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Nitz the Bloody




I read Kick Ass #1 today, and loved the debut issue more than almost any new comic I've read in many months. It reminded me of a dramatically improved second draft of Millar's Wanted ( which I liked, though it wasn't my favorite work ); both stories start with a middle-class nobody choosing the superhuman life as an escape from societal alienation. However, Kick-Ass already looks like it'll be better, because while Wesley Gibson went from a loser to a successful criminal mastermind without much hardship, Dave Lizewski faces the obvious consequences of enacting his juvenile power fantasy. The character writing is also better established ( Dave's emotional map is more complex, and his reactions ring truer ), and John Romita Jr.'s rough, jagged world fits the story much better than the sleek, glamorous art that J.G. Jones provided for Wanted.

Not sure how this story is going to end up, but the fact that Millar and JR Jr. are talking about further Kick-Ass stories really raised my spirits. Contrary to the intentionally hyperbolic ad campaign, Kick-Ass is not the Greatest Superhero book of All Time, because it isn't really a superhero book. It's a scatching commentary on the superhero genre, and how easily it falls apart when faced with reality. Except, unlike with Civil War, Kick-Ass intends to make this fact clear.

But then, since this book joins the growing category of spectacularly cynical superhero comics ( also included are Millar's previous Wanted and other works, Ennis and Robertson's The Boys, Ellis' Thunderbolts, and Grant Morrison's X-Men run ), it's gotten complaint from fans of superheroes. And while taste is subjective, there have been comments that trouble me, such as this one from lower on the boards...

"
Along with some others. Looks like Kick Ass is pretty much just a heavy R-Rated comic with as much swearing and cheap thrills as you can smash into 22 pages. In the few pages there you get testicular electrocution, teenage masturbation fantasies, and the F bomb more than once at least \:\-\) It reminds me of something I would have gotten my jollies from sneaking a look at Heavy Metal Magazine about 25 or so years ago.


Of course, this comment implicitly derides not just Kick-Ass, but R-Rated material in general. Yes, there was testicular electrocution, masturbation references, coarse language, and a lot of violence towards the end. But there was always reason behind the explicit content. The point of Kick-Ass is that the world Dave lives in is not the Marvel Universe, and he is not a morally upstanding citizen like Peter Parker. He's a misanthropic teenaged boy who gets aroused and has violent power fantasies like everyone else. The scenes with him lusting after the opposite sex and picking fights with taggers ( fights which he obviously loses ) are the most dramatic examples, but there were a lot of more subtle and even touching scenes as well ( re: the flashback to his Mom's aneurysm; Dave fantasizes about swearing vengeance a la a young Bruce Wayne, but in reality he just plays video games until he can't feel anymore. Also, the scenes with his still-grieving father were similarly effective ). This series does not fall into the realm of shock for shock's sakes.

And as for " getting my jollies from Heavy Metal Magazine "; while teenagers do enjoy " edgy " material ( I am disgusted with myself for using that word ), my experiences as a teenager were much different. Sure, I enjoyed my share of gross-out humor and sexual innuendo, but I also credit a good portion of my intellectual development to Vertigo. Books like Preacher and Transmetropolitan were shocking, but they were also brilliant and ambitious, and they were available in a format that was very accessible to my tastes at the time. And they got me into reading non-superheroic material, a direction which has not steered me wrong.


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Jared





>
> Not sure how this story is going to end up, but the fact that Millar and JR Jr. are talking about further Kick-Ass stories really raised my spirits. Contrary to the intentionally hyperbolic ad campaign, Kick-Ass is not the Greatest Superhero book of All Time, because it isn't really a superhero book. It's a scatching commentary on the superhero genre, and how easily it falls apart when faced with reality. Except, unlike with Civil War, Kick-Ass intends to make this fact clear.

Look, I know that the superhero genre is fairly ridiculous. And you know what? I don't care. I still love it, and I don't really see why anyone needs to go out and condemn it, and me by association, for enjoying it.

