Sunday, 29 March 2009

this just caught my attention. The wife of my bosom and I watch Rebus on cable every week, as they are currently showing the filmic inventory in total, and I have often wondered if the oddly dismal view of human nature is a carry-over form the books from which the otherwise engaging series sprung (though it must be said that the post-John Hannah version with Ken Stott in the title role has been more uplifting). I see that the author Ian Rankin was interviewed this week at Newsarama, on account of his new gig at Vertigo, writing a so-called 'graphic novel':
"...a lot of people hated the film of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but I loved it! I think I went and saw it three times! I liked the characters, and the idea of them as the first superhero fighting team. That’s just a great idea. As a creative writer, that just really appeals to me, genre-hopping and playing games with them.
I loved V for Vendetta as well. I thought it was very true to the source material, very faithful. I thought, “being Hollywood, they’ll make him take off the mask, we’ll get to see his face.” Nope. Loved From Hell also. I think I liked it better than the comic book, which is very hard to follow in parts."
But we need not worry because he is actually really truly quite brainy. In figuring out how to write comic books, this is what he came up with:
"What I did was I got a copy of a book called Understanding Comics and the others by Scott McCloud. And I thought they were really quite cerebral. It was like, “What happens in the space between the panels is almost as important as the panels themselves, because time has passed, and you’ve got to imagine what has happened between these two panels.”
With any luck he'll fall through the space between the panels and we'll be spared. Meanwhile we'll get back to enjoying Rebus on the tv and wondering how much they had to change it to make it work.

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33 Comments:

Anonymous Jean-Paul Jennequin said...

That was a scary post if I ever read one.

29 March 2009 6:19:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous daren said...

I quite like the French version "Ce Rebus". They get Ken Stott to dress up in a grey sheep skin and try to avoid the rain. It can sometimes drag on a bit towards the end though...

29 March 2009 7:15:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Robert Boyd said...

It's hard to believe that the same guy who writes the gritty, hard-boiled, soaked-in-Edinburgh crime novels could say things so silly.

29 March 2009 8:04:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous Wayne Beamer said...

You finally broke down and got cable in your very own home. WOW! Just as surprising to me as Rankin loving the LOEG and From Hell movies.

29 March 2009 9:59:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

....*sigh*


Zulli.

29 March 2009 11:50:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Bill Peschel said...

This is why it's sometimes best to pay more attention to the work than to the artist. Methinks Ian's going to come down with a severe case of hubris.

I like Ian's work; I've read most of the Rebus books (although I haven't seen the series), and they are dark and gritty. But, in a way, they're not that much different than Miss Marple (now there's an image to make you spit your coffee).

Seriously, if you read the books, she has an equally dismal view of human nature. To her, anyone is capable of murder, and even in bucolic England (and in the post-WWII books, she comments about the changes wrought by the suburbs), she knows that some pretty tatty things go on in those neat homes.

Oh, and if you want to see another example of writers who enter the comic genre at their peril, check out Chris Sim's blog. He's done takedowns of Laurell K. Hamilton's transfer of her Anita Blake (vampire hunter in St. Louis) series to comic books. Here's the latest attempt.

29 March 2009 12:27:00 pm GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eddie, I'm watching TV right now and Waldemar Januszczak has a series on the Baroque, 'Baroque! St Peter's to St Paul's'. In the final episode he talks about the UK and gets on to Hawksmoor, at which point he name checks yourself, Alan and From Hell, and features it repeatedly as he discusses the occult notions surrounding Hawksmoor. "Complete nonsense," he explains but clearly relishes the stories in Sinclair and Ackroyd's books and your 'enormous horror comic' as he shows the strangeness off the churches.

I don't think the iplayer works outside the UK (without someone convincing the website you're actually within licence fee) territory) but maybe someone (hayley?) could send you a tape.

Here's the iplayer link anyway:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00jf3hv/Baroque!_From_St_Peters_to_St_Pauls_Episode_3/

Ben Smith

29 March 2009 2:06:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Hayley said...

I ain't wasting tape on some pillock who throws books.

29 March 2009 2:54:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

Ben, meet Hayley.

29 March 2009 5:08:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

Jean-Paul,
Early morning here. I phoned my pal D White to find out what he's blathering about. It's an innocuous reference to Dave Sim's Cerebus and he didn't notice the French translator of my Alec books was the previous poster.
Eddie

29 March 2009 5:37:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Andrew J said...

With any luck he'll fall through the space between the panels and we'll be spared.

Yes, and thanks very much.

29 March 2009 6:32:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Matthew Adams said...

Maybe we should give him a "how to draw manga" book.

30 March 2009 1:50:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Smadraji said...

Nice Posting
Gay

30 March 2009 3:47:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yes, I forgot to mention the book-tossing. I don't think he's a complete pillock though, he makes interesting enough documentaries.

Hayley, I shall make no more suggestions as to what you do with your tape.

Ben Smith

30 March 2009 5:32:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous Thomas R. Hart said...

With any luck he'll fall through the space between the panels and we'll be spared.

BWAH-HAH-HAH-HAH!

(to quote Keith Giffen)

30 March 2009 9:35:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous duds said...

And this is the profession that "comic book" creaters aspire to for legitimacy.

He avoiding the big topic of what he though of Doctor Manhattan's blue light saber though I hope.

31 March 2009 4:43:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous duds said...

just realised his book is called "Dark Entries", isn't that the title of a nubian porno?

31 March 2009 4:47:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Hayley said...

Fnarr!

In a side note, my word verification says 'DOURGIT'.

