Posted by: Abhay Khosla on August 5, 2010
Previously… On the Savage Critics Blog…
Daredevil Black & White #1 by Peter Milligan, Jason Latour, Rick Spears, Mick Bertilorenzi, Ann Nocenti, David Aja, VC’s Joe Caramagna, Jody Leheup, Joe Quesada, Dan Buckley and Alan Fine, manufactured between 7/14/2010 and 7/23/2010 by Worldcolor Press, Inc. of Lebanon, Ohio: I think I mentioned last night– even if not for this silly review-a-thon, I’d probably have bought this comic. This is an anthology of short, black & white comics.
I like the people involved: Peter Milligan is sometimes a gamble, but I’ve liked Jason Latour’s work for what feels like a long time now (though he’s really only just getting into gear, this year– he’s had a terrific blog though, for years); plus, Rick Spears always gets a look from me, on account of my affection for TEENAGERS FROM MARS. Nocenti & Aja, though– it turns out that they weren’t re-teaming (after last year’s “3 Jacks”) for a comic, but an illustrated short story instead. Uhm, sorry: I just don’t read those– I buy comic books for the comics. Did anyone read the short story? Am I missing out?
How are the stories? Decent– two 10 page stories. The first story is about how Daredevil would rather be blind than for the world to have one less stripper in it. Which– well, it’s in character. You know what I think you could never have, though, is a story where the hero saves the guy who works the PA system at a strip club. “Cinnamon to the main stage! Cinnamon to the main stage!” Who would root for that guy? Power Pack would push that guy down a flight of stairs.
The other story takes place in the distant, murky, long-forgotten past, when the public cares at all about newspapers. It’s this big story about Kingpin’s diabolical plan … to sell newspapers. Kingpin’s deliciously evil plan to sell telegraph equipment. Newspapers used to be this fixture of adventure comics, but… So did aviation. Connie Kurridge, Tailspin Tommy, Brick Bradford… The glamour dried up; adventure heroes moved on. What shitty jobs are left in this country, for our fictional adventure heroes to work in? “Spider-Man: Crime-fighter by night, Geriatric Nurse by day.” Geriatric nurse; prison guard; adult education instructor…? Green Lantern was a test pilot. Do we even build anything to test anymore…? Look at this list of hot jobs for the future: respiratory therapist, internet marketing specialist, Anti-Terrorists Specialists…? Put that all together: in the future, the smart money is that we have trouble breathing after a terrorist attack, and also maybe we need more spam in our inboxes…? Maybe helping wheezy cure his erectile dysfunction, maybe that would help. Future so bright, I have to wear shades…
What were we talking about? Oh, right– Daredevil. Anyways, it’s an anthology. The stories are pleasant, at least pleasant enough: Rick Spears’s Kingpin is entertainingly theatrical and impressed with himself; if you really like that character, Spears probably got what you like about him into that story, I’d figure.
Milligan– it’s not the most exciting story (keeping in mind the maybe unfairly high standards I hold Milligan to), but it gave Jason Latour enough to show off. For an anthology of short comics, I’m usually sated if the comics are cool to look at. Latour uses old zipatone effects aggressively, but I’m a big sucker for how he uses white here. Maybe that’s an old trick with the character, but I just like how for Daredevil, for a blind guy, everything is inverted and the color white becomes the color of intense emotion, action, whatever. White sound effects, white splatters of ink showing impact of hits, white speed lines. You know– maybe it’s an old trick, I don’t know– but if it works… I don’t have as much to say about Mick Bertilorenzi– stuck between what Latour’s doing and a couple pages of David Aja… That’s a tough place to be stuck. If I wasn’t as enthused, you know– he hardly embarrassed himself. (He seems like he’d do a good Dylan Dog comic. Did you ever see that book Dark Horse put out, the Dylan Dog Case Files? I enjoyed that one– especially Angela Stano’s work. Sorry; digressing). Other people, I could see Bertilorenzi being more their kind of thing, really… Different strokes, though.
I just like black and white comics, though. I know most people prefer color, but… What I like most about comics, more than anything, is that feeling that there was at some point, someone sitting behind a piece of paper, a monitor, an inkwell, a WACOM, whatever, and actually drawing a thing with their own two hands, maybe writing it too. Each line was a physical movement at some point, a flick of wrist, a movement of the arm, something. And for me, I think color gets in the way of feeling that, but… You know, which isn’t to say sometimes the colorist can’t be an artist, too, and they can’t add to it. It just… The black and white’s so immediate. I don’t know– I’m digging a hole here; this is all bullshit. Too much time on this review. Moving on.
