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Subj: Is Thor really decompression though?... and I don't think Watchmen is either.
Posted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 06:49:51 pm EDT (Viewed 148 times)
Reply Subj: Two main reasons for that: Decompression and the Internet.
Posted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 06:52:09 am EDT (Viewed 235 times)
But I think also that as we get older our attention spans decrease. Case in point I went to see Watchmen with my friends on Friday night. After about 50 minutes one of my friends said he was leaving because nothing was happening and got up and walked out and home (about a 40 minute walk). Thats the first time I have ever seen him (or any of my friends) walk out on a movie and poor though Watchmen was, we have went to see many movies a lot worse than that.
I honestly can't see what the problem with Watchmen is. I think it is a great film for what it is. It was about as faithful an adaptation you are going to get. The only thing major they changed was the ending and even then it was in a way minor.
I think part of it is not that older people have shorter attention spans, but now days most people want action in their films every fifteen minutes and if it is not happening they complain it is too slow. This applies even more so to superhero movies that most people automatically think will be action films. You can notice this if you watch old movies and compare it to modern day films. I think part of it may be our "instant" gratification society.
The problem is that people this time around are actually missing out on something. Watchmen is one of the most complex comics ever. The reason it comes across slow and long is Moore had only about twelve issues to fleash out each character to a full extent. Add in the background material and you have one of the most deeply interwoven stories of the graphic model medium. The movie did a surprisingly good job of adapting this as much as possible. It was not perfect and I still think the graphic novel is better, but for what it is it does it very well.
I normally hate it when people say something is a piece of high art that the masses lack the intellect to fully appriciate. Tell the truth two-thirds of the time I think such things are full of it. Watchmen (the graphic novel at least and to a lesser extent the film) is something I think does have an artistic side the masses simple do not get.
As to Dr. Manhatten appearing naked, that is to emphasize his growing disconnection with humanity. He is so far beyond humans that clothes do not matter to him anymore.
Decompression, in my opinion, is the most annoying thing in comics today. It sucks all the life and excitement out of a story in an attempt to give it an added intelligence or gravitas. I think thats one reason why the Hulk is doing so well in the charts - its all-action style is a complete breath of fresh air to mainstream masses. Thor, for all the gravitas JMS brings to it, is, for the most part a boring comic. Interesting yes, but moments of excitement are few and far between.
I think decompression is a problem. I do think it can suck the life out of a story, but I don't think Hulk is any better. The strength of decompression is "rich in character development and mood rather than plot progression." The weakness is "unnecessarily stretching out the page length of plots, thinning out the content per page in order to earn more sales and money for a limited amount of work." Both sides have merit. Let me use three different stories to illustrate the differences:
1. First six issues of Mighty Avengers. This was pointlessly decompressed. If you don't remember it was an Ultron plot. Issue one had the team assemble and encounter Ultron. Issue two was just talking to Ultron and some flashbacks. Issue three was just a Sentry/Ultron fight. Issue four-six were figuring out how to beat Ultron and some other stuff I don't remember because it was so then. The whole thing should have only been four issues at most. There was no development for what was a short plot just to get the team going.
2. The new hulk series-This has the opposite problem and was in a way decompressed the other way. Six issues of nothing but fights with nothing to confirm anything about RHulk other then he was not Ross or Sampson. No character or plot development. Just random characters appearing to fall down before RHulk. This one gets away with it more because there was lots of action, but still decompressed with less development then many comics in that period.
3. Thor-Thor has been accused of being decompressed. I think it has but in the "right way." Each each has usually had something major happen. Issue #1 had Thor return, two Asgard, three, Heimdall, four Warriors Three, five the villains, six everyone else, seven and eight Odin and a backstory to set up further points, nine plot development on several fronts and frost giants, ten Balder becomes prince, eleven Steve Rogers and Balder as prince, twelve Loki, thirteen Bor.
The strength of decompression is character development and mood. JMS has done that. It is true he probable could have done it all in about three issues, but I think that would be rushing it too much. People have to remember that the medium has changed and that where used too a single page might be nine or more panels that has lessoned. Unlike what Bendis and other writers do where they just spend page after page of not moving the plot forward at all or even developing the characters JMS is actually developing the plots and weaving them togeteher. That is what makes Thor a fasinating read over those others. It is true RHulk is action packed, but it is like eating pure sugar with nothing else. The stories have no substance. I admit that is what the majority of the comic audience probable wants, but to me JMS offers a depth I find lacking in other stories.
I will admit however that he could work on the action a bit more, but the depth of the story and actually making the gods seem like gods makes up for it.
The internet also ruins things to an extent. Especially for those of us outside North America who get our comics late. I have to fight the urge not to read the scans over at herochat, usually I cave. Which means, I will have read every mainstream title I buy even before it reaches the shops here. I should add that I don't agree with piracy and that 90% of the time I only read scans of comics I already I have on my pull list. Occasionally someone will have posted a comic that sounds interesting and I'll go check it out and start buying it because of first reading the scans (Mighty Avengers since Slott took over for instance).
The thing I like about the Internet is it lets me keep up with other titles that I might find interesting and pick up later or at the very least know what is going on in the rest of the MU and other characters I like even though I can't afford them at the moment. Sometimes the spoilers do get to be a bit much.
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