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Thursday, July 05, 2007


John Byrne in a Nutshell

Queen Bitch, on the New Gods Omnibus: "the first volume has an introduction by Grant Morrison, who is, of course, well known for his association with these characters."

John, that you can't see the fundamental connection between Morrison and Kirby is exactly your problem. Hint: it's not about redoing the same exact comics that Kirby already did first, and better. Morrison wrote the introduction not because he did time in the trenches doing alternately decent and forgettable Kirby homages like you, but because he is the obvious heir to Kirby's weird, boundless creativity. He actually took the old man up on the challenge to fill the world with your own crazy-ass shit. When he's actually worked on books Kirby started, like X-Men, he, unlike you, has had the good sense to make them contemporary, make them relevant, and make them his own. You're a decent (even improving) penciller, John, but most of your career has been illuminated by reflected light from Kirby's sun. What's bizarre is that you actively decided to do this, like it was the moral high ground.

The Invisibles. The Filth. WE3. Vimanarama. Seaguy. Seven Soldiers. JLA: Rock of Ages. Flex Mentallo. That's why Morrison got to write the introduction.



Loved: the animation, and the overall tone. I'm grateful that someone is making animated movies without passing off wall-to-wall Hollywood "insider" circle jerking as jokes. The first Shrek made me hate. I can't stand that I even know who Jeffery Katzenberg is. At least Brad Bird pictures don't require any knowledge of the film maker's relationship with Disney executives. The humor in Ratatouille is never sarcastic, at least not in a way that assumes you read US magazine.

Didn't Love: I didn't buy the hair-pulling thing for a second. Rat chef yes, human marionette, no. Also, the swipe at critics was cheap, simplistic and felt very defensive on Bird's part--as if to show, loudly, that those 96% positive ratings at Rotten Tomatoes don't go to his head. And finally, it drives me insane that for all its accomplishments, this is the same exact CGI cartoon every studio has been making since Toy Story. One critic called Ratatouille "a story about fulfilling one’s dreams, about going beyond preconceived boundaries and following your heart" which might as well be a marco on his keyboard. "Have the courage to be yourself" is a fine message, but it gets a little stale after 1,000 pictures. Just be yourself, talking action figure/fish/car/bug/beaver/toilet brush! And next year Pixar brings us Wall-E, the story of a robot who finds the courage to shake off his programming and be himself. Thank god. Where do these Imaginauts come up with their ideas?

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