31 March 2009 6:31:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous Don Murphy said...

Lots of people love the League movie. I understand it plays on the UK regularly. I rather think it makes Mr Rankin sound smart.

31 March 2009 10:32:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Ed Yates said...

Thoughts to Bill/Eddie on dismal view of humanity:

But isn't anyone is capable of murder given the right circumstances?

Social psychologists like Zimbardo and Milgram pretty much proved that you can take "good" or "ordinary" people and put them in a "bad" situation where they take on certain roles that can enable them to do evil.

I think the fact that mass murder is carried out by thousands (Khmer Rouge, Nazi Germany, Stalin's regime) also proves that it is not just psychopaths and sadists that are capable of killing.

Having said that, there is also evidence that there is an inherent resistance to killing such as very large numbers of men not firing their guns in the American Civil war and WWI and WWII. Until certain training regimes are instituted in the military you see fire rates as low as 25% or less (See Dave Grossman).

Anyhow, that aside.

I respect you Eddie and I think this post tastes a bit of sour grapes.

I don't know Ian Rankin's work well enough to comment if it is good, bad or whatever. I doubt I'll be buying the 200 page thing. But I do know that everyone gets there start somewhere, it just happens to be that this bloke has not dedicated himself to comics to begin with.

One thing that bothers me is Vertigo-DC assumes that crime readers might cross over into comics purely on the basis of an author's name. Trading on name alone and if the comic is crap may actually put off more than it drags in.

31 March 2009 5:15:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Ed Yates said...

**their start

Coffee had not quite kicked in yet.

31 March 2009 5:17:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

"Thoughts to Bill/Eddie on dismal view of humanity:
But isn't anyone is capable of murder given the right circumstances?"

I was referring more to Rebus' opinion that people who prefer single malt scotch to blended must be poseurs, and his descriptions of the seamier side of Edinburghj as though it was the crotch of Hell.


"I respect you Eddie and I think this post tastes a bit of sour grapes."

well of course. You have a sense of humour i presume. How often is a writer so insensible to decorum as to opine that the film versions of other writers works are superior to the books. That's spoiling for a fight, no?

31 March 2009 5:32:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

and anyone who thinks you can learn to write comics from Scott mcCloud's Understanding Comics needs to be seriously mocked.

31 March 2009 6:11:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Matthew Adams said...

Whenever I read From Hell, all I can imagine that is happening in the gutters between the panels is Eddie campbell lying in them after an all night bender, and muttering "Right, on to the next bloody panel of this bloody monster! Ten bloody years of jack the bloody ripper" I always imagine you saying bloody a lot.

1 April 2009 12:29:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

arf!

1 April 2009 12:34:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous Thomas R. Hart said...

I was referring more to Rebus' opinion that people who prefer single malt scotch to blended must be poseurs

Actually, they are not poseurs. Just wusses :)

and his descriptions of the seamier side of Edinburgh as though it was the crotch of Hell.

Having seen the movie version of Ian Rankin's FROM THE CROTCH OF HELL, I must say that I prefer it to both the book version, which has to be read letter by letter while the actual plot happens in the white space between words, and the real life version of the seamier side of Edinburgh, which are pretty much non-existent today (when I visit friends) as they were non-existent 12 ago when I lived there. It's been a long time since TRAINSPOTTING was an even somewhat accurate description of parts of Edinburgh.

1 April 2009 7:44:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i always get a kick out of it when Don Murphy pops up to defend one of these movies.


goddard

1 April 2009 9:10:00 am GMT-5  
OpenID benjaminbayliss said...

Is it just me or does it seem a little odd to damn a writer without actually having read anything by him? Who cares if he gets inspiration from From Hell or LoEG movies? Great for him!

1 April 2009 11:32:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

it's just you.

It is in fact perfectly acceptable to mock somebody for the the things he says in an interview. I myself go into hiding when I say something stupid in an interview, and I deserve everything that comes to me.

1 April 2009 2:45:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Ed Yates said...

"well of course. You have a sense of humour i presume. How often is a writer so insensible to decorum as to opine that the film versions of other writers works are superior to the books. That's spoiling for a fight, no?"

Point taken regarding Rankin saying he liked movie version of From Hell better because comic version is 'very hard to follow'.

That does make him come across as rather dim.

But there is no accounting for taste. And this is a bit about taste and cultural sensibilities.

He seems to have pissed on peoples' sensibilities by his cavalier and/or naive attitude towards the medium more than anything.

Basically the man has not paid his dues is what I'm getting.

Fair enough.

"It is in fact perfectly acceptable to mock somebody for the the things he says in an interview. I myself go into hiding when I say something stupid in an interview, and I deserve everything that comes to me."

We can't all have big brassy ones now can we Eddie?

2 April 2009 1:00:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You probably don't have time for this (especially as the writer bigs up Understanding Comics) but this is in today's Daily telegraph:

How Comic Books became part of the literary establishment:

If you think you’re not the sort of person who reads comics, you will a) be heartily sick by now of words like “graphic novel” and “Watchmen” and b) be feeling, perhaps, a bit left out.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/bookreviews/5094231/How-Comic-Books-became-part-of-the-literary-establishment.html

Ben Smith

3 April 2009 3:47:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Matt D said...

I feel ill.

3 April 2009 7:06:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous Wayne Beamer said...

Ed,

Send Rankin a signed copy of How To Be An Artist. That should tell him all he needs to know about becoming a "graphic novelist." ;)

Wayne

5 April 2009 8:58:00 am GMT-5  

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