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Thursday, March 13, 2014 

13 filmmakers who write comics, but some of them shouldn't

What Culture listed 13 filmmakers who've been in the comics writing, but not all of them are suited or deserve assignments writing mainstream. A telling and awful choice of theirs is Kevin Smith, whom they're not very honest about:
The writer/director of Clerks has had a relatively hit-and-miss career when it comes to his movies, and though he’s regarded as an extremely capable wordsmith, Smith’s films are rarely praised for their striking visual style. Comics, then, are a much better fit for the unstoppable orator, as his occasionally over-wordy panels can be tempered by an artist with a keener understanding of action and tension.

While there’s some well-reasoned criticism of Smith’s work for having rather dodgy [dangerous] attitudes towards women (his Black Cat miniseries sees Felicia Hardy revealed as a victim of date rape and his Poison Ivy is oversexualised to the point of being cartoonish), he’s generally a writer capable of an enjoyable take on a familiar hero with some witty banter to go, and that’s more than a lot of books get.
A hit-and-miss career? That depends on one's mileage. Most of his movies did get good reviews from critics, but the common moviegoer might tell you his sense of humor in films is tasteless. But whatever the quality of his movies, he is not suited to writing comic books at all, and they gave but an example why his comics are so bad. Despite that, they proceed to credit him anyway, even though the crude attitude towards women in his storytelling is a serious issue. What's so enjoyable if he can't avoid that and turn over a new leaf?

J. Michael Stracynski is another choice they bring up:
Straczynski has been in demand as a writer of superhero comics in recent years, working for DC on such small titles as The Brave and the Bold, Superman and not one but two Watchmen prequels, Dr. Manhattan and Nite Owl; and for Marvel on a host of A-list characters like Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four and is possibly most justly revered for his 2007 revival of Thor. Though he left all of his Marvel books abruptly due to creative differences (and, conveniently, the end of his exclusive contract) and is outspoken about his issues with the industry, he certainly managed to get a lot of his stories told in his time there.
Tsk tsk tsk. His run on Thor was no better than most of his other time-wasters. But they're right about something: he's been in demand as a superhero writer by the higher echelons because he's got a fanbase that reads his comics only because he's the one writing it, but they abandon the books after he leaves, proving their loyalty is to a demagogue, not because they're seeking escapism. He told some pretty cynical stories in Spider-Man and Superman, and while I'm sure there were creative disagreements, some of his ideas were still in very questionable taste without giving much to think about. So he's not a writer I'd want to recommend any more than Smith.

Another listee is Hayao Miyazaki:
The reigning king of Eastern animation and head of Studio Ghibli, Hayao Miyazaki is responsible for some of the greatest and best-loved animated films of the past 30 years: My Neighbour Totoro, Porco Rosso, Howl’s Moving Castle and Princess Mononoke among many others were all directed by Japan’s equivalent of Walt Disney.
Wish I could say Miyazaki was loved by me too, but he's got a leftist bent that leaves me feeling dismayed. 5 years ago, he told the LA Times:
“The reason I wasn’t here for the Academy Award was because I didn’t want to visit a country that was bombing Iraq,” he said. “At the time, my producer shut me up and did not allow me to say that, but I don’t see him around today. By the way, my producer also shared in that feeling.”
I've got a hunch he's trying to use his producer as a cover, but while he may be entitled to his opinion, his ignorance of reality - and the sadism of Saddam - is terrible.

Joss Whedon is another choice of What Culture's:
Well, I couldn’t have made a list without the newly-crowned King of the Nerds, could I? Along with creating zeitgeist-defining shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and cult classics like Firefly, Joss Whedon is a huge comics aficionado and has been writing for the medium on and off since Buffy made the leap from small screen to smaller page.
He's also a very boilerplate leftist who dislikes capitalism, but takes money for his assignments anyway, and sure knows how to make it hard to appreciate his work by letting his politics hang out. He's the kind of guy who gives "nerds" a bad name.

In retrospect, I think filmmakers (and novelists) turning to comics writing was one of the worst things that could happen to the medium, because, either they didn't have much loyalty or affection for the art, or, they were chosen based on being big names in other mediums only. Now there's not enough "homegrown" writers around, and those that are happen to be yes-men for the people in charge of the mainstream. One more reason for the steady decline in writing quality.

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Some thoughts:

1. Kevin Smith is a crude man child who never was funny. His success with Clerks was an unfortunate accident that led him to think he was capable of actually writing movies, let alone comics. I haven't read his Batman tales, but they're apparently supremely crude and they turn Batman into a complete idiot. And didn't his Black Cat story have her engaging in sex with Spider-Man? As I recall, he was still canonically married to MJ, and having Pete commit adultery is absolutely a bastardization of the character.

2. Oh, Whedon. Like many successful lefties, he claims to hate the system that allows him to continue doing what he likes and landed him a gig as the head honcho of the Avengers movie franchise (capitalism). He also used to be a feminist, but maybe he is again. I don't know. One more thing about him -- for someone who has a disdain for religion, it sure figured heavily into his Buffy and Angel shows. How ironic.

1. I always thought Kevin Smith was overrated. His comics really scrape the proverbial barrel. He’s proof that just because you’re a fan, it doesn’t mean you can write comic books competently. His run on Daredevil was awful. Batman: the Widening Gyre was awful and full of juvenile humor. Same with Spider-Man. I don't want "Jay and Silent Bob Humor" in Spider-Man.

Just look at the horros he had planned for his never-made Superman film:


2.While I like the MCU and related movies, I agree that Whedon is a complete hypocrite. He hates capitalism even though it allowed him to become the guiding hand behind the MCU and make tons of dough. His parents were NYC elites who thought socialism was “beautiful.” Yeesh.

I always knew he was an atheist(Mal on Firefly was essentially his mouthpiece for espousing atheism) and he once referred to the Judeo-Christian God as the "Invisible Sky-Bully."

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