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“I Ain’t Never…Made Nothin’ My Whole Life.” COMICS! Sometimes I React Quite Badly To The Tiresomely Derivative Violent Fantasies Of The Middle-Aged White Male. Tough Titty.

John Kane

So, hey, you know all the Goodwill I’ve built up with y’all. Let’s douse all that in kerosene and flick a lit match at it. Because, damn, this comic sure rubbed me the wrong way. Sometimes I’m like a mad dog. A sexy mad dog. You’ve been warned. WOOF! WOOF!

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MEN OF WRATH by Garney, Aaron, Milla & Fletcher

Anyway, this…
MEN OF WRATH
Art by Ron “Through The Jungle” Garney
Written by Jason “Star Wars” Aaron
Coloured by Matt “Killer” Milla
Lettered by Jared K. (“-Bar”) Fletcher
Marvel, $3.50 each
MEN OF WRATH created by Ron Garney & Jason Aaron

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And all the others
Running ’round so hot and bothered
Anything to give their lives some meaning
In the evening
Running around with guns and
Said they would act in self-defence
With violence

Violence – The Pet Shop Boys

I’m a Killing Machine!
I’m a Killing Machine!
I’m a Killing Machine!
I’m a Killing Machine!
I’m a Killing Machine!
I’m a Killing Machine!
I’m a Killing Machine!

In The Neck – Revolting Cocks

Hey, Buddy! Yeah, you! How bad is your ass? No matter how bad your ass is I bet it’s not as bad as the bad asses in this comic and that’s allowing for a high level of badness when it comes to your ass. Man, the asses in this book are all bad. Because they are all (mostly) men’s asses. And all men are violent. All the time. I’m being violent right now. And manly. Hell, I piss oxtail soup and fart raw lumber. Imagine an ambulatory hickory-smoked cock constantly emitting milky explosions of violence and that’s me, Padre. Straight up! I didn’t grow this beard, I was born with it! Chafed my Ma so bad on the way out that during the delivery (in a clapboard shack with a roof o’ tin) she tore an intern’s throat out like The Swayze in Charles Dickens’ immortal classic ROAD HOUSE. Shitfire and molasses! Get out of my sight! Get out of my way! Rubber Duck to Teddy Bear, we got ourselves a convoy! A Convoy of Violence! Yeah, my chapped lips to your cauliflower ears, I thought this comic was just great, if a little dainty for a giant violent hickory-smoked bearded cock like my bad ass self. No word of a lie, this comic displays all the nuance and insight into male violence you would expect of a comic called MEN OF WRATH which is about some men called Rath who are angry. And that’s some smart stuff right there, Cochise, because, see, wrath is a synonym for angry and, get this, wrath rhymes with Rath (largely in fact due to it being the same word except the “w” has gone), but not only that, but, and I don’t want to tell tales out of school or anything, but men are renowned for being violent, and violence is often a physical embodiment of anger, or, brace yourself – wrath. MEN OF WRATH! Geddit! Yeah, that stain on the wall is your mind, baby. Because like a sailor on shore leave, it just got blown. And that’s just the title. Comics aren’t just for kids anymore! They are for big kids! Big kids who enjoy the literary equivalent of staring into the gummily cycloptic eye of their own boner.

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MEN OF WRATH by Garney, Aaron, Milla & Fletcher

