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  1. #1
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    Default Temporary Madness - Jul 12, 2013

    While seeing how his own graphic novel made the jump from comic to movie, "2 Guns" creator Steven Grant learned a few things. Today, he shares some of his observations in TEMPORARY MADNESS.


    Full article here.

  2. #2
    Heretic bartl's Avatar
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    This is leading to something that I only became aware of due to a series of Kool-Aid commercials, a decade or two ago.

    As many here know, an important part of fiction is suspension of disbelief. For those who don't, it's the phenomenon that allows us to enjoy fiction. Although we know that something is logically ridiculous, we temporarily accept it as true (suspend our disbelief) for the purpose of enjoying the movie. Yes, a small percentage of people are interested in the physics of Superman's flight, or how his X-ray vision went from him being able to see the X-ray spectrum to his being able to emit and direct electromagnetic radiation from his eyes. But most just say, "OK, he can melt things by looking at them and concentrating, and he can fly, stop, change direction etc. in mid-air. Most don't worry that Casper the Friendly Ghost goes through walls and can walk on floors. They just accept it.

    What I learned in the series of Kool-Aid commercials is that the same concept can be easily accepted or tossed as ridiculous, depending on how it's presented. Kool-Aid had been running a series of commercials (can't find them on YouTube; now somebody else is going to find them and I'm going to find out how long ago it really was) with a bit of nostalgia, about how there was always one house in the neighborhood which was the favorite for all the kids to play in, and how the mother there probably made Kool-Aid for the kids, with an implication that this was the reason it was the favorite house. Now, there may or may not have been, and, in fact, probably wasn't one house which was the main place the kids played in. But you could imagine it. And the way the announcer said it, it was sort of like a cross between "what if" and "was", making the suspension of disbelief stronger. At one point, they created a version of the commercial which was very quickly yanked. It turned the narrative into a jingle. The "what if" aspect was taken out, the "remember the past" was taken out, and the inherent absurdities of the concept was shoved in the viewer's face.

    Grant, in his column, discusses the differences between movies and comics. One of these is presentation. Things that you can get away with in comics, when done in movies, can foul up suspension of disbelief. An excellent example was Spider-Man's web shooters. In the comics, one panel: Peter Parker builds web shooters, zip zip zip, they're there. The reader doesn't have a lot of time to think about them, and then they are established. In the Sam Raimi movie, he could not find a way to present the web shooters in such a way as to make them break suspension of disbelief. The comics purists howled, but, as Grant pointed out a number of years back, it really didn't change much; it only came up when a writer had an extra page to fill, or needed to insert something to remind the reader that Peter Parker has problems ("I'm about to get him and, oops! Out of web fluid!" or "If I don't sell these pictures, I won't be able to buy more web fluid!"). And, of course, it ignored the fact that a powerful adhesive that bonded instantly and broke down after one hour would have been EXTREMELY valuable as anybody who has done any home repair would know. Marc Webb took the time to figure out how to make the web shooters more acceptable by the audience, but mainly to differentiate his Spider Man from Raimi's (much like the Star Trek creators came up with the "Heisenberg Compensators" as a cool sounding future tech to break down in the beaming devices with the bonus of shutting up the physics nitpickers).

    A lot of what looks great in the comics would look forced and artificial in the movies. Wayyyyy back in the mid 70's, I interviewed a number of people at DC (Jenette Kahn, Joe Orlando, Mike Gold, and Nelson Bridwell, who set it up for me; I still have one of the tapes, and someday may see if I can restore it with Audacity) about the future of comics. One thing that came up was the competition between comics and the movies (Superman had not yet come out); that comics had an unlimited special effects budget. If they want to blow up a planet, the price was the same as two talking heads having a conversation. I THINK it was brought up then that the movies would overtake comics if one could do an X-Men movie (or even animated feature) on a reasonable budget. Well, that ship has long since sailed; I think that, to some extent, the comics industry is at a stage that radio was at when TV came around.

    However, as Grant has also pointed out (and I'm too lazy to look at all those back issues of Master of the Obvious and Permanent Damage to point to where), there is one place where comics do have a place. He pointed out that it is cheaper to put out a comic book than it is to storyboard a movie. On top of that, comics are audience tested in advance. The comic book companies were never really good about selling advertising (the previous magazine model of having the sales pay for the printing and making the profit from advertising was upside-down in comics, where the advertising paid for the printing, and the sales generated the initial profits). When comic book sales plummeted in the 1950's, it was merchandising that saved them (there's a familial link there; my mother was a pioneer in that, and still has the New York Times clippings about it). Merchandising is still there, but the movies are now a major form of merchandising, with secondary merchandising from the movies being important as well, as long as the trademark owners pay attention to the fine print in the contracts.
    Bart Lidofsky

  3. #3
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    To me, the biggest transition problem from comics to film is the costume. Haven't seen a costumed comic character on film yet that didn't look ridiculous, or at least utterly unconvincing. It always breaks my suspension of disbelief.

    The biggest problem is material. In comics, costumes are presented with the exact same lines and colors as the natural world. They blend in. The natural world is somewhat abstracted by the necessities of the four-color comic art process (somehow blue highlights for Superman's hair works in the comics, but blue in his hair in film would be absurd). In real life, there are no black lines (contour or shading) and there's no way to make bright colors without spandex or some other material that doesn't look like the comics. So even Christopher Reeve's Superman costume contrasts with his backgrounds (and his is about as good as you can make that costume look). Darkening the colors and giving textures to the surface (like recent Spider-Man and Superman) doesn't help.

    No amount of effects have made the costumes work yet, IMO. They just make the story less credible. There's already a problem with most characters wearing costumes, especially villains. It just makes the keeping a secret identity harder not easier. Disguises are supposed to make you less noticeable, not more. Sure Electro's costume is a distraction and protects his identity during a crime, but it makes him 10 times easier to chase after he leaves!

    I just don't see them working outside of comics themselves.

    And another benefit of comics over movies....bad acting. Action movies are just rife with bad acting. In the comics, I can give the characters more natural sounding voices, which gives the writer the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the dialogue. (Princess Leia's line "Governor Tarkin! I recognized your foul stench when I was brought on board!" works great in a comic balloon. A bit clumsy when spoken.) My biggest beef with the Superman Man of Steel is the casting (of everybody in the film). Everybody seemed "meh" about everything. My beef with the new Star Trek is Captain Kirk being played like a spoiled, privileged frat boy, not the intense alpha male of Shatner. I never seem to have this problem reading comics.

  4. #4
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    Grant said: "But no one in Hollywood sets out to make a bad movie. Everyone always asks "Why does Hollywood make such bad movies?" but, varying critical standards aside, the real question to ask is "given the system, how does any movie ever get made at all?" "

    This was Stan Lee's response, almost word for word, to why all those Marvel movies (many made just for tv) were so godawful.

  5. #5
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    Am I the only one who thinks comics are actually superior to movies in terms of telling adventure stories?

  6. #6
    Crusader of Justice dancj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Destiny View Post
    To me, the biggest transition problem from comics to film is the costume. Haven't seen a costumed comic character on film yet that didn't look ridiculous, or at least utterly unconvincing. It always breaks my suspension of disbelief.
    I actually thought Sam Ramie's Spider-Man had a perfect costume. The changes they made - like making the webbing 3d and silver rather than flat and black work a lot better on screen than a completely authentic one would - and they didn't have to darken the costume at all.

  7. #7
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    Default шлюхи уссурийск

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