The Return of Talking Time

Go Back   The Return of Talking Time > Talking about media > Talking about books

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 02-16-2018, 10:59 AM
Johnny Unusual's Avatar
Johnny Unusual Johnny Unusual is offline
till the sheriff stops by
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Fredericton, New Brunswick
Posts: 5,600
Default All-Star Comics: When celebrities "make" comics




OK, Octopus Prime was curious about a comic featuring DMC of Run DMC fame that I recently picked up. This actually inspired me to create an extremely sporadic thread about comics "created" by celebrities who are usually not working in the field of comics. And I'm not talking about writers or directors. I'm thinking of actors, musicians and people in the creative arts who one doesn't always associate with comics.

Now, obviously, I'm not thinking of all celebs from outside the field of comics. Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance wasn't someone I was expecting to be a talented comic book writer, but by all accounts, he seems to be. In fact, I think of him more of a talented comics creator rather than the frontman for a band I don't like.

I'm looking more at comics where the celeb "created" the comic, which is to say came up with an idea and passed it on to other people to actually make the idea that they just said at one point.

The first that comes to mind for me is the one "made" by This is Us' Milo Ventimiglia, Berserker. It features some sort of crazy fighter guy or something and features an antihero who happens, by an astonishing coincidence, to look like actor Milo Vimanarama.



And if it happens to become popular and people want to make a movie, I'm Milo Vegemitesylvania, then all the better. OK, so maybe I'm looking at this with a cynical eye. I mean, who doesn't want to be a comic book hero? And if you can do that without having to do the grunt work of actually doing much beyond being creative consultant, all the better.

Again, maybe overly cynical. I have another book to dig out and do one of these for later that I have VERY mixed feelings about, where the celebrity who worked on it seemed to be extremely involved with it (to a fault, I think) and doesn't insert a character who looks like him in the book.
But I don't pick up books like this often, so expect this to be, as I said, sporadic.

And today, we'll start with, to assuage Octo's curiosity a comic who's title in no way hides who is the celeb creator for this book:

DMC!

DMC is Darryl Matthews McDaniels, half of the hip hop group Run DMC. I keep wanting to call them a duo since there's also Run, but there's also the now deceased Jam Master Jay. Anyhoo, they were one of the 80's biggest rap groups, gaining mainstream success. There sound was incredibly influential on hip hop from years to come and their sound would go on to influence subsequent sub-genres of rap, notably gansta rap. For more info, wait until I get more volumes of Hip Hop Family Tree (seriously, though, pick that shit up. The most fun way to learn about the history of hip hop, a genre of which I am woefully ignorant.)

Now, one of the first things that caught my eye is the Adidas. Initially, I just assumed it was just some sort of product placement and that perhaps this was some sort of scheme to make money selling a comic full of product placement.

But then I remembered that in some cultures and subcultures, brands tend to have loaded meanings. Perhaps that's the case with Adidas. I checked and the answer is... both, in a way. (and if there's something missing or that I got wrong on this, please let me know. This info is just from a cursory look and I don't have all day to do research. I mean, I bet it's interesting and would love to read a book about it, but that would probably make me forget to finish this article.

Basically, Run DMC sported Adidas tracksuits and shoes, giving themselves a different look than a lot of the rappers of the era (who often opted for leather and Afrikan King-styles) and went with a look more attuned to the b-boys of New York. I don't know why Adidas specifically, but it's probably because it was the (or among the) most popular brand for the b-boy subculture. Anyway, Run DMC eventually had a song called "My Adidas" (notably they wore Adidas without laces, because supposedly that's how shoes were worn in prison).

During one concert, an Adidas exec was in the audience and noted how almost religiously the Adidas brand was presented (at one point in the show, many fans are holding their kicks in the air), a deal was worked out, making Run DMC the first hip hop group to gain a multi-million dollar endorsement deal.

So it definitely is product placement, but considering that it is so synonymous with the group, it's hard to fault them.

Oh, right, I was supposed to talk about the comic.

OK, so the comic must be somewhat successful. They are on Graphic Novel #3! But we are just talking about this thing.

The first thing I'll note is the art isn't bad. It ranges from decent to pretty great, in parts. I mean, I really like this piece.



It's also in five chapters, each one acting as a little mini-adventure with a new artist. The writers for all of them are DMC himself and Damion Scott. I'm not familiar with the latter but he's an American ex-pat living in Japan and even does a serialized manga called Saturday Morning Cartoons while doing American comics from time to time.