MEN OF WRATH has many things to tell us about the human condition and some of these things are about men growing old. And revenge. And  religion. And animals. The religion bit is easy – religion is rubbish. A white collar won’t stop a bullet. And nor will God. Controversial stuff there; knocking Christianity being as tough as mocking Perry Como in this the year of Our Lord 2015. There’s a lot of sheep and horses in it so I guess the idea is to suggest people are just like animals, they just pretend otherwise because, uh, that sounds like a really badass thing to say. In fact, people can indeed act like animals when under extreme duress, or following lengthy periods of systematic abuse or when there are soup makers with 33% off RRP on Black Friday. Mostly though people act like people. I’m not sure about the animal thing, MEN OF WRATH might not be that complex, but I’m committed to this train of thought so we’ll carry on – I suspect people are not actually just like animals because I’ve yet to hear of a chicken tiling a bathroom or a capybara performing chanson. Although, true, quite a few barnyard animals do seem to be elected to political office. Actually it’s probably not saying anything about animals. What about men and age? I bet it’s replete with wisdom on that score. Oh yeah, as men get older, MEN OF WRATH tell us, they might get cancer but that’s okay because they’ll just spit blood, or maybe run out of puff during a gunfight, or occasionally clutch their side and grimace like they are trying to keep a fugitive poo in. Cancer, MEN OF WRATH assures us, much like renal failure or pulmonary embolisms, can be pushed back by sheer force of will, a crinkling of the forehead and a manly hiss of “Not now, old man. Not yet.” Old men, cancerous or no, MEN OF WRATH reveals, can be shot and burned with little immediate impact, although MEN OF WRATH is fast to point out that they will suddenly fall over and black out at a moment of high emotional impact in the narrative. This is because, and I’m reaching here, maybe, old thoughts don’t travel as fast as young thoughts so it takes time for the news of their injuries to reach their aged brain. Like dinosaurs. Sometimes old men can be referred to as dinosaurs because dinosaurs died off; the fact that humanity will have to stick around for several millennia more before they equal the dinosaurs’ tenure never gets mentioned. Or maybe it’s because old men are scaly and have a tendency to stumble around roaring with no pants on. I don’t know. Mostly, though, MEN OF WRATH is telling us about sons and fathers. What it tells us about sons and fathers is fuck all. It starts off telling us that a cycle of violence began when Papyrus Wrath stabbed a dude over sheep, but then it realises that it isn’t the 1970s and everyone with more sense than a doughnut now knows all that “bred in the bone” shit is just a weak ass refusal to take responsibility for one’s own actions. This means it kind of stumbles about all confused and bellyflops into a truly poor end reveal which is both pandering and maybe a wee bit sexist. Because ladies? Not violent. Ever. Hey, Jason Aaron – meet my mum. Yeah, you better run, boy. Stop when you hit the sea. Anyway, MEN OF WRATH has many things to tell us about many things, I’m not sure what they are but I am sure all of the things it has to tell us are dumb. This is because everything MEN OF WRATH tells us is based on a bunch of movies and books that have already told us all these things better. On reflection I suspect MEN OF WRATH doesn’t tell anyone anything, because MEN OF WRATH is five issues of macho posing and as a consequence any message within has all the strength of a sick man’s piss. MEN OF WRATH is a book apparently written by someone who doesn’t get that the truest thing movies like TAXI DRIVER and ROLLING THUNDER tell us is that Paul Schrader was a very unhappy young man.

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MEN OF WRATH by Garney, Aaron, Milla & Fletcher

Oh yeah, MEN OF WRATH has a lot of violence in it and this violence is extraordinarily effective in solving everyone’s problems. True dat. Now, sure, some people will tell you violence solves nothing. Probably some guy who goes to work in an office and wears glasses and loves his wife like he’s some puling castrato or something. Personally speaking,  I’ve yet to find a problem violence can’t solve. See as a for instance, a couple of years back we were calculating our return for the Tax Credits and it turned out some sums had gone awry and we’d been claiming more than we should. We’d been claiming it for a full year, so we had to make the choice of whether to ‘fess up and pay the not inconsiderable sum back, or just sail right on ahead living with the possibility that at any moment  the black helicopters would descend and there’d be knock at the door. Please understand, it wasn’t that we didn’t want to pay it back. After all I’m big on paying taxes because I have this dumb idea I’m a part of a wider society to which we should all contribute so that we can raise each other up (also, hospitals, prisons, schools and roads – quite useful!) No, the issue was whether we’d get into trouble; it was an honest mistake, but you know maybe They wouldn’t see it like that. I don’t know about anywhere else but in the UK the last person you go toe to toe with is the Tax Man. You’ve got more chance of getting away with fiddling with kids than with fiddling your taxes. So, we talked about it for a few days and it all got a bit stressful and in the end I just went out and murdered someone. That solved the whole Tax Credits problem right quick, don’t tell me it didn’t. You can visit me on Wednesdays. Bring cigarettes.

