Too Much ACTION? Comments -


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lazerman 4/22/2009 7:07:02 AM

As a Kid, I loved Superman, but when I was in my late teens, I kind of gave up on him.


Then in 1992 when he was killed, I discovered the STORY in Superman to thrilling to give up and returned to my favorite Superheo.  Been buying Action ever since.


With Comic book companies dropping the Comics Code, creating their own rating system, and some of those more graphic titles selling more than the "Coded" ones, it was only a matter of time, from a Business perspective, that the longest running books would start to push the envelope.


So I would argue that this is the next stage in comics, to see how far they CAN go before Someone says Enough and cries for regulation.  But atthe same time what I took out of your review was that you feel repulsed and a unease you never felt before.  And that is a good thing.  For maybe the writer and artist are trying to say to us, LOOK at this violent act, do not GLORY in it, be Repulsed by it, never let this kind of thing happen in our real world.


Sadly, something similar DID happen in the real world.  A young Man on a Bus travelling along the Trans-Canada Highway  in the province of Manitoba was brutally attacked by a complete stranger, who used a knife on him, and all the other passengers were horrified by this cruel act.  The young man died, and the person who committed the crime was sentenced to life in a psychiatric ward.


For me, those images brought up that sad story, but in the world of comics, most villains get what they deserve, Justice.  but sadly, not in the real world.

Superfist_home 4/22/2009 7:55:20 AM

 Well Lazerman, I have to clarify that I wasn't repulsed by the issue and that my unease was more of a "What's this doing in Action?!" kind of thing. It just seemed kind of sleazy for the standard of this book. We've all seen fights of that magnitude presented a million times without the way they presented it here. Keep in mind, I'm also talking about the fact that this is a mainstream book and not Hellblazer or The Boys.

TheSleeper 4/22/2009 9:26:16 AM

Great article, Chris.  Interesting subject to bring up, and I'm sure you'll get opinions from all sides on this one.

I disagree with lazerman -- there's just nothing about the art that suggests there's some big moral lesson being passed along here.  What we've got is heaping loads of violence served up for our viewing pleasure.

I think Chris hits it right on the head when he asks, "what's this doing in Action?"  Context matters.  You pick up an Action comic book, you're expecting it to be fun and have some moral clarity to it.  if these drawings had been in Sin City or something like that maybe it wouldn't have been as much of a problem.  But even in Sin City, it's usually the misogynist pig you really see getting the beat down, so it's okay the bastard is getting what's coming to him.

In this case it's just too clear the (innocent) victim is well past the point of defending herself.  She's helpless.  And yet we linger, linger on every cut, on the frightened eyes of the victim, on the sadistic grin of perpetrator, and we're even supposed to see it all from the perpetrator's point of view - "Pity it had to end so quickly" puts us in Ursa's head.

There are other ways to convey shock, if that was the intent.  I read "Joker," by Azzarello and Bermeso recently.  There's a scene where Joker breaks into the apartment of an old couple and kills them.  But we don't see the Joker stabbing two helpless old folks to death, lingering panel after panel on the Joker reveling in his cruelty.  We get one panel of a frightened couple hearing a noise at the door -- then the next panel shows the Joker lying in their blood-soaked bed.  It's shocking and brutal enough, but our point of view is with the victims, not the Joker.

There's another scene where Joker smashes a bottle in a lackey's face and proceeds to grind the broken glass into what's left of him.  When it starts to get really grisly, the panel cuts away from the victim and focuses instead on the Joker's crazed and demonic face -- we don't need to see bits of glass drawn in exquisite detail cutting into flesh, with sprays of blood flying in every direction.  We get the point.

My two cents -- this was a misstep for Action, and the writers/artists involved need to re-examine what they're doing.  


Superfist_home 4/22/2009 9:44:44 AM

Which brings up yet again, was it this detailed in the script or did the artist just go buck wild?

TheSleeper 4/22/2009 10:35:08 AM

Artist or writer?  Who knows?  I'm not exactly clear on how DC splits up the work.  I know at Marvel it used to be the writer just came up with some rough notes and the artist was much more in control of how everything was presented.

Could it even be the end result came about by accident?  Writer writes the scene one way, not making it clear exactly how it should play out?  Artist, whose ideas of storytelling might be pretty crude and decides "just focus on the gore, that always works" ends up creating something that comes off slightly too sadistic for a series like Action?

I don't know.  I kind of doubt that it was purely an accident though.  

Superfist_home 4/22/2009 11:06:30 AM

 I agree that it couldn't have been an accident.

Cacaoatl 4/22/2009 1:35:53 PM

At DC they use the full script format for their stories which include dialogue and detailed panel descriptions. I've read some of their scripts. While each writer has a different style, they are very detailed in describing exactly what they want in each panel.   The artist knew exactly what Rucka wanted. However, we can't ignore the third person involved in the production of a comic: the editor. If the editor for Action Comics thought the violence was over-the-top, he would have sent the art back or even had the script rewritten.

jsmulligan 4/22/2009 10:56:14 PM

Three words, "Disgusting and unnecessary."  Seriously, there is no need to give that much detail to the brutalizing of your character, drawing in all the blood flying through the air... just... no.

myklspader 4/23/2009 5:11:15 AM

 I could be wrong but maybe they went so crazy is because they are running with the whole “A World Without Superman” theme… when you think about it maybe this is DC's way of thinking well in a world with him there wouldn't be such a graphic ordeal and such.

Then again it could just come down to DC wants to make some waves or the artist, writer and editor want to make their names too. Regardless I think it is too over the top for a company like DC to put out under one of their more known/friendly to all titles. 

Superfist_home 4/23/2009 7:25:51 AM

 I honestly never thought of the World Without Superman angle towards this. Interesting...



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