You just can’t polish a turd (GOOD comic book writers gone BAD)

2 08 2010

A Polished Turd, apparently…

 You know that time when your favorite writer, musician, performer, actor, etc. isn’t as good as they used to be? Well, that’s how I feel about a few comic book writers today. As an aspiring comic book writer myself one of the most painful things is seeing your creative heroes let you down. This post is about those writers:

Jeph Loeb:

My first exposure to Mr. Loeb’s comics was The Ultimates 3, then soon afterward Ultimatum. Those had to be some of the worst comic books I’ve ever read. I thought to myself, “Has this guy written ANYTHING good?” After searching around on the interwebs I found out that people liked his stories where he worked with Tim Sale. Soon afterward my dad had mentioned a story he had read called Spider-Man: Blue and he recommended that I read it. Little did I know that it was written by none other than Jeph Loeb. I ended up reading it based on my dad’s recommendation and I liked it. The ending was very heartbreaking and well thought of. Then several months I read Batman: Hush by Loeb and Jim Lee. I was blown away by it. In a good way. To me it was very engaging and it had some of the best comic book art I’ve ever seen. Then, come February this year I read Batman: The Long Halloween by Loeb and Sale. That became my favorite Jeph Loeb story very quickly and it was then that I realized that Loeb is/was capable of some really good storytelling. I want that Jeph Loeb back soon.

Frank Miller:

This is perhaps the most tragic downfall of a comic book writer in the industry. This man has written and drawn some of the best comic books in the world. In my Top 5 favorite comic book stories list, Miller has written two of those stories. Those are Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Daredevil: Born Again. Other wonderful work Miller has done is as following: Batman: Year One, Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, Daredevil: Man Without Fear, and his run on Daredevil. So why do I dislike his writing now? Dark Knight Strikes Again is THE WORST Batman story I’ve EVER read. So childish and pointless. You couldn’t have a man talking about a woman without them commenting on her butt. Then comes along All-Star Batman and Robin. The dialogue in this so-called “comic book” is HORRIBLE. I’m a big fan of Miller’s dialogue he used in his older work, but this dialogue in All-Star is just utter garbage. There was nothing attractive about it. But the final straw for me was the movie Miller made called The Spirit based on the wonderful comic by Will Eisner. While, some of the visuals were nice, the rest of the movie is sickening. The dialogue is on par with All-Star Batman and Robin. Evidently Miller and Eisner were best friends, and I can’t believe Miller just pissed all over Eisner’s creation. I honestly don’t know how he can live with himself after that movie. I just like to pretend that none of that crap exists and I enjoy Miller’s good work.

James Robinson:

This one will be short because this isn’t as painful as all the others. I’m a big fan of his Starman stories. That was one of the best books to come out of the 90s. But recently his JLA stories have been AWFUL. You’d think that he could write superheroes after seeing what he could do in Starman, but apparently not. In JLA not only is it just not a fun read, you have the heroes killing each other and ripping body parts of each other and it’s just… ugh. What is this? The Teen Titans?

Geoff Johns:

What? How come Geoff Johns is on this list? I’ll tell you why. Brightest Day SUCKS. You’d think with a title like that it would be a happy story and FINALLY we’d have a light-hearted story in the DCU… right? Nope. Brightest Day has to be one of the most depressing and boring comic book I’ve ever read in my 10 years of reading comics. Don’t get me wrong I have LOVED some of Geoff’s earlier stuff like the stuff he does with Gary Frank, his Green Lantern stories are good (not anymore, too much same old same old for me), his Avengers stories were good, and Blackest Night was great up until the end. The truth and my honest opinion is that Johns is just not doing his best work right now. I hope something changes soon.

Brian Michael Bendis:

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love Ultimate Spider-Man and his indy comic book Goldfish. So imagine my disappointment when I read his Avenger stories. New Avengers was boring, Dark Avengers was a joke, and his current Avenger books aren’t good. His current disregard for continuity is astounding. His lack of respect for female characters (for the most part, he doesn’t that as much recently) was/is disgusting. For months and months I have begged and prayed for the Bendis I know and love to come back. Well, thankfully my prayers have been answered with Scarlet done by Bendis and Alex Maleev. Sadly that is only going to be a mini-series. His work in the mainstream comic books outweighs his great work on Scarlet. To me, Bendis is more of an independent writer than a mainstream writer.