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MEN OF WRATH by Garney, Aaron, Milla & Fletcher

Look, it’s not that Jason “Star Wars” Aaron can’t write and can’t write well but, seriously, this is some tired path he’s treading. It’s certainly very fucken’ far from Cormac McCarthy. Because, hey, didn’t you hear, Jason “Star Wars” Aaron is Comics’ Cormac McCarthy. You know, like Brian Michael Bendis is Comics’ David Mamet, Ed Brubaker is Comics’ Raymond Chandler and Matt Fraction is Comics’ Rip Taylor. Throw all that stuff on your rhubarb to make it grow. Jason “Star Wars” Aaron can write, but MEN OF WRATH is refried junk. Oh, hey, since my pills are overdue and I’m going all Scorched Earth have you heard the one where comics writers equate themselves with Charles Dickens? Have you not heard that one? It’s great. Honestly, I’ve seen at least one do it in a public comments section, and given comics writers are herd creatures you can bet the concept’s got some traction with a few of ‘em. Modest folk that they are. Anyway, it seems to run like this: Charles Dickens produced popular fictional entertainments in a serialised format which were later collected between two covers for posterity. So do they. Thus, comic book writers are like Charles Dickens. QED.  If any comic book writers think that, I want them to know that I have two step ladders in my garage and they are more than welcome to borrow one to try and get over themselves. Because, yes, clearly it was the format in which Dickens’ work was published that makes it great rather than, you know, the genius of Charles Dickens. See, you start out complimenting a writer and before you know it we’re in a place in which Frank Tieri is comparable to Charles Dickens. A hot place with imps and cackling. Look, the last thing I want to do is rub poo in anyone’s eyes here, but if the writing was the most important thing about comics there wouldn’t be any pictures in ‘em. Writing is the most important thing in prose – fancy your chances in that arena, comic book writers? Yeah, thought not. Go back to hiding behind Frank Quitely’s skirt. No offense, like. Look, short version: If Charles Dickens was alive today I doubt very fucking much if he’d be writing comics about C-3PO’s arm or Han Solo’s sassy wife. Check and mate. Cormac McCarthy, my arse. More like Charlie fucking McCarthy. Gottle a geer!  Gottle a geer!

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Also, I made the mistake of starting to read the back matter until I hit the usual ride-a-cock-horse about how the story has a profoundly personal aspect, which comes across about as sincere as Wayne Newton telling us Peace Frog holds a very special place in his heart before clicking his fingers and getting stuck in on the Trocadero Main Stage, during a poorly attended Thursday matinee. Apparently one of Jason “Star Wars” Aaron’s kin done gone killed some fella back yonder  times over some sheep or some such, hence the inspiration for this timeless paper classic; one which will be ranked by posterity somewhere under that FRIDAY THE  13th comic Jason “Star Wars” Aaron did.  I think I’m supposed to be impressed by the honesty of Jason “Star Wars” Aaron’s facing of the familial sins of the past full on and the colossal internal strength he draws on to use it as a spur to create art (i.e. money). And had the ancestral Aaron touched kids I probably would be suitably impressed. But Festus Aaron killed someone, which is still a manly and butch crime; the kind of crime you can walk tall behind, and so we just got another comic about how violence is, oh, so very, very bad but still manages to force itself  to roll around in it like a dog in fox shit.

