Friday, February 15, 2008

Is Judd Winick Our Generation's Denny O'Neil?

By pairing Judd Winick with Denny O'Neill, is Wizard Universe suggesting that Winick is the new O'Neil?

Is this...
...the new this?


  1. I don't know. O'Neil was a significant editorial influence, and while Winick's certainly built off of a lot of his work, Wizard does interviews like this all the time. They're both liberal writers who put that into their work, but other than that they're pretty damn different.

  2. For the benefit of people who won't bother reading the link, here is why this interview happened:

    "When we were putting together our
    Green Arrow retrospective a few months ago, Wizard discovered something interesting. During our interview with current Green Arrow/Black Canary writer Judd Winick, we asked him if he had ever had the chance to speak with legendary GA scribe Denny O’Neil. He said he hadn’t but added that “it’s something I long to do [but] it terrifies me at the same time.” Huh? Well, it turns out that while Winick is a big fan of O’Neil’s, he thought the feeling may not be mutual since Winick had been the one to resurrect Jason Todd whose demise had occurred under O’Neil’s supervision in 1987. To prove his theory, Winick grabbed his trade of the modern classic and read a back cover blurb from O’Neil that said simply, “It would be a really sleazy stunt to bring him back.”

    And so, since Wizard is all about bringing people together, we put Winick and O’Neil on the phone together to hash out what the fuss is all about."

    I don't think there was any "passing of the torch" or "you are ____'s generation's _____" implications as much as here are two people who worked on two different characters decades apart, and then the Jason Todd "controversy".

    Now when Balls Mahoney and Stan Lee got interviewed together, THAT was a clearly implied passing of the torch.

  3. I'm going to assume this is a joke. Winick == hack

  4. I absolutely agree that Winick is the O'Neil of his generation, specifically in the sense they both have sucked more often than not. O'Neil was a terrible liberal hack writer for nearly fifteen years before he developed any actual talent. Were it not for the fact that most comics are as awful as, well, every other media, this might have been a bigger bone of contention back in the day. The standard of writing has risen considerably over the years, so the disparity between "Winick" and "good" is just more glaring. Also, Judd hasn't worked with the finest artists of his era, as Denny did. That always helps.

  5. nah.

    i see the phone connection as more of a 'punk'd'-flavored stunt than anything.

  6. I would say that in some senses, it's a yes; Winick is now what O'Neil was at certain periods in his career, a writer who could be depended on to turn out a lot of work quickly and who was used in a lot of situations as a result. (Sort of like Bob Haney, or like Marv Wolfman, or like Roger Stern, or any number of others I could name...the guys who could write quickly and reliably always seemed to amass tons of credits in the 70s and 80s, when they could be relied upon to turn in a quick fill in issue while the "big star" was off somewhere.)

    However, I think that they differ in that the style of the time is different. O'Neil was usually called on to do inventory stories, ones which couldn't by definition have any big changes to the status quo. Whereas Winick is being used as editorial's hired gun, doing stories designed to move the characters into the positions editorial wants them to be in for the "big picture". In that sense, they're completely opposite jobs.

  7. O'Neil is a liberal? I thought he was the guy who put the kibosh on Son Of The Demon being canon because he didn't believe Batman should have sex outside marriage (beause the non-christian ceremony in that book didn't count)?

    If I ever get to read a Winick book that doesn't have some sort of house-burning or status-altering elements, perhaps then I'll be able to offer a personal opinion of his abilities as a writer, but until he gets away from editorially-mandated stunt-writing, it wouldn't really be fair to judge his work in the same way I would judge a writer who manages to write standalone issues.

    I also must be the only person who doesn't have an issue with Winick making his social agenda part of his books - if he were foisting right-wing lunacy upon us, I might feel different, but it sucks that so many people take offence to him suggesting through fictional characters that we should all get along.

  8. Wow. I feel really out of my league posting here. But...anyways, I just wanted to say. Great blog, you've just got another reader here!

  9. Hmmmm ....

    In the 70's O'Neil wrote stories that people still read and talk about today.

    There was the social commentary in GL/GA.

    There was the reboot of a dark knight Batman.

    There was the 'love it or hate it' depowered Wonder Woman, riffed on just this last year with agent Diana Prince.

    There was the 'love it or hate it' sandman Superman storyline which got rid of the crutcxh of kryptonite and humanized the man of steel (albeit for a brief time).

    The man rebooted the big three!

    In the 80's he had a great run of The Question rebooting that character.

    Does anyone ... *anyone* ... think that 30yrs from now they will be talking about Winick stories?

    Sorry ... no comparison.

  10. Bryan,

    Sir I am going to try to choose my words very carefully—I don’t know you and you don’t know me so it should be clear that I’m commenting on the content of your post, not on your character.

