Thursday, December 2, 2010

Kurt Busiek, Machine Man fan

I always read the letters column first, each time I get an old comic. I always loved trying to recreate what the issue must've been like when I'd read the comments; sometimes a writer makes suggestions that are fun to imagine, too.

Names like Ed Via and T.M. Maple and "Uncle Elvis" Orton used to pop up from time to time in many of the l.c.s, always sharing honest opinions and insights. You sometimes find Marvel luminaries such as Ralph Macchio or J.M. DeMatteis. One of these fans-turned-pros is Kurt Busiek. If you haven't heard of him, you haven't been reading any super hero comics in the past couple of years; I particularly recommend his "Astro City" and its various series.

Here, Kurt wrote to praise the return of Kirby's very last red-headed step child for Marvel, and I can't complete my Machine Man series without mentioning his letter.
He pointed out that Marv and Steve Ditko had addressed what he perceived to be the biggest problem with Machine Man: too powerful! Another power could always unexpected come from nowhere, like Mister Miracle and his many escape gadgets.

He wondered if maybe they'd gone a little too far, though, particularly in taking out the "hands weapon system." "He always announced it each time, like it was a favorite son!" You can see his insight and feel for characters as well as witticisms.
Scenes from Machine Man #8, by Jack Kirby and Mike Royer, with Petra Goldberg. copyright 1978 Marvel Comics Group.

My favorite Busiek comic at the time was Untold Tales of Spider-Man: just a little like my Kirby partner brainstorm! In fact, he created another layer of stories that would not contradict the Stan Lee/ Steve Ditko originals, but rather, fit cleanly in between the story arcs. He even created a couple of new enemies and gave us a tragic figure in Bluebird, based off a character who appears for maybe a panel or two of the 1960s Spidey comics.

He wrote a run of Avengers with George Perez everyone likes, rebooted Iron Man with Sean Chen, and once again, all the Astro City I'd read up until 2004 was just top notch. I should catch up! If I had to recommend one thing to judge him upon, I'd say pick up MARVELS with Alex Ross.

Write about comics, if you want to write comics. Take them apart, look at the parts. Learn to read literature, period! Being able to analyze the parts of a story will give you skills in putting it all together your own style.

YOur friend, Lue Lyron

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