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What? Maybe I’m just not the audience for this? Maybe it’s a bit too raw for my fluffy pink liberal palate? Seriously, you have no idea who you are dealing with here. Circque du Soleil would gasp at the contortions my Electric-Pink Liberal Conscience can make just so I can enjoy my Hot Strong Man Boner Action. DIRTY HARRY? The balls, man, Just the balls. I can recite that thing; don’t test me, it’ll end badly for you. And yet, as my regular readers will attest I’m all, hey, why don’t we all look after each other, and, like forgive although we can never forget, and bad things are real bad, yeah, and you use roads, you were born in hospital, so  pay your taxes and all that, ugh, nasty, nasty, wispy beard, cork sandaled, recycling, folk listenin’, home-made preserves shit. Listen to this, and you best believe you better be bracing yourself like nobody’s business because here it comes: I’m the guy who thinks Harry Callaghan throws his badge away at the end of DIRTY HARRY because he has failed The System! That’s right! The System hasn’t failed Dirty Harry, Dirty Harry has failed The System. He no longer believes he is fit to carry the badge. (Well, he isn’t is he? I mean, there’s crossing a line and then there’s being silly about it. He endangers about twelve little kids at the end; not cool, Harry.) Why then, John, is he back in MAGNUM FORCE and also, John, not only is he in MAGNUM FORCE but he is such a plainly unapologetic fascistic bastard they have to set up a bunch of bike cops including David “Black Bean Soup” Soul and that guy from Vega$ as a kind of Central American Death Squad, whose only Real Crime the movie seems to be saying is offing a luckless cop. Why, John? Because John Milius is why. Also, it’s a fucking cartoon. The first movie is a proper film; Don Siegel made proper movies – word to that. And the rest of the Harrys? Fuck those. That Cagney & Lacey one is so badly directed it’s a good job the human charmball Bradford Dillman’s in it, and THE DEAD POOL has a remote control car chasing Harry Callaghan about like it’s some kind of R-Rated Hot Wheels movie or something. A remote controlled car! That movie is for goofballs and Liam Neeson/Jim Carrey completists. The only half way decent one (other than MAGNUM FORCE; I like fascist cartoons! TWIST!) is that one that keeps forgetting it’s a Dirty Harry movie and thinks it’s Sondra Locke in DEATHWISH. (N.B. DEATHWISH is a piece of crap.) And SUDDEN IMPACT’s only good because it would take a sleepy chimp indeed to come away from that one feeling revenge was any fucking good at all. A chimp, or John Milius. I mean, I’ve checked my pants and I’m a man; I have a weakness for dumb aviator shaded, cigar chompin’ shit like the stuff John Milius sprays like musk, but the important thing to remember is that stuff’s a fucking cartoon.  Yeah, I know he’s dead. It should be sprayed not sprays. Fuck tenses. Grammar ain’t manly, pal. Except Powers Boothe’s Gramma. Ma Boothe cures her own pork, you hear me! Skiddlyupyah! But, y’know, you can step the Hell back if you’re even thinking of telling me RED DAWN says anything about the human condition. My point? Like John Vernon said in Josey Wales, “Don’t piss down my neck and tell me it’s raining, Senator.”  Capiche, cochise?

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MEN OF WRATH by Garney, Aaron, Milla & Fletcher