If you are asking "wait, how involved is DMC with actually writing this?" Well, in an interview I read, he claims that he's doing things with "The Marvel Method" like Stan Lee did. For those of you who don't know, that was a method were Stan Lee would come up with a general synopsis, have the artists figure it all out and then write all the dialogue to go in the word balloons. DMC makes it sound like he does the first part with the writers and artists and then lets them handle the rest. I mean, that's only one step removed from the Marvel Method, I suppose, so that's pretty close.
There's also an introduction by Gregg Pak and blurbs from Junot Diaz, Phil Jiminez and Reginald Hudlin who are really overselling this thing. Still, their quotes aren't as cringe-worthy as Kevin Smith's "The King of Rock has become the King of Comics!" No, he hasn't Kevin. That title belongs to Jack Kirby and is buried with him.

Chapter 1
So our story (which takes place in the 80's but they only really say it in the back of the book) begins with a reporter talking to a street tagger who tells her a crazy story. Seems that someone's been writing over her graffiti and she tried to return the favour. Unfortunately, her competition, Mr. Marx, is actually a big supervillain with acid spray cans.



She's nearly killed until she's saved by a cool mystery man in Adidas (I would have just said "track suit" but it's not my endorsement deal, is it?).



Using agility and some golden knuckles, he swiftly trounces the oversized villain.

That's pretty much it. Decent art by Chase Conley (only pointing this out since I go on to mention all the other artists).

Chapter 2
This one is told in flashback by a supervillain just being thrown in the slammer. A punk villain group called TV Prrty (that'll keep Black Flag from suing) are turning off all the power in Queens for vague social anarchy reasons (to be fair, that's less a problem with the writing and more that the characters seem to be talented fuckheads), causing DMC to take them down. The art by Jeff Stokely in this one is weaker over all, but I have to say I do like compositions and kineticism of the fights, so I'll so picks of that.




Anyway, the girl in their group is the only useful member, really, but DMC still gets the best of her. In the end, though, the leader of TV Prrty is freed from jail by his friends.

Chapter 3
This is the chapter where the writers try to get real, man. Actually, since this seems to be an homage to 70's and 80's Marvel storytelling, a clunky "social issues" melodrama doesn't feel out of place. And the manga style art in this one is probably better than the actual story deserves. This time, a girl named Angel talks to the reporter from the first chapter about how she fell in love with a guy who looks like Kevin Federline's spirit animal. He deals drugs and, duh, it turns out he's a bad boyfriend with a temper/alcohol problem. And explodey powers.

Eventually the scummy boyfriend actualy kicks drugs but when Angel falls off the wagon, he gets angry enough to scare her away. Months later, her creepy boyfriend catches her on the street, sees she's pregnant and goes nuts.



Then it's a fight between him and DMC which DMC actually loses, though it does give Angel the time she needs to run away and have a good life or something.

Meanwhile, with his track suit ruined, DMC goes to a friend named Jase (almost certainly a reference to the real DMC's dear departed friend Jam Master Jay) and gets a new costume in an homage to a classic Iron Man cover.


Chapter 4
The most boring chapter. Easily. Basically, this is supposed to be the chapter where we get to know who our hero is when he's not wearing the mask. He's a high school teacher who talks to the reporter at a part and later on has a cliche filled conversation with his students about DMC's place in society. The conclusion? The system is broke, yo. Also, there's a fight with a prejudiced villain named The Puritan who is hunting down gay people. There's some extremely brief lip service to the issue of AIDS but it's really more about giving DMC someone to fight in this surprisingly boring chapter.



I kind of like that pic, but the art (by the Madtwiins) is pretty dull, too.

Chapter 5

The art in this one, by Shawn Crystal, is the most pedestrian, unfortunately. The reporter is talking to some street toughs, only to be found by the smug-looking superhero Helios (picture Captain Stern from Heavy Metal, but as a superhero). He murders one of the criminals brutally and threatens to burn down the entire block and DMC steps in to take it to the "superhero" who has gone too far. However, even DMC seems to be outmatched this time.



I do like this moment where he runs our of steam, but it is also where I realized that his entire fighting style is breakdancing. Still, he's better than Vibe.



Anyway, DMC is losing when the tagger from chapter 1, in some truly weak dialogue how important DMC is and that he's the "amplifier" of the voice of the people. This gives DMC an idea... to use a superpower that we never knew he had up until this point: super yelling.