    That said, it’s very difficult not to read your last graph and not take offense.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>I also must be the only person who doesn't have an issue with Winick making his social agenda part of his books - if he were foisting right-wing lunacy upon us, I might feel different, but it sucks that so many people take offence to him suggesting through fictional characters that we should all get along.>>>>>>>>>>

    Whether or not you meant it as such, this statement seems to say that anyone who has an issue with Winick foisting his “social agenda” on readers of comic book fiction somehow has a bigoted or wicked motivation.

    That’s one step away from ‘if you’re not with us, you’re against us” type of thinking and I think that at the very least, we can agree that the world has had enough of that type of thinking.

    You yourself said you would feel different if he were advocating a position that you did NOT agree with.

    For me, it bothers me as much to be lectured by Winick’s stories (and the operative word here is “lecture”) about “him suggesting through fictional characters that we should get along” than it would if he were advocating ….. “Separate but equal” or whatever the opposite position would be.

    Yet I would also object if he spent 22 pages “suggesting” that we all use our disposable income to purchase Amway or time-share condos…etc.

    Sir, the Occasional Superheroine doesn’t publish a blog about the Federalist Papers and we’re NOT here to discuss the Weekly Standard or Mother Jones but Captain America and Wonder Woman and the like.

    Winick is an entertainment writer and we are entertainment consumers.

    If he wants to debate policy and persuade others to his way of thinking, he should write an essay or a letter to the editor. But that’s NOT why I pay $2.99 per issue.

    That said, there are numerous examples of entertainment fiction blending with social commentary working together with the result of provoking thought and sparking debate as a byproduct of storytelling.

    But nothing, and I mean nothing that I have read from Mr. Winick’s portfolio has led me to conclude that he is skilled enough to walk that line or that he even tries to.

    But his “social agenda” is not even my main reason that I dislike is work.

    Disregard for continuity, superimposing the same personality upon every single character and hijacking shared characters (example: Nightwing) bothers me much more than anything else.

    Bryan….as I said before…your statement offended me. What should you do about it or what do you owe me? NOTHING.

    Assuming you spoke your mind and spoke honestly, you owe apologies to no one.

    My point in this already too long post is to alert you that others of honorable intent can hold a contrary point of view.

    This is my first and only word on this subject but I encourage and look forward to your continued comments Bryan.

    Best to you and to our hostess Occasional Superheroine.


  11. I'm pretty sure I covered criticism of Winick's non-social-agenda writing with this comment:

    If I ever get to read a Winick book that doesn't have some sort of house-burning or status-altering elements, perhaps then I'll be able to offer a personal opinion of his abilities as a writer

    Winick's exposure through mainstream superhero books with content not dictated by other parties is limited to say the least, but I thought his Green Arrow issues immediately following Kevin Smith's were fun and better than would have been the case if they'd been written by other writers who escape the kind of venom aimed at JW - venom that (in my opinion) stems from the fact the guy has a Wikipedia page devoted more to his tenure on a reality show than his writing career. "Judd ain't paid his dues" seems to be the underlying sentiment, regardless of the merit (or lack thereof) in his writing.

    As for the social agenda stuff - the thing about superheroes is that they need to be heroes - homophobes and racists don't fit that bill in my book, and it's worth reinforcing, whenever the opportunity arises, that our four-colour idols don't hold the opinions of a nazi - though I respect that some may be critical of social issues being shoehorned in for their own sake, rather than arising organically from extant story elements.
    These people are entitled to voice valid literary criticism - it's those who wield the term 'political correctness' like they're describing fascism at work that I'm wary of.

    All said, though, I'm not an activist - I just think it sucks that some people find fault with the idea of educating while entertaining, because god knows, given how intellectually worthless a great deal of modern comics are, dropping in some education isn't really so terrible a thing.

  12. An entertaining quote from the Wizard interview, where they discuss the GA/BC marriage:

    O’NEIL: The Spider-Man wedding proved that these kind of characters can get married without diminishing their appeal.

    Bwahahahaha. Ha.

    Also: I don't have a problem with Winnick getting his soapbox out- but I *do* have an issue with him doing it so ham-fistedly. Like, he's not very good at it. Just like he's not very good at writing.

    But then again, going back to those few "Hard Traveling Heroes" issues I've read, O'Neal sometimes worked with all the subtlety of a brick to the face.

    Ah... O'Neal wrote The Question. Winnick wrote... the GA/BC Wedding OOC Special. So, there it is.

  13. From Winick's upcoming arc on The Brave and the Bold -

    Grown Man in a Care Bears Suit, to Green Lantern: "I been readin' 'bout you . . . how you work for the straight folks . . . and how on a planet someplace you helped out the gay folks . . . and you done considerable for the bisexual folk! Only there's folk you never bothered with . . . the furry folk! I want to know . . . how come?! Answer me that, Mr. Green Lantern!"

  14. You know, I remain a convert on Winick. I was a hater, but his First Thunder is GREAT & i really like his GA stuff. Heck, um...I even liked the Red Hood/Batman stuff? Though I do think bringing him back was a terrible mistake, though. To be fair.