Someone out there is going to go, yeah, yeah, you big limey mincer, but have you read SOUTHERN BASTARDS – that’s great! And because I was raised right  I am going to ignore the fact that this site is fully searchable and you can find out fairly easily that I have read SOUTHERN BASTARDS and, no, in the world in which I am cursed to live, it is not great. SOUTHERN BASTARDS took five issues of “stellar character work” to tell us nothing about said character or the mise en scène (yeah, some ooh-la-la parlez vous francais there. Bite me, tough guy!) that couldn’t have been covered in one issue. He’s old, he’s sad, his dad was bad and Americans react to seeing dogs shitting like someone was murdering a baby. (Of course he’s been in ‘Nam. Of course he had. Did you know ‘Nam backwards is Man? There goes your mind again!) Anyway, five issues of repetitive dithering. Five issues of it. Five fucking issues of packing boxes, hitting people with sticks and being sad. Fucking interminable stuff.  And all so that the end of issue 5 would come as some big surprise. Which it did, because who had “Jason Aaron is just wasting everyone’s time” in the raffle? You, sir or madam, are a winner! Tickets to that raffle cost $14.95 approx. You’re welcome. And ugh. That last page. Where the non-Caucasian non-male character is revealed on the page turn like she’s Darkseid or something; a move shocking only in its humungous smuggery. Who the hell in their right mind went – it’s a coloured lady! A POC! OMG! Why the blue fuck wouldn’t it be? Even better – she’s in the Army! Talk about mixed messages. Either all the suspense just dropped out of the arse of this book because, really, who will win between a drug dealing sports teacher and his shit-thick hicks, and a government trained killing machine with revenge on her mind? Dur. Lemme think. In Michael Bay’s documentary CON-AIR Cameron Poe (Nic Cage with seaweed on his head) is dealt with more harshly than other mortals by The System because his awesome military training makes him unlike other men – he is become like unto a Living Weapon, he has become War. It’s not much of a contest is it? Lady Cameron Poe versus Craig T. Nelson’s COACH? Or maybe it means Jason “Star Wars” Aaron thinks the US Military is so shit its soldiers would have trouble dealing with a drug dealing sports teacher and his shit-thick hicks. I very much doubt that was his intention, Americans being pretty well disposed on the whole toward their boys in uniform. There are even a couple of movies about it and everything. You could say I didn’t give it long enough; how long is long enough? Perhaps I should have waited to find out that the drug dealing sports teacher had a Bad Dad and got his knee shot off so he could never play football. Or whatever, I didn’t give it that long, did I? Sure, I can see someone turning to crime because they can’t play their favourite sport in a professional capacity. My heart bleeds. I never got to be Howard Victor Chaykin’s pool boy but you don’t see me peddling drugs and exhibiting singularly poor recruitment choices. Maybe the lady character will allow Jason “Star Wars” Aaron to bring to bear some “stellar character work”.  Perhaps when she’s strapping some C-5 under a pickup with a Confederate flag on its plates she’ll pause wistfully as a baby in a pushchair is wheeled past. Because: nuance. Jason Latour’s art was spectacular, mind you. It had a lovely autumnal pallet all russet and  dusty and what a goddamn waste. Which reminds me, Ron Garney illustrates MEN OF WRATH and his art, inconsistent as it is, is wasted on this cowflop. They say you should talk about the art so there you go. That much I did right. MEN OF WRATH is CRAP!

You can’t choose your family but you can choose – COMICS!!!

9 Responses to “ “I Ain’t Never…Made Nothin’ My Whole Life.” COMICS! Sometimes I React Quite Badly To The Tiresomely Derivative Violent Fantasies Of The Middle-Aged White Male. Tough Titty. ”

  1. Shh, shh…its ok. Our national nightmare is over now. R.M. Guera was been revived out of the pit of obscurity incredible artists who aren’t valued nearly as much as the writers go, and he’s drawing The Goddamned. Bringing his gift for showing bleak yet detailed spaces and the people who live there. Also, dinosaurs.

    http://s16.postimg.org/u35lgbc5h/cain.jpg

  2. This is some next level stuff, 100% right on.

  3. Yeah, spot on.

    Btw the Pet Shop Boys link doesn’t work. I’m not that bothered about it myself, but thought you might like to know.

  4. Couldn’t get past the first issue of Men of Wrath, whole thing was so painfully clichéd.

  5. Wow, it really looks as though John Kane is trying to make up for Abhay’s absence, in the vitriolic-rambling-to-meaningful-critique ratio if nothing else.

    For the sake of precision, and since John bangs on about it so much, it should be noted that Southern Bastards only took four (4) issues to arrive at its staggering double “reveals.” I’m certain that will greatly improve John’s appreciation of the series!

    Just for the possibility of overheated Freudian reviews it might engender, I hope one of Jason “Star Wars” Aaron’s future projects has as its artistic collaborator one Howard “Star Wars” Victor Chaykin.

