RARA-AVIS: Crying Out Loud in the Wrong Direction

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 30 Oct 2007

Curt wrote:

> Oh for crying out loud, they're a graphic novel and a film. I
> appreciate good storytelling in prose as much as anyone, but since
> these were originally conceived for visual media, and the visuals are
> essentially part of the appeal, what's the point in trying to assess
> them "without the visuals"?

Nobody dissed the film's visuals, which were, admittedly, cool, albeit a tad on the self-indulgent side. But some people might enjoy and want something a little deeper than pretty pictures for their entertainment buck.

Having survived three years of art school, I can appreciate a snazzy, well-rendered visual as well as the next 14-year old, but deep down I'm a story guy.

And SIN CITY didn't do very much for me, simply because, visuals aside, it didn't have very much, narrative-wise, to offer. In fact, your defensiveness about its lack of narrative muscle only reinforces my point. Cough up all the excuses and justifications you want, but in a story, be it film or TV or comic books or good ol' prose, storytelling always matters.

For crying out loud.

Anyway, solid storytelling and great visuals aren't mutually exclusive. CHINATOWN and NIGHT MOVES, both conceived for the screen, would make dandy novels. And SILVERFISH, a recent graphic novel by writer/artist David "Stray Bullets" Lapham, would make a swell book even without the visuals.

(Although I must say it's one of the best crime comics I've read in a long time and its visuals added immensely to my enjoyment of it. It's a romping, stomping, cranked up suspense tale about a wicked stepmom, some nosy teenagers, a whack job obsessed with fish and an abandoned amusement park. It all plays out like Hitchcock on meth.)

And Patrick King wrote:

> Not to mention that the book did not get a hard bound
> printing until it sold several millions copies in
> paperback. I, THE JURY was a Signet Paperback
> Original.

Wrong. Completely. Where do you kids get these crazy ideas?

Kevin Burton Smith The Thrilling Detective Web Site

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