by T. Hodler
Thursday, February 10, 2011
As of one week ago today, I finally finished Gravity’s Rainbow. Now that I’ve read the whole thing, I can more responsibly ponder the Frank Miller question. While I’m still not a fan of the actual cover he produced, I also still think his selection makes a lot of sense: there’s a ton of comic-book imagery in the novel, and many of Miller’s themes (militarism, noirish overcomplicated plots, skeezy sex, fascism) are present. The more focused and disciplined Ronin-era Miller would probably have done a better job, but that was clearly not in the cards. In any case, let’s move on from Miller — it is more fun to speculate about other cartoonists who might have worked even better.
Assuming you wanted to stick with a modern-era superhero artist, Howard Chaykin is one obvious (and arguably more apt) choice. The late Jack Cole, who is referenced often in the story itself, would have been pretty much perfect, though obviously he was unavailable for cover duty. While we’re dreaming, Jack Kirby initially seems like a good fit, but there’s a certain nobility in even Kirby’s saddest comics that would be far out of place in the corrupt, fallen world of GR. That thought leads, of course, to perhaps Kirby’s greatest descendant, Gary Panter, who is ultimately the one and only obvious choice for the assignment.
But there’s no reason to restrict this game to just one book. (more…)