Friday, October 24, 2008

And It Seems Longer, The More You Read It ...

I have, for the first time, just recently read The Long Halloween, and I will tell you the following:
  • I honestly think Jeph Loeb may be the worst writer in comics today, full stop. His name on a comic serves much the same purpose as a little green sticker of a scrunched-up face with a stick-out tongue serves on a bottle of Liquid Plumbr, which is to say "Keep away from eyes."
  • One of my artist pals calls Tim Sale "The Man Whose Pencils Clearly Don't Have Erasers," and I gotta agree, his stuff always looks to me like he got it wrong the first time, shrugged, and declared it good enough for government work.
  • Batman is kind of an asshole.
AND YET! I actually enjoyed The Long Halloween - sure, there was a lot of utter ridiculousness in it - the Godfather swipes, the really senseless Catwoman/Batman and Selina/Bruce flirtation, Scarecrow being all nursery rhyme obsessed (since when?), the freakin' dialogue - But in the end, I thought it was a strong murder mystery which filled in an unacknowledged gap in the narrative of Gotham City.

Reading it in one sitting, however, underlined a particularly useless conceit in Loeb's dialogue, of which I began to keep count: How often does a pre-Two-Face Harvey Dent make ominously foreshadowed references to duality and the number two?

You know how I mean, when the letterer bolds up the important word, so it gets better impressed. How often do you imagine that happened in The Long Halloween...?










QUITE A FUCKING LOT IS HOW OFTEN.


6 comments:

BillyWitchDoctor said...

I honestly think Jeph Loeb may be the worst writer in comics today, full stop.

I've never read "The Long Halloween," but I'm suffering through Loeb's "Hulk" right now solely because of the can't-look-away train-wreck quality of the writing.

That said, at least he's not boring. I've dropped "New Warriors" and "Thor" (and would've ditched "The Order" if the cancellation hammer had not beat me to it) with their delusions of grandeur, glacial pacing, and surplus of characters I couldn't even begin to care about. I may flinch and rave at "Hulk" but at least I have some reaction besides nodding off.

BeckoningChasm said...

I read this article twice.

They Call Me Calamity said...

Beckoningchasm: Ah, so you've gotten double the experience!

Billy: I suppose so; I was talking with a writer friend of mine, and he suggested that, in contemporary writing, there's a tendency to either be quite good at the personality and small meaningful moments in a story or be quite good at moving a plot along. Loeb's Hulk (And Ultimates, for that matter) contain some of the most laughable dialogue and blatant telegraphing of modern comics, but there's no denying it zips along like a skyrocket ...

Sherm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Applemask said...

Jeph Loeb makes me sad because he's going to go down in history as the comics equivalent of AIDS cancer, but he used to be pretty damn good. Something happened to him that detonated his talent, and I'd hate to think it was the death of his son.

Shamus said...

I haven't read anything by Loeb that I liked other than this. Sale's art is not my favourite but again it works for this book and altogether I'd say this is a classic for me personally.

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