Thursday, October 27, 2022

Some books I've read 54

Future Noir : The making of Blade Runner by Paul M. Sammon 
This is the 96 version of the book, not the latest one that also talks about the sequel. Still, 440 pages, all you ever wanted to know about this classic.

Song Noir: Tom Waits and The Spirit of Los Angeles by Alex Harvey 
A book about Tom Waits' period in LA, living at the Motel Tropicana and hanging out with Rickie Lee Jones and Chuck E Weiss, reading the Beats and Bukowski, how he created the Tom Waits character, became that character and then felt trapped by that character, recording Closing Time up to Heartattack and Wine, and then meeting Kathleen Brennan and changing both his life and his music.

Marvel Comics : The Untold Story by Sean Howe 
A pretty thorough examination of Marvel, the Lee and Kirby story, Jim Shooter, the collector boom and then bust in the 90's and also the Marvel movies. No-one comes off without a scratch, definitely not Stan Lee and even not Kirby, who later claimed it was all him, even the creation of Spider-Man.

Amazing Spider-Man: The Death of Captain Stacy 
The early stories in this collection are pretty weak. You get the feeling that Stan Lee has lost interest. Or is too busy on other books. Roy Thomas takes over the scripting at the end. And is it possible that it's not Ditko or Romita that is the best Spider-Man artist, but Gil Kane?

Amazing Spider-Man: The Goblin's Last Stand 
This is peak Romita and Kane. Some great stories here, including Doc Ock and Kraven, leading up to the death of Gwen Stacy by Green Goblin. Gerry Conway has mostly taken over the scriptwriting at this point, but in the middle of the book there are suddenly three issues by Stan Lee about a politician that turns out to be a bad guy, and it's just pretty weak stuff. Even Romita's art seems a bit half-assed.

Gil Kane's The Amazing Spider-Man: Artisan Edition
I'm not buying the Artist Edition books, they're far too expensive for me, but have a bit of patience and you can find a used Artisan edition for less than 20 pounds. Great art by Kane, of course, and makes me want to find more of his books. I think I only have a couple of the Space Hawks pocketbooks. 

Currently reading:

Stamboul Train by Graham Greene
Strange Things Happen: A Life With The Police, Polo and Pygmies by Stewart Copeland


  1. FWIW, when I read Essential Spider-Man 4—which ends with #89, a Gil Kane Dr. Octopus issue—I was obsessed with Romita's artwork and felt a bit cheated that most of his issues were finished by Jim Mooney. Eventually, it dawned on me that credits like ‘Storyboards’ and ‘Innovator’ were acknowledging Romita's key role in plotting and visualizing these stories, a demanding monthly burden, I imagine. That seemed even more apparent when Gil Kane took over in #89 with an issue inordinantly devoted to a single fight scene. I love Kane's artwork, but the book read very differently. (My argument: If Stan were really helming the writing, you wouldn't see such radical shifts in character and plotting when a new artist takes over.)

    In some issues, Stan's credited as Scripter or Script Writer, which seems like an apt description; other times, he's given broader authorship credit. It's hard to know how much reflects a real difference from one issue to the next or just a fun phrasing.

    I really liked Kane's contributions to Essential Warlock (Marvel Preview #1-2, Warlock #1, 3-5). He's one of the those artists I remember learning to identify and appreciate on covers. I made sure to pick up Essential Spider-Man 5 to get more of his run on the series, particularly in combination with the occasional Romita inks.

    1. I haven't seen Kane's Warlock stuff.

      Lee getting the story credit if the artist does most of the work is not right. Especially in the Kirby books. And it's strange since it was in Marvel's interest to keep Kirby happy.

  2. In that session are your readings in a month?