Thursday, March 16, 2006

War of the Worlds

Look, there's this thing out there...the Germans have a word for it; Gestaltd. If it gets ahold of your ass you'd better move because it's very, very likely that it has had a few other asses in it's crafty Teutonic clutches. Basically, in terms that relate to this blogger and his profession, gestalt (there's no "d", I just looked it up) means that if you have a kick-ass idea, it's very likely that there's 2 to the power of 10 other people who have the same idea. A few years ago I had the privilege of having Gary Gianni drop by my studio.
He had in tow a photographer named Greg Preston who was taking images of artists, comicbook artists, in their studios for a book he wanted to publish (a bit anthropological, don't you think?). While Gary was a the studio I showed him some of the pages you see here. I confided in him as he had, some while ago, tackled an adaptation of Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea". What I showed to him were the first stabs at my adaptation of Herbert George Wells' "War of the Worlds".
The closest Perihelion Opposition of Mars on record was going to occur in the next couple of years and I'd thought this a great time for a new adaptation. Well of course the Martian Opposition came and went but I still kept plugging away at the project, glad to have something that kept me busy creatively. Then what happens? I happen to catch an impromptu interview with Tom Cruise where he quickly mentions a project that he and Spielberg are wrapping up (at this point the month is the April prior to the films release). Yes, I get depressed. I shelve the project and don't follow ANY of the buzz on the film (as is my m.o. for films I really want to see). I go see the film the day it opens... Thank GOD it sucked ass! I get on my knees each day and thank Him. I'm not going to get into a detailed post-mortem of the film, but the Warshowski (?) Brothers spoke the truth when saying that "film is a medium of compromises." I think that Spielberg missed the tone and scope of the original story by constricting an already myopic (which works) narrative experience (ow...) by hamstringing the film with 9/11 addled sentiments (the grey ash that people turned into when "vaporized" by the heatray).
I walked out of the theater relieved that the "blockbuster" was so far off the mark. If I remember correctly, Wells wrote the book as a critical work, openly critical of the practice of colonialism; something the British know a little bit about. Plus there's some very telling commentary in the original work about humanities strident advance across the threshold of the 20th century and what we were choosing to carry over into the new century and what we were eager to discard to the past. The glossed over technological "hoodoo" that the film displayed was laughable; that the Martian Fighting Machines had ALWAYS been here, that they were simply buried awaiting the pilots, for eons? Snort,...come on! I suppose every geological survey ever conducted happened to "miss" a large mass of non-terrestrial technology swaddled in an Allegheny ore deposit or nestled against a granite shelf. I laughed out loud.
At any rate, I'm fairly secure in the knowledge that the latest film adaptation and my attempt at an adaption of "The War of the Worlds" will remain two wholly independent and vastly differing efforts in storytelling. Toot-toot! (that's my horn!) .
The art you're seeing here is taken from the "shank" of the story I was (am) planning. That's an old McDonalds that I actually used to spend a lot of time in when I was a teen chasing skirt back on East 87th Street. I was a bit chagrined, when I went back there after lovingly paying homage to the franchise on these pages, to find that that particular shop had been torn down and rebuilt. Damn, Martians.


Fred Schiller said...

Stunning artwork, as always, Tony, but I didn't see Dakota Fanning's character in your version. What up with that? She's so damn cute, don't you just want to pick her up and squish her?

Tony Akins said...

Thanks Fred! Strangely, the story I had(have) planned does feature a young girl. I did freak a bit when I saw Snagglepuss Fanning's presence. If I can manage getting my version up (bags of money would help, here) hopefully I can offer some broader, more stratafied(?) characters. Mmm, Stratalicious.