Also, very important: that song, the Future’s So Bright I Have to Wear Shades, or whatever it was called…? Was there an episode of the Head of the Class where they sang that song together, or made a music video of that song? And Howard Hessman wore shades? How is it even possible someone as funny as Billy Connolly was on that piece of shit show… Sorry, but I have flashbacks to that piece of shit fucking show just way too often, of all the pieces of crap– fucking Arvid, and everything…
Darkstar & the Winter Guard #3 of 3 by David Gallaher, Steve Ellis, Scott Hanna, Val Staples, Clayton Henry & Guru eFx, Scott D. Brown, Irene Y. Lee, Jordan D. White, Mark Paniccia, Joe Quesada, Dan Buckley and Alan Fine, “manufactured” between 6/16/2010 and 6/24/2010 in Beauceville, Quebec, Canada: I remember complaining last night that I didn’t understand how they turned a very simple story into a 5 issue miniseries. This one, though– I don’t understand how this could possibly be the third issue. There is so much crazy going on in this comic.
So, yeah, I didn’t really understand anything about this, much at all, but to be fair– it’s the third issue of a 3 issue series.
It’s got a really excellent supervillain in it, possibly one of my favorite new supervillains. The supervillain is this shitty guy whose name I never learned– I don’t know if they said it in the comic, but I don’t… I don’t know what his name is. Red Guy. Anyways, Red Guy loves the word “awkward” and spends the entire comic wanting to fuck this long-tongued girl on a pile of dragon eggs, I think…? Is that what’s going on? The very first panel you see him on, he’s clutching Linda Lovelace over a pile of the eggs they made together, and he says “What madness threatens the completion of our intimate congress?” Kind of grim pillow-talk.
But then he just keeps describing the heroes arriving as “awkward,” which I really do love. “Ah … yes… my powers of awareness have detected the awkward yet inevitable arrival of the Winter Guard.” And then later in the comic, when the heroes show up: “Aah… once again your arrival proves awkward.”
I really hope in the sequel, he keeps getting into awkward situations. “I have come to the White House to murder you, Mr. President. Please ignore the fact that my zipper is down and my penis is hanging out of the zipper. Focus on my above-the-waist evil!” I really respond to this character. “I’m going to murder the Planet Earth. But first: I have a date with a divorcee that I met on eHarmony, so… Maybe we make a connection. There’s no guarantees– I just hope that she doesn’t mind that I used Doctor Doom for my profile photos.” This is character is a find.
As for the rest– Jesus. The art– none of this is grounded in any kind of reality, so it’s hard to judge, but… It seems like they’re aiming for a Ed McGuinness vibe…? That style is all about projecting “Fun, good time comics.” But this comic– well, it’s just … kind of weird and a lot of characters die these creepy, what-just-happened deaths. Or, wait: did I mention that an alien frenches kisses Darkstar to death half-way through the comic…?
It’s not even a big deal when that character dies, any character dies, because there are SO MANY characters in this comic. But then Darkstar comes back to life and… But it’s not her anymore…?? There’s this fat, redheaded bearded guy in a dress– Darkstar is reincarnated as his sister, or something…? Eric Stoltz’s butler is the son somehow of the Red Guy…?
But then at the end, this random girl named Ultra-Dynamo pops up and delivers this epilogue in front of the severed head of one of the superheros who died earlier in the comic about how… “One person’s personal unhappiness shouldn’t mean the corruption of a nation’s well-being. But, that’s just what happened to the Winter Guard.” … Really? I thought this was a comic about how you shouldn’t fuck a girl on top of dragon eggs, no matter how awesome her tongue is because then Rupert Grint’s roadie and his sister will get one of their friends to explode you by turning into a skeleton or…? I can’t even joke about it– I’m completely confused by this.
Did I mention that the first page of the comic is a little girl ripping a teddy bear’s head off? I don’t … I don’t know why that happened. Is that a symbol? Maybe Teddy Roosevelt let his personal unhappiness mean the corruption of the nation’s well-being…? According to Wikipedia, Teddy Roosevelt lost all of his cattle in the severe WINTERS (get it?) of 1886 and 1887. So… He didn’t have a WINTER GUARD, and therefore was… decapitated…? I don’t … Let me have this; let me have Teddy Roosevelt; this is the closest I’ve come to understanding this comic book. Don’t take this away from me, internet.
