And now, the comic I’ve been dreading: Kick-Ass.
It’s not that I don’t like Kick-Ass; in fact, it’s the exact opposite. I fell in love with the movie Kick-Ass when it was released, and the Blu-Ray version is often my high-def violent release after a long day at work. People taking it into their own hands to become superheroes? Sign me up. I truly want to be Hit-Girl when I grow up. I want to kick ass and take names. Shoot first and ask questions later. So when I saw it on the list of Comic Virgins upcoming reads, I asked Ben for a run-down: was it like the movie? Am I going to like it?
I could tell he wanted to warn me, but that he also didn’t want to ruin the comics experiment. “Well, it’s different,” he said, after hesitating for a few moments.
Boy, is he right. And I’m not sure if it’s different in a good way. But we’re going to take a step back so I can talk about translating from page to screen.
For the most part, I will always like the print version of a story over the film version. Not saying I don’t like the movies, but I find the print provides a much richer environment to “play” around in, for lack of a better term. Movies are over and done with in 2.5 hours – books, however, can take days to read, can provide you with sequels that don’t cost $90 million to produce and are interactive, with readers building the world in their minds. Movies do all of the imagining for you.
That said, Kick-Ass the movie (hereby referred to as KA:TM) is sooooo much better, for me at least, than the comic.
Don’t hate me.
This is the first time that I’ve been let down by the comics Ben and Mike have pulled for me. I had great expectations, and Mark Millar’s original storyline did not hold up as well for me as the Hollywood adaptation. Why, you ask? It all really boils down to one character: Big Daddy.
Movie Big Daddy, played by the effervescent, enigmatic, inspiring Nicolas Cage (goodness, I love that man), is a character to strive to be. He is all that superheroes represent. He’s got the backstory, the badassery and the behemoth gun collection to make him human and immortal all at the same time: a bleeding heart Batman, if you will.
I loved this character. He set a moral standard for the world of Kick-Ass:
Retribution is standard.
You will get your just desserts.
Preparedness is rewarded.
I went into Kick-Ass: The Comic (KA:TC) hoping for more training and adorable loving moments between Big Daddy and Hit Girl. Dad and daughter, fighting crime with more badassness than what Hollywood would allow on screen. Instead, I got a fraud of a back story, a lying hero and a case full of valuable comic books. It felt like a sham. I didn’t have Big Daddy to live for – and if I don’t have that, than what do these comics stand for, anyways?
I think that last question is what creator Mark Millar wants the reader pondering. However, with the tainted vision of Nicolas Cage in KA:TM, I couldn’t fully appreciate, nor enjoy, KA:TC. Big Daddy shouldn’t have been a sham. He should have been comic books come to life, not “real life imitating comic books,” like Dave does as Kick-Ass. Big Daddy was the real deal, but not in the comic books. There, he’s just another liar with a fake story.
Other than that MAJOR DETAIL, I enjoyed the storyline. I liked seeing just how much was used in the movies, as well as the little (and yes, sometimes MAJOR) departures from the original plot. The art is fantastic, though I will say that the faces of some of the characters paints them so young, I can hardly believe they’re in high school (looking at Dave’s friends, specifically). I loved the liberal and graphic use of blood and guts, and I love that Hit Girl is a 10-year-old that could make Chuck Norris wet his pants.
Yet, I just can’t get over the hump that is the Big Daddy let-down. Can’t love them all, I guess.