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Wednesday, March 19, 2014 

Jonathan Ross thinks grotesque comics more interesting as he gets older

The UK comedian Jonathan Ross, who just came up with his own horror-thriller comic, told International Business Times that, as he's gotten older, he thinks writing grotesque characters is more interesting:
"I've had this idea for a while. One summer four or five years ago when I was bored, I wrote down ideas for a range of comics, drew up a bunch of covers and sent them to [famed Scottish comic book artist] Mark Millar," Ross said during a Q&A panel session with fans at LSCC.

"He said that I should try to write some of these ideas as comic books, even only to be like a footnote in the history of comics. In a way, I was looking for someone to legitimise my fantasy to the extent that I no longer felt that it was ridiculous, so I started to do something about it, and one of those ideas was Frankenstein 90210."

Ross says that he envisioned Revenge to be a monstrous horror book with "almost no redeeming qualities", quite different from the typical superhero comic book plotline and set in real-life modern locations, including the Golden Globe Awards.

"As I grow older and slightly more grotesque, I find other grotesque people more interesting. I told Ian that [the character of Griffin Franks] had to be gnarled, old and weird-looking like an old tree with more veins and droopy bits," he said.
Sigh. The poor man doesn't know how foolish he's being to veer for the darkness, all the while using Millar as his influence. They're wrong about Millar being an artist, BTW, he's a writer, and any art he's drawn is minimal. And they're oblivious to how different superhero comics have become since his childhood: a lot of superhero comics today have little or no redeeming qualities either.
He is fervent in his belief that comic books shouldn't be made in the hope that they will be adapted to become movies.

"I really don't care if Revenge becomes a movie. I do it because I want to write a comic book," Ross stressed.

"There are people out there working in comics who are guilty of creating comics because they think it's a good way of getting a movie out of it, and I don't like that sort of approach. I don't think that Revenge would benefit from becoming a movie."
I don't think it would make a good movie, so there's no point in adapting it. But he's at least half right about what's gone wrong with today's comicdom: it exists more as a springboard for movies than a valid platform for storytelling. There's probably a whole shipload of popular fantasy novels that aren't being considered en masse for adapting to the silver screen like comics are now, and maybe it's better not to rush, because there's plenty of famous writings that got lost in translation as the filmmakers were counting on the popularity of the product alone, instead of concentrating on how to write up a talented adaptation.

Ross also brought up how he was the subject of one of Millar's early works:
"Mark Millar was learning to be a writer in 1987 and he wrote a black and white comic book called Saviour, which was meant to be a really awful social-satirical Margaret Thatcher-style [piece]," said Ross.

"He had the artist draw me as the devil, as I was just starting out as a presenter back then, and then I think he was afraid I might sue him, so he sent me this really dirty comic book in the post saying, 'I've just written this, I know you're a comic fan, hope it's cool.'"
Ross may deserve credit for keeping a thick skin about Millar's portrayal of him in a comic. But coming from Millar, it doesn't take much to guess it was as awful as it sounds; a left-wing knock on conservative politicians.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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