Friday, March 25, 2011

Issue 2 - Homage in comic art

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The second issue of John Byrne's Next Men came out two months after the first. I believe that was the only delay in its publishing history (technically, it wasn't a delay the gap in publishing was previously announced in issue no. one). 

The theme this month seems to be one of clarifying the non-mutant status of the Next men.

"Anyway, the Next Men aren't meant to be mutants, James. Maybe you missed the promotional poster (or maybe you wrote you letter before you had a chance to see it), but the tag line there was "Beyond mutants," and that's just what we're talking about here. Mutants, as indeed humans and all other live on earth, are the result of natural changes occurring in an organism. The Next Men were altered artificially, through manipulation of the "trigger gene." In other words, you "medical experiment" guess probably strikes closest to the mark..." 
I imagine Byrne took a lot of heat for his Next Men being so close to Marvel's always hot X-Men. I believe that is why the book was called John Byrne's Next Men and not just Next Men.

The column's second letter comes from a person by the name of Rol Hirst, notable for publishing his own comic, PJANG (people just aint no good). Hirst was well known for sender of letters to comic books; this is the reason behind Byrne's exclaiming "(m)y first Rol Hirst letter"

This issue's "A flame about this high" deals with Byrne's opinion on Homage in comic art. The story he tells of an illustrated airplane is an interesting one:

"I know one artist who has been swiped to the point of actually seeing his work reduced to clip art. Having drawn an aircraft in one of the titles he worked on, he found himself one day looking at the same drawing in someone else's book. Not a swipe - the same drawing. The second artist had simply Xeroxed the drawing of the aircraft, trimmed away the original artist's background and pasted the "finished product" into his own story. Clumsily as it happened, since the original aircraft was in distress, smoke billowing from one wing, and the thief - no other word really applies - had not even bothered to white out the smoke on the part of the wing remaining after the background was trimmed."
Okay, that's pretty bad. I'm also really curious as to who the thief was?

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