Thursday, October 16, 2008

Please forgive me, Kurt Busiek

I went to Manitoba Comic Con this weekend, and I had a good time.

The highlight, for me, was meeting the person who is fast becoming my favourite comic book writer--Kurt Busiek. I tried to think of intelligent things to ask him, but I fear most of my questions were more along the lines of: "Did you know that you're Kurt Busiek?" or "What's it like to be so awesome?"

I see Busiek in many ways as an anti-Stan Lee; where Lee is responsible for humanizing and psychologizing super heroes, Busiek seems to be always working with Ironic heroes, and writing about them mythologically and even theologically. When asked, he said that what he wanted to do with Superman was to "do Superman right". He didn't want to do a twist on Superman--Superman the journalist or Superman the alien. He felt that those twists only work if you have a strong center to draw your tangents from. If the center isn't strong enough--if people aren't familiar with the iconic Superman, then none of the twists work either.

And I couldn't agree more. I love Kurt Busiek's writing, and my secret hope going to Manitoba Comic Con was to persuade him to become my best friend.

And then I told him that he wrote my favourite Superman comic--Superman Redemption. Except for three little details. Kurt Busiek didn't write "Redemption", I haven't read it, and I believe Gabriel McKee's review here when he says that it wasn't good.

What I have read, and Kurt Busiek did write, and I did actually like is Superman "Angel", which Gabriel McKee reviewed here, and which review I completely agree with.

Now I'm sure that Busiek isn't sitting around all tortured that some random fan in Winnipeg thinks he wrote an issue that he didn't. It's even possible that he liked Fabian Nicieza's "Redemption" comic, and that he's flattered that someone thought he wrote it. But even so. I feel the need to apologize.

So, Kurt Busiek, if you happen to be googling yourself and you happen upon this blog, I'm sorry. I actually liked the comic you wrote, not the one you didn't. Sorry. Please forgive me.

And be my best friend?


Kurt Busiek said...

See, the way I heard it, SUPERMAN; REDEMPTION is a trade paperback with four issues in it, and I wrote two of them. So I figured you meant either "Angels" or "The Beast From Krypton." More likely "Angels," from your comments.

So no sweat, and thanks for the compliments.

But, uh, I already have a best friend...


Elliot said...

Wow! What a gracious fellow.

Meanwhile, I was at the same event but stayed away from the celebrities because I know I'd sound ten times more scattered and fanboyish than Paul...

Very interesting observation about remythologizing... recently I've been thinking about that process, except in the work of Grant Morrison.

It's like society goes through iconoclastic phases where everything has to be debunked and rationalized and brought down to earth... and then some artists come along and say "Hey, wait, we need icons and myths! That's soul food!"

Pastor Gavin said...

Back in the mid-nineties I went to my first comics convention. It was a small one in Seattle. Kurt Busiek was there. I had just started reading "Astro City" by him (well worth picking up). I got in line with a number of issues of Astro City that I had purchased at the convention.

"I really like your writing on Astro City, it's amazing."

"Oh, do you have a favorite storyline?"

"The Confession storyline is incredible."

He looks at me and looks at the comics I'm having him sign. No Confession issues. He looks back up at me. "Thanks."

I just wonder if it's possible to have someone sign something for you and actually have an intelligent conversation with them, or if we all come across as crazy fanboys as we try to stammer out our praise.

Oh, by the way, great blog here, I'll be watching it with interest.