After a brief hiatus and back by popular demand, Comic Book Daily asks the question and the crew (and special guests) give their answers. Tip of the hat goes to Laura Thomas for this week’s question.
I’d have to go with Mark Millar. He did a lot of great work on some superhero books in the mid-2000s that are still really popular. He found a lot of success and I think that ruined him creatively. Once the movie deals started rolling in his work became half-assed and infrequent. People are willing to wait almost a year between his books right now, but not for long. He’s the next Loeb.
Rob Liefeld – Recently I started re-reading all my X-Force comics from the early 90’s. When I first read them I thought the story was cutting edge and gritty. I thought the art style was very unique looking. Now re-reading these issues (with the exception of the classic X-Force #2) it is garbage. The dialogue is tough to read. The art that I thought was unique is just messy. As we all know Liefeld can’t draw feet and hands well, but his proportions of his characters are completely off. Huge body armour. Huge guns. Huge biceps. Tiny heads. It is just painful to look at and read now. I am forcing myself to read them all, and I am literally forcing myself… it’s painful. The other problem I have with his characters is he doesn’t draw eyes (on some), and as the saying goes the eyes are the window to the soul. So most of his characters are these soulless, testosterone filled behemoths and it is not fun to read.
I feel he was overrated because Liefeld was one of the most popular creators in the industry in the 90’s. He was popular enough to launch new books with the upstart Image comics. He sold lots of books, but his popularity has wained. I can’t see myself buying any of his books anytime soon.
Neil Gaiman. I have yet to read anything he wrote that I thought was any good, and I gave Sandman a good try when it was first coing out, and I’ve gone back to reread stuff to see if I missed something the first time. Plus, he wouldn’t sign my copy of Marvel Two-In-One #86 with the Thing and Sandman. He told me he didn’t write it, and I said I didn’t care.
Wow tough question with a caveat of sorts.
I always feel a little bad about naming names in a question like this because in some ways, i know whoever I name as overrated is in some way better than I am as a comic creator by the pure fact he is working in the field and I am not. It’s like when someone says “Well that pitcher sucks” at a baseball game.
Yeah, he might suck in comparison to other pitchers in MLB but how many seasons have you played?
But if I was forced to name names of who is the most overrated creator in comics, Geoff Johns is the first that comes to mind.
I just don’t get what the big deal is. Is he a good writer? Most certainly. Is he all that and a bag of chips? In my opinion, no
I think it’s mainly due to my perception that Geoff doesn’t have a voice. If you put me down 10 DC Comics, with the credits taken out, and 5 of them were Johns, I wouldn’t be able to tell you which 5 were his work.
But this is my own opinion. He must be doing something right, he’s a head creative guy at DC, I’m not even writing for their blog.
Neil Gaiman is a very interesting choice. I actually love the Sandman. I think it is a great series. However, I would agree that Neil is way too overhyped whenever he writes superhero stories. A long time ago, Prisoners of Gravity devoted an entire episode to the Sandman. In that episode, Neil Gaiman says that he can’t write superheroes. And he’s absolutely right.
This is probably blasphemy but my choice for over-hyped creator is Osamu Tezuka. Yes, he is the “Godfather of Anime” and the “Father of Manga.” I have read six volumes of the Phoenix series, one volume of the Buddha series, and one volume of the Dororo series. However, I have not read anything that would be in the conversation as the greatest comic I ever read. In fact, I cannot think of any of his manga that I would recommend to anyone.
There are a lot of glowing reviews of his works. Phoenix and Buddha are supposed to be his best series. Contemporary mangaka who I like such as Naoki Urasawa are inspired by him. Perhaps I was expecting too much. Perhaps you had to be reading the manga when it came out to appreciate its greatness. I do not know. I just know I prefer reading manga created by the people Osamu Tezuka inspired rather than his own manga.
I completely agree that Neil Gaiman is over-hyped, as his comics projects have never been particularly interesting to me. I think he’s very eloquent, and can get someone interested in what he’s doing when you hear him talk about it, but for a writer held in such high regard for his comics work, he’s got very little beyond Sandman (which had more lows than highs in my opinion) and Death. Black Orchid, The Eternals, Marvel: 1602, Miracleman, Mr. Punch, Angela, The Books of Magic, Stardust, The Dreaming… none of those are particularly good reads.
Rob Liefeld is an obvious choice, but these days he’s over-hyped as being the worst thing to ever happen to comics. It gets a little boring after a while.
