Monday, September 7, 2009

Comic Binge reviews.

Finally had a chance to read some comics. Lots of issue #1's, since they do me the most good on the recommendation front, and because -- well, there were a bunch of new stories that interested me, too.

DESTROYER #1-5. Marvel Max.

Underneath the supercostume is an old guy, with a bad ticker. He decides to take out all the ultrabad guys before he goes, and proceeds to slaughter them bloodily.

Best line, about halfway through the series, "All these years -- all the fighting -- all the assholes trying to take over the world-- trying to kill the ones I loved.

"The thing that caused me stress -- the source of my tension -- was trying NOT to kill them."

Strangely, amidst all the mayhem, there is a touching domestic drama concerning his wife and daughter, and the son-in-law he's trying to save from same fate.

Comics tell different stories than anyone else, I tell you. Satisfying, and yet they probably wouldn't work in movies unless done by Tarantino.

Written by Robert Kirkman, of Walking Dead.


RED HERRING #1. Wildstorm.

Political thriller. Tries a little too hard at misdirection? Hence the title? A little wordy for my taste.


SWEET TOOTH #1. Vertigo.

One of Vertigo's 1.00 intro's, about a little mutant deer boy with antlers and his father isolated in the woods. Post Apocalyptic. Father has raised him to avoid people, but when he dies....

Very intriguing. Written and drawn by Jeff Lemire, who is better known for his indie comics, such as Essex County. Got me hooked.


STARR THE SLAYER #1. Marvel Max.

Bought it for the Richard Corben art, which I'm a sucker for -- he wrote the Den stories in Heavy Metal. Quirky look at sword and sorcery, with a hack writer pulled into the world he thought he created.


GREEK STREET #1, 2. Vertigo.

A retelling of Greek tragedy in the streets of London. I get the Oedipus references, and I think I recognize Cassandra, but some of the others went over my head. Kept me reading through 2 issues, but I'm a little confused.



A 1930's soldier of fortune, (heh), and debonair man about town, and a bevy of half naked women attached to every appendage (heh), and Nazi's and Hollywood, and all the Howard Chaykin touches. I loved American Flagg when I first started reading comics, and this comic seems up to his old standards.


NORTH 40 #1, 2. Vertigo.

Lovecraft in a redneck town. Kind of reminds me of the movie MIST, but maybe cause I just watched it last night.


THE UNWRITTEN #1,2,3. Vertigo.

What if Harry Potter was real; well, Harry Potter-like character is real, and his father wrote his adventures and disappears and the Potter-ish kid grows up the son of a famous missing author but with no memory?

And then the strange things start happening...

I really like this comic. What's really uncanny is how the authors mimic the tone and language and ideas of this kind of fantasy.

***Note. Before I go any further. Any of you who actually read comics will see a pattern in what I'm reading. Vertigo is the more mature line from DC comics; Marvel Max is the mature line from Marvel. It's the kind of thing I gravitate towards, just as I gravitate toward thrillers and suspense and S.F. and horror PG13 and R rated kinds of movies.



For a change of pace. This is a weekly experimental comic about the size of a newspaper, with 15 separate one page stories.

I really liked it. It has a nice feel, and having stockpiled the first 9 issues so far, I can read the stories fast. The large size really brings out the enjoyment of the art (though it seems to hit right in the middle of my short-sighted range, so neither my bifocals or my bare eyes can quite read it right.)

It has a very nostalgic feel -- which happens surprisingly often with comics. As though a part of the brain you don't use is opened up. A couple of the characters are ones I loved as a kid, such as Kamandi, Last boy on Earth, and Metal Men. I've liked neither the newer versions of these, nor the older versions when I went back and actually read them.

These versions seem more like my memory of what I used to like, but probably never existed until now. If that makes any sense. Some writers seem to have a talent at bringing this feeling back; Kurt Busiek for one, and of course Alan Moore.

I suppose it doesn't hurt that they have the best talent available for these stores; and a nice mix of main characters and secondary characters; Batman, Superman, Supergirl, Green Lantern, Deadman, Metomorpho, Flash, Hawkman, Sgt. Rock, Teen Titans, Demon and Black Cat, and Adam Strange. The only story I couldn't read was Wonderwoman, which was just too cutesie manga-ish for my taste. Some of the creators have an 'indie' slant, which seems to work surprising well for mainstream characters. (By the way, Marvel has just produced a comic from indies that does something similar, maybe even more offbeat, called Strange Tales which I completely missed. I've reordered it, and hoping I get some copies.)

Usually, I don't like the weekly thing; I seem to always eat a lot of copies because I can't adjust orders quickly enough, and people seem to drop the titles halfway through when they realize it costs four times as much as usual.

But I enjoyed the quality of this title, and I kind of hope they keep doing it. The payoff may come when they collect the entire run in book format, and wouldn't it be cool if they made the books oversized too?

It also points out, once again, the artificial lines we draw between cartoons and comics and newspaper strips and children's books. These are comics, just as Calvin and Hobbes is a comic, just as Get Fuzzy is a comic. People will admit all the time to enjoying Calvin and Hobbes, but stick a character like Flash in a comic and they won't touch it. Sigh.

I figure only the real comic folk have made it this far, so come on in and talk!


Viking Troutslapper said...

I'm glad you read Destroyer. If you liked that you should check out Kirkman's run on Super Patriot.

Duncan McGeary said...

I need to read the rest of the Walking Deads. Kind of waiting for him to finish...