SEMI-REGULAR MUSINGS FROM THE SEMI-REGULAR MIND OF WRITER J.M. DeMATTEIS
Had a great, spider-centric chat with the Spider-Man Crawlspace podcast the other day. We covered Ben Reilly: Spider-Man, The Child Within, Kraven's Last Hunt and more. Enjoy!
Okay, I'll say what we are all thinking, if no one else will...Denny O'Neil's initial run on on Green Lantern/Green Arrow was Mad Men before Mad Men... but in Denny's case there was more of an understanding of s wider America, more meat in the middle of the story, and fewer lead characters admitting the never loved his kids.What was Mad Men? A soap opera, that a large number of fans did not want to admit was a soap opera.However, it was also the story of the transformation of America over the 60s, be examining generational differences.Hal is the early 60s, squared-jawed Jet Age hero that would zoom around, fighting aliens, crime, and commies... than make it to The Sands for Sinatra's last show as he picked up a cocktail waitress.It is like Madison Avenues view of 1961's California lifestyle.But, by 1968, he went from square-jawed to just a square. Ollie was the guy now. Socially conscious, treating his woman as a partner, spotting facial among the hippies. Maybe...MAYBE even listening to some of that "Rock n' Roll" the kids were always listening.Might have even been an argument in the pick up. Hal calling the Beatles racket and Bob Dylan commie racket. Ollie calling Dean Martin a tool of the establishment and Bing Crosby a creeping moral cancer (calm down Dematteis, it's Green Arrow... he is going to call SOMETHING a 'moral cancer').Hal is earning to roll with the changing times, accepting something might even be better. First issue, he is not racist, just naive. Then when he is on the Indian reservation and meets John Stewart he is onboard. Eventually, even is the one who has to tell Ollie he needs more compassion, when Roy turns to the Heroin.I really hope AMC cut him a check for that. Mad Men was fine, but GL/GA was a saga.Jack.
GL/GA hit me like a ton of bricks back when it came out. One of those books I REALLY looked forward to every month.It's been years since I've read it, so I don't know if the "All New, All Now!" elements feel dated, but it remains a milestone in mainstream comics.How about Jon Hamm as Hal Jordan...?
Nope. The perfect actor to play Hal Jordan would have been Nathan Fillion. Jon Hamm as Hal would be a lot less likable with Ollie than you would need him to be. Everything would seem confrontational.Might make a good King Faraday. Maybe even Nemesis. Someone ins a no-nonsense roll. One of teh Blackhawks perhaps.As for the rest of your post...That comic came out wen my mother was in college...a Sophomore or a Junior. I was born quite some time later... I then had to become a teenager before I read them. Or was I 20? Does not matter.Did it feel dated? That is a complicated question.There would be no question of when the comic came out. No one would look at it and not think it came out in teh late 60s or early 70s.However, it did not impede it. That is what happens when you treat characters like characters instead of tools. They tend to be relatable anytime.And my mother read my trade of those maybe a month before O'Neil died, and she seemed to like the,mJack
Good to know they hold up! I've got a trade sitting on my bookshelf, maybe I'll crack it open and revisit these wonderful stories.
If you really need someone from Mad Men connected, I think John Slattery... Roger Sterling, the only character who actually grew, and thus the real main character ... could do a good Alan Scott. Maybe even a Jay Garrick. Maybe.Jack
I think I realized what the comic book industry needs. A comic book version of Criterion. Okay, I am pretty sure I will need to explain.I was watching something about classic movies, those being made before 1970 or so, and how they are sort of "dying out." With the rise of streaming, there is even more focus on the new, so there are fewer people finding it.Compare that to when even I was a kid, when they would run on TV (turner Classic Movies came a round at some point, so parents or grandparents might stumble upon something. Then you're introduced. Or talk to folks at video stores, or go to revival theaters, whatever.Part of the reason they said it was important was to live more of a context to movies as a whole, and expect accept a wider variety of things as consumers.IF we are begin honest, most of those movies could not be made today. Not because of any of the stupid reasons people give, but because the 70s happened. The push for naturalism changed a lot.Its a Wonderful Life is a great film, but George Baily probably does not speak one sentence of natural dialogue in the whole film. Also, the atypical structure, unique opening, and scene structure would be alienating if it came out today. The melodrama would also be a little hokeyI know it was not a huge hit at the time, but Hitchcock and Film Noir, both of which were very popular post-war had many of the same problems.We accept them, because they are old. The contextualization allows us to accept it, and even apply more understanding when modern movies go more atypical at times.The movies are not what we are used to, but are still considered high quality.This is something comics desperately.For a lot of people who may want to enter comics now, the assumption is that Stan Lee and crew did some stuff in the 60s that was important, but probably lame. In the 80s Watchmen and Dark Knight were high quality, and showed how bad everything was,, then the 90s happened and that was just a giant garage fire. Finally the 2000s made it respectable.OBVIOUSLY, that is not true. However, for those just entering it sometimes becomes the percieved notion.Watchemn and DKR are talked about like they were birthed form nothing, and anything else you read is little more than a coloring book. A large part of that is the fans.Comic fans are really weird. Those are the only two books that get praised or brought up to new readers, and then fans act apologetic for liking other stuff. The phrase "for what it is" and "for its time" kills more interest than you can imagine, and comic fans love using them. It also does n;t help that the most popular videos about comics on YouTube tend to be talking about comics in a negative light. You can;t reall blame the channels, that is what is popular, and you go where teh money is, however it points a less than great image of comics over all.It also creates the very real and very accurate impression that there is a right or wrong thing to like. You better not like a comic that is viewed as bad, or dislike one considered a classic.While that is a real problem that needs to be addressed, this is not exactly about that. Something that crosses publishers, which is complicated for sales, maybe a catalog of thoughts. Something where creators and others talk about why a work works. It it influenced what came after. Not every great comic is a classic or part of a classic run. Why it matters.Something that ranges from "This Man, This Monster" to "A Contract with God," and all stops in-between.continued...
I don't like Gone with the Wind, but I can appreciate it is a good movie. I do like The Day the Earth Stood till, and understanding what makes it such a cut above, makes me appreciate the also-rans of sci-fi in that era. Because almost all the sci-fi movies of the 50s and 60s were trying to be that movie in some way. Wake a point through fantastical element, in a world that seemed dangerous, weather because of things abroad or at home. How many of those movies are actually about prejudice? You can follow the chain of logic, and appreciate effort and ideas, even if the acting and special effects are well below par. Or even if said ideas don't materialize properly.This would not be some scholarly, over-analyzing. It would be why it made an impact, how the impact is still felt, and why such stories have legs that outrun time.Just the germs of a thought... DematteisJack
I await your weekly podcast, Jack, where you address all this!