Kurt Busiek Is Grumpy But I Agree With Him

Jaggyd

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See, I agree with him, but at the same time, I totally disagree with his "good artist/writer" list. Most of the people he lists, tend to be nothing more than either recycling or are stuck in the late-60's/early-70's when it comes to storytelling. Which while seeming "fresh" against the angsty sturm und drang that is going on, for those of us who've read comics longer than a decade, it seems just as repetitive.

While I completely agree with his overall gripes of the Big Two, I think his opining of the "good old days" is a bit short sighted as well. But, with that said, he's framed the entire thing with the "In my opinion...", which makes me respect said opinion more, because he's not bashing those who enjoy it, he's bashing the same chords that Marvel & DC keep playing, instead of experimenting with new sounds.

I guess I really didn't have much of a point other than, I agree with most of what he said, and respect him on the parts I disagree with.
 

E

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I agree: Bendis sucks.
 

Bass

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See, I agree with him, but at the same time, I totally disagree with his "good artist/writer" list. Most of the people he lists, tend to be nothing more than either recycling or are stuck in the late-60's/early-70's when it comes to storytelling. Which while seeming "fresh" against the angsty sturm und drang that is going on, for those of us who've read comics longer than a decade, it seems just as repetitive.

While I completely agree with his overall gripes of the Big Two, I think his opining of the "good old days" is a bit short sighted as well. But, with that said, he's framed the entire thing with the "In my opinion...", which makes me respect said opinion more, because he's not bashing those who enjoy it, he's bashing the same chords that Marvel & DC keep playing, instead of experimenting with new sounds.

I guess I really didn't have much of a point other than, I agree with most of what he said, and respect him on the parts I disagree with.

Same here.
 

Random

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This confuses me:
it felt like two issues’ worth of story crammed into a six-issue bag
How can you cram something into a container that is design to carry more? I mean if he meant the two issues were spread thin into six that would make sense. But here I just don't get it.
 

Jaggyd

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This confuses me:

How can you cram something into a container that is design to carry more? I mean if he meant the two issues were spread thin into six that would make sense. But here I just don't get it.


Yeah, for a writer, i think it's weird that he got such a well worn idiom so completely wrong.
 

ProjectX2

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Aren't all of Kurt Busiek's comics about archetypes and classic stories and nostalgia? Isn't he essentially recycling too?

I understand his point and there seems to be a trend of grumpy creators speaking out at the moment (Mark Waid and Alan Moore too) but the only Busiek comic I've liked has been Marvels.
 

Jaggyd

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The more I read these kind of things, (Busiek, and Cooke's recent) the more it's reminding me of Prince and John Mellencamp professing that the internet, and personal media players are dead.

I think if they just admitted that they just don't like change, they wouldn't seem so Stewie Griffin.

[video=youtube;hUglJQP3uKg]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUglJQP3uKg[/video]
 

Ultimate Houde

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Paul Cornell's Captain Britain and the MI13 was awesome and his Action Comics seems to be heading in an awesome direction. For that alone, I will hate Kurt and not read the rest of the article.

*reads anyways*

I agree with some of this.
 
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Zombipanda

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See, I agree with him, but at the same time, I totally disagree with his "good artist/writer" list. Most of the people he lists, tend to be nothing more than either recycling or are stuck in the late-60's/early-70's when it comes to storytelling. Which while seeming "fresh" against the angsty sturm und drang that is going on, for those of us who've read comics longer than a decade, it seems just as repetitive.

Agreed. While I agree to a large extent with his sentiments, I find it kind of puzzling that Busiek is the one to be stating them. He is, after all, a man who's great works are almost entirely comprised of nostalgia-laced pastiches. That's not to say I don't like Busiek's stuff. Astro City was great and I'm curious to see what he does with Witchlands, but it's hardly cutting edge stuff. As for the projects he mentions as quality at the Big Two, I feel like a few are quality, a few are mediocre, and a few are just bad. None are particularly forward thinking books, but they're generally fun. But, I mean, that's fine. Different strokes for different folks. And this clearly wasn't intended to be aired publicly. It was just him discussing his opinion of the industry in private.

Jaggyd said:
While I completely agree with his overall gripes of the Big Two, I think his opining of the "good old days" is a bit short sighted as well.

