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Sunday, December 28, 2008

More Thoughts on Willingham and Sturges on JSA

Ooo, an interview with Willingham and Sturges about JSA!

I like this bit:

BW: Well, the Justice Society is the Fables of the superhero world. It's a giant cast of legendary heroes from old that are being continuously updated. My god, now that I think of it, it's exactly like Fables.


BW: I for one am not going to attempt to be Geoff Johns-like because, what a silly thing that would be to even attempt. It's going to be about the stories and the characters. It's going to be a grand, sweeping, exciting book. We have lots of interesting things planned.

I get the Willingham criticism, but I think that as long as he keeps to the "grand, sweeping, exciting" part and leaves the politics behind, I think he'll be a good fit.

Granted, I can see the argument that Fables had a lot of conservative politics behind it (I don't know anything about Willingham's real life politics, and so I won't try to argue whether the subtext was intentional or not), but I thought the general epic feel of the characters/story was enough to counterbalance it. As much of a fanatic, hard-core liberal as I am, I never really found any of Fables' alleged political messages extreme or obvious enough to put me off reading until the Arabian Fables, and that was more discomfort at (probably unintentional) racial subtext. I'm hoping that because JSA has far less opportunity for an Arabian-Fables-esque "exoticized other" (barring Black Adam and company) the discomfitting elements will not be an issue.

And well, honestly, I'm not sure that a little underlying conservative overtones would be that out of place in the JSA. Well, admittedly, it would for characters like Power Girl, but this is a bit different than say, trying to put conservative overtones for Captain America (an FDR democrat who missed all the intervening conservative backlash). Many of the old-time JSA-ers probably would seem at least a bit conservative by today's standards.

As long as it's not too overpowering, such as when Dixon tried tackling abortion in Robin or well, Decisions period, the faint political subtext shouldn't be too bad.

On the plus side, he does do "legendary" well. And grand, sweeping epics are kind of his thing. Moreover, the man can pace a story very well. (Much as I love Geoff Johns, the man is an abysmal pacer. Most of his story arcs, I'd reckon, could definitely be rearranged/re-compressed without losing much of anything.) And he does very well with very large casts without really feeling like any of the characters are being neglected.

The Robin criticisms are fair, but it's hard to tell how much of it was mandated by editorial w/r/t Leslie or Steph. Shadowpact and Salvation Run seem to be better examples of Willingham's abilities.

And the more I read of Sturges's stuff, the more I like it. So there's that. :-)

I'm cautiously optimistic. And hoping Sand will get to do something badass. Or something at all. :-P


  • At December 28, 2008 7:43 AM, Blogger Elayne said…

    I think Bill will do just fine with JLA. I always liked his earlier superhero work, like Strange Heroes back in teh '80s. Fables is hardly the first thing he's ever written. :)

  • At December 28, 2008 9:11 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    While I'll miss Geoff Johns and I'll certainly miss Dale Eaglesham, I'm hopeful that Mr. Willingham will do a fine job, since I love Fables, and have from the beginning.

    I wonder who the new artist will be?

  • At December 28, 2008 4:00 PM, Anonymous Najika said…

    Did you really find the politics in Decisions to be very strong? Because to me they barely swept the surface. No one brought up most of the political issues real people worry about like abortion, gay rights, global warming or the seperation of church and state. The only thing that was really mentioned was security issues. I can understand why superheroes would find that such a pressing issue, but I was still a little dissapointed that the other stuff never came up.

    That said, I actually really liked Decisions. Judging from the feedback on Scans_Daily I might be the only person who did!

  • At December 29, 2008 2:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Conservatives read Fables to have their beliefs reinforced. Liberals have Transmetropolitan.

  • At December 29, 2008 5:09 PM, Blogger Will Staples said…

    @Anon: Was Transmet all that liberal? I don't know much about Crazy Uncle Warren, but he strikes me as more of a libertarian. Plus I understand the main villain was a thinly-veiled pastiche of Tony Blair, so there ya go...

    Anyway, I've said my piece about Willingham, and I don't believe in beating a dead horse. For my part I don't think I'd be interested in reading JSA as written by anybody other than Geoff Johns (except maybe Gail Simone and/or Mark Waid). To me, Johns is the JSA.


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