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Post By
little kon-el

In Reply To
Ed Love

Subj: I agree with you...
Posted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 01:37:02 pm EDT
Reply Subj: Re: While I like Roy Thomas...
Posted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 at 01:13:42 pm EDT

Previous Post

> ...I don't necessarily like his stories that delve too much into history. I liked his stories in the past, and it appealed to me when I was younger and I was enamored by his historical background. I loved the reporter feel of his All Star Squadron stories where he would research time periods.
>
> But I think he feels that he is too bound by history. He doesn't have the fluidity to work with history. He expounds on history and does his best to overwrite it into his stories unlike Darwyn Cooke or James Robinson, who employ history in a naturalistic way that uses history as the backdrop and the visual element of his story.
>
> Roy Thomas comes off like Chris Claremont...more of a historian than someone who lets the story imply or riff on the culture of the time. He isn't a cinematic storyteller, and I think you can definitely tell the difference if you took, say, an issue of All Star Squadron where Green Lantern experiences the devastating effects of nuclear war and James Robinson showing us how the A Bomb affected Green Lantern. In the All Star Squadron, GL goes through his surreal landscape, emulating a G.A. story that was written to adhere to an internal timeline while also giving some relevance (in a Neal Adams-GL sort of way) to Alan Scott's fear of his own power. In Robinson's story, it was done visually, with a simple conversation with Johnny Thunder, and this weary smile and easiness as we see politics/red-hunting affect Scott's personal life.

I'll concede that Robinson is probably the better pure writer than Thomas. Problem I have with Robinson vs. Thomas is how the two use retcons. Thomas, at least with All-Star Squadron used retcons that filled in gaps, or explained inconsistancies/coincidences. Robinson on the other hand uses retcons more to establish his own take of things. Thomas gives us a functional reason for why the Atom would later develop atomic-powered super-strength. Robinson does a story that adds on to that when it's not needed. In THE GOLDEN-AGE, he comes up with a separate reason for why the JSA and the rest don't end the war in minutes despite this is ground already covered. And it's Robinson that decided to have seasoned JSA execute the Rag Doll, Starman and Black Canary be adulturers and turned the Spider and Stalker into villains which aren't really things I'd call making something "nuanced" as much they are significant changes to the natures of the characters. Robinson's approach is a little too fluid for my tastes as he seems more intent on looking for ways he can change the stories to fit his sensibilities and Thomas is more of how much can I actually keep.

Golden-age hero and villain encyclopedia: www.geocities.com/cash_gorman


> > ...I don't necessarily like his stories that delve too much into history. I liked his stories in the past, and it appealed to me when I was younger and I was enamored by his historical background. I loved the reporter feel of his All Star Squadron stories where he would research time periods.
> >
> > But I think he feels that he is too bound by history. He doesn't have the fluidity to work with history. He expounds on history and does his best to overwrite it into his stories unlike Darwyn Cooke or James Robinson, who employ history in a naturalistic way that uses history as the backdrop and the visual element of his story.
> >
> > Roy Thomas comes off like Chris Claremont...more of a historian than someone who lets the story imply or riff on the culture of the time. He isn't a cinematic storyteller, and I think you can definitely tell the difference if you took, say, an issue of All Star Squadron where Green Lantern experiences the devastating effects of nuclear war and James Robinson showing us how the A Bomb affected Green Lantern. In the All Star Squadron, GL goes through his surreal landscape, emulating a G.A. story that was written to adhere to an internal timeline while also giving some relevance (in a Neal Adams-GL sort of way) to Alan Scott's fear of his own power. In Robinson's story, it was done visually, with a simple conversation with Johnny Thunder, and this weary smile and easiness as we see politics/red-hunting affect Scott's personal life.
>
> I'll concede that Robinson is probably the better pure writer than Thomas. Problem I have with Robinson vs. Thomas is how the two use retcons. Thomas, at least with All-Star Squadron used retcons that filled in gaps, or explained inconsistancies/coincidences. Robinson on the other hand uses retcons more to establish his own take of things. Thomas gives us a functional reason for why the Atom would later develop atomic-powered super-strength. Robinson does a story that adds on to that when it's not needed. In THE GOLDEN-AGE, he comes up with a separate reason for why the JSA and the rest don't end the war in minutes despite this is ground already covered. And it's Robinson that decided to have seasoned JSA execute the Rag Doll, Starman and Black Canary be adulturers and turned the Spider and Stalker into villains which aren't really things I'd call making something "nuanced" as much they are significant changes to the natures of the characters. Robinson's approach is a little too fluid for my tastes as he seems more intent on looking for ways he can change the stories to fit his sensibilities and Thomas is more of how much can I actually keep.
>

Because I think you do have good points about the failings that I have seen and that many have seen in Robinson's writing. His incorporation of actual history is always in reference to DC history (like the Rag Doll retcon, where (to clarify) it was Ted Knight who ended up killing Ragdoll). He plays Rag Doll as Charles Manson/Jim Jones/Son of Sam because it suits the time period that he's depicting (although a few years off).

What I think Robinson and Cooke excell in is the visual storytelling, not necessarily in the writing. I love Roy Thomas' turn of phrases (I still get chills reading his version of the origin of the Justice Society), but he's not a visual writer in the same respect as Robinson and Cooke (who definitely "write for the visual" because of their background in film and television).

- l.k.