I put a lot of pressure on myself to make this comic special because it actually has roots in something I posted on Twitter back in November. After seeing the teaser trailer for Sucker Punch and bearing witness to the cornucopia of geek-approved iconography, I tweeted what became the punchline to this strip. "They should have called it 'Stuff The Internet Likes: The Movie.'"
That off-handed comment was picked up by the good people over at Topless Robot and included in their write-up of the trailer. And, well, I've basically been sitting on my hands, waiting to use it ever since.
Fast forward to last Sunday night and I am wracking my brain trying to figure out how to cram everything I want into my usual four-panel setup. I think I sidestepped the issue pretty well with the large diagonal panel in the middle. But it didn't solve the problem of actually having to DRAW things that are normally way outside my comfort zone.
Do you have any idea how hard it is to illustrate and color a spinning propeller blade? REALLY HARD! Especially when you've never done it before.
There were moments when I was drawing this comic that I absolutely hated it and wanted to throw it away. I finished this one in baby steps, that's for sure.
I will say that after figuring out the problem with the layout, it gave me just enough momentum to start the pencils. And while I hated the pencils when I was drawing them, finishing them gave me just enough momentum to start the inks... and so on.
After nearly 9 years of producing this comic, some things fall into place very easily. NOTHING about this comic was easy. So I really hope you enjoy it!
Feeling guilty yet? Let's ignore the comic for a minute and talk about Sucker Punch.
I think most people are familiar with my stance against Zack Snyder. He might be the victim of studio marketing trying to position him as the Next Great Visionary Director, but he's also not shying away from it and I find his hubris off-putting.
Did 300 and Watchmen look good? Sure, they looked good. But how much of that was organic to Snyder - especially when he basically had storyboards from some of the world's best graphic artists at his fingertips for reference (iconic images that he relied on heavily).
Sucker Punch will be the true test of Snyder's visual acuity and - begrudgingly - I have to admit, from the trailers, it looks like he will pass.
I do think he's leaning pretty heavily on the geek iconography, though. It's like he went to Comic Con and started cherry picking idea from the most popular booths. "Ooo! Girls in short skirts and too much make-up? Okay! Samurai swords? Toss that in! Mech battle suits? I'll order ten!" Cynically, I believe Snyder's little shopping spree was set up as a distraction so he would get a pass from Geek Nation.
What's worse I that I think Snyder is justifying this with mock analysis. In a photo gallery on Entertainment Weekly, Snyder talked about the costuming of the actresses in the film and how the short skirts and plunging necklines reflect objectification.
"...But Snyder says his intention was to make a movie about the very subject of female objectification," writes Entertainment Weekly. "The look of Babydoll (Emily Browning) was designed to be ''the personification of innocence and vulnerability,'' says Snyder, causing the skeevy men in the movie to both target her and underestimate her.
'The women in the movie take control of the sexual trappings foisted upon them, even turn [that iconography] into their own weapons. The challenge was to confront the concept of exploitation of women without creating exploitative imagery.'"
So, yeah... I call shenanigans on that.
This is off-topic a little bit, but did anyone catch last week's episode of 30 Rock where they were parodying The Real Housewives series on Bravo? I hated that episode and here's why... Even when you're parodying trash television, you're still MAKING trash television. You dig?
If Snyder thinks he is confronting the concept of exploitation without creating exploitative imagery, he's failed. Sucker Punch is exploitation PERSONIFIED. It's 2 hours of explosions and eyeliner. If it doesn't exploit the women in the film specifically, it is certainly exploiting the audience, their expectations and their passions.
Not that it will matter all that much. Geeks are only fickle when you get the thing they love wrong by getting it mixed up with something else. But the elements of Sucker Punch are non-specific enough that it looks like it'll push all the appropriate geek response buttons without any of the negative backlash. It's kind of sinister and brilliant, when you think about it.
Against my better judgement, I might actually end up seeing Sucker Punch this weekend. If I do, I know I'll be going by myself. This might as well have "NO WUMANS ALLOW'D" stamped on it with big, red letters.
All I know is that it's been another long winter with dud after dud being dropped into theaters throughout January and February. I might think Zack Snyder is a first-rate hack, but I could be watching Season of the Witch.
And no one wants that.
What's your take on Sucker Punch? Are you excited to see it this weekend? Are you at all wary of the flotsam of geek iconography that is littering the landscape of this film or am I a completely paranoid jerk?
LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW!
Zack Snyder is a pandering hack!
Steampunk Nazi Zombies, Orcs, Dragons, Mech suits, WWII bombers, tarted up female protagonists wielding swords and guns, giant demon samurai solders with chain guns...
They should have just called it "Stuff The Internet Likes: The Movie."