Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Heckling the Heckler

I don't get it. I just don't get it. I know that this series is very well regarded as a piece of superhero satire, but I just don't get it. For starters, I tend to run pretty hot and cold on the Bierbaums. To me, much of their work is too dense. Here, the jokes are often obvious or simply miss their mark. The 3X3 panel approach hampers Keith Giffen's ability to tell a story. Many times, I simply could not tell what was going on. There was next to no character development and I was often simply lost. I first read this nearly 10 years ago, and was quite puzzled. With a bit more comic book mileage under my wheels, I decided to tackle the 6 issues last week and it still did not work for me. Comedy is tough, and satire can be even tougher. I ran into the trap of admiring what Giffen and the Bierbaums were trying to accomplish while never truly enjoying it. Take Heckler #4, for example. The underlying theme here is a tip of the hat to the Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote rivalry. It was clever at first, but then got stuck in a loop a became less and less clever as the issue wore on. I'll commend their effort, but the final product left a lot to be desired.


MDG14450 said...

I've got these (or at least 4 or 5) but wasn't impressed. Mainly picked them up because I love Giffen's art, but never bonded with his work with the Bierbaums. (And as far as making funny comics with Giffen, Fleming was the only one I felt really did it well. JLA was funny, but I don;t think DeMatteis added much--mostly came from the characters and situations.)

Edo Bosnar said...

When I read this post, it actually prompted me to go back and re-read the entire series, since I had bought it a few years ago, remember liking it okay, but couldn't remember much about it (maybe I'd read it too fast...)
While I can agree with you that the entire series could have been better as a whole, I still thought it was rather enjoyable for the most part. Not just the dialogue, either. I thought the art really adds to the whole experience (small panels and all), since the backgrounds and the often grotesque-looking characters seem to be essential parts of the storytelling.