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JohnMcMahon

Hellblazer #282

  

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  1. 1. Your marks out of 10 for Hellblazer #282, please...

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OK, take Christian's first reply on this topic and mimeograph it for mine. He said exactly what I would say. And I add MEH!

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This was not a very good issue of Hellblazer.

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I wanted to like it. I hoped I would like it. I didn't like it. At all.

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When was the last time Gaiman wrote anything as brilliant as he was writing in the 1980s-early 1990s?

A Study In Emerald was 2004, I think, and American Gods and Coraline are both this side of the turn of the millennium as well.

I've had words with you about this daft notion you have about writers losing it as they get older before, Christian...

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Well...if you drink yourself to death before the age of 40...you sort of lose your ability...

 

OK, you got me really good on American Gods.

But, what has Neil Gaiman done for us lately?

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But, what has Neil Gaiman done for us lately?

Well, his Doctor Who episode was quite well received.

 

You know the one - it was a gothic-styled romance involving the anthropomorphic personification of an inanimate object or abstract concept.

 

Don't know where he gets all his ideas

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Well...if you drink yourself to death before the age of 40...you sort of lose your ability...

Yes, but your argument that this is the dominant trend in writers rather than a minority problem is nonsense, I'm afraid.

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I think we try and take too much from writers if we always expect greatness from then every time they produce something.

 

A huge majority of people don't have even one effort of greatness in them, and most of those who are capable of creating something great just have the one and maybe a few dozen not quites on top of a mountain of crap. So, this tiny group of multiple greatness makers can become huge letdowns through no real fault of their own if everyone expects them to keep topping their previous work. That would be like setting a record nearly every time you competed at a sport or something. Man, I am s-t-o-n-e-d. It took me forever to write this tiny paragraph because I kept forgetting what I was writing about, then I'd hit the capslock and not notice I'd typed two sentences in all caps, or I'd notice half of what I typed all had typos that were mistyped numbers. Like Sli8nker, or gr4ea5tness, siu7ck, etc. And see now, just feeling I needed to explain that is some cannabinography. Must watch cartoons.

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There are plenty of writers who are pretty consistently great, though. I can't think of more than a couple of b list books by the late JG Ballard, to pick the most obvious example...

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Sure, but those particular individuals are the rarest you can find on earth.

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That's true enough, but the fact that a writer creates a work of genius, and then proceeds to give us loads of disappointing, sub-par, mediocre writing really doesn't give them a free pass from criticism for their poor material.

Now, if you're saying that they're always being judged by their own high standards, and they're still creating very good work as compared to many of their contemporaries, I'll give you that this is true. That's not the issue being presented though.

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No, the issue you presented is that Gaiman has done nothing worth a shit since he stopped doing The Sandman.

Which is complete and utter bollocks, I'm afraid.

 

Slinker, I'm not sure they're as rare as all that. Whatever Christian believes about all writers following the Keats pattern, there's plenty who reach a plateau and stay there, knocking out fine work, or continue to build and improve throughout a lengthy career. I can think of a few offhand who've never published anything that wasn't up to scratch.

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No, the original point was that Milligan's writing has turned to shite, and James calling it what it is.

I was simply trying to find reasons for why Milligan has been utterly piss poor for about the last five years, when he was once one of my very favourite comic writers.

 

I believe Slinker's point is valid. There are so many authors out there (cumulatively), and while some churn along at the same level throughout their careers, it's arguable that they weren't the greatest authors in the first place.

I find it far-fetched that there are a huge number of authors (statistically speaking) who have written one great book after another.

It's always subjective also, as I found some of Philip K. Dick's best work to be at the end of his life, while other people find those works self-important and virtually unreadable. I also found only a small handful of Dick's work to not be a very good read (I believe three of his novels total), while some readers find the majority of Dick's work to be awful.

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Christian, I'd love to know more about that small handful of Dicks you found disappointing.

 

If I recall correctly, Peter Milligan's early work on Batman seemed fairly rough from a craft-of-writing point of view, with its appeal mostly coming from ideas that were wild at the time. If that's the case, he could be said to be reverting to type. Could be mistaken.

 

I was gonna say I could cite a small handful of top-notch work from Pete and a lot of disappointing stuff; his run on Shade sort of undermines that theory though.

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I was gonna say I could cite a small handful of top-notch work from Pete and a lot of disappointing stuff; his run on Shade sort of undermines that theory though.

 

Only thing Miligan ever wrote that I ever cared for was The Extremist.

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Slinker, I'm not sure they're as rare as all that. Whatever Christian believes about all writers following the Keats pattern, there's plenty who reach a plateau and stay there, knocking out fine work, or continue to build and improve throughout a lengthy career. I can think of a few offhand who've never published anything that wasn't up to scratch.

 

I disagree because everybody peaks and everybody declines. While I am a Dick fan (heh heh), too, I don't prefer his later works. And just about every writer noticeably peaks, and either has a swift or gradual decline into mediocrity. It's the rate of that decline that may confound the reader assuming it is of similar quality as the writer's peak point. But it typically is not. Some writers can write a whole lot about absolutely nothing and sell a million books. Others can so totally interpret the human condition that it soaks into the soul through the bones, and sells 32 copies, all bought by his/her mom.

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I think we try and take too much from writers if we always expect greatness from then every time they produce something.

 

The problem wasn't that this issue wasn't great, but that it was painfully poor. It's not like Milligan's run thus far (which I've enjoyed, if not effusively) has set any particularly high standards either.

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I have to say that I don't really recognise this issue in most people's comments. I wouldn't say that it was the greatest ever issue, but I liked it and found it generally well thought out a mixture of fun and nasty. It was a one-off story that made sense in its own terms while furthering the bigger arc. I've felt that Milligan's tenure has had some ups and downs,something makes me want to know where the next writer will take Hellblazer, which does suggest some dissatisfaction, but I'm enjoying it all the same.

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Slinker, I'm not sure they're as rare as all that. Whatever Christian believes about all writers following the Keats pattern, there's plenty who reach a plateau and stay there, knocking out fine work, or continue to build and improve throughout a lengthy career. I can think of a few offhand who've never published anything that wasn't up to scratch.

 

I disagree because everybody peaks and everybody declines. While I am a Dick fan (heh heh), too, I don't prefer his later works. And just about every writer noticeably peaks, and either has a swift or gradual decline into mediocrity. It's the rate of that decline that may confound the reader assuming it is of similar quality as the writer's peak point. But it typically is not. Some writers can write a whole lot about absolutely nothing and sell a million books. Others can so totally interpret the human condition that it soaks into the soul through the bones, and sells 32 copies, all bought by his/her mom.

Hang on a minute: you honestly think there's better Dicks than VALIS and A Scanner Darkly?

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...maybe...or perhaps I read them out of order and assumed they came later? Or maybe I was totally confused but commented anyway. Oh, I'm embarrassed now. I was stoned when I wrote that, so piss off! :blush: (i mean that in a nice way)

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I never thought I'd say this, but this issue made me sentimental about "Hard time". Which is saying quite a lot, since I really didn't like HT. 3/10, all of them for the art, which I mostly liked.

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