> But then, since this book joins the growing category of spectacularly cynical superhero comics ( also included are Millar's previous Wanted and other works, Ennis and Robertson's The Boys, Ellis' Thunderbolts, and Grant Morrison's X-Men run ), it's gotten complaint from fans of superheroes. And while taste is subjective, there have been comments that trouble me, such as this one from lower on the boards...
>

Your comments below are well-taken, but the criticism made by the comics you cite seem to me to reflect the other side of the coin-implicitly deriding superhero comics and the people who enjoy them. I'm not interested in Vertigo-style comics; if you don't enjoy them, then more power to you, but I don't see then why I should be insulted for having different tastes in superheroes. I'll admit, I'm not a fan of comics so much as I am of superheroes in general, and Spider-Man and Sleepwalker in particular, and I don't think I'm stupid or juvenile for liking these things.

In some ways, frankly, I'm a bit cynical about cynics-sometimes it seems like I'm being considered a moron for not sharing their feelings of doom and gloom. IOW, if you disagree with them, you're an idiot.

Granted, I may be wrong, but these are just the vibes I get from "scathing commentaries" on the superhero genre, or bread-and-butter D&D-style fantasy, or what have you.

Again, if you love books like Preacher and Transmetropolitan, then that's great. I'm sure the works are well worth your while. But I'll stick with Spider-Man and Sleepwalker, thanks.


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entzauberung




>

> Look, I know that the superhero genre is fairly ridiculous. And you know what? I don't care. I still love it, and I don't really see why anyone needs to go out and condemn it, and me by association, for enjoying it.
>

I personally didn't read Kick Ass as an attack against superheroes, as Nitz did. It was a pretty effective piece of teenage drama, though.

> Your comments below are well-taken, but the criticism made by the comics you cite seem to me to reflect the other side of the coin-implicitly deriding superhero comics and the people who enjoy them. I'm not interested in Vertigo-style comics; if you don't enjoy them, then more power to you, but I don't see then why I should be insulted for having different tastes in superheroes. I'll admit, I'm not a fan of comics so much as I am of superheroes in general, and Spider-Man and Sleepwalker in particular, and I don't think I'm stupid or juvenile for liking these things.
>
> In some ways, frankly, I'm a bit cynical about cynics-sometimes it seems like I'm being considered a moron for not sharing their feelings of doom and gloom. IOW, if you disagree with them, you're an idiot.
>

Maybe, but any attacks against old-school superheroics on these boards are outnumbered a thousand to one by histrionics about how comics are not exactly like they were in 1983, and how the world most likely will go under because of that fact.




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CyberCoyote





> And as for " getting my jollies from Heavy Metal Magazine "; while teenagers do enjoy " edgy " material ( I am disgusted with myself for using that word ), my experiences as a teenager were much different. Sure, I enjoyed my share of gross-out humor and sexual innuendo, but I also credit a good portion of my intellectual development to Vertigo. Books like Preacher and Transmetropolitan were shocking, but they were also brilliant and ambitious, and they were available in a format that was very accessible to my tastes at the time. And they got me into reading non-superheroic material, a direction which has not steered me wrong.

Hehe, didn't want the jollies to be confused with what the lead character does thinking about his teacher, there.

It's good you can appreciate the comic on a different level than most will take away from it, Nitz.








CyberCoyote-=^..^=-



Remember kids, The EIC of Marvel says that smoking is bad, divorce is bad, but Satanic Pacts are A-OK(as long as the Devil makes the offer FIRST)!
Fiasco




I'm one of those fairly dyed-in-the-wool superhero comics mainstays, but every once in a while I like to challenge myself with something different. I'd say that Kick Ass takes a fairly realistic look at what might happen to someone if they even attempted some of the things we take for granted in a comic (or even a movie) today. Jump off a building with some manufactured wings? You go splat. Smallish teenager takes on 3 other kids, one with a knife? Beaten up and stabbed. I had no problam with the language, in fact, I thought it was probably close to how some teens actually do talk amongst each other.
So really, for me, the best thing I can say about Kick Ass is that I liked it for what it was and would like to get the next couple issues to see where it's going.


