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Friday, June 11, 2010 

"Cinematic actions scenes" may have ruined adventure comics

Over at the AV Club (via Comics Should Be Good), one contributor tells what he doesn't like about several overrated writers, with Mark Millar the biggest of the problem:
Since I’ve become so famous on The A.V. Club for hating Mark Millar that people assume bad reviews of his work are written by me even when they aren’t, I might as well address the thing he does that drives me so crazy. There isn’t really a name for it, but he’s at the forefront of a wave of writers who create witless, arbitrarily violent, “cinematic” action comics that cater to the lowest common denominator of readers and aim for no greater response than “Awesome!” Comics already have a (largely justified) reputation as cretinous fodder for arrested adolescents, but writers like Millar, Geoff Johns, Jeph Loeb, and Garth Ennis do the medium no further favors by continually writing brain-dead, utterly thoughtless stories whose only value is shock value, and whose only standard is the double standard. Their crimes are nearly innumerable: They’re badly written (the dialogue of any given character could easily be assigned to another with no loss of tone), they’re badly edited (what’s canon in one book is ignored in another), they’re lazily imagined (almost all of them use the incredibly uncreative trope of having the characters resemble real-life celebrities), they’re incoherent (they’re “realistic” when that means extreme gore, but unrealistic when that means plots that make sense or consistent characterization), they’re sexist (Ennis actually gets away with calling the only major female character in The Boys “The Female”), and they substitute cheap shocks (in the form of mutilations, rapes, and murders, especially of beloved characters) for thoughtful stories. I’ve got nothing against the darkening of comics, but these books are literally amoral—that is, they have neither a traditional moral stance, as in the great books of the past, or a philosophical inquiry of same, as in the best works of Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, and Grant Morrison. They’re just insipid, empty brutality and bombast.
The point about the action scenes being too "cinematic" is an interesting one. In past years, these "hot" writers must've attempted to duplicate the movies so much, the action scenes may not be comic book caliber anymore. And that's another reason why, in contrast to many fight scenes in comics of the yesteryear, today's are pretty flavorless and uninspired.

And there's little substance to the stories these overrated writers turn out other than the shock tactics. Any points they're trying to make about anything else are either very weak, get botched, or just lie there flat on the floor, lifeless.

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