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JohnMcMahon

Post Mortem : Denise Mina

  

31 members have voted

  1. 1. Your marks out of 10 for Denise Mina's Hellblazer run

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D'oh! In my defence, I had an episode of the Wire to watch...

 

Corben's artwork was delicious.

 

Tasted like shit to me, man. John Constantine isn't a midget so why did Corben draw him as one? Although to be fair everyone got the miniaturisation treatment in that one.

I also dont like how that guy draws humans in general- It seems kind of unserious.

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Did you realize that before he hit the big time, Corben was famous for drawing pornographic comics?

I've never seen any of his porno work, but I'm guessing it ain't pretty!

 

I thought Corben was great on a book like House on the Borderlands.

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At first I couldn't stand Corben's artwork due to the midgetiness, the visual racial stereotypes, and some of the expressions.

Over time I changed my mind and now I love Corben's art and think that Hard Time is Azz's best HB arc.

I realized that the reason Corben made everyone midgety was to emphasize the close quarters and oppression of jail.

 

I've seen plenty of art by Corben where he doesn't render people as munchkins, so I think it was a conscious decision on his part.

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not only am i somewhat unfamiliar with mina's run (i've only read empathy is the enemy), but im not exactly well adversed in the different writters of hellblazer. even still, i think it's pretty blatant that mina concentrated all too much on story, and in doing so neglected a good bit of the fundamentals that make hellblazer such an absorbing read, especially in reference to john's character. then again, i become most familiar through constantine through mike carey, and in doing so might have be biased. i have a respect for what i've read of mina's stuff, but i think there's a good bit to look foward to without it.

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I had one major problem with the run. When John produces that knife from his sleeve and cuts the demon kid's head off. It felt way too much like Constan-teen and not at all like Hellblazer. I would have been very dissappointed if the entire series had taken a turn toward action. That one instant felt like an attempt to grab some fans of the movie, only about a year too late. Overall I didn't hate the run, but it was not my favorite.

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not only am i somewhat unfamiliar with mina's run (i've only read empathy is the enemy), but im not exactly well adversed in the different writters of hellblazer. even still, i think it's pretty blatant that mina concentrated all too much on story, and in doing so neglected a good bit of the fundamentals that make hellblazer such an absorbing read, especially in reference to john's character. then again, i become most familiar through constantine through mike carey, and in doing so might have be biased. i have a respect for what i've read of mina's stuff, but i think there's a good bit to look foward to without it.

 

 

That's an interesting perspective, given that many people feel her biggest weakness was her storytelling. While she basically got John right -- aside from the ridiculous knife-wielding moment, something that was VERY out of character for him -- her stories were way off the mark for Hellblazer and clearly needed a lot more work. She needed a strong editor to guide her, and he failed her.

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think that most of the problems with Mina's run lay in the execution, not the conception - there were some good ideas there, they just didn't coalesce into a satisfying story.

 

I do agree with your suspicion that, with much better editing, her run could have been beaten into a considerably more appealing shape - but that particular dead horse has been beaten thoroughly enough already, I think.

I just finished Mina's run, and this sums up my feelings quite well. As is, it reads more like a pulp serial than a comic series. The constant offering of major points in the beginning (what were the praexis again?) of each issue could have alone shaved 10 pages or so off the arc. John felt like John, but Chas was superficial and Gemma...well, that portrayal was complete shite. I think she is a character with nearly unlimited potential but was not well served at all. The rest of the supporting cast were similarly underwritten.

 

But I rank her in the pantheon of major writers above Azzarello, and nearly at a tie with Jenkins, just a tad below. Other than Maddogs, his run alienated me as a reader (one more reference to getting better hummers from folks without teeth and I'd have to hunt him down and bitch slap him). Mina's story was not well executed, his were offensive to me. Especially Hard Time.

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I just finished Mina's run, and this sums up my feelings quite well. As is, it reads more like a pulp serial than a comic series. The constant offering of major points in the beginning (what were the praexis again?) of each issue could have alone shaved 10 pages or so off the arc.

 

I think if you cut away all of the stuff that never paid off (and didn't mind John and Chas staying fallen out a little longer) then it could easily be 5-6 issues long.

 

Ade says you could do it in less, but that I think really would mean gutting it completely.

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Amazon has the two trades at 312 pages.

 

So far I have it down to 160 pages, but that does not include all the pages where you could probably cut half out and merge them etc. Obviously there is one complete issue that you can excise without much work.