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SQUEAK




> Maybe, but any attacks against old-school superheroics on these boards are outnumbered a thousand to one by histrionics about how comics are not exactly like they were in 1983, and how the world most likely will go under because of that fact.

And if anyone needs a solid example of what histrionics are, well, there you go!

I think that's the problem right there - people writing "attacks" against any type of comic will get that kind of angry knee-jerk reply from its defenders. Rational intelligent discussion about various aspects of the comics will go a lot further than attacks. I'd be much happier with posts like the one starting this thread and fewer "attacks against old-school superheroics" (or attacks on new-school whatever you want to call it).


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entzauberung




> > Maybe, but any attacks against old-school superheroics on these boards are outnumbered a thousand to one by histrionics about how comics are not exactly like they were in 1983, and how the world most likely will go under because of that fact.
>
> And if anyone needs a solid example of what histrionics are, well, there you go!
>
> I think that's the problem right there - people writing "attacks" against any type of comic will get that kind of angry knee-jerk reply from its defenders. Rational intelligent discussion about various aspects of the comics will go a lot further than attacks. I'd be much happier with posts like the one starting this thread and fewer "attacks against old-school superheroics" (or attacks on new-school whatever you want to call it).

I don't know if you're arguing with me here...but I agree with you.




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entzauberung





..I understand the histrionics bit was about me.


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SQUEAK




> ..I understand the histrionics bit was about me.

Just found it ironic, that's all. Pretty much the definition of what you railed against. Sorry if I came across over-hard.

Though I'm definitely one the side of "classic comics better" ("testicular mutilation" pretty much guarantees I won't even open Kick-Ass), I'm well aware that all different kinds of comics have their adherents and their own pros and cons. More power to 'em. I'll be bitching when they cancel _everything_ old school in favor of "Testicular Mutilation Monthly," but as long as I can get some of what I like, everyone else is more than welcome to some of what they like!

SQUEAK / Mark O'


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Nitz the Bloody





I will confess that I do get a bit peeved when I hear people say that they prefer to read classic superhero comics over anything else. However, I also believe that such a stance has some really unsettling connotations, for the individual, the audience, and the comic industry at large.

Everybody realizes that taste is very subjective, and not everybody is going to like everything. Quality and intellectual merit, however, are far less so. We may not always like a work, but we should at least be able to appreciate the craftsmanship involved. And I get that you're not insulting mature readers comics, so that isn't a problem here.

What is a problem, however, is using individual preference as the only arbiter of one's choice in fiction, sticking exclusively to a preferred genre and dismissing anything on the outside. It's self-induced deprivation of sources of not only potential entertainment, but intellectual growth as well. As Robert Heinlein put it, as the conclusion to a larger quote on the versatility of experience that people should aspire to, " Specialization is for insects ".

Admittedly, I am assuming a lot. I don't know what your non comics tastes are, and I don't know what other interests you have. But the jist is this; superheroes are a perfectly fine choice for reading material. The problem is when they are the only choice of reading material.

And given how much the industry ( and specifically, a large cross-section of fandom ) caters to insularity and narrow-mindedness, it's an especially sore issue with me.


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entzauberung




> > ..I understand the histrionics bit was about me.
>
> Just found it ironic, that's all. Pretty much the definition of what you railed against. Sorry if I came across over-hard.
>

That's OK. I'm probably part of the problem:).


> Though I'm definitely one the side of "classic comics better" ("testicular mutilation" pretty much guarantees I won't even open Kick-Ass), I'm well aware that all different kinds of comics have their adherents and their own pros and cons. More power to 'em. I'll be bitching when they cancel _everything_ old school in favor of "Testicular Mutilation Monthly," but as long as I can get some of what I like, everyone else is more than welcome to some of what they like!
>

Well, I'm not really on an "against old comics" side...I love a lot of old stuff.