Mark Millar:

To me, this is the most painful and tragic downfall of a comic book writer. Millar was one of my early influences as a comic book writer. I liked his work on Ultimate X-Men, The Ultimates 1+2, Wanted, Chosen, and Superman: Red Son. Then he started letting me down with Civil War, Fantastic Four, Kick-Ass, Nemesis, War Heroes, Ultimate Avengers 1+2, Marvel 1985, and Old Man Logan. I remember the day I first read Old Man Logan. It was not a good weekend for me. I had suffered a lot of emotional pain the week before and all I wanted to do was read a good comic book story. So I picked up some issues of OML because most people said they liked it. I read it and never before have I felt so dirty about buying and reading a comic book in my entire life. The story had way too many continuity gaps in it and it just wasn’t an enjoyable read for me. In fact, I got really mad at the part where Wolverine finds out he accidently kills all of the X-Men due to Mysterio (which would never, NEVER happen). I had gotten so mad that I threw the issue into the air and yelled, “That’s bulls***!” (Don’t worry fanboys, I didn’t damage the book too much. You can breathe now).

Two weeks later my dad bought for me the trade paperback of Superman: Red Son. To this day Red Son is my favorite Superman story and my favorite Mark Millar story. In fact, towards the end I started crying because I just could not believe that the man who wrote this awesome story, had written OML. To see what Millar has become now just breaks my heart. It seems all he does not is steal from movies and doesn’t try as hard as he used to. Have any of you noticed that his new upcoming comic, Superior, sounds just like Dancing with Wolves and Avatar? It’s true.

Those are the comic book writers whose work I’ve enjoyed, but lately I haven’t been enjoying their work. I know I bash Bendis, Johns, Millar, Loeb, and Marvel a lot. Not because I dis-respect them, but because I know they’ve done better work and are capable of so much more.

Thanks for bearing with me and please leave a comment to let me know what you all think! Thanks!

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8 responses

2 08 2010
Edward2962

Loeb and Millar… these guys make me the most angry because they are capable of doing better, but they just don’t care! It’s like, “I’m getting paid good Hollywood money for being mediocre, why put any effort into these stupid comics?”

3 08 2010
Pink Eye

Loeb (RED HULK WILL ALWAYS SUCK) and Millar might be the biggest disappointments for me. Who do you think has fallen the worst out of them?

4 08 2010
comicbookdude

Millar. I read his good stories before I read his awful stories, so you can imagine how hurt I felt to find out that the Millar I admire left the building.

I read Loeb’s bad stories before his good ones so that wasn’t quite as bad a fall as Millar IMHO. And if you ask me Loeb has written more bad stories than good stories.

Both are really tragic falls, but to me Millar has been the worst one, closely followed by Frank Miller.

4 08 2010
itsjustsomerandomgeek

comicbookdude is me, btw

6 08 2010
Insideman

James Robinson couldn’t even write a decent Hollywood film based on a great premise (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen)– after being handed it to him on a golden platter by none other than Alan Moore… So I’m not shocked he sucks as a comic book writer.

10 08 2010
phil

Loeb: What flies are to crap, he is to writing…… I have to admit to buying Ult3 largely because of JoeMad. I’m a huge Finch fan, but could not bring myself to get Ultimatum. Jim Lee was no doubt the saving grace for Batman;Hush, and The Long H has been touted by many as Loeb’s best work, I guess I’ll never know ……. don’t like Tim Sale

Miller; DD, Hard Boiled, Sin City, Miller can rogk it when he wants to. Unfortuntely things like AllStar B&R come in to play and makes the things I mentioned before hand a distant memory To his credit (albeit slieghtly) I always thought ASB&R were judged unfairly. Oh sure, it was a piece of crap, but I think most ppl judged it based on mainstream Batman instead of it being its own entity.

Robinson; I’ll have to do more research on. I can say “Cry” for Justice certainly made me wanna “weep”.

Bendis; From him, for me it began and ended with Avengers….. i loved the Disassembled storyline, after that everything just started to unwravel

Johns; Now if I were a contortionist I’d kick my own ass for this one. I allowed myself to get caught up in the pomp and circumstance of Blackest Night, and knew it could only end one way; with someone getting ressurected; the one thing I probably hate most in comics. Now it looks like he’s poised to end up being DC’s Joey Q!

Millar; For me the verdict is still out on this one. Sure Nemisis is a big steaming pile, but I also kinda liked Wanted and I thought the OML series was quite a hoot (minus the last issue) I’ll wait til I see Superior before I totally write him off.

sorry for blathering on so. ….. .sometimes I start typing and it’s like my hands take on a life of their own 🙂

11 08 2010
itsjustsomerandomgeek

No need to apologize here for a long and wordy comment!

28 10 2010
Morlock50

I must be the only comic fan on the planet who thought Red Son was terrible. Oh well. Interesting that you liked Wanted, cause reading that made me throw up a little in my mouth. I actually liked Kick Ass 1 because it was so gleefully over the top and offensive that I didn’t have to take it seriously. Plus, Millar wasn’t messing around with mainstream characters in that one.

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