‘You don’t need anyone’s permission for anything.‘ – John Lydon
The thing is, I haven’t really cared about a comic film since Hellboy 2.
In fact, between you and me, I’d be inclined to say ..I don’t really like most comic movies very much. It’s not even an ‘Indy’ vs ‘Superhero’ thing. I thought ‘Ghost World’ was a shopping list of annoying behaviours for rich kids who like Wes Anderson to emulate, ‘Crumb’ put me off the man and his work in 90 minutes straight. ‘Scott Pilgrim’ is the best argument for God sending in The Locusts I’ve seen for quite a long time.
DC films haven’t done much for me with the exception of the one with Heath Ledger’s Joker in, although for the possibly slightly deranged reason that I think The Joker is spot on with his analysis of Humanity most of the time. No Superman film will ever top the sheer Gonzo insanity that is Superman 3, or my preferred title ‘What If Bizarro Was A Drunk And Richard Pryor Insisted On Upstaging Everyone For Literally No Reason Except Drugs. Also Starring Jim Broadbent, Because Reasons.’
And to be honest, I feel the same way as Female Led Super-Hero Franchise movies as Bill Hicks did about women priests. Sure, have them if it helps anything, but I’ll still be ignoring them. Give Black Canary, Sif, Storm, Wonder Woman, Black Widow, Batgirl, Elektra, Supergirl or She-Hulk a film all you like. Marvel Films are the same self congratulating,quagmire of fan-service and waiting about for some post credit rubbish that makes Cinema Staff’s more difficult nonsense that their comics have become. I gave up on caring about which studio owns which franchise or whether you could really see Cap in the Hulk’s post credit sequence on Blu-Ray sometime around Robert Downey Jr’s hilarious monologue at the end of Iron Man 3.
To quote Evan Dorkin, ‘You see Rocket Raccoon. I see Bill Mantlo.’
No, beyond my love for absolutely terrible films (Hello, Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four, the Cap movie with J.D. Salinger’s kid in the lead, Boob Wire, Tank Girl and that amazing straight to TV Hulk film where Hulk fights a BEAR!), I’ve little interest in comics being translated to the big screen. I don’t think the nature of episodic story-telling lhat comics employ really translates very well to 2 hour films. In the same way that you can’t really just pick this week’s Avengers comic and start reading from there, I think Marvel Films are rapidly creating that culture of ‘But where do I START with this lot?’ and given just how many characters are appearing in ‘Superman V Batman: Dawn Of Justice’, it looks like DC are going the same way (I’m already asking myself if ‘Man Of Steel’ happens in the same reality as ‘Arrow’ and ‘Gotham’)
‘Hellboy’, ‘American Splendor’ and ‘Sin City’ are different, though.
What the three films have in common is that they were all created with a guiding eye from the person who created each property. Harvey Pekar is in ‘American Splendor’, Mignola kept a close eye on ‘Hellboy’ all the way through two movies. Meanwhile, Frank Miller had to be convinced by Robert Rodriguez on a number of occasions that he even wanted to do a ‘Sin City’ movie. He’d had his experience with Hollywood via ‘Robocop 2’ and wanted nothing to do with the process of creating films, let alone giving up the rights to his beloved work.
So, yes, if I were to try to find something that would get me to the cinema, the chances it would both A) Need to be overseen by the person responsible for the original idea and B) Be about something I cared about (*’Art School Confidential” wins for being a observation on a collective of people whilst popping a series of pretensions. “Ghost World” loses for being some snark about people not as cool or deep as Enid who then literally gets a bus to nowhere.)
Which, finally, brings us to Frank Miller, Sin City 2 and him being ‘problematic’ (Which, as far as I can work out, now means ‘Things We’d Like To Censor But Don’t Want To Appear Censorious’ ) as he doesn’t seem to fit in with Internet Comics Community Think 2014. at all. He has been deemed ‘offensive’ by a section of said Community for his portrayal of women, his unique dialogue, Dark Knight Strikes Back not being exactly what.they wanted and his comments on the Occupy movement and such like.
