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April 15 2010

Why Joss Whedon should be your new Marvel Movie overlord. io9 defends Joss as a film writer and director and says why we should trust Joss to handle our comic book movies.

[ edited by Linnea1928 on 2010-04-15 22:29 ]

"since The Avengers could be the biggest letdown in movie history if it fails to live up to all the buildup."

Um, okay.
Yeah, really odd defence, Joss should be your new Marvel Movie overlord, but let me just put in a few caveats just in case. Still my enthusiasm is undaunted and if they need anyone to go round and blow on that drying ink I'm your man. Joss and Cap and The Avengers is a big time win in my book. Cannot wait. I will shunt entire families out of the way to be the first in the queue at my local mulitplex (btw - when did "muliplex" become an actual word?)
Am I the only whedonite who completely fails to see the attraction of comic books?
I hope so. Comics are vivid, exciting, mythic, and completely limitless as a story form
That was a weird article and weird lead in to the Buffy clip...I really am getting annoyed with online "reporting"...
I enjoyed the article. Among other things, I thought Anders' discussion about Joss not being a "campy" writer was clear and thoughtful (though I chuckled a little at the concern that JW would pander overly to the fans, given that so many of the members here express the view that he doesn't listen to the fans enough . . . ).
fraac, you probably just haven't met the right comic yet. They're not all about superheroes. By my mid teens, when I'd gotten sick of Marvel's output (was an X-Men/Wolverine/X-Factor reader, but couldn't keep up 'cause most 14 year olds don't have the budget to buy so many books a once when the story is spread across about a dozen of 'em), I branched off into fantasy, horror, and sci-fi comics. Then (while still reading the heavy-on-the-genre stuff), it was straight-up dramas, relationship/romance (I dunno what else to call Strangers in Paradise and a few of the other sometimes-stereotyped-as-"girly" comics), comedy (man there is some hilarious, off-the-wall, biting humor in comics), and later crime comics (never did finish 100 Bullets, been meaning to get around to that since it ended last year).

Comics and the stories they contain are as diverse as films, television, and novels. There's something out there for everyone, guaranteed, unless you simply don't like the mixture of art + dialogue bubbles (heh, even then, there're silent/wordless comics). But most people liked storybooks as kids, which're sorta proto-comics (one, two, maybe three "scenes" per page, plus the prose and dialogue at the top and bottom), so if you were able to enjoy those as a child, you can probably enjoy comic books/graphic novels as an adult.

If Buffy was the only (or one of your few) introductions to comics, know that it wouldn't be fair to judge the whole medium based on that experience. The style of art is different across the board (you can get more cartoonish-looking than Buffy Season 8, more realistic-looking...a painted style, sketchy style, etc). And there've been/possibly still are (don't read a lot of recent comics lately) better-written books, throughout their entire run, than Buffy Season 8.

[ edited by Kris on 2010-04-16 03:22 ]
Okay article, but I think it kind of skirts around the point. Maybe it's just addressing the criticism, but it never gets to why Joss should be the new overlord of Marvel movies.

Joss is a fanboy himself who understands what makes comic book characters like the Avengers work. He also understands the genre of superhero movies and has respect for the creators who've worked on these characters for the past 50 years.

He can bring everything together and bring out what's made people love these characters, and also try to smooth over the rough patches where things might not make sense in the modern era.

Joss isn't going to come in like Brett Ratner did with the X-Men and change everything to the way he wants it. But he also has enough experience making tv and movies to understand what does and doesn't work from the original continuity/stories/characters and make it fit into a good movie.

