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“Walter-bout An Audition?” COMICS! Sometimes It’s That Company That Doesn’t Respect Jack Kirby!

John Kane

Then I read some Marvel comics! I wouldn’t want anyone to accuse me of being in DC’s pocket now would I? I should bloody cocoa, chum! So yeah, the same one-note entitled whining will now follow but with different pictures posted in between the words!

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Bountiful Brian Hibbs’ Shipping List is under this linguistic lard!

MUPPETS #3 (of 4)
Written and Drawn by Roger Langridge
Colours by Kawaii Creative Studio
Lettered by Litomilano S.r.l
Marvel Comics, $2.99 (2012)
The Muppets created by Jim Henson

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This is an all-ages comic written and drawn by Roger Langridge. For those who balk at the very mention of “all-ages” let me just clarify that Roger Langridge is a consummate cartoonist and a craftsman of no little sophistication. He’s been banging about for a while but quite a lot of people still seem surprised he exists. No, THOR THE MIGHTY AVENGER with Chris Samnee wasn’t his first work. This probably won’t be the last time I mention Roger Langridge is what I’m saying. This Muppets comic was his last work for Marvel before he went off and embarked on the Eisner award winning SNARKED.

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Anyway, here he creates a comic which not only recreates the madcap bustle of the original Muppets Show without losing any of the distinctive personalities in the joyfully rambunctious chaos, but also chucks in a plot and jokes which all revolve around the slightly melancholy themes Autumn suggests without descending into mawkish sentimentality. He’s helped in no small part by his wonderfully expressive art, with its bounciness of line and emphasis on clarity and characterisation. I originally bought this for JKUKv.2.0 but it turns out the violent pig woman scares him so I guess I’ll just have to read it myself. Or stop doing the voices, maybe. That’s okay because being a parent is all about sacrifice and just like Roger Langridge, this comic is VERY GOOD!

In the back of THE MUPPETS is a preview of the way Marvel will produce comics in the future. This excremental extra bills itself as ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN: GREAT POWER Digest but it is in fact Satan’s balls rubbed right up in your face. Creatively speaking. It is apparently a whole wee book of screen grabs taken from the TV show arranged on the page with all the finesse and care you would expect of a dead robot. It is a thing. A thing of Evil.

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Buying this for your child is exactly like stamping on the neck of Comics. It is the artistic equivalent of wearing your own bum as a hat. I am so livid I have stopped making sense. It is CRAP! Shun it as you would shun The Devil himself! Or, you know, have a look and make your own mind up.

UNTOLD TALES OF THE PUNISHERMAX#4
Art by Fernando Blanco
Written by Nathan Edmondson
Coloured by James Campbell
Lettered by VC’s Cory Petit
Marvel Comics, $3.99 (2012)
The Punisher created by Gerry Conway, John Romita Snr and Ross Andru

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In this awe inspiring exercise in unoriginality if you have a problem and no one else can help you can simply roll on up to Frank’s local Chinese where he’ll be tucking into some dim sum, flash a few photos of your dead daughter and he’s off. His first stop is a boat where a Bad man is touching two ladies. In crime stories Bad men always have more than one lady in bed at a time and Bad men also have a penchant for flash boats. This is because Bad men enjoy a good hard fishing and are too cheap to buy hot water bottles. Frank then tortures the bad man by hanging him over the water and cutting him until a shark obligingly shows up. This doesn’t take long because, just as in London you are never more than 5 feet away from a rat, if you are a Bad man hung upside down being tortured on your own boat you are never more than 30 seconds from a shark. There is a quip! No, not “sharks to be you!” or “tooth bad!” or “you look a bit down in the mouth!” no they went with “over your head!” Clever word play there. Frank says this more than once in the issue and, like the dialogue of Michael Bendis, it doesn’t work any better with repetition. Then there’s some violence which is unpredictable only to the extent that it is so predictable. Frank finds Mr. Big but to be frank(!) finding Mr. Big doesn’t turn out to be that difficult. I’ve had more trouble finding someone who can lay flagstones that don’t wobble after the first hard frost than Frank has following the breadcrumbs of crime here. Obviously in my case there was less standing on car roofs and shooting unerringly down into the tops of people’s heads, but overall tracking a competent builder to his lair was a lot more work than finding the head of a white slavery ring is in this comic. Then: more violence. Holy shit! Frank just got shot!

