Thursday, March 10, 2011

Noir: Crack-Up, Comics: Icon, The Stage: Spidey!

Let this cardboard box say what I cannot
I just have nothing to really say in any coherent fashion (this week).  Last week I was ready to go with a new post every 8 hours, and this week...  nothing.  The good news is that I am not feeling the old kick of negativity that would occasionally get me to begin making proclamations about ending a blog.  There's just not much here at the moment.  

That's how it is sometimes.

Noir Report

Last night I watched a movie entitled Crack-Up from 1946.  It was sort of a weirdly dull and unconvincing noir that relied upon the viewer to buy a pretty cockamamie scheme by a bad-guy to frame an otherwise perfectly rationale person as a lunatic, assumed the audience would be hostile to the work of Salvador Dali (this is '46, when Dali would have been already known, but not yet a fixture of dorm room poster art) and tried to sell the very dad-like Pat O'Brien (of Knute Rockne, All American fame) as our hero, when he feels like he's sort of phoning it in through good chunks of the movie.

That's not even a very good likeness of Ms. Trevor.  Even the poster artist isn't trying.
I stuck with it because I kept thinking something interesting was just about to happen, but...  it did not.  It was mostly middle-aged guys hand-wringing and framing each other for things that, honestly, its not clear anybody would really care about if the whole scam were exposed.


I've also been reading last month's Super-comics (I confess to really liking all this Legion stuff, which 23 year old me would slap me for), Dwayne McDuffie's Icon, and other assorted comics.  I do want to write a brief post on Icon at some point, as I think he'd be useful in the current DCU.

This cover only hints at the 90's-ness that one must adapt to in order to read this volume

I actually quite like what I've read so far, even if its in a sort of 90's-era comic style (bear in mind, I didn't like nor read much in the way of Superheroes from about 1991-1997). Its not really a Superman analog other than a cape and invulnerability of a sort, and its dealing with different issues.


Oh, yes. Also, in case you hadn't heard... Spider-Man, Please Turn off the Dark is closing for a few weeks, that director Julie Taymor has left/ quit/ was fired and when the show reopens, audiences will likely have a different show on their hands. It seems somebody pointed out that Taymor's ideas about Spider-Man were maybe not working.

My suspicion is that Taymor always had a certain level of disdain for the material as a "comic book" and "kid stuff" and missed the part where this is modern American mythology.  Her job was to steward the story, not to "improve" the story, tell her own story over the back-drop of Spider-Man and play to her usual audience.  And in that...  I doubt she was the right person for the job to begin with.  This was just never going to be her bag.  It happens, and it happens in comics, too (see:  Jodi Picoult on Wonder Woman).

Comics are still ghetto-ized, and even when I like to think "oh, if you spend time on it, you'll get it", I'd say that 95% of the population just gawks at you, shrugs, and says "oh, its just a comic book, get over it.  It doesn't matter if we completely do our own thing" (and usually that's exactly the moment where things go off the rails, btw).

Alas, most likely the play will now be a rambunctious, teen-audience friendly re-telling of the Spider-Man movie, which will play well to tourists , but it will be ultimately pretty forgettable, and we'll never have a permanent record of what I am certain must have been an amazing spectacle of hubris, disdain for source material and its audience, and risk-taking heretofore unseen on the Broadway stage.

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