Helios is defeated and DMC says "thanks for the idea" of being an "amplifier". Now if he likes the idea of being the voice of the people, I'm down. But if he also is saying "I wouldn't have thought to use my superpower till now" that's really dumb. Seems that you should be using often. A lot of young fights seem to drag out unnecesarily because of this. That's not good, man.
Also, maybe have a mouth hole cut in there. It doesn't look as cool but it would help with the yelling part of your powers.

Anyway, the book ends with Helios being chewed out by a mysterious cigar-chomping boss, setting up the sequel book which, to my surprise, has actually come out.

So overall, this is better than I expected it to be, but it is fairly generic superhero stuff. The writing is passable and the only really weak parts are the attempts at social commentary, which seems to say that there's something to be said, but largely doesn't have all that much to say. I mean, it's cool if DMC is the voice of the streets but... what is any of this really saying. I mean, "stay away from bad boy friends" and "remember AIDS" aren't bad lessons, but it feels like very little of substance is said on those subjects.

There's also 18 pages of pin-ups, all of which are cover homages and in one he's fighting Run, I think.

Anyhoo, basically this book is a series of fight sequences with a few weak attempts of shoehorn in some non-messages about stuff and showcase some artists. Not as bad as you might think, but there's a good reason I got this one in the cheap-o bin. But at least Adidas got a bit more advertising.

Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 02-16-2018, 11:22 AM
Octopus Prime's Avatar
Octopus Prime Octopus Prime is offline
Mystery Contraption
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: The Great White North
Posts: 44,994
Default

First;
This threads mere existence has brought me more happiness than TT has engendered possibly ever.

Second:
It’s possible you were just posting the wheat and not the chaff, but I’m Genuinely impressed with the quality of the art. When I saw the cover, my expectations were... below average. But those action sequences are friggin’ great!
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 02-16-2018, 11:44 AM
Johnny Unusual's Avatar
Johnny Unusual Johnny Unusual is offline
till the sheriff stops by
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Fredericton, New Brunswick
Posts: 5,600
Default

Yes. In my initial read this had actually gotten higher marks, mostly because my expectations were pretty low. But the art is mostly pretty solid. That, and I think even the art that I like a little less brings things up a notch for the fights themselves. I'm a little curious if the writer, who actually has a background in art, did some lay-outs for certain moments (I noticed a good use of depth and distance for some of the fights) but it doesn't mention it in the credits. Maybe it's just that these guys are good artists who know how to do fights.

That said, I didn't care for the art of chapter 2 and 5 except for the fighting (the quality of #2 I feel is especially noteworthy. The art isn't abysmal, but it feels inconsistent, only to get super good for those fight scenes.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 02-16-2018, 01:31 PM
Büge's Avatar
Büge Büge is offline
Safe Space
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: TO, ON, CA
Posts: 15,447
Default

And then there was the time that Eminem beat up The Punisher.

Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 02-16-2018, 02:49 PM
Alex Scott's Avatar
Alex Scott Alex Scott is offline
Better be the real thing.
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 5,622
Default

Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 02-16-2018, 09:16 PM
MetManMas's Avatar
MetManMas MetManMas is offline
Come, noble knights!
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 19,887
Default

Pat Boone is what makes this cover really great.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 02-16-2018, 09:43 PM
KCar's Avatar
KCar KCar is offline
Goodbye!
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Vancougar, BC
Posts: 5,585
Default

Anthony Bourdain's Get Jiro falls into this category, I think. It's a dystopian future where chefs are the most powerful people in the world, and a lone ronin sushi chef Yojimbos all over rival chef bosses "snooty murderous French chef" and "hypocritical and equally murderous vegan chef."

It's mostly Bourdain's power fantasy about being able to execute customers. The art is pretty good but the concept is embarrassing. You're better off with James Stokoe's Wonton Soup.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 02-17-2018, 03:38 AM
Johnny Unusual's Avatar
Johnny Unusual Johnny Unusual is offline
till the sheriff stops by
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Fredericton, New Brunswick
Posts: 5,600
Default

I'm actually going to cover Get Jiro later. Probably much later, but it is the only other celeb "created" book I have. I actually like it a bit more than you, KCar, but the more Anthony Bourdain gets involved, the worse it gets. I actually love the idea of taking the Red Harvest mold and making it a world of food service, thanks to the fact that I find food really interesting (and my favourite manga genre is the "gourmet" genre). But, yeah, the main character cutting dowm customers feels very much like a really stupid wish fulfillment for Bourdain. I also think that there could be a good message in there about the way we eat, but it mostly comes across as "big food companies and buy local hippies are both dumbfucks" is not that message. There also seems to be a message about not taking extreme sides on food issues, but again, that's a message that misses its mark when the main character murders his crass customers for enjoying food wrong.

