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  1. #1
    Senior Member Polar Bear's Avatar
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    Default Changes of Opinion, Doubled

    Have you ever read a comics story and have your opinion of it completely change?

    I just had that happen with Mister X (the 1984 miniseries by Dean Motter and Los Bros Hernandez). When I first read it, I was convinced that it was one of the best comics stories of the 1980s, and I couldn't see why it wasn't far more popular--though the artwork did nothing for me. I guess I thought it was stiff and didn't convey movement well, or that it wasn't detailed enough for me at the time, or that it was too cartoony.

    Re-reading it over the past few days, I discovered two things. For one, I really enjoy the artwork of Los Bros Hernandez far more than I used to. Time after time, I found myself staring at the superbly clean lines of the faces and the clothing, seeing in them traces of Herge, Alex Toth, and Jack Cole. Panel after panel of frame-worthy artwork.

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    The story, on the other hand, suffered by comparison. The Macguffin failed to be of interest, the inexpert exposition called attention to itself, and the characters were, for the most part, one-dimensional ciphers. I don't think Motter sufficiently explored the idea of what it would be like to avoid sleep for that long, and the idea of the insanity brought on by the imperfectly-executed psycho-tecture (their word, not mine) needed a far more universal application to the characters in the story.

    So now I see why this "unappreciated classic," as I thought of it, failed to capture a large audience.

    Do you have any particular stories that you've changed your opinion about over the years? I'm particularly interested in hearing if you've changed your opinion in two ways about one story.

  2. #2
    Say WHAT?!?!?!? FanboyStranger's Avatar
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    I recently re-read Brian Azzerello's run on Hellblazer and had a major shift from the negative opinion I had when it came out monthly. (Not that I felt it was bad-- there's never been a bad issue of HB, in my opinion, just less good ones.) Approaching it as single story that's a long game con on SW Manor shows exactly how intricate Azz' plot was. That's not saying that there isn't flaws-- Azz' first few issues of JC's dialogue tries so hard to sound "British" that it borders on ridiculous-- but all in all, it's a much stronger run than many HB fans would have it.

  3. #3
    *choke* Dan B. in the Underworld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FanboyStranger View Post
    I recently re-read Brian Azzerello's run on Hellblazer and had a major shift from the negative opinion I had when it came out monthly. (Not that I felt it was bad-- there's never been a bad issue of HB, in my opinion, just less good ones.) Approaching it as single story that's a long game con on SW Manor shows exactly how intricate Azz' plot was. That's not saying that there isn't flaws-- Azz' first few issues of JC's dialogue tries so hard to sound "British" that it borders on ridiculous-- but all in all, it's a much stronger run than many HB fans would have it.
    Haven't read it or Mister X, but I have to chime in to note that I've run into sort of the opposite with some British writers -- i.e. their attempts at American dialogue too often come off as unmistakably British in spots. Not that I can think of any specific examples ... except for a fine non-comics author, John Connolly, who I believe is Irish, but whose novels involved U.S. characters.

    I guess that's why editors exist, though -- to make sure such things don't stick out like sore thumbs. Which I guess means a whole lot of editors don't really exist.
    I tend to split superhero comics fans into "People who like Krypto" and "People who don't like Krypto."
    Basically, if you miss the wonder of a dog flying around in a little Superman cape, you're in the wrong hobby.

    -- Reptisaurus!

  4. #4
    Say WHAT?!?!?!? FanboyStranger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan bailey View Post
    Haven't read it or Mister X, but I have to chime in to note that I've run into sort of the opposite with some British writers -- i.e. their attempts at American dialogue too often come off as unmistakably British in spots. Not that I can think of any specific examples ... except for a fine non-comics author, John Connolly, who I believe is Irish, but whose novels involved U.S. characters.

    I guess that's why editors exist, though -- to make sure such things don't stick out like sore thumbs. Which I guess means a whole lot of editors don't really exist.
    Garth Ennis is known for his dialogue, but occasionally his American characters lapse into "British-isms", particularly insults. Jesse Custer, born and raised in Texas, calling someone a wanker or asking for a pint comes to mind.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by FanboyStranger View Post
    Garth Ennis is known for his dialogue, but occasionally his American characters lapse into "British-isms", particularly insults. Jesse Custer, born and raised in Texas, calling someone a wanker or asking for a pint comes to mind.
    Though he could have picked it up from Cassidy, I suppose - if the dialogue took place after they started hanging out.