I agree as well, sorta. DC and Marvel are putting out some truly horrific books. DC is far and away the worse offender, especially when it comes to mindless, stupid violence, but I don't think the present state of affairs is anything unusual for comics, or any medium, for that matter. There's only so much talent to go around, plenty of bad books sell extremely well regardless of having higher quality titles around, and any project in an artistic medium is going to be a gamble. That's always been the case, and while it's easy to look at the comic book greats over the past decades and say "See? See? Why can't we have writers and artists like these anymore?" that's ignoring the fact that they were surrounded by any number of other creators who vary in skill from alright to terrible. Great writing is always an abnormality hidden amongst a bunch of mediocre work, and that's always going to be the case. And while the current storytelling trend may be towards oppressive violence in storytelling, I don't think it would be any better if the same creative teams with the same level of talent were telling sub-par Silver Age stories instead of sub-par Dark Age stories. To me, it's an issue of talent, not tone.

Aren't all of Kurt Busiek's comics about archetypes and classic stories and nostalgia? Isn't he essentially recycling too?

I understand his point and there seems to be a trend of grumpy creators speaking out at the moment (Mark Waid and Alan Moore too) but the only Busiek comic I've liked has been Marvels.

Moore comes across as a paranoid ****, but Busiek's comments seem even and respectful.

Oh, and Astro City is awesome.
 

Bass

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Yeah, for a writer, i think it's weird that he got such a well worn idiom so completely wrong.

Because he's just wrong. Hickman's FANTASTIC FOUR is fun, and his point that it's 'not got enough story' is nonsense when actually, it has more story than most six issue arcs. You can bet your ass that the "Solve Everything" storyline would've been six issues if it was done by anyone else today.

Aren't all of Kurt Busiek's comics about archetypes and classic stories and nostalgia? Isn't he essentially recycling too?

I understand his point and there seems to be a trend of grumpy creators speaking out at the moment (Mark Waid and Alan Moore too) but the only Busiek comic I've liked has been Marvels.

Yes they are. But while Kurt Busiek may not be the greatest writer ever, he's right. Alan Moore has always been grumpy, and when he first got grumpy, unlike every other grumpy writer, he went out and created the best line of superhero comics ever. He wrote seven titles with over a dozen different properties for five years, ended his universe and retired. One could say that Waid and Busiek are grumpy because they're somewhat out of fashion and marginalized now, irrelevant, or 'has-beens' (though I think that's untrue - they're better than a number of writers currently at the top), but Alan Moore just isn't one of those guys. Alan Moore's ABC line is why he can say whatever he wants and people should listen. No other comic book writer has every created such a consistent stream of good titles, with such variety, ever.

The more I read these kind of things, (Busiek, and Cooke's recent) the more it's reminding me of Prince and John Mellencamp professing that the internet, and personal media players are dead.

I think if they just admitted that they just don't like change, they wouldn't seem so Stewie Griffin.

I seriously do not think it's that they don't like change. Because they want change and originality, and aren't getting it.

I think it's more like falling out of love with someone, but being unable to avoid them.

In American comics, superheroes strangle the medium. Azzarello, Ennis, Ellis - pretty much everyone agrees that superheroes may have a place, but they're are wearing out their welcome and the reason the industry is in the toilet.

So what happens to fans who stop enjoying superhero comics? Well, they ***** about them because it's so hard to get comics without them. You have to actively avoid superheroes. It's not like not like movies - if you don't like summer blockbusters it's not a hassle to avoid them and pick up comedies, love stories, musicals, etc. But superheroes... go into book stores, comic stores, unless you're in the manga section, superheroes are everywhere. If you like a company like DC's Vertigo, no matter how awesome FABLES is, it gets a tenth (if that) of the publicity the fifth GREEN LANTERN title reboot is getting.

Busiek and others are simply no longer as immersed in that superhero world as they once were, and are tired of them. They want something different, and are annoyed that superheroes are stealing all the attention.

It's not that they don't like change - it's that they're bored of superheroes precisely because they feel stale and homogeneous.
 
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Zombipanda

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Yes they are. But while Kurt Busiek may not be the greatest writer ever, he's right. Alan Moore has always been grumpy, and when he first got grumpy, unlike every other grumpy writer, he went out and created the best line of superhero comics ever. He wrote seven titles with over a dozen different properties for five years, ended his universe and retired. One could say that Waid and Busiek are grumpy because they're somewhat out of fashion and marginalized now, irrelevant, or 'has-beens' (though I think that's untrue - they're better than a number of writers currently at the top), but Alan Moore just isn't one of those guys. Alan Moore's ABC line is why he can say whatever he wants and people should listen. No other comic book writer has every created such a consistent stream of good titles, with such variety, ever.

