Wednesday, January 30, 2013

2013 Comic Book Resources Matt Kindt interview on "Manhunter" back-ups

Martians have a crippling vulnerability to fire, Jovians to water, Saturnians to oil, and mine would appear to be moving. I've done it many dozens of times, and like Post-Crisis J'Onn J'Onzz I've developed a resistance to the debilitating weakness, but it's still hell on my aging body. Luckily, will_in_chicago has found yet another Matt Kindt interview that sounds like the writer's speaking from well coached talking points yet still manages to come off poorly, and I'm just enough of a jerk to tear into him for it again. Hey, I've got less that an hour before this post is late and something very specific I want to cover before the end of 1/31/13, so you'll take what I got and like it.

First off, am I out of line in thinking that DC is quite the braintrust for scheduling all these interviews about the Manhunter back-ups without offering so much as a sketch or panel from strip artist Scott Clark? As far as I can tell, Scott has drawn the Alien Atlas exactly twice: on the Stormwatch cover I keep recycling, and a zombie version in Brightest Day. The banner at the top of the interview is a seven year old Al Barrionuevo drawing of the failed One Year Later Coneheadhunter revamp that was killed off two years later, zombified a couple of years after that, resurrected in a better received revamp, and yet still tossed in the garbage as part of the linewide DC revamp from a year and a half ago. Nothing promotes a book like readers debating whether the sales department is negligent, incompetent, or themselves debating the same about creative/editorial. I half expect to hear Koi Turbull will be taking over retroactively.

On to prejudging Matt Kindt without ever having read his work. I loved how from the first question, where the interviewer proclaims his favor toward the Martian Manhunter, Kindt sidesteps copping to his own tepid feelings. Terms like "underutilized," especially when you throw J'Onn into the context of a bunch of other DC characters with "potential," is a nice way of saying, "golly, someone like me could really make something of that mediocrity." Kindt also likes to push his anointment by Geoff Johns to be his Sholly Fisch, as if that were something to crow about. "I invented new techniques for demonstrating telepathy in comics that have attracted Hollywood attention, so DC's giving me work-for-hire wages to rip myself off on their telepathy guy that I have a passing familiarity with." It's like Johns is a director and Kindt is his special effects house instead of a fellow writer.

Kindt yet again makes comparisons to Superman, and in fact most of the piece as a whole could easily have been cut and pasted from any of the other interviews he's done recently. It's almost as unimaginative as foregoing plotting his own work in favor of reworking Johns' lead features. I think Kindt missed his calling as a political hack, he's so unerringly on message. Do you think there's still time to work out the rules for a Matt Kindt interview drinking game? How about the double speak regarding his making time to draw the Manhunter strip if someone asked him to but no one did and he wouldn't be a good fit and he doesn't have the time with his creator owned work anyway? There may have been an unintentional slip in there though, as he referenced the character's "natural form," a Post-Crisis conceit that hasn't been seen in the New 52 so far. Kindt says a Martian Manhunter ongoing series would be his dream project, which is the sort of thing you would expect to hear from a little known creator with a small body of work whose only other mainstream series so far was cancelled after less than a year with him on the job. I'm pretty sure his really real dream project would probably involve Batman, but that's not on the table, so let's show some enthusiasm for the one character he does have his hooks in, right?


will_in_chicago said...

Matt Kindt does little to reassure me that he will do a good job with the back up feature. He may be talented -- I am not familiar with him. However, he does not inspire my confidence.

The back up strip may be good and perhaps Kindt is remarkably inarticulate. I would prefer if he actually seemed to know something about the Martian Manhunter.

LissBirds said...

I thought the second interview was a link back to the other one...

Nothing about this interview sits well with me. You hit the nail on the head by picking up on the word "potential." Taking the Manhunter from Mars in all different directions just isn't going to work, when really he's a pretty simple concept.

His comment about wanting to do an origin story is what really gets under my skin. I don't like that at all. We're going to get another origin, and it's either going to try to build on what's come before (and thus be completely mixed up and confusing) or be completely different (and thus be something completely unfitting for the character.) I've already succumbed to weakness and put a few issues on order, which means I'm setting myself up to get my heart ripped out and stomped on.

Can't DC at least run a few focus groups or something once in a while?

Oh, and in other news, Young Justice has been cancelled, along with the GL cartoon:

The replacement? More Batman.

Diabolu Frank said...

Liss, that's been DC's failure for decades. Marvel Comics gets plenty of mileage out of Spider-Man, and has done so from the early days, but they aren't "Spider-Man Comics Group." They've had a string of franchise-starting blockbuster movies based on successful cartoons based on successful comic books based on a diverse creative universe. DC has mostly had endless variations of Superman and Batman, plus Wonder Woman merchandising, and they've been fine with that for the better part of a century. They're like Disney trying to cold open Tron and John Carter and the Lone Ranger long removed from any cultural currency. They didn't sell enough Young Justice toys, so throw it on the scrap heap with Legion of Super-Heroes. They debuted a Green Lantern cartoon only because they had a presumed hit movie to support it, rather than having laid the necessary groundwork with a cartoon that might have helped build an audience ahead of that movie flopping. They keep trying to build a whole cake out of frosting, then retreat to Twinkies and Ding-Dongs each time that fails.

will_in_chicago said...

DC has failed again and again to promote a lot of characters with interesting stories. I sometimes wonder where they find their marketers.