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Yea, THAT issue. I thought we agreed it never needed mentioning? Have you ever seen a more offensively drawn...nono, I'll stop.

 

Ade and James, I say it would me a great 6 parter, which at 22 pages per Ade has at 7 or so. I do wish for more back story on the monks on the island--why in fucks name would they be sacrificing one of their own BEFORE knowing about the 3rd place, for instance? how would Rome have learned how bent they got if they never received that letter, etc.

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But, they had ideas that there was a 3rd place....the mystic vision....it was experimentation....attempting to access the 3rd place.

Rigorous scientific experimentation for factual proof.

My memory's foggy on anything not written by Jamie Delano that's more than a week old.....I thought that the one monk was having visions of the 3rd place before the sacrifices, and that's how they knew of the 3rd place.

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But, they had ideas that there was a 3rd place....the mystic vision....it was experimentation....attempting to access the 3rd place.

I thought it had something to do with constructing a new building of some sort.

 

Edit: yes, a new abbey.

 

Another thought: with John having given up magic it would have been nice to have had a bit of a discussion of his taking it back up. There was the little bit about him doing the memory spell, but after nothing. That seems a major point that warrented at least a mention.

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I do wish for more back story on the monks on the island--why in fucks name would they be sacrificing one of their own BEFORE knowing about the 3rd place, for instance?

 

In Mina's defence, that bit's a matter of actual historical record.

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Can I add that I rather liked the single issue story about Map?

(I'd better, as I doubt any bugger else will: I know I'm in a minority on that one.)

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In Mina's defence, that bit's a matter of actual historical record.

Would you mind elaborating? I've never heard this before and am curious.

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It was briefly mentioned back when we were discussing Mina's run at the time: here's a link .

 

I really liked the flashback content of Empathy Is The Enemy, especially the stuff in the early issues relating to St Oran and the monks on Iona. It was intriguing (both historically-speaking and in terms of the story Mina was telling), and the way it was intercut with the current-day story of Constantine's journey to Glasgow worked well for me. Towards the end of the first arc the flashbacks began to feel a little too much like padding, and could probably have done with a little trimming-down, but for me, most of the real problems with Mina's run didn't kick in seriously until the second half - the first few issues, while a little slow, made for some effectively slow-burning set-up, and a quick scan through the old threads suggests that most of us here thought as much at the time. It was only with the final issue or two of Empathy that it began to become really clear that the story was taking far too long to get to its not-as-compelling-as-it-should-have-been destination, sparking a (sadly justified, as subsequent issues demonstrated) collective disillusionment which was compounded by the utterly dreadful one-shot (sorry, dogpoet, but I think that the line "in a minority on that one" in your last post could be more accurately replaced with "almost entirely alone on that one").

 

One of the biggest problems for me with the run as a whole was the sudden lurch into broad comedy in the final few issues - while the 'punchline' in the final issue was a reasonably good one, and a few of the jokes along the way were amusing, wrapping-up your year-long mega-arc with a cheap gag about Scottish football fans doesn't really work when the first half of your story wasn't a comedy at all. Had the tone remained a little more consistent, with some of the characterisation of the supporting cast tightened up and the pacing upped considerably (a stronger resolution would have helped, too), I'd have liked the run a lot more.

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I'd always thought Saint Ohran was Irish rather than Scottish, to be honest, but it's always good to see stories written around this stuff.

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He was, but the relevant part of his life took place in the Scottish Hebrides. He was a companion of the (also Irish) missionary Saint Columba, who played an important role in the spread of Christianity into Western Scotland, which explains what they were doing on Iona in the first place.

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I though Mina's run had many good elements in it, but it never came together. Or perhaps it seemed to for a while, but fell apart toward the end.

 

I only read the last issue once, I was so disappointed with it and what came just before. I'm the one whose vote just put the 3s in the lead. I wish I'd just bought a few selected issues from this run, not including botched #223 or any of last few.

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I only read the last issue once, I was so disappointed with it and what came just before. I'm the one whose vote just put the 3s in the lead. I wish I'd just bought a few selected issues from this run, not including botched #223 or any of last few.

 

I thought the big denouement of the last issue of her run worked really well, probably because I was 2/3rds of the way to guessing when got to that point. You could argue that it was a one not joke but, it worked for me as more than that...

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I'm curious if Mina is aware of how badly her run was received by a lot of fans.

 

I say that not to be snarky, but simply out of curiousity.

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