I’ve been a bit of a moaning bastard this past week, as real-world stresses translate into miserable rants about the worthlessness of licensed comics and Marvel’s Ultimate output.
So, in a bid to cheer everybody up, here is a random list of 27 story moments in comic books that remind me why I love comics so very, very much. There are literally thousands and thousands of reasons why comics are my favourite medium, but these are the first that popped into my mind this Sunday morning (which is why there are two Grendel references, but nothing by Dan Clowes):
1. Fone Bone’s smile when the the light of all creation says hello to him.
2. Every time Tony Broke taught Ivor Lott a lesson in true happiness in the pages of Cor!!.
3. “Vivat Grendel.” Jupiter Assante unites the world with two words at the end of Grendel: War Child.
4. Dwight on the last page of chapter five in Sin City: A Dame To Kill For. Bloodied and beaten, one eye glaring with hate, the other already planning his revenge. “I’ll make it. I won’t die. I’ve got too much I have to do to let myself die.”
5. The Dead Man revelation. Of all the plot twists in all the mediums, this one knocked me on my arse like no other.
6. Followed closely by the end of Zenith: Phase Four.
7. Death of an immortal, somewhere in Sandman’s Brief Lives. Bernie Capax remembers the smell of mammoths, but is still surprised by the end. “Not yet…”
8. Captain Britain versus the Juggernaut in Excalibur #3.
9. The dangers of drawing big boobies in Peter Bagge’s Junior comics.
10. Frank Castle looks at the Long, Cold Dark of his life after seeing the tiniest glimpse of humanity, and shuts off the love forever.
11. The noble and weirdly touching end of Circadia Senius when the moon is destroyed in the five-years-later Legion of Super-Heroes. “I am an astro-physicist. If I don’t know where the moon is supposed to be, then we are all in k-k-considerable trouble.”
12. The last-minute appearance of Robin at the end of the second Grendel/Batman crossover. Innocence beats evil every time, not matter how determined and driven it is.
13. Itto Ogami meets a Buddha on the road, and after much deliberation, slices the man in half, creating a beautiful gateless barrier.
14. Everybody on Earth is a member of the Justice League at the climax of Grant Morrison’s JLA.
15. Morrison gives Buddy his family back.
16. The endless massacre in the first Luther Arkwright story. Seven seconds, eight pages, 77 panels, including one big montage.
17. The arrival of Thor during the battle against the Hulk in New York City in The Ultimates.
18. Evan Dorkin’s King of the Chimps and Dwarves.
19. Skizz – “Some of them are stars.”
20. Walter Hyde talks his way out of a bullet in the eye in the opening pages of Criminal: Second Chance In Hell.
21. Batman on a horse in the Dark Knight Returns.
22. John Constantine pissing on the King of the Vampires.
23. Wally West grows up and beats the snot out of the Reverse Flash, who came back and pretended to be Barry Allen.
24. The failed rescue bid at the end of Darwyn Cooke’s New Frontier #4 – “The Challengers rule the skies!”
25. The last panel of Speedy in Love and Rockets – a stark and rocky portrayal of utter depsair.
26. That elusive bird, always out of reach in the Dance of the Gull Catchers.
27. Superman’s sly super-wink at the end of DC 1,000,000.