But to be different, I would say that the most over-hyped creator working currently in comics is Gail Simone. For all of the talk about how great the writing is, I have yet to find myself entertained by a Gail Simone comic. Her most recent books – Batgirl and Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men (co-written with Van Sciver) were pretty mediocre fare (Batgirl) to God-awful (Firestorm). Where is that bar-setting great work that everyone holds as the standard of great writing? Or is this a blogger with a lot of followers who happens to also write comics?
When someone does something like The Sandman do they need to do anything else?
I would say Grant Morrison. There is no other writer out there which I love or hate the work with such fervor. He has written some of the best works in comics, and he has written some awful stuff that gets more praise than it deserves.
Animal Man and Invisibles were great, his X-Men and JLA runs showed an understanding of the characters and some interesting new directions. Earth 2, We3, and All-Star Superman are some of the best storytelling in the genre.
But stuff like Final Crisis, Marvel Boy, 1234, and the Return of Bruce Wayne are completely overrated. I found Final Crisis a real emperor’s new clothes moment with Grant Morrison. I was high concept, non-nonsensical and poor storytelling. Sure, there were some editorial and artist problems but mostly the story just wasn’t that good. I was told by many that I just didn’t get it and that Grant wants comic books elevated to a higher art form. No, I got it. It just wasn’t very good.
I am cautiously optimistic about his current run on Action, but the jury is still out on that one.
Hmm, I was having a hard time until you chose Morrison. He strikes me as a ‘look how clever I’m being’ kind of thing. Animal Man was good, but then it’s sort of a lot more wink wink nudge nudge, I know more obscure stuff than you do. Final Crisis seemed like an excuse to do something really big and celebrate Kirby but it was a real hash that just screwed up other comics. When you need a guide, you’re doing something wrong.
I think people went shopping for the ‘Next Alan Moore/Neil Gaiman’ (British high concept writer) and you can’t manufacture that. Especially when you have that person doing tons of things. A lot of those you mentioned should have been left at the, “Imagine if Grant Morrison wrote Batman” fan game level, not actually done.
I’m also tempted to nominate Jim Lee. More lines isn’t always better. It’s just more lines.
Anthony: But more cowbell is always better.
Chris: Yes Mr. Walken.
I haven’t really read anything by him that interest me in the least.. it tends to be very bland explorations of ‘why the superhero I grew up with is awesome’. It’s looking backwards at comics, he’s constantly retelling the same stories over and over again. Seriously, read his run on Green Lantern and the number of times he revisits GL meeting Sinestro or getting his ring is ridiculous. The fact that he was chosen as one of the high muckity mucks at DC and being the lead on many of the new DC relaunches just sort of validated my dis-interest in the new 52.
The fact that he has yet to do his own creator owned stuff also makes me leery as really – it shows a lack of imagination outside of playing with someone else’s toys.
Anthony: Creator owned stuff is also overrated.
Peter: It offers you a chance to tell your own stories with no editorial guidelines or reliance (or devout slavery) to previous continuity.
Anthony: And sometimes your own stories are not very good. For every Sin City there is a Holy Terror, sometimes you create something great like LOEG and then drive it into the sh***er.
Creator owned stuff can be great, but some of it gets more press than it deserves because the person was already famous for playing with someone else’s toys.
Peter: Holy Terror is just Racist Batman on amphetamines.
Chris: “Creator owned stuff is also overrated”. Invests heavily in worm food markets.
Stanley: I would think the “well-known” creator would get the hype for his next project regardless if it was with the big 2 or if it was creator owned.
The big 2 make announcements of new creative teams consisting of established writers and artists for their long running series. Is that over-hype as well?
If the creator decides to strike out on his own, why not leverage his name and reputation to promote his own work?
Anthony: Oh creators are more than welcome to leverage their name and reputation for their own work. I am merely pointing out that sometimes their own work is overrated. Creator owned does not automatically equal good or even better than company owned.
Stanley: Yes. I agree. As a reader, I don’t care if the comic is creator owned or corporate owned. All I care is that the story is good.
I’m going with Frank Miller. There’s no question he’s produced fantastic comics as a writer and artist, but Holy Terror and to a lesser extent The Spirit movie have blown his reputation. Holy Terror had sales of 9,939 in September, and that’s just from Diamond, strictly based on his name and reputation in the comics community. With poor reviews everywhere sales are drying up and retailers are left holding the bag.
If you don’t get the photo reference you need to invest some time in the classics.