This is awesome times for the Marvel films because it's a bunch of people working on them that are passionate about these characters. They aren't a bunch of hired guns who have never heard of these characters and are making the movie the want. It's the Marvel films being made by people who want to seem them done right, but not just for fanboys, but to make them box office hits.
fraac Andy Dufresne : A medium is more than just it's posisbilites, it's also its comemrcial realities. This little trip down Memory Lane just reminds me why I quit comics in the 80s and am lately wishing I'd quit them in the 60s.
DaddyCatALSO, what do you mean by that ? "Commercial realities" refers to what ? If you're only talking about Big Business comic books (ie, Spider-Man/Batman/Superman are owned by companies who will keep them going for as long as they are commercially viable/profitable, potentially getting in the way of creator control--except for limited runs of great writers/artists here and there, for quality arcs. They, in effect, may never end, none of those superheroes will see a proper conclusion in this lifetime and many would argue that they're beyond the hope of a proper conclusion redeeming any of the missteps that may've been made over the decades, during the more poorly-written periods), there're plenty of well-written, well-known, and well-regarded independant comics.
On the variety of comics topic my favorite comics are R. Crumb's surrealist underground comics. Especially the more bizarre ones like XYZ and Zap.
One thing you can bet on--if Joss has in fact been handed the keys to directing Avengers, rewriting Avengers AND doing some rewrites on Captain America, he absolutely blew the freaking doors off that meeting with Marvel Studios and must have some awesome, awesome stuff in store. At least that's what the powers that be who own these valuable franchises must think. Can't wait for some official announcements to be made, I'll bet they'll mention such things (vaguely of course).

Comics ended up being a great intro to literature to me, much as I suspect they may have been to Mr. Whedon back in the day. I was fortunate enough to start collecting when Miller was writing Daredevil and Claremont was writing X-Men (and Bill Sienkiewicz was blowing the doors off of what a comic book was supposed to look like with New Mutants), so it was easy to get hooked.
I'm surprised that I haven't seen anyone mention the ending to Marvel's Civil War. When the writers got stuck on how to end the story, Joss cut to the heart of the matter (ordinary people and super powers). Whether or not you liked how the writers ended up dealing with it, Joss pointed out where story had to be.

Joss came up with three words ("you're a dick") that believably resolved to Cyclops that Wolverine was not an impostor in the first X-Men film. I'm sure that most of the complainers would have preferred a pompous 5-minute monologue. (One reason Smallville annoys me is the overdone speechifying.) I prefer Joss's solution.

I believe that Joss is like Babylon 5: our best hope for victory. If the movie doesn't work, at least he will be trying for greatness instead of settling for boring and conventional.
What always gets my friends into comics is Y; The Last Man. If they don't like it fine, I can give them less deep (Hellboy) or more deep (Sandman), whatever but all my friends who have never read a comic have loved Y; The Last Man and from there I lend them my huge collection of graphic novels (The only magazine-ish comic book I've ever owned was the Dr. Horrible one shot, which I ended up giving to my girlfriend because she would have more sentimental attachment to the original comic and I guessed correctly that a trade paper back was on the way.)
Were this actually anywhere else I don't suppose that bringing up the end of Civil War or the few Whedon lines to actually make it into X-Men are necessarily the highlights.

As for the Avengers movie-- while I'm rather curious it's not a franchise I'm especially emotionally invested/worried about like X-Men where a bad film actually caused me pangs. On the other hand, it's also one of the first or few instances where there are multiple movies about different characters that are all supposed to stand alone but are still building up to something in a shared universe which has me pretty intrigued.

Granted it seems like there's really a slow build up since each of the six movies all barely tie into each other aside from when they're direct sequels. That planning and biding time does take gumption though, like considering how most of the other superhero franchises are all already rebooting. (the Nolan Superman, Sony wanting to keep deadlines so much as to kill Spider-Man 4, X3 meeting release date problems so bad it accidentally killed the franchise and they're playing with various prequels and Fox is also relaunching FF...)
Oops--I wandered into the wrong thread. Heh.

[ edited by Pointy on 2010-04-16 06:37 ]
DaddycatALSO-

A medium is not defined by it's current form.The poetry scene right now is very lethargic, but that doesn't mean poetry isn't a wonderful art form.
Am I the only whedonite who completely fails to see the attraction of comic books?
fraac | April 15, 23:35 CET


No you are not! I absolutely do not like comics. I tried again when the Buffy comics came out, and ended up disliking them even more, because of how they fall short of the TV series.

And please, comic lovers, do not tell me that I haven't given them a chance or worst of all, that I'm "reading them wrong", it's really condescending.
I don't like comics, end of story.

That being said, I very much like most of the movies that have been made from comics.


fraac, you probably just haven't met the right comic yet
Kris | April 16, 00:50 CET

A world of no, this is exactly what I'm talking about. I can't speak for fraac, but I've tried every style and theme, and I simply don't like the medium. You actually nailed what I don't like, in your own words - "still pictures with dialog bubbles".

