Monday, May 16, 2005

Just saw this over at MILLARWORLD...

Proof that Mark Millar really may be as daft as I've always feared he was. He's made a list of comics to recommend to non-comics fans, and he's left out WATCHMEN. Click here and tremble. Oh yeah, WATCHMEN is now really irrelevant. A book that uses superheroes as a metaphor for America's unchecked militarism is really irrelevant to the times we live in now. Oh dear. Think I'll buy the latest issue of SFX to check out the rest of his list, and report back later.

(Shuffles off to newsagent. Stops for a latte next door. And a bagel.)

Okay, I'm back. Bless the guy for the way he's constantly selling the medium in these columns, he really works it like a backstreet hooker. His list is actually all pretty good stuff, but only if you agree that comic books are synonymous with super heroes. Hell, the only non-superhero work present is PREACHER. Other than that, the list is pretty obviously a list of stuff that has influenced his own work - Frank Miller's THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS (actually a pretty hard read for anyone unfamiliar with the language of comic books and the wider Batman mythos) and BATMAN: YEAR ONE, Warren Ellis's THE AUTHORITY, KINGDOM COME (again, pretty hard work for anyone who doesn't already know the DC Universe inside out) and MARVELS by Alex Ross, V FOR VENDETTA (no argument there), ZENITH (out of print, unfortunately), MARSHALL LAW (ditto on the out of print front, I think, but between this and Ennis's influence, one can see where the magic mix of superheroes, sadism and cynicism made it into Millar's best writing), DOOM PATROL (I'm figuring he means Morrison's run, or else he's been smoking crack again), and SANDMAN (never really warmed to it too much, I'm afraid, but then I'm not part of its natural constituency of goths and girls, though I'd recommend the short story collection DREAM COUNTRY to anyone). He also plugs his own RED SON, but no arguments there. It's a cracker.

The list is for SFX readers, so I can forgive the absence of non-genre figures like Crumb, Clowes, Spiegelman and Los Bros Hernandez who really, genuinely, appeal to non-comics readers. That said, I'd have followed the path of Grant Morrison who, on the previous page, recommends the work of Paul Pope. HEAVY LIQUID and 100% are free-standing, accessible graphic novels that would ring all the right bells for your average SFX reader. Anyone who would list movies like BLADE RUNNER or 2046 as personal favourites would get a kick out of his exquisite human dramas with unexpected hard sci-fi tangents.