Medium Matters

I feel like I need to rewatch the first two episodes of Hawkeye. I don’t think I was giving ’em a fair shake. I mean, yeah, I’m enjoying the show well enough so far, but at the back of my mind, all I was thinking was, “Why?”

It makes sense to me that they would adapt Matt Fraction, David Aja and Matt Hollingsworth’s run. At the same time, however, I feel like doing so draws way too many comparisons—and that’s not a good thing. (Hell, the show would’ve drawn those comparisons even if they didn’t badly photoshop Aja’s design work for all the promotional material.) (Also, pay Aja. Yes, his stuff’s work-for-hire, but the company has grown exponentially in the nearly ten years since the comics originally came out, and that series is now way more instrumental to the company’s continued success.) (Sorry… went off on a tangent there.)

Maybe the show will get more visually interesting as it goes on, but you can’t tell me that it’ll be even remotely on par with what Aja. People said it whenever talks of adapting Watchmen came up and this is just as true for the Fraction/Aja/Hollingsworth run: some things can only be done best in comics.

It infuriates me that folks still view this medium as (to put it nicely) niche or (at worst) inferior. Whether from the big two or creator-owned stuff, comics aren’t just content farms to be used as stepping stones to movies and television. They can and do tell brilliant stories—stories that work so well not in spite of the medium they’re told in, but because of it.

(P.S. the YouTube channel Cosmonaut Variety Hour makes some similar points in this excellent video about live-action adaptations of anime.)

(P.P.S. I know that I’ve spoken about this before, either in a previous version of this blog or somewhere else, but between what’s happening—or not happening—with Aja and Ed Brubaker recently making public his grievances with the company, it just reminded me how much I love this medium—and how few people give it the respect it has earned.)