However, the art of Langdon Foss is amazing and makes the book more readable than it deserves (when I get around to it, I'll be posting some choice cuts, har har har). I love the look of the title character and Foss makes some truly cool visuals. The fact that he's never worked with Grant Morrison feels wrong somehow.

I don't know Wonton Soup, but I'll have to check it out.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 03-09-2018, 09:11 PM
Daikaiju's Avatar
Daikaiju Daikaiju is offline
King Of Space-Time
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 17,834
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by KCar View Post
Anthony Bourdain's Get Jiro falls into this category, I think. It's a dystopian future where chefs are the most powerful people in the world, and a lone ronin sushi chef Yojimbos all over rival chef bosses "snooty murderous French chef" and "hypocritical and equally murderous vegan chef."

It's mostly Bourdain's power fantasy about being able to execute customers. The art is pretty good but the concept is embarrassing. You're better off with James Stokoe's Wonton Soup.
Isn't he doing a new series? Hungry Ghosts?
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 03-09-2018, 11:38 PM
Ixo's Avatar
Ixo Ixo is offline
Accidental AvatarOverlord
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: TX
Posts: 460
Default

Is Steven Colbert’s Tek Jansen a thing that’s worth reading?

Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 03-10-2018, 02:25 AM
Johnny Unusual's Avatar
Johnny Unusual Johnny Unusual is offline
till the sheriff stops by
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Fredericton, New Brunswick
Posts: 5,600
Default

I'm not sure. I was really excited for it when it was announced but I never got around to reading it. The Tek Jenson skits on Colbert were often pretty funny, especially the one they aired when George Lucas was the guest.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 03-12-2018, 01:42 AM
SpoonyBardOL's Avatar
SpoonyBardOL SpoonyBardOL is offline
I. Love. It.
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Newfie Land
Posts: 15,459
Default

There was that time The Ultimate Warrior made his own comic mini-series, itself an exercise in the special sort of insanity that rages in his mind, but there's really only one image of note: the one that spelled out his foreboding ranting snorts.

Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 03-12-2018, 01:48 AM
Octopus Prime's Avatar
Octopus Prime Octopus Prime is offline
Mystery Contraption
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: The Great White North
Posts: 44,994
Default

I can't link to it on a phone, but there's also the time they tastefully cut a cuss short by having him yell "FUUUUUUUUUCCCCC---"

If there's any way to pronounce that without actually cussing, I'd like to hear your ideas.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 03-12-2018, 07:18 AM
Dracula's Avatar
Dracula Dracula is offline
ドラクは死にました
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: DISVALLEY
Posts: 3,796
Default HOAK HOGAN!

Man, I laughed hard at Spoony's reviews of those Warrior comics back in the day. "GOTTA GET FOKED!" They sure were a thing

Last edited by Dracula; 03-12-2018 at 07:18 AM. Reason: DESTRUCITY
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 03-12-2018, 12:24 PM
Ixo's Avatar
Ixo Ixo is offline
Accidental AvatarOverlord
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: TX
Posts: 460
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Octopus Prime View Post
I can't link to it on a phone, but there's also the time they tastefully cut a cuss short by having him yell "FUUUUUUUUUCCCCC---"

If there's any way to pronounce that without actually cussing, I'd like to hear your ideas.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 03-12-2018, 12:41 PM
Alex Scott's Avatar
Alex Scott Alex Scott is offline
Better be the real thing.
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 5,622
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Octopus Prime View Post
I can't link to it on a phone, but there's also the time they tastefully cut a cuss short by having him yell "FUUUUUUUUUCCCCC---"

If there's any way to pronounce that without actually cussing, I'd like to hear your ideas.
Press the back of your tongue to the soft palate, but stop short of that "click" that makes it a "K"?
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 03-12-2018, 07:37 PM
Ample Vigour's Avatar
Ample Vigour Ample Vigour is offline
Starts with your heart
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 23,319
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpoonyBardOL View Post
There was that time The Ultimate Warrior made his own comic mini-series, itself an exercise in the special sort of insanity that rages in his mind, but there's really only one image of note: the one that spelled out his foreboding ranting snorts.

Sir you sell short the issue where he invades the North Pole and puts naked Santa in suspension bondage
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
destrucity

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:39 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Your posts ©you, 2007