But maybe the people who read the other two issues did, and had a great time. You know: maybe…? I just… I just don’t know. I just don’t know.
Deadpool #1000 by, oh god, this’ll take a while to type, Adam Glass, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, Edgar Delgado, David Lapham, Lee Loughridge, Rick Remender, Jerome Opena, Fred Van Lente, Denys Cowan, Sandu Florea, Dan Brown, Peter Bagge, Howard Chaykin, Tim Hamilton, Rob Williams, Phil Bond, Tomislav Tikulin, Cullen Bunn, Matteo Scalera, Matt Wilson, Michael Kuppermann, Dean Haspiel, Joe Infunari, Dave Johnson, Jeff Eckleberry, Taylor Esposito, Sebastian Girner, Axel Alonso, Joe Quesada, Dan Buckley, Alan Fine, manufactured between 7/14/2010 and 7/23/2010 by R.R. Donnelly, Inc., in Glasgow, Kentucky: Well, I don’t really have a lot to say about this one. I think … I mean, if you want to get into philosophy of comedy… I don’t know that I have a coherent philosophy of “what makes good comedy.” I like comedy that’s built around a solid comedic observation about the world– I love the Broadcast News, Albert Brooks end of comedy. But I’ve also enjoyed things that goes to a place of pure absurdity, pure joke-driven comedy– the Adult Swim end of the spectrum, the Tayne end of the spectrum.
So, for this comic, the two comics I responded to were by the two guys who went the most towards those two opposite poles, Michael Kuppermann and Howard Chaykin.
I’m curious whether the other people in this book were told they’d be in the same book as Michael Kuppermann because… A lot of people tried to do absurdity-driven humor. I’d be embarrassed to try to do that with Kuppermann in the same book. You’re just not going to out-absurd that guy; he’s going to make you look bad.
Chaykin goes the other way more than the rest of them, and builds his comics more than anyone else around something resembling observation. Chaykin does a comic about bar mitzvahs; you know, Chaykin does a Chaykin comic, which is to say, a comic about Jews and sexual perversions. The kids are ugly and obnoxious; the adults are perverts and crooks. Has Chaykin done a bar mitzvah comic before? It seems impossible that he hasn’t, but… I can’t think of one at the moment…
So, everyone else kind of looked bad in comparison, though there were, you know, nice moments– Dave Lapham’s comic wasn’t funny, but he can do a parade of grotesques so well now– it’s fun, fun to watch him work, fun if not funny, necessarily. Most of the rest– I didn’t connect with.
One thing, though: after reading this, I feel like I read a “I just vomited in my mask” joke, like, 2 or 3 times. Chaykin did one; I feel like at least a couple other people did, too. Is that the joke everybody makes with this character? It’s not a very good one. And I love vomit jokes. When people vomit in Coen Bros. movies? Or the vomit scene in Team America? That’s a pretty excellent vomit scene right there. I love vomit in comedies, dramas, softcore films preferably about carwashes being saved from greedy land developers or that one about those two creepy old people who throw swinger parties and invite a lot of sad people that they don’t really know. But the vomit-jokes in a Deadpool comic… I vote hacky.
I think that does it for tonight, so… Next installment, maybe the last, hopefully the last, probably not the last– what will we have left? Deadpool Wade Wilson’s War Massacre in Mexico: The Terrible Truth of Team X (I’m really okay if I don’t read any more Deadpool comics, but… I was never really waiting for Lobo to come back, you know?), Doomwar (I don’t see how this can be that bad), Gorilla-Man (I wonder if talking gorillas will become a big thing in the movies someday; every other crappy thing I liked too much because I sucked when I was 13 has become a big movie franchise; why not talking monkeys and shit?), Hawkeye & Mockingbird (it really should be more weird to all of us how many superheros there are whose powers are owning a bow & arrow; I mean, how is there more than ONE…?), Hercules Twilight God (seriously: why did I do this?), and Hit-Monkey (… if I had to get killed by an animal, I’d want to get killed by a giraffe; at the zoo; give kids a story that they can tell their friends for the rest of their lives, at least; better that than being that guy who got killed having sex with that horse; remember that guy, that horse guy? The guy they made a movie about; yeah, that’s not for me; I vote Death by Giraffe…). And we’re out.