Tuesday, July 22, 2008

To my friends and co-workers

Most of y'all know I like comic books. Even if we've never had a discussion about graphic novels or the genius of Alan Moore, you've see the toys and posters scattered around my workplace and the Green Lantern tattoo on my finger. And that's fine, I'm not ashamed. If you want to talk about sequential art or what a great collection you had as a kid before your mom made you throw them out, I'm right there.
But why in the name of Krypton do y'all assume that because I like reading comic books that automatically means whenever a new superhero movie comes that means I'll be standing in line with my cape and mask on waiting to buy a ticket. Haven't I explained to y'all over and over that I don't love movies? That if I get a couple hours free time I'd rather read a book or go for a walk? And if I do go to a movie it probably won't be some overblown dumbed-down Hollywooded-up desecration of something I hold dear?
Why? Why? Why?
Y'all don't even ask me if I'm going to see "Dark Knight" (or "Iron Man" or "Hulk" or "Hellboy" or whatever) you say, "Have you seen "Dark Knight" (or "Iron Man") yet?" or "How did you like "Hulk"?" Even though I explained to y'all last summer when the questions were all about how I liked "Fantastic Four 2" and "Spider-Man 3" that I haven't seen those movies, and have neither plans nor desire to see them.
When you push it and ask what's my favorite comic book movie, I say "American Splendor" because it is, by far. But you just look at me blankly. When I elaborate and say, "Oh, you mean superhero comic book movie? The last one of those I liked was "Superman 2" back in 1978 or whenever it was."
So to sum up, I do not like superhero comic book movies, I do not like them in a box or with a fox, I do not like them, Sam I Am.
So stop asking.

And now part two: (Warning: Those of you who still cannot fathom how someone could love reading comic books but not like viewing movies based on comic books should read no further. This next part will make your brain explode.)
There are at least two more blockbuster movies coming out this year "Watchmen" and "The Spirit." Both of these are based on comic books, and not just any comic books but two of the best ever. I love both of these books and not only will I NOT be going to see the movie, I may be picketing outside the theater, protesting that these movies should not have been made. Why wouldn't I go see movies based on books I love?
One reason: They're going to suck.
How do I know they're going to suck?
Two reasons: 1.) Past experience. Hollywood has already ruined several of Alan Moore's works -- "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" "From Hell" "V For Vendetta" and there is no reason to believe they'll do any better with his magnum opus "Watchmen." Frank Miller is associated with "The Spirit" and Miller is a tasteless, talentless idjit, and I hope he stays in Hollywood and out of comics, since Hollywood is already morally and creatively bankrupt and he can do less damage there.
2.) (And this gets right to the heart of that matter) Some books don't have to be made into movies, in fact shouldn't be. They're meant to be read and something essential is lost when they are viewed. One of the most respected and influential books of the 20th century is "The Catcher in the Rye" but it's never been filmed. Why? Because it's unfilmable and Jerome David Salinger is smart enough to realize that. We're meant to commune with Holden Caulfield one on one via the printed word, not in a sticky seat with a bunch of strangers talking on their cell phones, via the moving picture. If Hollywood made a movie of "Catcher" they'd have to turn Holden into a gangster or a detective, something they understand. And it would be a disaster -- like "Watchmen."

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