I don't think anyone's going to argue Alan Moore's talent. But in his last interview he professes, basically, that any time his friends don't get work from DC, it's because they're blackballed, and whenever they do get work, it's an attempt to hold him hostage. He claims DC used the life-threatening illness of his friend's brother against him out of spite. He claims that there aren't any good creators working at either of the two companies (despite the fact that he probably doesn't read comics from either). He claims (admittedly somewhat tongue in cheek) that nothing has been as good as Watchmen in the past twenty-five years. And he explains how he throws away friends he's had for twenty-five years over minor slights.

I love Alan Moore. I think he's written some truly magnificent things. But as a human being, he comes across as immensely paranoid and self-centered.

I seriously do not think it's that they don't like change. Because they want change and originality, and aren't getting it.

I think it's more like falling out of love with someone, but being unable to avoid them.

In American comics, superheroes strangle the medium. Azzarello, Ennis, Ellis - pretty much everyone agrees that superheroes may have a place, but they're are wearing out their welcome and the reason the industry is in the toilet.

So what happens to fans who stop enjoying superhero comics? Well, they ***** about them because it's so hard to get comics without them. You have to actively avoid superheroes. It's not like not like movies - if you don't like summer blockbusters it's not a hassle to avoid them and pick up comedies, love stories, musicals, etc. But superheroes... go into book stores, comic stores, unless you're in the manga section, superheroes are everywhere. If you like a company like DC's Vertigo, no matter how awesome FABLES is, it gets a tenth (if that) of the publicity the fifth GREEN LANTERN title reboot is getting.

Busiek and others are simply no longer as immersed in that superhero world as they once were, and are tired of them. They want something different, and are annoyed that superheroes are stealing all the attention.

It's not that they don't like change - it's that they're bored of superheroes precisely because they feel stale and homogeneous.

Seriously???

I'd argue that non-superhero comics have for more volume and exposure than they've ever had since arguably the 1950's. Both major publishers have at least one major imprint devoted to literary and non-superhero publications. Admittedly, Icon is still a young imprint, but it's doing a good job of growing. Image, which started as basically the worst representation of 1990's era superhero comics has become a deep source for clever creator owned properties. Vertigo is still putting out a robust number of creative, independent works while also seeding these clever writers back into their superhero lines in an attempt to revitalize the genre. And then there's Dark Horse. And the brief superhero cinema glut seems to have been outpaced by the production of non-superhero comic book adaptations. Sure, superheroes dominate the shelves, but there are far more windows for more clever, fringe publications than there have been in decades and in all honesty, it's no different than any other artistic medium, whether it's big budget blockbuster films and romantic comedies crowding out clever indie films, or the fact that purple prose/yellow pulp genre fiction sells thousands while literary fiction sells hundreds.

Comfort food while always sell better than cuisine. It's true for any medium.
 
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Bass

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I don't think anyone's going to argue Alan Moore's talent. But in his last interview he professes, basically, that any time his friends don't get work from DC, it's because they're blackballed, and whenever they do get work, it's an attempt to hold him hostage. He claims DC used the life-threatening illness of his friend's brother against him out of spite. He claims that there aren't any good creators working at either of the two companies (despite the fact that he probably doesn't read comics from either). He claims (admittedly somewhat tongue in cheek) that nothing has been as good as Watchmen in the past twenty-five years. And he explains how he throws away friends he's had for twenty-five years over minor slights.

I love Alan Moore. I think he's written some truly magnificent things. But as a human being, he comes across as immensely paranoid and self-centered.

Alan Moore has said that when it comes to DC, Marvel, Hollywood, he over-reacts purposely because he wants nothing to do with them. And, since he's probably the greatest comic writer of all time, they want a lot to do with him and his past works. Whenever I see him interviewed in person or by a magazine that talks to him about stuff that isn't Marvel/DC-related, he seems to be a genuinely terrific, sensible man. But when people bring up Hollywood, he either makes jokes about it, or goes on a rampage. And I think the rampage is more of an intentional overreaction - a venting if you will.

That's I how I see it.

Seriously???

