December 1, 2008 at 10:01 pm (1)

Plok finally got his big Millar post down. And it’s pretty big, and long, and introduces concepts not fully fleshed out until after they’re used as incredibly important concepts guiding his readings of Millar’s comics.

BUT, here’s the awesome part: it starts by defending Millar and his controversies as acknowledging the commonly accepted boundaries of what can happen in a superhero comic (Heroes the example of the perfect, normative superhero media: I agree), and how, at his worst, he’s a graffiti artist more concerned with desecrating the landscape than using its much-viewed urban real estate as a platform for underrepresented media, and at his best, the graffiti art is kinda good to look at.

But (there’s always a but), this pointing out of superhero genre cliches ISN’T too subversive anymore. Marvel publishes The Age of Sentry, fer chrissakes, not to mention their multitude of Marvel Essentials that prove inadequacies of the publisher much more than essential, character defining moments. It isn’t enough to point out plot or character inconsistencies and laugh at them, no: Millar becomes even more rebellious than his peers by taking these concepts as dreafully serious! See: Ultimates and Wanted, which ingrains transgression not just through having what the villains consider

But (Oh how Millar surrounds even his critical tendencies with T&A!), all of this wanton destruction, often at the risk of critical and audience appreciation, eventually comes to a point where the critic can no longer point out Millar’s own work as good of any kind, and must paint over the subway wall with iridiscent pink and gang signs. So: Plok ends his piece by saying that all of this anarchy eventually leads to death and doom, but it shouldn’t, because it’s art aware of its form and using it to broadcast a politically subversive message.

In short, throughout the entire essay, we’re being told that what Millars doing is very good, even though it’s actually bad, and Plok goes through hoops to tell us how transgressive and sloppy it can be. But Iron Man is the champion of Civil War despite the evilness of his agenda, America is the bad villain of Ultimates 2 that turns all of its heroes into incarcerated neurotics, but we cheer for them when the evil Russian menace is defeated. And Mark Millar gets championed at the end of the essay, even though his agenda is reckless and terrible compared to the long term considerations of Morrison and co, because the opposite, not supporting innovative comics, just helps Heroes excel even more.

And it ends with Plok disparaging the reader for wanting more out of the story than what he’s already listed as its positive qualities. I can almost forgive the ending of Wanted, now (but, I’m sure, when I go back to read it, the codification of Millar’s work gained from Plok’s readings will vanish as the work resumes, and I lose my suspension of disbelief as my own rules of Millar’s work return; such is solipsism.).

I kinda feel weird not writing this as a comment on his site, but it’s really more a review than an actual piece of discourse. Check it out!


I promise I got a lot of posts just cooking under the surface, especially the one about Of Montreal’s SKeletal Lamping and what makes it a frustrating, transcendent, but mostly sloppy new album. When I finish a couple finals related madness over the week, I should return with semi-daily posting.


1 Comment

  1. pillock said,

    Oh man, you almost make me feel like it wasn’t bloated and sloppy! Thanks for that: if only I’d been able to sum it all up as elegantly as you have here.

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