04 August 2005

Comics Roundup 8/4 (CS)

I was pleased to see the A/V section of The Onion carrying an interview with Brian K. Vaughan last week. I've mentioned Vaughan in the past as the author of my current favorite monthly, Ex Machina. And now you have to put up with another love song to him from me. But I feel it's only fitting since i just discovered that he's a fellow NYU alum (which probably goes towards explaining how he writes NYC issues so well).

Two points that Vaughan made in the interview that i found particularly interesting:

1. Vaughun points out that he doesn' t think about "writing for the trades" at all. The big companies make major money when they collect issues in a series and sell them in one bound book, a trade. Decompressed stories that play out with a trade in mind have become popular partly for this reason. Vaughan seems to be of the old school though, having a large story in mind (of course) but concentrating on an issue per issue basis. And I love it. It's probably this mentality on Vaughan's part that makes this book the one I usually enjoy the most AND look forward to each month. Comic books will never recapture the glory days of being sold on racks within supermarkets and the like (as Geoff Johns harkens to) if they don't have books that not only hook you with any given issue, but also leave you thirsting for more at the end of every last page. And in the end, i'll pick up the trade anyway.

2. Vaughan admits a lack of action in his books, saying that artists who illustrate his stories (and fans that read them) might complain that "[his] comics are too much people going back and forth." Some people think that what makes comic books succesful is a fun sluggfest. While i'm all for the fun, what's wrong with "talking heads" when it's executed properly? Major complaints about DC's Identity Crisis and especially Marvel's Avengers: Dissassmbled (and Bendis's writing in general) has been about the anti-climactic rounds of talking, particularly at the end of a series. But what's wrong with the "people going back and forth" if it's executed properly? Are we supposed to sacrifice good storytelling for entertainment churned out mostly in the name of the dollar? I think Vaughan, especially in Ex-Machina, exemplifies a great storyteller who cares for his craft and his story and executes both with a precision that gets results.