> And the great thing is: in another month or so this group can spend
> days and
> days on speculating if The Spirit is noir.
Of course, it will depend on the finished film, but the strip itself
was always a little too goofy (even more so than BATMAN) and
inconsistently dark to really be considered noir. But it was fun.
And Mark (#254 in a series -- Collect them all!) wrote:
> Sin City
> > may be third rate Spillane, but it manages to skirt the edge a few
> > times.
Third rate? You're being generous.
SIN CITY was pretty pictures: nice to look at, but emotionally hollow;
PULP FICTION without the wit or grace or narrative muscle. If PULP
FICTION at its best aspired to BLACK MASK or DIME DETECTIVE, SIN CITY
quickly settled for 5 CENT AMAZING DETECTIVE STORIES or some D-list
pulp, barely worth the splinters, filled with stories by writers
several notches below Hammett/Chandler/Spillane wannabes (Hammett/
Chandler/Spillane wannabe wannabes?).
As for it being noir, even if you want to waste your time arguing that
point, it was noir mostly by trope and rote; not so much written as a
list of noirish cliches checked off one by one, with big f/x-laden
"scenes" substituted for actual character development. Like a lot of what passes for noir these days.
And let's remember: "noir" does not automatically mean good. Most
stuff labelled "noir" these days is often not only only arguably noir,
but also not very good.
And speaking of not very good, last interview I saw, Miller was still
threatening to "do" Chandler. He's already probably going to destroy
everything that was great and fun about THE SPIRIT (a feeling shared
by, among others, Art "Maus" Spiegelman, a guy who probably knows more
about comics than most of us); the fact some idiot in Hollywood thinks
Miller's qualified to do Chandler is astounding -- and shows how
alliterate the decision-making bag men of the industry are. Knowing
who Chandler is isn't the same as having actually read him.
They want a "comic book guy" to do Marlowe, they could go with Ed
Brubaker and/or Michael Lark, the two comic book guys whose work
probably comes closest. Or Greg Rucka, David Lapham or Max Allan
Collins, all very fine crime writers. Or even Dennis O'Neil who, for
years, edited and often wrote "Batman" and several Chandleresque-type
back-up features (he also did the recent Dark knight novelization tie-
in). All have shown more "feel" for Chandler than anything in Miller's
over-hyped and over-rated canon. Drawing guys in trenchcoats and
fedoras does not make you an expert on Chandler. And using lots of
black ink doesn't automatically make you noir.
I'm not sure I want a cartoon Marlowe with Schwazneggerian muscles
bulging his trenchcoat going down those mean streets in some
homoerotic fantasy geared to closeted fan boys, a la 300.
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Miller has hidden depths for depth (he did do
BATMAN: YEAR ONE, after all) and an heretofore undisclosed
appreciation for and understanding of Chandler's work but if he does,
it's not immediately evident in any of his most well-known comic work.
And certainly not in his movie work.
Kevin Burton Smith
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