Sunday, February 7, 2010


In the first paragraph of the last post, "none" should be "known."  For some reason I cannot edit it.  Stupid Vodka and mescaline.

The Joke's on You, Jack

Few comic book villains are as none by the non-comic book reading public as the Joker.  Granted, he's never been my favorite villain, but when he's done well (think Alan Moore's The Killing Joke) he's incredible.  Unfortunately, like a lot of popular characters, he is often overused (though nowhere near as much as Wolverine) and often poorly written. 

Frank Miller's done the character justice, as have a few others.  Without the Joker, Batman wouldn't be nearly as effective a hero.  The Joker is his polar opposite.  While Daredevil has the Kingpin, those two characters work because they are both very similar to one another.  Joker and Batman is a totally different story.

Decades ago the Joker had his own comic book series.  It lasted about nine issues if memory serves me correctly, and seemed like an odd idea for a series.  I have an issue or two somewhere and will someday collect them all.  He's not my favorite character, but I will admit to taking some pleasure in reading his exploits.  There's something very refreshing about an off-kilter psychopath in make-up.  Sort of like a less sinister Rush Limbaugh or something.

Joker has already cemented his place in comic book history.  There's no doubt he deserves his spot, too.  Years from now, if our culture continues upon this path, the Joker will still be around, and he won't have changed much.  There's no need to upgrade a character that works so well from the start.  (Yes, he has changed a bit since his inception, but the course he's been on for quite some time now is the one he'll be staying on as far as I can see.)  That's what makes a character like him timeless and a character like, say, Darkhawk a toss-off to be used sparingly at best.

Now if Alan Moore would agree to do a Joker series, I'd be getting that every month without question.  Until then, however, I'll take the good stories when they come up and ignore the vast majority of them out of fear they'll be exactly as exploitative as I know they will be.  

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Steve Ditko Killed Indiana Jones

When Marvel's The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones came out,  I was thrilled.  I was a huge fan of the movies, and now there was a comic book.

It wasn't very good.

It wasn't horrible, but the comics lacked the energy of the movies.  Some things just don't translate to other mediums well.  This was one of those things.

I stuck with the book, but when artist Steve Ditko took over, I found myself reading it simply to ride it out until the end.  Ditko's art, which was passable in his younger years, destroyed what little life was left in the book.
Look at it.  That's one of the better pages. 

Ditko's art was ... freaky.  Eyes were too wide.  People were in strange poses.  Nothing looked right.  His run lasted less than 10 issues if I remember correctly, but one issue was too much.

Dark Horse picked up the license years later, but my view of the comic was so skewed that I pretty much stayed away from it.  People told me it was a fine read, but the horror that was Ditko burned itself into my psyche, and there was no way I was going to destroy the Indie comic memory even more.  Hell, if the Dark Horse comics were bad it could ruin my movie and novel memories, too, through some sort of weird cultural spillover.

So now I stay away from all Indiana Jones comic books.  It's necessary in order to keep my sanity.  And as for Steve Ditko ... I don't want to say he was on some sort of future recall diet drug that caused hallucinations, but Jesus his art was bad.