I'd argue that non-superhero comics have for more volume and exposure than they've ever had since arguably the 1950's. Both major publishers have at least one major imprint devoted to literary and non-superhero publications. Admittedly, Icon is still a young imprint, but it's doing a good job of growing. Image, which started as basically the worst representation of 1990's era superhero comics has become a deep source for clever creator owned properties. Vertigo is still putting out a robust number of creative, independent works while also seeding these clever writers back into their superhero lines in an attempt to revitalize the genre. And then there's Dark Horse. And the brief superhero cinema glut seems to have been outpaced by the production of non-superhero comic book adaptations. Sure, superheroes dominate the shelves, but there are far more windows for more clever, fringe publications than there have been in decades and in all honesty, it's no different than any other artistic medium, whether it's big budget blockbuster films and romantic comedies crowding out clever indie films, or the fact that purple prose/yellow pulp genre fiction sells thousands while literary fiction sells hundreds.

Comfort food while always sell better than cuisine. It's true for any medium.

I completely agree that there is terrific non-superhero comics out there, and there's a lot more than there was say, 10 years ago. But in the 90s there was much more because the market was so huge, but in the 50s there was much more because superheroes were not the dominant genre. Comics was spread between romance, funnies, crime, horror, and superheroes.

While there is diversity, and that diversity is definitely growing, superheroes, no matter how delightful, are a stranglehold on the industry. Everything goes through them. The superheroes outnumber the non-superhero stuff by a ludicrous degree. In a book shop you might get a manga shelf, a graphic novel shelf, and a superhero graphic novel shelf.

The diversity in France or Japan is much higher.

Look at it like television; how many genres are there on tv? Sure, cop shows are plentiful, but you also get courtroom dramas, hospital dramas, soap operas, sitcoms, and, cartoons. Now sure, you get a bunch of genres in comics, but no genre is dominant in television. Or cinema. Or novels. There are genres that are very popular; the spy thriller, the summer blockbuster, but while they may get more money, commercial success, and hype than the other genres, they don't outnumber them, they don't have the same presence in the industry as superheroes do in the comic world.

And just as tv writers lament the amount of cop shows, it goes double for superheroes and comics. The problem is not that there's a lot of superhero comics, but rather the disproportionate amount combined with the homogeneity of those superhero comics.

It's getting better, no question, but it is still a problem.
 

Zombipanda

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Alan Moore has said that when it comes to DC, Marvel, Hollywood, he over-reacts purposely because he wants nothing to do with them. And, since he's probably the greatest comic writer of all time, they want a lot to do with him and his past works. Whenever I see him interviewed in person or by a magazine that talks to him about stuff that isn't Marvel/DC-related, he seems to be a genuinely terrific, sensible man. But when people bring up Hollywood, he either makes jokes about it, or goes on a rampage. And I think the rampage is more of an intentional overreaction - a venting if you will.

That's I how I see it.

It still strikes me as poor taste to suggest, without evidence, that a company used a friend's crippling illness as a bargaining chip to get revenge on you. Nor does it sound like he's a very good friend.

Not that I particularly care about Alan Moore as a person. I'm just saying, the outrage over his last interview typically doesn't have anything to do with his thoughts on the industry which he admittedly doesn't even pay attention to.

Bass said:
I completely agree that there is terrific non-superhero comics out there, and there's a lot more than there was say, 10 years ago. But in the 90s there was much more because the market was so huge, but in the 50s there was much more because superheroes were not the dominant genre. Comics was spread between romance, funnies, crime, horror, and superheroes.

While there is diversity, and that diversity is definitely growing, superheroes, no matter how delightful, are a stranglehold on the industry. Everything goes through them. The superheroes outnumber the non-superhero stuff by a ludicrous degree. In a book shop you might get a manga shelf, a graphic novel shelf, and a superhero graphic novel shelf.

The diversity in France or Japan is much higher.

Look at it like television; how many genres are there on tv? Sure, cop shows are plentiful, but you also get courtroom dramas, hospital dramas, soap operas, sitcoms, and, cartoons. Now sure, you get a bunch of genres in comics, but no genre is dominant in television. Or cinema. Or novels. There are genres that are very popular; the spy thriller, the summer blockbuster, but while they may get more money, commercial success, and hype than the other genres, they don't outnumber them, they don't have the same presence in the industry as superheroes do in the comic world.

And just as tv writers lament the amount of cop shows, it goes double for superheroes and comics. The problem is not that there's a lot of superhero comics, but rather the disproportionate amount combined with the homogeneity of those superhero comics.

It's getting better, no question, but it is still a problem.

I don't think Busiek is arguing that superheroes dominate the market too much. I think he's primarily saying that there aren't as many good superhero comics as there used to be, which simply isn't the case. But I guess that's in the eye of the beholder, yeah?

