Friday, March 11, 2005

stuff I'm currently reading, and stuff kids should be reading

Started re-reading Alan Moore/David Lloyd's V FOR VENDETTA. Haven't looked at this book since about 1990, and the zeitgeist seemed to demand that I refresh myself on it. They've started making the movie adaptation, and I wanted things nice and straight in my head for the "told you the comic was better" conversations.

That said, I've almost high hopes for the project. If any movie-makers respect comics it's the Wachowski Brothers. That said, any attempts at moving the locale of the story will fail miserably: with his Guy Fawkes origins, V is as uniquely British a character as Robin Hood, King Arthur, or, um, Harry Potter. So don't try and pull a "Constantine". Also, the whole point of the horror of the fascist regime V targeted was its quintessentially middle-English banality, so transfering it to a Wagnerian, ultra-cool series of big action set-pieces won't exactly ring true either. These aren't exciting leatherclad villains V is blowing up, it's TERRY AND JUNE-watching civil servants who just happen to be playing for the wrong team.

I, of course, can't exaggerate the impact of this strip upon me when I read it for the first time. An ten year old lad coming across a copy of WARRIOR issue one, with that amazing Steve Dillon cover, then discovering in another newsagent in the same town that issue two was already out, with an even more amazing Garry Leach cover, and buying them both on the same day. As mind-blowing as my cousin planting those first few issues of 2000AD into my hands as a five year old. That's why I say "get them young" - make good comics available readily, and you'll snag them for life. If I had a kid that age interested in comics, these days everyone would be saying, give them, y'know BATMAN ADVENTURES, or somethin', break them in gently. Sod that, give them something that stretches them. Something on the very verges of their comprehension, that makes them want to come back, try harder, to understand. I think I heard Warren Ellis say that the Marvel ULTIMATE line is for kids, and by that, I think this is part of what he meant. Don't mollycoddle. A poor, but easily understood, comic won't make a kid into a comic fan as readily as a good, but more complex, one. So yeah, if you want to make more kids into comic fans, donate a few trades of ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN, ULTIMATE X-MEN and THE ULTIMATES to your local library.

Go on.

Do it.

I'd imagine seeing Bryan Hitch's art for the first time might just be as influential on some nipper's development as Garry Leach's on mine.