    I always liked Mister X for the design and the artwork more than for the story, although I did like the scenario. I never did get to finish it, though, so maybe that's why the set-up didn't pall on me. Anyone know if a good, complete collection is available now?

    I can't think of any examples of my own, probably because I tend to avoid reading or re-reading things I suspect I won't like. For instance, I recall enjoying Ambush Bug when it first came out, but what little I can recall of it doesn't appeal to me now and whenever I see an online sample my suspicion is confirmed. That's probably the closest example that comes to mind - but I could be wrong, maybe if I re-read the whole thing I'd still like it.

  6. #6
    Say WHAT?!?!?!? FanboyStranger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by berk View Post
    I always liked Mister X for the design and the artwork more than for the story, although I did like the scenario. I never did get to finish it, though, so maybe that's why the set-up didn't pall on me. Anyone know if a good, complete collection is available now?
    The Dark Horse Mister X archives. They're pricy, but high quality.

    I actually liked Mister X more when Seth was the artist. They were really pushing the design elements then. The Los Bros stuff was great, but you didn't really get the sense that this was a city that was so intentionally design. I know that's part of the reason why they fell out with Motter.

  7. #7
    More human than human. Johnny P. Sartre's Avatar
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    I agree with the story, heck, I like Mckean's mini-stories more than the main.

    Other than that, the art and the design especially by Rivoche and Seth (once he got his footing) are a beaut to see.
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  8. #8
    Say WHAT?!?!?!? FanboyStranger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Otchofriend View Post
    I agree with the story, heck, I like Mckean's mini-stories more than the main.

    Other than that, the art and the design especially by Rivoche and Seth (once he got his footing) are a beaut to see.
    The greatest tragedy of Mister X is that Paul Rivoche never drew an issue. He co-created the character and provided much of the design for Radiant City, but we never got to see him actually tell a story set in it (as far as I know-- never got very far into volume 2).

  9. #9
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    I agree. As much as I like Motter I couldn't get into it. The art was good momentarily and then it became a chore. It was a "future"noir that felt dated. Still a fan of Motter though, guy is great artist too.

  10. #10
    More human than human. Johnny P. Sartre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FanboyStranger View Post
    The greatest tragedy of Mister X is that Paul Rivoche never drew an issue. He co-created the character and provided much of the design for Radiant City, but we never got to see him actually tell a story set in it (as far as I know-- never got very far into volume 2).
    True but he did do a preview for Mister X and the covers, so... I should have expanded on Rivoche.

    EDIT: http://pulphope.blogspot.com/2010/11/mister-x.html

    Beautiful pages!
    Last edited by Johnny P. Sartre; 05-01-2012 at 08:26 PM.
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  11. #11
    *choke* Dan B. in the Underworld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan bailey View Post
    Haven't read it or Mister X, but I have to chime in to note that I've run into sort of the opposite with some British writers -- i.e. their attempts at American dialogue too often come off as unmistakably British in spots. Not that I can think of any specific examples ... except for a fine non-comics author, John Connolly, who I believe is Irish, but whose novels involved U.S. characters.

    I guess that's why editors exist, though -- to make sure such things don't stick out like sore thumbs. Which I guess means a whole lot of editors don't really exist.
    Was reminded anew of this a couple of days ago while reading, I think, Captain America & Bucky #626 (might've been the previous or next issue instead; the covers don't exactly tell the story), wherein a present-day scene is set at a Pearl Harbour memorial here in the U.S. Ummm ... no. I envision yet another instance of yet another Marvel editor snoring softly at his desk, happily stealing money even while unconscious, after an exhausting several-hour session with his computer game of choice.
    I tend to split superhero comics fans into "People who like Krypto" and "People who don't like Krypto."
    Basically, if you miss the wonder of a dog flying around in a little Superman cape, you're in the wrong hobby.

    -- Reptisaurus!

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