Personally, while I haven’t enjoyed everything Frank’s had a hand in over the last few years, I’ll credit him with the resurgence of DC via Dark Knight Returns, having the balls to be a very vocal part of the ‘Return Kirby’s Art’ campaign at a time when Marvel were trying to hush up The Kirbys with a disgusting document that would have silenced them talking about Jack’s contributions to Marvel in exchange for a mere and insulting 88 pages of artwork that could have been taken back at any time, making the work of Will Eisner cool and relevant again, explaining how much some unknown genre called ‘Manga’ had influenced his work at a time when no one really knew what it was, being one of the pioneers of being totally vocal about the behind the scenes scumbaggery going on at Marvel and DC at the time and a lot more, besides. His letter pages in Sin City were a monthly dissection of popular media thinking process and gleeful explanation of the utter bullshit those words contained.
Also, he read this out live in front of various Marvel members of Staff at a Retailer Meeting in 1994. If any of the vogue creators of today have half the balls to say anything like this at any live event where Marvel or DC Editors are present, I will grow my hair and beard for two years, shave it and donate the sponsorship money to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
And if none of that floats your boat, he’s one of three men who turned the Trade Paperback market into a thing that regularly generates money for the industry. Eisner was first with the format, and Sim was the first to think of putting out collections of previous comics to allow new readers to catch up with the newest issue, but Frank, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons were the guys who blew the doors off the notion that Trade Paperbacks were a Collector’s Only Item. So if you’ve ever sold a trade paperback of anything, you can thank those guys.
I must confess at this point to being surprised that people being offended in 2014 by things they see in various media is a thing that is taken seriously.I thought we’d been through all this with ‘Huckleberry Finn’, with ‘Frankenchrist;,with ‘Evil Dead’, with ‘Cop Killer’, with Alison Bechdel, with ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’, with Omaha The Cat Dancer, with ‘Howl’, with Robert Crumb, with Michael Diana, I thought we’d learned this simple truth:
Nothing has to conform to your notions of what is acceptable, and you are always free to change the channel.
I get why people might have been annoyed or upset at Elvis or The Sex Pistols. Back then, in the 60’s and 70’s, we lived in a much more mono-media culture. By the time Steve Jones called Bill Grundy a ‘dirty fucking rotter’, the UK didn’t have more than three channels and none of them were broadcasting 24 hours a day, so it might well have literally been ‘Watch Bill Grundy awkwardly hit on Siouxsie Sioux or nothing.’ I don’t agree that your kids will have their fragile psyches destroyed by Johnny Rotten being on telly for five seconds,
Here in 2014, we could stop creating new music, TV, comics and such for the next 50 years and you’d be hard pressed to run out of entertainment before you died. You have so many options of what you want to be presented with that I suspect we’re becoming a culture more concerned with finding out what’s coming next than we are with actually engaging with what we’ve purchased. The idea that one man or woman’s point of view or art is so abhorrent that it needs forcibly shoving into exile until it learns to toe the unspoken line is both disgusting and laughable.
Sin City 2 is going to come out in the cinema. The poster featuring Eva Green has already had some problems with the MPAA, the trailer was banned from broadcast by ABC TV. I really want to be wrong here and hope that this is the end of the issues this film going to have. I suspect it isn’t. I’m not sure what could crop up this late in the day, since Sin City: A Dame To Kill For has been in print since at least 1995, so there aren’t any surprises in the story coming. Mind you, I’m talking about a community who seems to think it has a say in what George Martin chooses to write in ‘Game Of Thrones’ and as I genuinely don’t understand that mindset, who knows what’s to come?
Ultimately, you control your mouse, you handle your remote control. You choose what it is seen in your house. Please don’t presume to make those decisions for my household. You can argue that you think Frank’s fictional depiction of women is offensive or his writing isn’t what it was. That’s fine. For your home, Learn to live with the idea that not everything has to conform to your standards of what is decent, and I’ll keep quiet about the fact that I find the fact this generation of social media users not only seem utterly apathetic to how the people who created the big screen heroes were treated by Marvel so long as they get their hit of cinematic buzz, but actually focus on loving Marvel and it’s output to an almost reverential degree, to the point that critics of their films are treated like, well,
There are a lot of people whose resurrection would make the world a better place, Mary Whitehouse isn’t one of them.
Donate to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund here.
P.S. Who was it who created Elektra in the first place? And who was it who outright lied to him about letting her stay dead?
P.P.S. I LIKE ‘The Spirit’ film he directed, I’m guessing you don’t. That’s fine, I’ll never force you to watch it. That’s how this is meant to work.