Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Morrison & Quitely

Pairing writer Grant Morrison with artist Frank Quitely is one of those peanut butter and jelly or strawberry and banana combinations in that alone each of the units is great, but together they're all kinds of wonderfulness.

WE3 was a three issue Vertigo series that Morrison and Quitely did in 2005 (now collected in a nice trade paperback) about the military designing animals with machines to be used in combat situations. The story mostly focuses on a dog, cat, and rabbit that try to escape this secnario and it is one of the most brutally sad stories about animal experimentation that I've read.

Frank Quitely draws fantastic animals, fantastic machinery, and has fantastic storytelling prowess. I'd say that WE3 is Quitely's finest work to date because he's really gone all out in terms of panel stucture giving the story the brutal intensity that Morrison's script demands. For a while now there's been talk of a movie adaptation of WE3, but I really don't see that happening unless it were done by Japanese animaters in a hyper real style ala Ghost In The Shell (and not that Polar Bear Express or Beowolf "animation" style that I think just looks like a video game).

The past year or so, Morrison and Quitely have been working on All Star Superman (it's on issue #10 and their run will go to issue #12). All Star Superman is just a really good Superman story that doesn't take place in regular continuity. Actually with some of what Morrison is doing with the character, especially in the latest issue (cover shown here), such as exploring how a character with the power level that Superman has would change the world, this couldn't be a continuity title because if the DC universe were to actually reflect a universe in which super powered beings existed they would lose a lot of their current customer base. I'd argue that they might gain a new audience, but a book like All Star Superman is an example of thinking outside of the box that most super hero comic creators aren't capable of emulating on a monthly basis and what happens when the original creator that's thought of these wild concepts leaves is followed by someone of lesser creative chops (this happened on Authority post Ellis and Millar, with only Brubaker's twelve issue run being a worthy successor)- well what happens is really lame attempts to duplicate what's come before. This is probably one of the reasons DC never went with Alan Moore's 1980's revision of the entire DC universe titled Twilight (look it up online as his whole treatment is floating around there somewhere and it's all that).

Presently there is one collection of All Star Superman, but as much as my capitalist self wants to say don't wait and pick up the six issue collection and the single issues, I'd wait until sometime late next summer (probably the fall of 2009) for the nice big twelve issue collection of All Star Superman (or if you're already getting them as they come out, they make nice gifts or introductions to comic newbiews as you get the big collection for yourself). All Star Superman will go done in comics history as one of the great runs on Superman and people will be re-reading and talking about Morrison and Quitely's incarnation of the character for a long time.

I can't post an entry about Quitely's Superman without mentioning that yes his characters have odd faces and this does cause some people to put the book back on the rack. Quitely's super hero (and most of his people) faces are not idealized, pretty characters, but I think that's part of the charm of his art and invariably even those who have a hard time with Quitely's drawings of faces can't stop picking up books he draws because of his fluid storytelling skills. I'd also say that Quitely's art looks as great as it does largely due to the mad coloring skills of Jamie Grant.

1 comment:

Von Allan said...

Yup, it was a wonderful read. I really enjoyed it. I didn't love issue 9, so this felt more inline with the spirit of the series. Well, at least to me.

You said, "I'd also say that Quitely's art looks as great as it does largely due to the mad coloring skills of Jamie Grant."

I agree, at least to a point. I love Grant's colours. I cannot abide what's happening to the craft of inking, though, in All-Star. 'Course, I get myself in trouble for saying so. :)