Saturday, October 31, 2009
OK, today's villain is obviously chosen because of the calendar. His name - Jack O'Lantern - and he is not so much a character as he is costume and set of equipment that gets passed around like a coat at the Matre'd station in a good restaurant at the beach. Testament to an enduring image that just has never had any great writing associated with it, Jack O'Lantern keeps coming back like a bad penny.
You have to admit he looks very cool, and is most appropriate for today's column.
Someday, I want to get the inside story on how characters like Jack O'Lantern enter the comic book pantheon. This one, even down to his original origin story, (there's two words you would only put together when talking comics) is pretty much a direct rip-off of Spidey's arch-nemesis, Green Goblin. Far enough, the public wants more "like that" - yuou give it to them, you move on. But decades later, why are the reinvented and reinvented? Sure popularity has something to do with it, but why is a character like this so enduringly popular when he is so derivative?
I, for one think it has to be because the image sells comic books. Any of these pictures, on the cover of a comic, or graphic novel for that matter, is going to make it fly off the shelves. That is why, despite all the effort that is put into developing characters and legends, it has been and always will be the artist that is king in the comic book world. As graphic novels dominate the market, writing matters more than ever before, but a well written story with crappy art never gets read again. Great art, even with crappy writing, gets leafed through over and over and over.
Think about it.