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Jesus fucking Christ, Frank’s dead! Holy Coconut Balls! Hold onto your hats here – the guy who shot Frank was the guy who hired him! TWISTAMATAZZ! He was using Frank to get rid of the competition! This is some Byzantine labyrinthine shit going on here! Hold on while I pull out the whiteboard and diagram this one so I can follow it properly! TWISTGASM! Frank’s alive! To the surprise of precisely no one except the chowderhead who shot him it turns out Frank was wearing a vest! Not a string one either because they are a bit creepy, no, nor a thermal one despite the fact it’s so chilly even rich criminals are having to sleep three-in-a-bed to keep the chill off, no, a bulletproof one! Frank kills everyone and that makes everything okay. The end. Previous issues of this series have avoided the charge of being an unnecessary cash-grab by at least having artwork which justified the price of purchase alone. The art in this issue does not do that, I’m leaving it at that. (Also, issue 3 was dire on a words and pictures level too, but it dodges a bullet because I’m trying to appear timely so I’ve gone straight to kicking this one around.) If this thing reached publication without anyone involved once noticing it was CRAP! then your system is broken, Marvel. The only original thought here is to put so much unoriginality in one place and charge three monkey-humping dollars and ninety nine cents for it. Christ.

DAREDEVIL#18
Art by Chris Samnee
Written by Mark Waid
Coloured by Javier Rodriguez
Lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna
Marvel, $2.99 (2012)
Daredevil created by Stan Lee and Bill Everett

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Ah, Milla’s back. I was hoping this run was going to shun the inexplicably popular Marvel Knights run. Said run being primarily just a reminder of the bad old days when I didn’t trust my own judgement. That was then but now, for me, none of that bullshit happened. Wait! I don’t think I’ve alienated enough of you so let’s just briefly run the MK years down: Kevin Smith! I know it’s hard for some of the youngsters out there to countenance but there was actually a time when people took Kevin Smith’s writing seriously. Maybe because with so many words on each page it was statistically likely that some of them would be worthwhile? So much for statistics! Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev provided a run that managed to eke out the premise of a Harmony Hairspray advert for five horribly chatty photo-sourced years (“What happened to you?” “I got shot.” “You got shot?” “I got shot.” “Wait, you got shot? With a bullet?” “I got shot with a bullet, yes.” “Oh. This is just verbal chaff isn’t it?” “Shhh! How’s that nervous breakdown?” “Fine. I had a bit of a lie down and it’s gone away.” “DEMON BABY!) then Ed Brubaker wrote Murdock increasingly as a Man Without Sense (“I gamble everything on the fact that my mentally ill ex-foe who is being mind controlled won’t throw my wife off the ro…oh, snap!” ). And now Milla’s back. Great.

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It wouldn’t usually be too bad because there’s often lots of other stuff going on but this issue seems a bit…lighter in the density department. It doesn’t seem to cover as much ground as it used to does it? I mean, these are some big ass panels we’ve got going on here. Luckily they are big asses saturated with the fat of Chris Samnee’s fantastic art, art which is currently exploring a beautiful obsession with Alex Toth via his animation storyboards. Lovely to look at but a bit light on content is how the “in” in indispensable starts slipping off. I’m holding my breath but this is going to have to get back to being better than just GOOD!

Did you know that “monkey humping is in Word Press’ spell check? I don’t know what that means but it scares me.

NEXT TIME: Some other companies who make COMICS!!!

9 Responses to “ “Walter-bout An Audition?” COMICS! Sometimes It’s That Company That Doesn’t Respect Jack Kirby! ”

  1. I love the way you took down Kevin Smith and Bendis.

    It’s actually Brian Michael Bendis, unless he expressed a preference for dropping the first name at some point after I decided to stop paying attention to anything he says or does. But since I hate the fact that I share a name with the dude, I may have to start calling him “Michael Bendis” too.

    With that out of my system, these reviews were wonderful and I find myself wanting to trust your judgment on pretty much everything from now on.

    I had heard positive things about Waid’s Daredevil run, and I found them hard to believe because I don’t think I have ever enjoyed a Mark Waid comic (and yes, that includes Kingdom Come). Your take seems infinitely more plausible to me, based on my own experiences with Waid’s writing.

    I have no idea why people liked the Bendis Daredevil run so much, other than that he wasn’t the guy who killed Karen Page off for no particular reason. He supposedly was/is a huge fan of the character, but I never got a sense of that from the issues I read.

    Your take down of Silent Bob was perfect. I kept wondering why it seemed like everybody on the Internet loved his run when it seemed to me that his only good idea was explaining that Reed Richards made Daredevil a bulletproof version of the classic all-red costume so he wouldn’t have to wear the grey one most people hated. There would be a nice line of dialogue every once in a while, but it definitely wasn’t worth paying full cover price to find out what was going on exactly with the plot.