  6. I know there’s no soothing your irrational hatred of Southern Bastards, but I’m not sure why it’s such a foregone conclusion that Coach Boss will lose to the Army gal daughter, when he beat her father, a Nam vet action hero who wields an immortal stick, quite handily in a bout of fisticuffs. And this without the aid of his army of redneck brutes.

    Also “Gee I wonder if the good guys will win. Yawn.” is a pretty shit critique to begin with.

    Also also, Aaron has picked up by now every plot thread from those first four “waste of time” issues. Earl Tubb’s murder has been a driving force in the present-day issues of the series.

    Again, your forum to rant, but thought as a public service I’d clear up true facts versus baseless ire (a real “man of wrath” that John Kane, you might say). Cheers and God bless.

  7. @Jeremy09: Good Lord above, how good is RM Guera? He’s so good I bought every issue of SCALPED (despite it being almost as much a mix of old ‘70s movies and jockstrap sniffing as MEN OF WRATH.) Damn, RM Guera is good. Dinosaurs? Or OLD MEN!?!

    @Nate A: I…I don’t think I deserve that. But I’m glad you liked it. Alas, the idea was that even if the reader disagreed with it the piece would be sufficiently entertaining, hyperbolic and self-mocking for them not to take umbrage. I failed at that it seems. I’ll probably dial it back for a bit. Still, cheers!

    @Sean. Thanks to you also, sir. Ah well, I’m not keen on linking to copyrighted material anyway. Plus, I can’t fix the links from here. Thanks for the heads up though.

    @daustin: Dude, you have no idea how clichéd that thing got. Ugh. You dodged a bullet there, sir.

    @Carl: Oof, okay, I was wrong. But in my defence I gave all my issues to charity a while back, so it was pretty hard to check. Mostly though – laziness. Anyway, it felt like FIVE issues! You hear me, FIVE issues! (If I bluster a lot it’ll look like I wasn’t caught on the hop.) Are you British? Because “bangs on about” is a very British construction. Just wondered, I thought everyone out there was Australian.

    Also, because I know a test when I see one: Jason “Star Wars” Aaron & Howard “Star Wars” Chaykin did an issue of Wolverine together. It was pretty funny, I liked it. I also liked Jason “Star Wars” Aaron’s run on GHOST RIDER. However, PUNISHER MAX, MEN OF WRATH and SOUTHERN BASTARDS with their “Violence is Cool! But NOT REALLY!” are all a bit “Methinks the lady doth protest too much” for this Liberal Humanist lightweight.

    @Cass: I am glad you are enjoying SOUTHERN BASTARDS. I would not wish you to not enjoy SOUTHERN BASTARDS, if you are so inclined. I did not enjoy the book. You are correct to identify the “shit critique”, but it’s not quite the critique I was hoping to make. (However, I do really like the blunt impact of “shit critique”. Nice one!) In fact, where I spoke of “suspense” I should have spoken of “interest” because a soldier? Meh. A Real Estate Agent unaware of her family’s violent past? I’d probably be interested in how that rolled out. It’s probably still a shit critique, but something can still be predictable no matter how it ends. The very best to you, and may God bless you back.

    Okay, back to level-headedness next time out. Sayanora, sunbeams!

  8. I normally seek out Aaron’s work agree on Men of Wrath. Dropped in first issue or two (I forget) but if we agree there’s nothing Dickensian going on here I’ll invoke Faulkner because I enjoy reading about the broke-ass characters in “Southern Bastards” as well as the bit of sleight of hand in the first arc. If you liked “Scalped” you will probably like “Southern Bastards” but if you don’t like Jason Aaron’s writing, well, then … enjoyed your article.

  9. @Kevin: William Faulkner. William “The Sound And The Fury” Faulkner, yet. Hmm, I’m staying schtumm, son.

    You know, I did like SCALPED because, well, okay, because RM GUERA. But I did actually unequivocally like Aaron’s Ghost Rider and some of his Wolverine was fun too. But, yeah, I’ll stay away from him from hereonin. I don’t seek out things to hate, it’s a waste of my time, but every now and again I hit one. Anyway, thanks for having fun!

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