The League of Extremely Nostalgic

Welcome to the League! Speak GEEK and enter!
 
HomeHome  PortalPortal  FAQFAQ  RegisterRegister  Log inLog in  

Share | 
 

 The Auteur Theory of Comics

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
Go to page : Previous  1, 2
AuthorMessage
Chris W



Posts : 180
Join date : 2012-09-14

PostSubject: Re: The Auteur Theory of Comics   Wed May 08, 2013 9:00 pm

Quote :
You seemed pretty unequivocal...

That came from my co-writer, or finisher, script doctor, editor, or stupid improvisational lead actor, I forget. Don't judge me.

Quote :
Those arguments only enter into it, because of inaccurate record keeping in the past, or ambiguous terminology. Or people with an agenda, or an unwillingness to accept evidence, as in the case of artists like Kirby, who were OBVIOUSLY involved in the authorship. Most modern comics do a much better job of properly crediting artists for any authoring. And I think at the core of this discussion, is the idea to change the accepted short hand and develop a more accurate way to attribute authorship. Movies do it. I'd rather try and change perception than to give up on fairly giving artists credit for their efforts, even if it was part of a standard operating procedure in the past.

Who's the "auteur" of "Final Crisis"? The writer? The editor? The publisher? Who's the "auteur" of the late 50's reboot of the Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, etc? Who's the "auteur" of the New Universe? The Spider-Clone Saga? The Death of Gwen Stacey?

Basically, I don't like the "auteur" theory at all. Apportioning credit is a fine and worthy goal. Stan Lee had more creative contribution than dialogue, editing and getting the books out on time, but it's not possible to measure *how* much more credit he gets. Kirby came up with 20+ pages of pencils that Stan Lee turned into a publishable comic book. Apply it to music. Is Phil Spector the "auteur" of "Da Doo Ron Ron"? Is Roger Waters the "auteur" of Pink Floyd (which he would certainly agree with.) Is Bob Dylan the "auteur" of "All Along the Watchtower"? Apply it to movies, who's the "auteur" of "The Wizard of Oz"? Or even "Ghostbusters"? Is it the guys who wrote the movie, the guy who directed the movie or Bill Murray? Is Matt Groenig the "auteur" of "The Simpsons" movie?

It takes dozens, if not hundreds, of people to make a movie. It usually takes multiple people to make a comic book [Calvin and Hobbes - "Look at the great committee that drew this issue!"] I think the "auteur" theory denies credit to all the other people involved. "Citizen Kane" has been credited to Orson Welles, co-writer Joseph Mankiewicz, and cinematographer Greg Toland, never mind Everett Sloan's awesome 'girl in the white hat' monologue, or Joseph Cotton's steady performance. I think even co-producer John Houseman may have been given all the credit at one point.

I also think the 'auteur' theory is inherently trying to pigeonhole artworks into good or bad by using a 'theory' which can only be applied in limited circumstances. Who's the "auteur" of "Cool Hand Luke" or "The Godfather"? Who's the "auteur" of "Abbey Road"? Who's the "auteur" of "Cheers" or "Married With Children"? To say nothing of less-regarded works of art.

Quote :
Plus, there are plenty of comics that all are clearly the vision of one author who is both artist and writer... Usagi Yojimbo, The Goon, Sin City, Savage Dragon, The Black Beetle, Madman, just off the top of my head.

Hence my point that the 'auteur' theory works more the closer you get to the guy at the typewriter/drawing board making all the relevant decisions. I don't think the argument *can't* be made, I just think it's pointless and I don't like the idea in the first place. Apportion credit all you want, I'll be happy to argue. But it reaches a point where credit can't be given or made. Keith Giffen and J.M DeMatteis were good at arguing that the other guy came up with ideas. Giffen reads DeMatteis' script and decides to follow the idea in the dialogue. DeMatteis reads Giffen's plot and decides to write what he thinks should go there. And both of them say "I didn't have that idea, *he* had that idea."

I'm fine with the "blank piece of paper theory." Look at something which doesn't exist, decide it must exist, and make it happen. You deserve credit for that. I'm not against giving credit whenever credit is deserved. I'm against giving a fancy foreign word to designate one individual the primary creator uber alles.


Last edited by ChrisW on Fri May 10, 2013 1:49 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : It was late. We were drunk. Don't judge us.)
Back to top Go down
James Ritchey III



Posts : 38
Join date : 2012-10-16

PostSubject: Re: The Auteur Theory of Comics   Wed May 08, 2013 10:44 pm

There's little doubt that Welles was the 'Auteur' of anything he wrote, co-wrote or directed. Don't see a lot of challenges to that among aware people. He might have been a dick, but he was a very talented dick--prone to having fits to get his way.

