how it could be better or anything like that. I just said it was bad with no clarification, and that’s not helpful to anyone. I don’t want to be on one of the ‘LOLZ IS TEH SUCKZ’ brigade. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind. It’s the Internet. People can type what they like. If you don’t want people to say things you don’t like about your work online, don’t post it online. Nobody owes you anything. I notice a lot of people who produce content online link to reviews of it and say ‘This is a good review.’
No it isn’t. It’s always a link to someone who likes their work. Nobody post a link saying ‘This person absolutely hated what I was doing, but they said that in an articulate, well thought out fashion.’ Which begs the question: Are you in this because you have something you want to say to the world or do you just do work because you want people to say nice things about you? Do you dream of retrospectives in Uncut or The Comics Journal explaining just how wonderful you are? If the latter is true, then you, sir/madam, are not an artist, you are an egotist. Please get off the stage and perhaps buy a full length mirror.Ta.
So, anyway, I’ll be honest with you. I was interested in the Charmed comic. Not out of any great love for the franchise, although there is an episode where the girls take on a demon as played by Ron Perlman (The Hellboy one, not the guy who bought Marvel in the 90’s,) and summoned some WCW wrestlers to beat up the girl which I was bewitched by. If I imagined this. Please don’t put me wrong. The image of Scott Steiner taking on Rose McGowan is one of the ones I like swirling around my head.
Ah, yes, Rose McGowan. I really fancy Rose McGowan. our paths first crossed with ‘Scream’ and since then i enjoyed all manner of stuff she’s performed in. If you wondered who it was who went to see ‘Jawbreaker’ and ‘The Doom Generation’ at the cinema, well, yeah. That was me. Yes, i do own ‘Planet Terror’ thank you for asking.
So I opened up a copy of ‘Charmed with, well, trepidation to be fair. I really wanted to like it, and thought it was unfortunate timing that the book shipped to stores the same week as uber-sexy True Blood from IDW. I had a look and, well, I was…saddened. This is why:
Frankly, it used to be that licensed comics were terrible. Hacked out nonsense churned out to suck up gullible people who would buy any old bile as long as it had the brand logo on the cover. I don’t want to name names, because my understanding is that the adapation assignments were pretty much impossible. You were writing a script based on the 3rd or 4th draft of the screenplay which would often bear no relation to what ended up on screen. Page rates were awful. Notable exceptions include Simon Furman’s run on Transformers, The Topps Mars Attacks and Dracula comics, The Michael Golden issues of G.I. Joe and Kyle Baker’s Dick Tracy and Howard The Duck stuff.
But honestly, that stuff was a rarity in the genre. The Star Wars brand could shift toilet paper by sticking Jar Jar’s face on the rolls, but Not matter what any publisher did with it, they could not (and still can’t) make the Star Wars outsell comparatively unknown comics. I think part of the reason for that is the general perception (and not undeserved, either) is that on the whole, licensed comic =shit.
I think that trend was turned for the better by The Simpsons comics. Matt Groening is clearly a man who loves comics and has said before that his drawing style is a direct reaction to the fact that he couldn’t draw like Jack Kirby. Instead of knocking out some uninspired rubbish like many fly-by-night companies (Cough, NOW, cough.), Bongo really went to town with their comics. They made them really fun, full of in-jokes about comics, looking like the show and as close as you could get to an episode you could in comic form.
I’ve long argued that The Simpsons comics shouldn’t have issue numbers, just because it suggests it’s part of an ongoing story and issue 126 of The Simpsons sounds like it’s part 126 of a larger thing when in fact you can read any issue (usually.) and it’s a whole thing in and of itself. One comic. one unit of entertainment in and of itself.
Bongo raised the bar and it was followed by IDW doing strong stuff on their Transformers and G.I.Joe comics. Boom noticed that nobody had adapted ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’ and Marvel soon followed suit. Oh, and Buffy. Buffy, by God…
Buffy wasn’t outright bad, just ordinary. it seemed like the book was started with enthusasim but as interest in the title waned, so did the quality until it just became an excuse to charge $2.99 for photos of Eliza Dushku and it was cancelled. Until it was relaunched with Joss Whedon and became Season 8. With good artists and writers working on it. Surprisngly, people start reading it because, well, it’s Buffy and stay because it’s good.
Sigh..which, finally, brings us to Charmed issue 1, published by Zenescope.
Now, two things occur to me here.
First off, if you’re doing a comic where one of the main characters is Rose McGowan, then, really, i ought to be able to tell which of the drawn women is meant to be Rose McGowan. I’m NOT trying to be snarky, but in this era of brand protection, hideous re-writes and resubmissions so that the client is satisfied that the comic is the best representation of the property, didn’t anyone say ‘Uh, which one’s Rose?’
Okay, this is Rose McGowan:
So which one of these girls is meant to be her?
Also, it’s dull. Deathly by-the-numbers-she -does this -so- the- demon- shows- up- and- then- blahblahblah. you’e read this plot a billion times before. There’s no twist. It’s just uninteresting writing that you’d expect from a 90’s RPG as a set up to playing the game. If it didn’t say ‘Charmed’ on it, you’d have no reason to think this wasn’t an issue of any DC magic inventory story from the 70’s.
Finally, and most brutually, i suspect….
If the point was that we’d buy it because of the brand name and stay for the T&A then, er, I’m afraid not. Lord knows I’m as much a fan of well drawn comic girls as anyone. I’m not shy about this and get irritated by people who thumb their noses at that (“OOh, you’re just buying it for the boobs!’ sounds a lot like ‘OOOhh, you have an interest in SEX!’ ) But you know, I have standards. Standards that are well beyond what’s in Charmed 1. It lowers the bar again, and I hope for better in subsequent issues.
Just to balance though, i am a fan of Zenescope’s April Fool Specials and you can order them here….