As for the i09 article - I think it's great that Joss is doing this, but I would obviously hate to see him lock himself into nothing but movie adaptations of comics.
Which I don't think will happen, as Joss seems to like to mix it up, and apparently likes working with his own original material, best of all.
I had no idea "you're a dick" was Joss. That's the best line in the film!

Haven't tried many comics so won't rush to judgement, but I know that I'm seriously into humans and I love silent reactions and reactions to reactions, whereas comics seem to be mostly actions and words.
orangewaxlion (Wonderfalls!!) - I don't know what you mean by "highlights". I don't mean that they are better arguments than what is in the article. I do think these points are appropriate, and I haven't seen them mentioned in the variety of arguments for pro-Whedon writing Avengers. Whenever there are complaints about possible (excessive) Joss-speak in the Avengers, they bring up the few clunkers (like Berry's mis-delivery of the Toad joke), but don't bother to remember the winners. Or there is worry that he can't write an epic comic book story. (Huh?) The fact that he made a small but critical contribution to Marvel's biggest recent cross-over event demonstrates that he knows what he is doing.
I like comics, grew up reading the Marvel superheroes and graduated to deeper stuff, and I appreciate the value and possibilities of the artform. But I would never assume that means the people out there who simply don't like comics--and that's most people--are simply "not reading the right comics". The medium has limitations and it's not for everyone. There's a reason lots of people who love the current Batman, Spider-Man or Iron man movies still refuse to ever bother with the comics--it's the medium leaving them cold.
Hasn't Joss talked with the Marvel guys on several occasions and given them awesome story ideas?
Hey, I didn't say it was impossible to explain a dislike of comics, I did qualify my first post with "you probably just haven't met the right comic yet". Even threw in, as Shey pointed out, my guess at why some folks might not be into 'em (still images + dialogue bubbles). More than being defensive or "you-just-didn't-try-hard-enough-to-like-them" about it, I was more intending to encourage those who've only tried a couple or only tried Buffy comics and were completely turned off (Buffy ain't representing the best of what comics have to offer, IMO, as much as I've been able to enjoy certain parts of Season 8), just in case there might be something out there in the medium that they'd enjoy.

fraac, it takes a skilled artist to pull this off, but there are comics where silent reactions play a big part in the flow of the story and pulling off convincing characters. You're not wrong that the majority of comics (at least mainstream) are often featuring more action and just dialogue (with reaction shots, sure, but sometimes they're just standard workmanlike, not always as human-feeling as they could be/you wished they'd be, IMO).

Hellmouthguy said:
"I would never assume that means the people out there who simply don't like comics--and that's most people--are simply "not reading the right comics"."

I would venture a guess that most people have never read a comic (comic book anyway--tons of people read the strips in the newspaper, but they probably don't equate the two in their heads), therefore they can't properly decide whether they like or dislike something which they've never experienced. I could be wrong, maybe the majority of people did borrow/flip through/buy a comic or two in their youth and can therefore be counted on for a backed up personal opinion about them (I dunno, are there statistics on comic readership/buying trends from way back ? For boomers, especially ?).

"There's a reason lots of people who love the current Batman, Spider-Man or Iron man movies still refuse to ever bother with the comics--it's the medium leaving them cold."

Potentially. It's also that comics are expensive (even with the trades/graphic novels at a book stores, $15 to $20 is a lot to plunk down for a story that will take you at most a few hours to get through, as opposed to a nice thick novel for half that cost which could take you dozens of hours to complete. I know that's not always the best way to measure the worth of an entertainment purchase--if it was, we'd all consider new release movies-on-DVD grossly overpriced...okay, they kind of are, IMO), comics can sometimes be hard to find (if they aren't in your book store and you don't have a comic shop nearby and there're none in the magazine rack at your convenience store/grocery store...? It's a hassle to get 'em online and you're probably not gonna risk it if you're new to the medium), and a whole lotta people who regularly watch films and TV don't read much, or care about the originators/spin-offs of the adaptation they just watched, much as they may've enjoyed that superhero movie.
Hasn't Joss talked with the Marvel guys on several occasions and given them awesome story ideas?


He suggested the ending for Civil War. Not sure about other crossovers.

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