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  1. #76
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    Planetary was a good comic and an interesting experiment in compression, but not an as good a comic as it could have been in my opinion. I think the effort to compress the arcs to such an extent as to make it an 'episodic' comic book ultimately hindered the book, as much as holding another book to a rigidly decompressed writing paradigm can be a hindrance. In any fiction there are elements of a story more deserving of energy and focus than others and certain ideas that require more panels of exploration to be adequately translated into written word. The best way to write a book is to identify these disparate parts, prioritise them, and convey them to the reader in such a manner as is reasonable given their relative importance and complexity. Sometimes that'll mean several issues, and sometimes less than one, but the important thing is that one makes sacrifices with regards to his or her style instead of at the cost of the story. Simply put, compression introduced challenges to Planetary's pacing, plot, and (primarily as it pertains to the antagonists) character development. Not severe enough to make these anything short of an interesting, enjoyable book, but enough limit it from being the book it had the potential to be.

    And I don't see the point in comparing Planetary to Watchmen any more than I see the value in comparing Blood Meridian to Pale Fire. There's nothing impossible in doing so, they're both books, share some fundamental elements, and belong to a literary tradition, but they're nevertheless wholly distinct works, by completely different creators, and intended to do different things in different ways. That they are both intelligent books does not in itself necessitate or rationalise their comparison. For the record, I prefer Watchmen for various subjective reasons of my own, but that's all most of these comparisons will ever really come down to. Planetary still hangs out somewhere in my top five, I'm just not entirely sure where.

  2. #77

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    Quote Originally Posted by T Hedge Coke View Post
    Late 90s/early 00s Morrison was definitely not skewing to single issue stories. Many issues that closed the final issues of his Invisibles and JLA, as well as his X-Men run eschewed attempts at being single-read enjoyable and were deliberately continuing stories, designed to motivate you to keep reading, to need that next issue. The single-volume stories of the mid-90s, I'll give you, but none of the minis (until Marvel Boy), and again, not the tail ends of the lengthier runs.

    Moore, moving off his Image work, was getting back into single issue storytelling, and loads of shorts in Tomorrow Stories, however, but at roughly the same time as Planetary, and again, in very much defiance of the mainstream MO.

    I said it was "novel for its time," not that it'd never been done or that Warren Ellis was completely alone in it. It was rare. Anyone who can get their hands on every Marvel or DC comic released in '99 can see how rare it was.
    So your point hinges on the fact that it wasn't a very popular method in say the five year span around when it started being published? I don't know, that's a very loose definition of 'novelty'.

    But, then, I don't agree with any of the points you made in your response ("since the 50s"? really? Have you read a mainstream comic published since then? I know you have...) we're probably at an impasse.
    "Since the 50s" refers to your point that Planetary explains 'why it is necessary to keep those ongoings ongoing', which is of course something every individual understood for quite some time. Was this critique, this explanation, some bit of revelation to anyone?

    You're more than welcome to actually discuss what you might disagree with, rather than making sweeping statements followed by off hand passive aggressive comments, of course, but I'm quite content to leave it as you don't seem to have much to add.
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  3. #78

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    My last comment on this thread is this:

    Planetary was a clever, beautiful book, at times heart wrenching, with something to say about comics, and about pop culture in general. All comics should strive to be this good.

    But I can read through Planetary in an afternoon. I'm not CHALLENGED by Planetary. It doesn't give me insight - real insight - into the human condition, it doesn't force me to consider or reconsider my understanding of violence, or sex, or morality, or existence. It doesn't surprise me each and every time I read it with new elements, new layers. It doesn't tickle my creative drive, it doesn't instill in me a hunger to learn more about any of the elements therein.

    It's an easy book. That doesn't make it better, or worse, necessarily, but for me it makes it less engaging than something like Watchmen, or Engima, or Morrison's Doom Patrol or Invisibles or Flex.
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  4. #79
    Hey, Larry! Darrell D.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carabas View Post
    Sadly, he had also somewhat deteriorated as a writer.
    I disagree.
    It was broader satire than DKR, but it was still sharp...the Dick Grayson sub-plot exception.
    The book gets a lot of undeserved hate, mainly because I think readers were expecting DKR rehashed...and Miller has grown far, far away from that sort of story.
    Similar to the backlash of ASBAR, which is a broad satire of super-heroes.

  5. #80
    Hey, Larry! Darrell D.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRP View Post
    Has anyone read Ellis' original pitch/proposal for the series? It pretty clearly lays out what he was attempting to do structurally and thematically with the book.

    The whole thing can be found here: http://home.earthlink.net/~rkkman/frames/

    but here are a few excerpts:





    Obviously Planetary is not Watchmen, it wasn't trying to be Watchmen, and honestly nothing should try to be Watchmen. It was its own thing and was groundbreaking because it did its own thing not because i was trying to be like something else. Planetary was trying to do something that hadn't been done in comics but staying true to its roots as a Wildstorm super-hero comic.

    Judging whether something is overrated is difficult if you have only experienced the after and not the before. So many times something breaks ground and everyone and everything rushes int to sow that ground that was broken the originator seems blah by comparison if you never saw the ground before it came. There is a lack of perspective and context in the judgement. Planetary is what it is, and in terms of what Ellis was trying to achieve, it worked brilliantly. If it didn't succeed at being something it wasn't trying to be-that's not a fault of the work but a misjudgment in the expectations of the ones making the judgment. I like Moore and Gibbons Watchmen, doesn't mean I want to read it in Ellis and Cassaday's Planetary. Same with Morrison's Invisibles or other groundbreaking works. But to each their own and the fun is in discussing these kinds of things and seeing how other people view the things I like and dislike and the whys ans wherefores of their opinions. If everyone thought like me the world would be a much less interesting place for me to experience.