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CyberCoyote





> Though I'm definitely one the side of "classic comics better" ("testicular mutilation" pretty much guarantees I won't even open Kick-Ass), I'm well aware that all different kinds of comics have their adherents and their own pros and cons. More power to 'em. I'll be bitching when they cancel _everything_ old school in favor of "Testicular Mutilation Monthly," but as long as I can get some of what I like, everyone else is more than welcome to some of what they like!
>
> SQUEAK / Mark O'

just electrocuted.. he's a young guy, probably no smell of burned hair or anything \:\)

Hopefully I didn't fall too deeply in the 'attack' catagory. I was trying to state why it didn't appeal to me. But marvel Adventures has a new title, so there's yin to the yang \:\)


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Unstable Molecule




> I'm one of those fairly dyed-in-the-wool superhero comics mainstays, but every once in a while I like to challenge myself with something different. I'd say that Kick Ass takes a fairly realistic look at what might happen to someone if they even attempted some of the things we take for granted in a comic (or even a movie) today. Jump off a building with some manufactured wings? You go splat. Smallish teenager takes on 3 other kids, one with a knife? Beaten up and stabbed. I had no problam with the language, in fact, I thought it was probably close to how some teens actually do talk amongst each other.
> So really, for me, the best thing I can say about Kick Ass is that I liked it for what it was and would like to get the next couple issues to see where it's going.

I could have written those same words myself. I enjoyed it, and I'm on-board.


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Jared





>
> What is a problem, however, is using individual preference as the only arbiter of one's choice in fiction, sticking exclusively to a preferred genre and dismissing anything on the outside. It's self-induced deprivation of sources of not only potential entertainment, but intellectual growth as well. As Robert Heinlein put it, as the conclusion to a larger quote on the versatility of experience that people should aspire to, " Specialization is for insects ".

> Admittedly, I am assuming a lot. I don't know what your non comics tastes are, and I don't know what other interests you have. But the jist is this; superheroes are a perfectly fine choice for reading material. The problem is when they are the only choice of reading material.

Oh, not at all, as I show below. But, for whatever reason, superheroes are what get my passion going, and arouse my excitement. Don't ask me why, they just do. It also extends into my writing, as with my Ultimate-style reimagining of Sleepwalker; I try to find new ways of exploring old ideas, often by exploring new themes that are not, I think, unfaithful to the originals. Sort of like how the X-Men's themes of social alienation have alternately been used to comment on the situations of people of color, homosexuals, youths, and others-some of the same stuff is there, it's just being looked at through a different lens.

It's the implied criticism of the superhero genre that doesn't sit well with me, and in a way I try to respond by showing how capes and spandex can still be used to explore different types of themes. In its own way, it's a fun creative and intellectual challenge to come up with new ways to explore some of these old tropes, allowing them to evolve and grow without stagnating.

This doesn't mean I particularly support every kind of change-JMS's changes to Spider-Man and the implications made by Grant Morrison's Arkham Asylum novel both rubbed me the wrong way-but for me, trying to find new ways to explore old ideas is just as fun as trying to find ways to break new ground.

> And given how much the industry ( and specifically, a large cross-section of fandom ) caters to insularity and narrow-mindedness, it's an especially sore issue with me.

This I can understand perfectly well, especially when quality work like what you apparently like doesn't get the attention it deserves. I, for one, vastly prefer the Stan Lee/Johnny Romita interpretation of Spider-Man, though you'll never find me denigrating the importance Ditko lent to the character. Nor guys like Morrison, even if I don't always agree with the themes he espouses in his work.

For what it's worth, I really love the work of the Belgian cartoonist Hergé; it was the 1990s cartoon that initiallly got me into it, but I also love the individual comics Hergé himself drew, especially the way he worked various types of political commentary in later books. That, to me, shows the right way to insert commentary, by doing it subtly, so the audience can pick up on it if they look, but otherwise don't need it to enjoy the story. If you beat the audience over the head with it, however, that's when it can turn people off.

