Method Man Has Some Interesting Perspectives on Comics


Forbes ran an interview with Cliff Smith, a rapper, producer and actor working with the Wu-Tang Clan band, who’s also a podcaster who’s dealt with comics under the nickname Method Man. Some of his replies to queries included:

 

Wow! Do you remember what your first comic book was?

MM: It was a Green Lantern comic book I got in Penn Station with my dad. I picked it up because I loved the colors and it caught my eye. I flipped through the pages and I couldn’t even tell you what it was about but that’s my intro. Green Lantern has one of the best costumes in the game, sorry Marvel.

 

Assuming he’s talking about Hal Jordan, he deserves some credit for lauding the costume originally drawn up by Gil Kane. He definitely does far better than Geoffrey Thorne, what with his reprehensible approach to the creation.

 

Did you think about the value of your comics? Were you a price guy kid?

MM: Yes, I was a price guide guy and an avid Wizard collector. I would say my most valuable book right now is my first appearance of Wolverine from an issue of Incredible Hulk. That was when comic books were at such a height that a lot of people who weren’t avid collectors thought there was money to be made with these books so they started buying up all the number one issues. The gatekeepers of comicdom decided to give fans multiple number one covers, and that devalued everything. I didn’t buy the books thinking of the value of them, because the true value in the comic books are the stories they tell.

It reminds me of how people are buying up these Playstation 5’s and selling them for double and triple the price. It should be illegal, but everybody gotta get that money. I ain’t hatin, I just want them to leave one for little Johnny, the six-year-old boy who didn’t get what he wanted for Christmas.

 

 

He earns credit for pointing out what went wrong with collecting, and why story should be the important part, not the monetary value. And he’s right that people who buy Playstation consoles just so they can sell them at higher prices is reprehensible too. Though why anybody should want to buy a machine from Sony, which has recently made a troubling shift towards censorship, is anyone’s guess. But up next, here’s something that isn’t quite so:

 

Getting back to the books, I love how the past writers laid the path for current writers to be as free as they are now with their character development because they’ve influenced a lot of people.

MM: Honestly, the thing that stood out to me the most doing the Marvel method conversations, was the fact that the majority of the celebrities I spoke to have a moral code that they got from the books and they don’t even realize it.

 

On this, how do both interviewer and interviewee feel now that morale’s been thrown to the winds in modern times, by hack writers who don’t give a damn what older or newer audiences think? Look at the irrational conduct of all the Slotts, McKones, Simones, Busieks, Marzs, and Russells out there on social media. Even if their online attitudes aren’t reflected in the books they’ve written, their antagonistic behavior to fans online is still in stark contrast to what Method Man may experience in the Hollywood district he’s part of.

 

As for laying out paths for current writers to find creative freedom in mainstream, I’m afraid that’s not very true. It’s only a select bunch who get that privilege, like the above bunch, along with ideologues like Jason Aaron. Even if people like him know better than to channel their ideologies into disparaging attitudes online, it’s still no excuse for the political propaganda he put into his Thor stories.

 

I know you love Wolverine, Do you have a top-five of X-Men characters?

MM: I do, but they’ve changed so much because there are so many of them. I’m reading the Jonathan Hickman X-Men right now, and I hate to speak bad about somebody whose writing I enjoy, but sometimes it takes him a while to get to the good parts. Right now my favorite characters are Apocalypse, Kid Omega, Krakoa, and Emma Frost because I got to throw the women up in there, and Storm.

 

I get the feeling he’s strained to admit what he really thinks, that Hickman must be slow. Couple that with the pretensions found, like retconning Moira MacTaggart into a mutant, and you have to wonder why so many are tilting towards PC, when Hickman’s X-Men stories could be some of the most overrated tripe since the turn of the century.

 

You told Inverse that you’ve always been a Marvel fan because you thought their stories were more grounded than DC Comics.

MM: Sometimes it’s hard to grasp the DC stories because I feel like they’re not coming from a real place sometimes, but with Marvel superheroes, it was just something about the majority of them being from New York. As a kid, I thought I might look up and see the Avengers or the Baxter Building from Fantastic Four

 

Reading this, I’m decidedly let down he’s telling Forbes’ writer something he’d surely want to hear. This is exactly what harmed the DCU in the long run, as specific people tried, for better or worse, to make the DCU a “real place”, and despite this, the very complainers never actually bought their products. By Smith’s logic, it wouldn’t be a big deal that Black Panther hails from a fictional country like Wakanda, and the fictional country of Madripoor that’s appeared in books like Wolverine’s solo isn’t something to be impressed with either.

 

 

Come to think of it, if that’s what he thinks, then the Negative Zone doesn’t make for a fun adventure either. If you’re going to make such a fuss over whether a character has a personality, or set in a real life location, then you’re obscuring the merit of the adventure in store. And the following is fishy too:

 

Switching over to Power Book II: Ghost, your character seems really intense like the Kingpin from Spiderman, and as I said at the beginning, I need to know what his origin story is

MM: I think if Davis did have an origin story, it would probably start with him being an apprentice to maybe a Johnnie Cochran type character and he learned a moral code from him. He was probably similar, and I hate to use this reference, but to a Fred Trump type guy whose whole objective is to win at all costs. People want a happy ending and to do that you’ve gotta win, and when the main character wins, that’s a great story.

 

The guy he cites is the late father of Donald Trump, who worked as a real estate developer. If this is meant to be an indirect swipe at a POTUS who worked hard to improve the economic situation in the USA, I’m not impressed, nor amused, if he’s basing a crook on a conservative figure so blatantly. That only takes away more impact from this whole article.

 

You cosplayed as Bishop this year and I was wondering what draws you to him other than wanting to see strong black characters?

MM: He’s a very powerful character, he refocuses his energy through his guns so if you punch him he could concentrate that into energy and hit you with the shit, that’s just dope because a gun superpower is the ultimate.

There are a limited number of relevant black Marvel characters in the Marvel Universe, like Luke Cage and Black Panther, shout out to Chadwick Boseman, and I think they should create more diverse characters and I would love to play one of them.

 

Here, he’s talking sense. In contrast to Marvel’s modern overlords, who went out of their way to twist so many established creations inside out when Axel Alonso was EIC, and it only led to plummeting sales, as the phantom audience they thought was there never bought their offerings.

 

Interestingly, Bishop was written as coming from Aboriginal Australian descent, but according to history research, many Aborigines have ancestry from Africa as much as Eurasia, so it’s not inaccurate at all to indicate Bishop’s of Black descent.

 
That said, it’s regrettable we have here somebody who, while he has some perceptive views to offer, is still dampening the impact with a political allusion, and comes close to perpetuating propaganda about lack of realism, a position that’s just as harmful to a lot of fantasy settings in ordinary books without pictures. I really wish these people would cut it out, and start arguing in defense of why fantasy settings can have a lot of advantages entertainment-wise, and why it’s unhealthy to worry too much about lack of character personality, or whether the story is dark enough, because all that does in the long run is lead to a lot of disasters as many scribes pave the road to hell with good intentions, and ruin everything.
 
 
 
Originally published here.

Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1

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