    -M
    I agree, the book is nothing like Watchmen; Ellis is his own writer and has his own voice and doesn't NEED to create a Watchmen type book. He is, for me, right behind Moore in terms of writing, though. He writes for himself, and is always thinking of new ways to get a story across. Which is what the medium needs.

  6. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell D. View Post
    I disagree.
    It was broader satire than DKR, but it was still sharp...the Dick Grayson sub-plot exception.
    The book gets a lot of undeserved hate, mainly because I think readers were expecting DKR rehashed...and Miller has grown far, far away from that sort of story.
    Similar to the backlash of ASBAR, which is a broad satire of super-heroes.
    DKR and even DKSA (which I'm a fan of) were clever satires. ASBAR was a juvenile pisstake.

  7. #82
    Hey, Larry! Darrell D.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Holmes View Post
    DKR and even DKSA (which I'm a fan of) were clever satires. ASBAR was a juvenile pisstake.
    Again, I disagree.
    It was using the current climate of popular super-hero comics to parody just how silly 'serious' stories about these characters end up being.
    The dialog, the cynicism, the outrageous events, and the decompression (several issues of Batman and Robin in the car, and then the cave...a matter of an hour).
    It was a pisstake, but it was a brilliant one.

  8. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by carabas View Post
    Sadly, he had also somewhat deteriorated as a writer.
    Nah. Strikes Again has better pacing, better characterization (as an aside, has there ever been a more interesting characterization of Superman?), and better jokes than Returns. The Dick Grayson subplot was stupid, but that's the only nagging flaw in the book.

  9. #84
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    Current Miller is a hit or miss.

    300, Holy Terror and second half of Sin are boring beyond words. Though his Batman output at the time is a blast to read. Bad Boy and Big Guy & Rusty Boy had great art but rather uniteresting stories no characters.
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  10. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell D. View Post
    Again, I disagree.
    It was using the current climate of popular super-hero comics to parody just how silly 'serious' stories about these characters end up being.
    The dialog, the cynicism, the outrageous events, and the decompression (several issues of Batman and Robin in the car, and then the cave...a matter of an hour).
    It was a pisstake, but it was a brilliant one.
    Heh that's a benefit of the doubt I'm not willing to give Miller.

  11. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny P. Sartre View Post
    300, Holy Terror and second half of Sin are boring beyond words.
    Out of the four Sin City books I've read (including The Hard Goodbye, The Big Fat Kill, and That Yellow Bastard), Hell and Back is by far the most interesting book, and it is the final book.

  12. #87
    More human than human. Johnny P. Sartre's Avatar
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    I just couldn't get into it at the time; left me cold.

    When I have more free time, I'll re-read the series again and see if my opinion stills stands or changes.
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  13. #88
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    I'll never understand the acclaim of Sin City. It's incredibly shallow and misogynistic.

  14. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell D. View Post
    Again, I disagree.
    It was using the current climate of popular super-hero comics to parody just how silly 'serious' stories about these characters end up being.
    The dialog, the cynicism, the outrageous events, and the decompression (several issues of Batman and Robin in the car, and then the cave...a matter of an hour).
    It was a pisstake, but it was a brilliant one.
    I totally get this perspective, but just because it's intentionally super-decompressed and boring with stupid dialogue doesn't mean that it is enjoyable or smart. His other Batman stories were attempting sharp satire; "All Star" was sloppy parody.

    It's like Dr. Strangelove or Blazing Saddles compared to Epic Movie. The former two have structure and form; they are smartly constructed in order to say something, and exist as good stories independently of the things they are satirizing. The latter is just showing a bunch of random stuff and saying "Look! This is all the stuff you see in big blockbuster movies! Am I right?!"

    If ASBAR is truly meant as a parody or satire as fans claim, that's fine; I just don't feel it has any inherent value beyond the Epic Movie style of storytelling by saying "Hey, look at how decompressed the story is! Naughty language! Ridiculous violence! Totally over the top cynical/dark/gritty characterization! This is totally what the current climate of superhero comics is like, am I right?!"

    Quote Originally Posted by jesse_custer View Post
    Nah. Strikes Again has better pacing, better characterization (as an aside, has there ever been a more interesting characterization of Superman?), and better jokes than Returns. The Dick Grayson subplot was stupid, but that's the only nagging flaw in the book.
    I love DKSA, but I wonder how perception would be different if the New Joker was revealed as Jason instead of Dick.

    It would have put an interesting twist on all of Bruce's asides in DKR where he laments "what happened to Jason"...
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  15. #90
    Mattress Tester T Hedge Coke's Avatar
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    I think All-Star has a good deal of comedy, but it's not a straight out satire, no. It's parodic because Miller clearly believes superheroes should be bigger than big and parodic, they should be cartooned.

    All the big tough guy stuff with Batman? Where's he's being cocky or absurd? Someone calls him on it as bs every single time. Robin calls him on it. Alfred calls him on it. Canary. Gordon.

    The four really human moments he has, the moments where he can't keep acting, is the post-sex scene on the docks, his realization that he's actually got to be responsible for Robin, when he's holding the brutalized Catwoman, and when he hugs Robin. The voice, the in-charge behavior, it's all an act and Miller and Lee signal that it's an act several different ways, constantly, but for some reason the bulk of vocal readers seem sure that either there is no act or that it's an accident of Miller and Lee's, not intentional crafting.

    It's not a perfect comic, but it's nowhere near as unconsidered or "lucky at best" as some of the vocal readership (or nonreaders who're commenting anyway) seem to think.

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