Tuesday, November 21, 2006

My influences, Part II

In the earlier post, I listed novelists who I feel have had a big influence on my dream of wanting to be an author (though not necessarily on my style of writing). Here I am listing other people, not generally novelists, who have had a big influence on my writing.

1.) Neil Gaiman. Neil has become a novelist in the last decade or so, but in the early 1980s and 1990s he was best known as the writer for DC Vertigo's line of Sandman comic books, which have become a series of graphic novels. The first 6 or 7 issues of Sandman are almost a work in progress, but by issue 7 or 8 Gaiman really finds his niche and sticks with it through the rest of the run of the comic, about 75 issues if memory serves. I don't write like Neil, but his Sandman stories have had a huge impact on how I think about fantasy writing. If you have not read any of the Sandman graphic novels, I implore you to go out and buy one. "Dream Country" is the shortest and cheapest of the Sandman graphic novels, collecting four issues that were each separate short stories. No other author I'm familiar with can blend classical mythology, Christian mythology and his own, created mythology like Gaiman.

2.) Frank Miller. Another comic book writer. I don't care much for Miller's more recent works, but his "Return of the Dark Knight" to this day is my all-time favorite comic book story line. If you like hard-boiled fiction, this story is as hard-boiled as can be.

3.) Sergio Leone. Leone was a movie director best known for his work with Clint Eastwood in the Dollars trilogy of movies, Fistful of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Yes, they're cheap and easy shoot-em-ups. But no, they're not. The movie are more than that, much more. Leone had a fantastic eye for picking out character actors, people with faces so unique they almost don't seem real, more like characterizations from artist Mervyn Peake (yeah, the same Peake who wrote the Gormenghast books). Leone also had a great eye for the camera, switching back and forth between exteme closeups and super wide shots, showing fantastic backgrounds. As for story telling, no one can build suspense like Leone. Don't believe me? Watch the last half hour of Good, Bad and Ugly; the violence is over extremely quickly, but the build-up to that violence is breathtaking.

4.) Adam Duritz. My favorite living lyricist (John Lennon and Kurt Cobain being tied for not-living lyricists, in my opinion). I wish I could write novels like Adam writes lyrics for Counting Crows. Of course, then I'd probably be a romance writer, but it would still be fantastic.

5.) George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. No child of the 70s or 80s can be involved in the entertainment industry and not have been influenced by these two. I list them together because so much of their early work was together, from Jaws to Star Wars to Indiana Jones.

6.) Mel Gibson. Despite Mel's recent idiocy, I have always appreciated his movie work, specifically his works as an actor portraying a vengeful character. Mel really does a great job at this, from the Road Warrior to Ransom to Patriot, Braveheart and Payback. While Mel sort of fills a niche as this vengeful character, he fills it like no other I've seen. Kron Darkbow's sense of righteousness owes a lot to Mel.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"The Dark Knight Returns" ... man, I have to get that out every couple of years and read it again. Awesome stuff.