Books and TV and film also have a much larger and a much more open market. They have a vast and varied audience that doesn't shoe-horn the possibilities of the mediums. They have a high number of production companies/studios/publishing houses each with different niche markets they can cater to, and by and large, everyone but the big names caters to a specific genre. Harlequin doesn't produce crime novels. Tor doesn't diverge from fantasy or sci-fi. Some of the big name publishing companies dabble into a variety of genres but that's mostly because they can afford to. For the most part, these various genres managed to come into their own because there was a market for them. I'd suggest if we want to see more diversity opening up, we should see the rise of more small publishers who target their content to more specific audiences. You can't really blame Marvel and DC for the fact that 95% of their output is superheroes. That's what's dominated their publishing history for decades. It's what's made them the most money. The bulk of their audience consists of adults who grew up on their superhero comics. And at a time when the industry is plummeting, of course they're going to focus on the genre that serves as their bread and butter. Even so, both companies are clearly making efforts to diversify their market, and given that they need to essentially build an audience from scratch, I think they've been doing a decently admirable job. But they're really not to blame. Blame the glut of fanboys who ***** about there being nothing original who don't buy the books that really are unique. I'd suggest what we need to see more of are small independent publishing houses who market themselves at a specific audience and advertise as such. It's not about big advertising so much as it is about targeted advertising.

So whatta you say, Bass? What sort of publishing group are we going to start?
 

Bass

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It still strikes me as poor taste to suggest, without evidence, that a company used a friend's crippling illness as a bargaining chip to get revenge on you. Nor does it sound like he's a very good friend.

Not that I particularly care about Alan Moore as a person. I'm just saying, the outrage over his last interview typically doesn't have anything to do with his thoughts on the industry which he admittedly doesn't even pay attention to.

I don't think I've read the article you mention so I can't really comment.

I don't think Busiek is arguing that superheroes dominate the market too much. I think he's primarily saying that there aren't as many good superhero comics as there used to be, which simply isn't the case. But I guess that's in the eye of the beholder, yeah?

I suppose that's one way of looking at it. I think there is definitely a "comics aren't as good as they were 10 years" ago. Marvel had a golden age from about 2000 to about 2005.

Books and TV and film also have a much larger and a much more open market. They have a vast and varied audience that doesn't shoe-horn the possibilities of the mediums. They have a high number of production companies/studios/publishing houses each with different niche markets they can cater to, and by and large, everyone but the big names caters to a specific genre. Harlequin doesn't produce crime novels. Tor doesn't diverge from fantasy or sci-fi. Some of the big name publishing companies dabble into a variety of genres but that's mostly because they can afford to. For the most part, these various genres managed to come into their own because there was a market for them. I'd suggest if we want to see more diversity opening up, we should see the rise of more small publishers who target their content to more specific audiences. You can't really blame Marvel and DC for the fact that 95% of their output is superheroes. That's what's dominated their publishing history for decades. It's what's made them the most money. The bulk of their audience consists of adults who grew up on their superhero comics. And at a time when the industry is plummeting, of course they're going to focus on the genre that serves as their bread and butter. Even so, both companies are clearly making efforts to diversify their market, and given that they need to essentially build an audience from scratch, I think they've been doing a decently admirable job. But they're really not to blame. Blame the glut of fanboys who ***** about there being nothing original who don't buy the books that really are unique. I'd suggest what we need to see more of are small independent publishing houses who market themselves at a specific audience and advertise as such. It's not about big advertising so much as it is about targeted advertising.

So whatta you say, Bass? What sort of publishing group are we going to start?

You have put forward the best argument I've ever heard as to why not only is it not Marvel or DC's fault that superheroes dominate, but it's not their responsibility to fix it. You're right; other industries have companies that specialise in one genre, why should comics be any different?
 

J. Agamemnon

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The more I read these kind of things, (Busiek, and Cooke's recent) the more it's reminding me of Prince and John Mellencamp professing that the internet, and personal media players are dead.

I think if they just admitted that they just don't like change, they wouldn't seem so Stewie Griffin.

[video=youtube;hUglJQP3uKg]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUglJQP3uKg[/video]

Something like this?

[video=youtube;23nwyOkpzUY]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23nwyOkpzUY[/video]
 

Jaggyd

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Something like this?


Yes, exactly like this!

Prince is right, the internet fills your head with numbers, and that's bad!



(I so want to steal the Neo-Geo arcade console at the beginning)
 

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