Saturday, March 04, 2006

Neil Gaiman news is like buses:

You wait years for one story, then two come along practically at the same time. What I liked most about this piece by Gaiman from Friday's GUARDIAN (I would have posted about it sooner if not for, uh, sleeping and watching tv, and stuff) was his great quotes from conversations with Alan Moore (when I picture these guys together, it's always with Gaiman as the pragmatic Boswell to Moore's avuncular Doctor Johnson).

"Alan Moore himself is resigned, amused and wryly bitter about the process of
turning comics into film. "Comics are one step in the digestive process of
Hollywood eating itself," he told me. "Are there any films made from the comics
that are better than the original comics? Hollywood needs material to make into
films as part of an economic process. It could be a Broadway play or a book, or
a French film, or a good TV series from the 1960s that people want to see on the
big screen, or a bad TV series from the 1960s that nobody cares about but still
has a name, or a computer game, or a theme park ride. I expect that the next
subject of films will be breakfast-cereal mascots - a film that chronicles how
Snap, Crackle and Pop met and explores their relationship. Or the Tony the Tiger
"Films are no friend to comics," he concluded. "I think they
actually impoverish the comic landscape. Turning it into a sort of pumpkin patch
for movie studios to come picking."

Gaiman makes many pertinent points about the current mood of cross-fertilization of comics and film himself: he's a hell of a lot more positive about the process, probably due to his level of artistic involvement in it.

"There was a time when those of us who made comics would try and explain what
advantages comics had over film. "Comics have an infinite special-effects budget," we'd say. But we missed the point, now that movies have, for all intents, an infinite special-effects budget. (I was writing a script for Beowulf last year, and, worried that a climactic airborne dragon battle was going a little over the top, I called the
director, Robert Zemeckis, to warn him. "Don't worry," he said. "There is nothing you could write that will cost me more than a million dollars a minute to film.")

"But I remain optimistic. While Frank Miller's film of Sin City isn't as
powerful as his comics, it was still his vision up there on the screen in the
film he made with Robert Rodriguez, uncompromised by the change from one medium to another. MirrorMask is Dave McKean's film from first frame to last, visually and musically. Nearly 20 years after the first Batman film, I realise that film doesn't confer legitimacy on comics. But it's still an awful lot of fun


redlib said...

Thanks for this post. While I am the first in line to see films like Batman Begins and Sin City...I can appreciate Alan Moore's take. I know every fanboy LOVES Natalie Portman, and she was cute in Garden State...but lousy acting in Closer, Star Wars doesn't bode well for V.

Mark said...

Well, my take is that it should be in black and white for a start. The trailers look too nice and bright and shiny. The colours should be like SIN CITY - barely there, washed out. Like a grungey, poorly transmitted broadcast from an alternate world that's just a little too much like our own to not be so unsettling.

geoff said...

how much money did moore get for v for vendetta

Mark said...

None. The wacky funster told DC to give it all to Dave Lloyd and take his name off the movie credits.

Ah, the sweet smell of Quixotic integrity!