Dave Galanter
December 1st 1969 - December 12th 2020
He was loved.

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Post By
Coisa

In Reply To
Nitz the Bloody

Subj: Re: Further Discussion of Kick-Ass #1, and what it Kicks [SPOILERS]
Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 08:09:03 am EST
Reply Subj: Further Discussion of Kick-Ass #1, and what it Kicks [SPOILERS]
Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 06:55:41 pm EST

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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.

> 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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