Applying Auteur Theory to serialized fiction can be tricky--especially collaborative serialized fiction, that passes through many hands.

But are Stan, Steve and Jack the Authors of The Marvel Age of Comics? You can bet your ass. Stan invented making comics characters argue like real people, and introduced 'soap opera' melodrama (that Marvel took decades to let go of). That speaks for itself. Jack, Dynamics never seen before, outside of maybe Eisner/Iger Studios, Kurtzman and Meskin.

James O'Barr is the 'auteur' of Crow, not Brandon Lee. Matt Wagner doing Grendel vs. Batman is Matt Wagner's personal vision of those characters, Gaiman's Sandman is different from Irv Novick's or Simon/Kirby's.

Did Alan Moore or Steve Gerber invent Swamp Thing or Defenders? Nosiree-Bob. Were they the 'Auteurs' on their 'runs' of the respective comics? Definitively. The guy who sets the tone is the 'Auteur'.

Synthesis and Synergy do not exclude unique Vision and Authorship, and to say otherwise is too generalized--and a little solipsistic.
Back to top Go down
Chris W



Posts : 180
Join date : 2012-09-14

PostSubject: Re: The Auteur Theory of Comics   Wed May 08, 2013 11:31 pm

So Claremont was indeed the 'auteur' of X-Men and Wolverine.

That's one of the few 'auteur' arguments I have no problem with. But by his own admission, he was responding to Dave Cockrum's interest in space-opera (the Brood storyline), letting Frank Miller add the ninjas, and letting John Byrne and Jim Lee handle more and more of the plotting duties. Stan, Steve and Jack, collectively were the 'auteurs' of Marvel, no arguments. But then we get into dogfights about credit between them. ["But I read where Kirby said he created Spider-Man!"]

Sooner or later, the 'auteur' theory runs afoul of the 'blank piece of paper' theory. Martin Goodman is the one who decided Marvel needed a team of superheroes. That's looking at a blank piece of paper. Stan Lee's the one assigned to come up with the superheroes in question. Another blank piece of paper. Jack Kirby took orders and filled up his own blank pieces of paper. Stan took the pencilled pages and made them suitable for printing. Martin Goodman actually published them and decided he wanted more. All three of them (plus inkers, letterers, colorists, printers) faced blank pages until something existed that they could use.

It's not intrinsically different from Welles, whom some have said stole everything from Mankiewicz and Toland. I don't subscribe to that viewpoint - I do regard Welles as the 'auteur' of his films - but the 'auteur' theory fails when you can't justify everything as being decided by the guy in charge, or when you can offer convincing counter-arguments that someone else made those decisions. In Peter Bogdonavitch's big interview book, he asks Welles about some day where Welles famously cancelled all shooting, and Welles' response was that he didn't know what to do. When he showed up on set to direct, he knew where the camera would point, the lighting, the acting, etc. and in this case, he didn't have any idea. So rather than waste everybody's time, he sent them home. [Tony Stark "Let's just take a day!"] Stan Lee made the Silver Surfer into the interesting character that fans enjoyed. Kirby created a herald for Galactus who scouted out planets. There is no 'auteur', just different amounts of credit to give to the different creators. Joe Sinnott was inking by then, so at least someone besides Vinnie Colletta was deciding what made it to the finished work.


Last edited by ChrisW on Wed May 08, 2013 11:40 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : I don't know, it was just one of those things. People get crazy sometimes.)
Back to top Go down
Joe Lee
Admin
avatar

Posts : 1186
Join date : 2012-09-13

PostSubject: Re: The Auteur Theory of Comics   Mon May 20, 2013 11:38 am

The new magazine, Comic Book Creator has a nice perspective on the business side of things...

http://lxng.blogspot.com/2013/05/buy-these-now.html
Back to top Go down
http://gregjollydesign.blogspot.com/
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: The Auteur Theory of Comics   

Back to top Go down
 
The Auteur Theory of Comics
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 2 of 2Go to page : Previous  1, 2
 Similar topics
-
» My Face of Boe Theory
» Comics fair use policy?
» Sales figures for UK comics
» Campfire Comics
» Bakuman - a comic about making comics! By comic-makers!

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
The League of Extremely Nostalgic :: comics, manga, graphic novels, etc.-
Jump to: