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Friday, August 06, 2004

Backwards Byrne -- You know, it's so easy to pick apart John Byrne's fallacies and paranoias about the comics industry that it's hardly even worth bothering with. But he has posted a real howler that points up just how inverted his little universe is, and gives us some insight into his persistent inability to create comics that the marketplace is actually interested in:

This seems to be a new addition to our culture -- and
it seems to have popped up around the same time
some people started refering to superheroes as
"wearing their underwear on the outside". (Both
have been around for a long while -- Stan refers to
superheroes as "long underwear characters" in the
first Spider-Man story in AMAZING FANTASY -- but
only recently have these references become

What's odd about this is demonstrated in the
illustration of Lois Lane, above. She, Bruce Wayne,
Wonder Woman, and a flock of other characters have
black hair with blue highlights, and yet I have never
heard anyone ask why they have "blue hair". Only
Superman seems singled out for this -- usually in
the context of "Why can't people tell Clark is
Superman since they both have blue hair?"

It is, in other words, one of the many indications of
the contempt civilians have for superhero comics
and, alas, one of the many affectations some fans
have picked up to show they are "kewl". Blue
highlights on shiny black surfaces is a tradition as
old as comics themselves.

Now, I'd wager even my 8-year old could see how backward this perspective is in relation to actual reality.

Emperor Byrne expects the entire world to look at a picture of a human being with blue hair and automatically get that "It's not blue, it's black." The legitimate human reaction, to see and interpret it as blue (because, well, it is!!!) is contempt. Only Superman is "Singled out," as Byrne notes, because he is the only character in his backward little version of the industry that anyone has even heard of.

How is it the people on Byrne's board don't see through the speciousness of the vast majority of his contentions? Are they really that mesmerized by his recent oeuvre? Do ham-handed inking and eye-exhausting jagged panel designs dazzle them that much?

Move over, Johns, Byrne's gettin' in the U-Haul with you.


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