  2. You didn´t read much of the Punisher books in the 90s, did you? Because from your viewpoint Marvels system was broken even then and has never recovered. Hm …

    This is exactly how Marvel sees the character, Frank going through the motions of killing cardboard gangsters, in simple dumbed down plots. Except when Frank is in the Superhero branch, then he can kill only red shirts because otherwise he would mess up the monthly resurrection quota.

    Maybe in another ten years the next Garth Ennis will come along and do something worthwhile with the character. There is always hope :-)

    Oh, and you are 100% right about the Smith Daredevil.

  3. Loved Smith’s Daredevil because at the end, just when every other modern “hip” creator would go off in a direction based on how “super-hero comics are silly and THIS is how things would be in the real world”, he decided to go back and make Mysterio the villain. It was a like a big middle finger to the idea that a super-hero story is only good if it somehow craps all over the genre.

    Mike

  4. Lovely reviews JKUK.

  5. @Brian T: Hmmm. Maybe I used his wrong name so when he googles himself he won’t find this. I wouldn’t want to upset him; modern writers are really emotional. And you know, if anyone googles themself it’ll be old Michael there. Nah, I really wouldn’t trust my judgement about anything except never trusting men in white trousers. That’s always true.

    @AndyD: I just thought we were past all that. Y’know. I thought we’d made some progress once Frank ditched the white disco boots. But no we’re back to the same generic crap but we don’t even have the WHITE DISCO BOOTS! and it costs 3.99 and is sold as being “Growed Up” to boot. To WHITE DISCO BOOT!

    @MBunge: I haven’t read it for a long time but I recall Smith was trying really hard to be just as gritty as everyone else and was just as good at it as everyone else (i.e. not very). I can’t really argue though as I imagine you’re more familiar with it though what with it not making your ears bleed when you think about it.

    @Damon: Bless you and all who sail in you, sir! I’m glad you enjoyed them.

  6. (Dan Coyle left this on the other post but I reckon he meant it to here. Another Galatic Wrong righted! Now I can rest. Cheers, JohnK (UK))

    Mike: er, did you not forget the fact that the entire thing was predicated on Mysterio destroying Daredevil’s life just to destroy it? And in the end, DD felt all that misery and destruction was his fault?

    That’s straight out of today’s King Geoffrey the Mad playbook.

    “Guardian Devil” is one of the worst DD stories ever written. “I’ve won! Now kill me!” “No!” “Well, that screws my ENTIRE PLAN, so I guess I’ll kill myself!” “And I’ll let you do it instead of bringing you to justice, because you choosing a quick death is more just than you answering for your crimes and dying in prison.”

  7. ““Guardian Devil” is one of the worst DD stories ever written.”

    I think you’re being a wee bit hard on it, but I actually haven’t re-read it since it came out in the monthly comic. I suspect that Smith’s more recent craptacular efforts might be influencing the evaluation, but I’ll revisit it tonight and see if my younger self was an idiot.

    Mike

  8. Well, I reread the whole thing again and you guys are just high.

    Is it very, very, VERY wordy? Sure, but this is Kevin Smith we’re talking about. Given the far more egregious abuses of decompression, I don’t think you can hold that against him.

    Is it very melodramatic? Sure, but this is a comic book about a blind guy who puts on a red bodysuit with stubby head-horns and bounds about the rooftops of Hell’s Kitchen, punching evil-doers in the face. Stories that are NOT melodramatic in such a comics are ultimately far, far more ridiculous than anything in Guardian Devil.

    Additionally, the whole Mysterio-thing came toward the end of a decade where one classic super-villain after another had been treated as complete jokes. They were mocked as hopeless losers who deserved nothing but contempt from creators and fans. Then Smith came along and treated one of the most second of second-stringers like a very big deal. That earned him a lot of slack in my book. And yes, it’s perfectly fine for DD to cut Mysty down to size at the end. The hero is supposed to get the last word on the villain. That’s not at all the same as the story itself belittling the character.

    Mike

  9. @MBunge: That’s the spirit, MBunge!

    Alas, personally speaking I am very much not high. I still think the book was terrible. Anything that wordy needs an Editor (it’s not like there was a lyrical beauty to his prose is it?), Im a-ok about melodrama I can assure you and Mysterio’s treatment seemed like a cheap rehash of Kraven from Kraven’s Last Hunt. I remain unconvinced but at least I know why you think what you do. I do appreciate that look inside your mind a great deal. Seriously. Cheers!

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