Other books I should get from the library are Maus, and that one up here in Canada someone did about Louis Riel. These books have the potential to hit home-while my family isn't Jewish, my grandfather was shot down in World War II, and spent several years in a POW camp before being rescued. As for Riel, Canadian history is one of my passions, and if you study this country's history, the saga of Riel remains one of the most heated topics you can name.

Oh, and Calvin and Hobbes always has and always will rock. I noticed that Bill Watterson remarked on a few occasions that he could have gotten more freedom AND more money by ditching newspapers and switching to book form-so why wouldn't he do that? If newspapers were such a hassle to work with, why not tell them to get bent and publish his work his own way?


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Coisa




> I read Kick Ass #1 today, and loved the debut issue more than almost any new comic I've read in many months. It reminded me of a dramatically improved second draft of Millar's Wanted ( which I liked, though it wasn't my favorite work ); both stories start with a middle-class nobody choosing the superhuman life as an escape from societal alienation. However, Kick-Ass already looks like it'll be better, because while Wesley Gibson went from a loser to a successful criminal mastermind without much hardship, Dave Lizewski faces the obvious consequences of enacting his juvenile power fantasy. The character writing is also better established ( Dave's emotional map is more complex, and his reactions ring truer ), and John Romita Jr.'s rough, jagged world fits the story much better than the sleek, glamorous art that J.G. Jones provided for Wanted.

I just read the book and... I´m amazed.
But I disagree with you about that "Kick ass" being an improved "wanted", I think them as different animals.
Wanted reversed the genre conventions by making villains cooler than the heroes. It’s like, well, some specific kind of reader is so judgmental, so high in his own morals, and so obsessive with tiny weenie details and full of little rules that people GOT TO follow that it makes irresistible to make fun out of them.
So, the temptation is making his heroes seem sexually repressed ( eternal girlfriends that not even KISS ? Heroes that can’t get married ? love triangles ? love Squares ? Love octagonal ?) and whinney.
And Villains more laid back, sexy, free in a sense they *take NO BULLSHIT*. Millar makes villains life a temptation, wrong but a temptation.

In kick ass, he takes the Idea of being a super-hero to the last consequences. The Kid turns into a super-hero not for "heroism" but to get away from a sad life. We are, kind of, watching a suicide attempt.
And man, his life is sad. I don’t know , but If all the literature, movies and culture about American High Schools is accurate, well, It’s a living hell.
You live by other people’s opinions on you, you are bullied ( and every adult is absent to see that), you carry emotional scars and traumas of those days for the rest of your life. It’s like when we read about suicide rates in northern Europe. They are nice countries with no crimes, with social security, the citizens are well feed and they are sexually liberals BUT... there you go.
Kick ass reminded me of Gus Vansaint´s Elephant, that examine American High Schools shoot outs. We got people all around the world scratching their heads on "why this good kids, living in a developed rich country, just go NUTS and start to shoot everybody ?"
And there you go. Why the KID in kick ass would bothering in saving a world full of (as he put it) Paris Hilton wannabes ? Of people that mock and discriminates him?
It’s so F' ing sad.

Now, Wanted Makes fun of an older comic book Fan, in his twenties, that is non-confrontational, procrastinator and passive (aggressive) - But capable of turning into a Internet Bully. Kick ass show us the kind of reader that some of us WERE, or still think they are. Lonely kid, with no understanding of the rules of the world ( yeah, there are rules everybody tells us about and there are rules nobody tell us about) and for lack of orientation he took the fiction for the reality.
TV , movies and comics are not the WORLD. But a lot of people (adults included) can’t make that distinction. Let alone a Kid.

In resume : Wanted gives a Finger to twenty, thirty and forty years old comic book readers that take themselves and their little worlds too seriously.
Kick ass, so far, show Readers how lonely they are and make their fantasies looks like a poor means of escape that. Apart from the occasional joke, It doesn’t make fun of the hypothetical reader, but it redeems him, painting a picture that reader, he can’t look at.


