Sunday, June 28, 2009

Nine randoms

Because it’s a rainy Sunday afternoon, and because sometimes, you just want to grab nine comics out of the teetering pile of dorkery in the corner and talk some shit about them.

Silver Age #1
DC, July 2000
Written by Mark Waid, Art by Terry and Rachel Dodson
One of those crossovers from the turn of the century that is largely unloved these days, just a bit too eager to please and not exciting enough.
Waid tried to recapture the magic of the comics he liked when he was a kid, with lots of superhero action and even more exposition.
Unfortunately, the comics Waid tried to emulate were hacked out by people who lied about what they do for a living when they went to parties, and didn’t give a fuck.
Waid really does give a fuck. Good for him. It just doesn’t always result in great comics.

Power Comics #4
Eclipse, September 1988
Written by Don Avenall and Norman Worker, art by Dave Gibbons and Brian Bolland
Black and white reprints of comics drawn by Gibbons and Bolland at the start of their careers, originally done for the African market and reprinted for the rest of us once we all realized how bloody good these guys were.
All very Right On, but the art is lovely. Each artist had a much looser line, leading to awkward bits, but some great flow. And the eagerness is everywhere and a bit contagious, greatly adding to the vibe.
One odd thing: the comics all have the panel numbers in the bottom left corner of each one, so idiot readers could figure it out and it’s all weirdly distracting, like when you leave a DVD running with the subtitles on, and you don’t really need them, but you end up watching them anyway and then you’re reading stuff that is already being told to you, but you keep on reading anyway.
Aw, fuck you guys. You know what I mean.

ClanDestine #3
Marvel, June 2008
Written and drawn by Alan Davis
Like a shot of liquid nostalgia. I don’t want to wank to Shadowcat any more because I’m not 13 and gave up doing that over comic pictures a while back. Plus, she’s still 15 and I’m old enough to be her Dad and that’s all a bit wrong.
I don’t care because it’s so goddamn nice to see Excalibur again, the original Claremont/Davis team that rocked my fucking world in 1988. All the characters have been fucked over so much, they couldn’t get back together like this again, but time-travel takes care of that.
It reminds me of the saddest thing in modern comics: Those Scarlet Witch/Marvel Girl back-ups in the First Class books. Those poor bloody girls.

Concrete: The Human Dilemma #4
Dark Horse, March 2005
Written and Drawn by Paul Chadwick
He still draws some of the best black and white art in comics and shows a lot of innovation while going off on weird fucking tangents, but the best thing about Paul Chadwick comics is that his characters don’t act like they’re fictional. They’re just as stupid as we are and massively unpredictable, beautifully irrational and more than a little frustrating. Sometimes I want to give Larry a slap so fucking much.
But Jesus, Chadwick puts so much thought into his stories and is a master at keeping things flowing along, so he’s always worth a look. They might not always be narratively satisfying, but they’re always fascinating.

Swamp Thing #154
DC Vertigo, May 1995
Written by Mark Millar, art by Phillip Hester
Millar always tries his best, so I can’t hold that against him. He wears his influences on his sleeve and makes no secret about it. Sometimes he is really, really nasty to his characters, but they’re usually a bunch of unlikable swine anyway, so fuck those jerks.
At this point in Swamp Thing, the green fella is lost in a book of short stories, which cover all sorts of odd periods in DC comics, from revisionist late-70s superheroes to the gross little horror stories that spawned Swampy in the first place. This one is particularly nasty as this time, it’s Abby Arcane who is the bad seed in the family.

The Nightly News #1
Image, November 2006
Written and drawn by Jonathan Hickman
It’s easy enough to see where Hickman is going here and it’s all very noble, but not exactly likeable.
You might have spent a semester in college, know how the world works and blame the media for everything, but you just sound like a dick.
Especially when you start shooting people in the head. Arsehole.

NewUniversal: Conquerer
Marvel, December, 2008
Writen by Simon Spurrier, art by Eric Nguyen
I always want to like Simon Spurrier than I do. Too much clever-clever, not enough thrust. Nothing to grip on to.
In this one, there is this barbarian dude who hacks people up with a big sword and some people with superhero powers who do horrible things with them and it’s a nice big lightshow, but I’ve read this fucking thing three times and that’s all I gots. Nothing else sticks, and it’s not helped by that awkwardly slick house style Marvel is rocking at the moment, which is all gloomy and atmospheric, but it would be nice to see what the fuck is going on.

Tangled Web #5
Marvel, September 2001
Written by Greg Rucka, art by Eduardo Risso
It’s that Severance Package story and it’s very good, but all I can think is this: If the Kingpin keeps killing every lackey that fucks up, and with three thousand superheroes getting all up in his shit every month, how can he get anybody to work for him?
I’m sure it gets good results out his personnel, but it must be hell being the big man’s human resources manager. He must offer up a whole lot of drugs and whores as perks to make up for the mortality rate.
Still, it’s always groovy to se super bad guys crack open a can of Honour and Nobility.

Girl #3
DC Vertigo, September 1996
Written by Peter Milligan and drawn by Duncan Fegredo
Sometimes, when I’m a bit drunk, I’m convinced this is the best thing Peter Milligan has ever written. When I’m sober, it’s okay, but with a few down me, I’m all about the Girl.
Fegredo is as good as ever and always produces his best art on shit like this.
It’s a speedy little read and it’s a sweet little document of the mid-90sin Britain, as much a part of its time and place as something like Trainspotting or Oasis. Only nobody went to stand in a giant field for Girl. I did, but I was alone and a bit cold.

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