Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Fight for Love and General Glory

In the 1990s, DC published a comic called Justice League Quarterly, a big 80-page anthology starring the various characters and groups associated with all the JLA titles then being published. I wrote, among other things, a semi-regular character called General Glory, who was, in that continuity, supposed to have been a "real" character who had actually lived and functioned in the DC universe of characters as far back as World War II. He was supposedly a top secret agent of the government in the war and beyond, but as part of his cover, his adventures were published as comic books, as a radio show, a TV show, etc. That way, if anyone reported seeing a guy running around in that costume, it could be chalked up to a delusion or some nut in a General Glory Halloween costume.

JLQ would feature occasional short stories purporting to be reprints of old General Glory comic book stories from across the different eras, from the Golden Age to then modern times. They were supposed to mimic (with tongue-in-cheek and irony at full bloom) the tone, storytelling and art styles of the eras we were parodying. So, f'instance, to imitate the flavor of a late-1950s Superman comic book story, we got late-1950s Superman artist Curt Swan to pencil it. For the riff on 1950s Marvel monster comics, my brother-from-another-mother Rick Stasi penciled and Dick Ayers, the dude who actually inked 3/4 of the stories we lovingly mocked inked it (I'll run that one next week).

My favorite of these, strictly from a script point-of-view, was my pastiche on The Dark Knight Returns, Frank Miller's seminal Batman graphic novel from the 1980s, the granddaddy of the grim & gritty movement. I thought I caught the tone of Frank's writing fairly accurately and wrote a couple of really dead-on metaphorical captions that could have come out of the original even with their sheer goofiness. I can be a half-way decent stylistic mimic when I try and on this one, I tried.

Alas, happy script, not completely happy result. I mean, not terrible, just...not all it could have been. The artist drew some nice pictures, but on many pages, he ignored--or more likely did not understand, as he was a South American artist, I believe, who's handed a script translation by the studio he worked for--the instructions to do the layouts like Frank's in The Dark Knight Returns. He didn't, so what could have been a solid home run turned into a double and I promise never again to use another sports metaphor here.

The second half tomorrow. As ever, click on an image to see it in a readable size:

© DC Comics

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