>
> Not sure how this story is going to end up, but the fact that Millar and JR Jr. are talking about further Kick-Ass stories really raised my spirits. Contrary to the intentionally hyperbolic ad campaign, Kick-Ass is not the Greatest Superhero book of All Time, because it isn't really a superhero book. It's a scatching commentary on the superhero genre, and how easily it falls apart when faced with reality. Except, unlike with Civil War, Kick-Ass intends to make this fact clear.
>
> But then, since this book joins the growing category of spectacularly cynical superhero comics ( also included are Millar's previous Wanted and other works, Ennis and Robertson's The Boys, Ellis' Thunderbolts, and Grant Morrison's X-Men run ), it's gotten complaint from fans of superheroes. And while taste is subjective, there have been comments that trouble me, such as this one from lower on the boards...
>

Ennis and Ellis are cynical about Heroes, and that’s no secret to anyone. But Millar and Morrison are not.
I guess we live in a world where COMSUME power makes almost everything right. So nobody (at the Big two super-heroes comic publishers) is going to say " hey, you. Take it easy. It’s not the Real world we are talking about, not real people, you think them as so, but they aren’t. Being an adult is about facing consequences and having tolerance for things we can’t control. We have to tolerate frustrations sometimes - Tolerate, doesn’t means accept them - because everybody hurts sometimes, so quit being a control freak and a WUSS and try to escape reality so often".
No, they are going to say " heeey guys, life SUUUCKS doesn’t it ? In a fair world people would love and admire you because you are sooo smart ( well you think yourself as so, and I never met someone that didn’t think as himself as the smartest person in the universe- So get away from that terrrible terrible world. We have a market flooded of characters that have the exactly same problems you do. And the movie is comming up next summer... and remember the costumer is always RIGHT, even when he isn’t"

So, GOD bless Mark Millar for being such hyperactive, and sometimes incoherent Iconoclast.

> "
> Along with some others. Looks like Kick Ass is pretty much just a heavy R-Rated comic with as much swearing and cheap thrills as you can smash into 22 pages. In the few pages there you get testicular electrocution, teenage masturbation fantasies, and the F bomb more than once at least \:\-\) It reminds me of something I would have gotten my jollies from sneaking a look at Heavy Metal Magazine about 25 or so years ago.

>
> Of course, this comment implicitly derides not just Kick-Ass, but R-Rated material in general. Yes, there was testicular electrocution, masturbation references, coarse language, and a lot of violence towards the end. But there was always reason behind the explicit content. The point of Kick-Ass is that the world Dave lives in is not the Marvel Universe, and he is not a morally upstanding citizen like Peter Parker. He's a misanthropic teenaged boy who gets aroused and has violent power fantasies like everyone else. The scenes with him lusting after the opposite sex and picking fights with taggers ( fights which he obviously loses ) are the most dramatic examples, but there were a lot of more subtle and even touching scenes as well ( re: the flashback to his Mom's aneurysm; Dave fantasizes about swearing vengeance a la a young Bruce Wayne, but in reality he just plays video games until he can't feel anymore. Also, the scenes with his still-grieving father were similarly effective ). This series does not fall into the realm of shock for shock's sakes.
>
> And as for " getting my jollies from Heavy Metal Magazine "; while teenagers do enjoy " edgy " material ( I am disgusted with myself for using that word ), my experiences as a teenager were much different. Sure, I enjoyed my share of gross-out humor and sexual innuendo, but I also credit a good portion of my intellectual development to Vertigo. Books like Preacher and Transmetropolitan were shocking, but they were also brilliant and ambitious, and they were available in a format that was very accessible to my tastes at the time. And they got me into reading non-superheroic material, a direction which has not steered me wrong.

It´s too early to tell what will became of Kick Ass, so it´s too premature and shallow claim IT is *just* an exercise of sadism as the reader claims. And Quite frankly, It’s pretty shallow claiming Mags such as Heavy Metal are *just* j***** off material too.



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