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“Why Is That Puppet’s Bosom EXPOSED?” COMICS! Sometimes Corben Endures!

John Kane

Good morrow! It is I, the man who skipped a week without notice! I’m sure your rancour and anger have abated somewhat. If indeed they ever existed. Perhaps it was a feeling more akin to relief. As when the drowning man releases that last bubble of air and watches it rise unhurriedly to the surface through clouded but resigned and unpanicked eyes. No, my American friends, I have no idea what I’m talking about as – Christmas? Getting in the way of your free content it appears.  Anyway, this…
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I’m going to do some me stuff now. I don’t know if that’s because Christmas makes sentimental fools of us all or it’s just the need to pad this crap out because Brian “Penelope Smallbone” Hibbs pays by the word (cannily he won’t say which word hence – so many of the little bastards).Anyway, we (The MiracleKane Family) attended the local Victorian Fayre because, yes, I live in a country which fetishises the time we rounded up the poor into camps and the name of the game was institutionalised sadistic hypocrisy.   After perusing several stalls of overpriced tat, the consumption of heated offal and a couple of goes on Hook-A-Duck the evening ended ended with all souls present being entertained by a firework display set up in the football stadium over the road. And by stadium I mean a field with lines chalked on it surrounded by a wall.  I don’t exactly live in a cosmopolis, is what I’m saying there. Nonetheless the display was pretty impressive. It’s impressiveness was undoubtedly enhanced by the decision to play James Bond themes over the barking tannoy. Sure,  if you played James Bond themes over the sight of a man picking his nose while standing in a field of stale turds it would magically become entertaining beyond all reason. James Bond themes are like that. Well the John Barry ones anyway and that’s what these were. Brian “Holly Goodhead” Hibbs would have approved. Grudgingly as is his wont but still approval would occur within his beefy frame, I’m sure.

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I just really like this picture.

But, y’know, fair’s fair the fireworks were pretty spectacular. MiracleKid even exclaimed “Awesome!” and he’s at the age when he means “awesome” when he says it and it’s not just the result of a combination of affected ennui and an impoverished vocabulary. Yet, and yet, when the almost insanely enthusiastic voice riding the tannoy suggested everyone render a round of applause in appreciation…well now I know what the sound of one Dad clapping is. Christ, people are ungrateful buggers. And on that festive note…

POPEYE CLASSIC COMICS #3
By Bud Sagendorf
IDW/Yoe, $3.99 (2012)
Popeye created by E.C. Segar

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The adventures of everyone’s favourite arse-chinned violent maritime moron continue! But enough about Aquaman! Arf! Arf!! Yes, it’s more crumbly comics from the time when the only people who were tattooed were sailors, whores and convicts. It is truly a Golden Age of reprints when the work of Bud Sagendorf can be disinterred, dusted down and presented to an audience that never even knew it existed (well, I didn’t). Because Bud Sagendorf’s Popeye comics are more golden than a dead Shirley Eaton! I don’t think I’ve read anything about these comics on-line which is weird given how great they are. Sagendorf’s cartooning is timeless in it’s bigfootededly bizarre brilliance as are his strangely sensical nonsensical plots which the reader is propelled through via the simple ,yet incredibly effective, method of ending each page with a “turn” (or whatever Brian “Vesper Lynd” Hibbs calls it).

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Bud Sagendorf was not as other men.

In the first (and longest) story here everyone just accepts the idea that when you die in Popeye’s world you turn into a ghost and go live on Ghost Island. This equating of death with geographical relocation is not entirely dissimilar to the premise of Will Self’s How The Dead Live except Popeye is funnier and shorter. But How The Dead Live is unarguably a lot more Jewish. Hey, these are VERY GOOD! comics; each page is beautifully crafted and built to last. But then, personally speaking, the comedy of a man looking in a window while declaiming “I is looking in this window, so I is! Arf! Arf!” is inexhaustible. I don’t know why that is and I don’t want to know. It’s enough I find things funny I don’t need to know why all the time. Sometimes it is what it is and that’s all that it is! ARF! ARF!

Help Brian “Plenty O’Toole” Hibbs blush like a rose in bloom by purchasing POPEYE CLASSIC COMICS #3 from HERE!

EDGAR ALLAN POE’S THE CONQUEROR WORM
Adapted by Richard Corben
Lettered by Nate Piekos of Blambot
Dark Horse Comics, $3.99 (2012)

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Again! Again Richard Corben paws and kneads at the raw material of Poe’s poetry shaping and reworking it to his requirements. These being the provision of a showcase for his art. To belittle this because the narrative seems somewhat undernourished would, I feel, be to miss the point. It would be to judge the artwork by the frame in which it is set. Because anyone coming to this expecting all the parts to have equal weight is going to be sorely displeased. This is Corben lifting weights in his garage, but he’s left the door open so you can all crowd round and peer in. Or something.

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After Richard Corben’s first attempt offers for panto soon dried up.

Fortuitously when you’re as great as Corben even your workouts are better than most other actual performances. Artwise, this is the real stuff. There are some brief and yet informative notes secreted in the back of the book which serve to unsettle the assuredness of my readerly assumptions. After all while I was reading this I would have said it was set in a Hammer Horror/Mad Max future limbo but in the brief but informative notes in the back I learn that Corben set it “very definitely in the 19th Century”(Much like the imagination of the British people! Not really worth all that set-up was it. Sigh.) This does serve to make the anachronistic dialogue (“Yeah, okay. I’ll go for it.”) funnier. Anyway this one’s all about the art with Corbens’s swollen and boiled looking figures capering around a world coloured mustardy rust and chalky grey through which sudden bursts of scarlet punch in horrid revelation. Also, he draws the titular worms to resemble nothing but independently mobile and toothy cocks. That’s not something you see every day but neither is Richard Corben who, thrillingly, remains VERY GOOD!

THOR GOD OF THUNDER #1
Artist Esad Ribic
Writer Jason Aaron
Colour Artist Dean White
Letterer VC’s Joe Sabino
Marvel, $3.99 (2012)
Thor created by Jack Kirby, Larry Lieber and Stan Lee (and the people of Norway)

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It’s not a bad idea to relocate Thor as a serial killer thriller narrative. It’s certainly better than the previous writer’s decision to give priority to trying on trendy hats and alphabetising his coloured vinyl 7″ single collection while letting his artists to do all the work. It’s fine, no problems really. Aaron even seeds possible future stories with the introduction of a new pantheon of Gods here represented by The God Butcher.

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“Mrs. Leeds changing. Do you see? Mrs Jacobi reborn. Do you see? Mrs. Leeds reborn. Do you see?”

Consequently later stories will no doubt focus on such dastardly deities as The God Baker and The God Candlestick Maker. The whole thing is a kind of watered down Heavy Metal strip the success is which is due mostly to Ribic and White’s work which lends the whole derivative but enjoyable thing a grandeur and scale it probably doesn’t really merit. At $3.99 it’s GOOD! but not good enough for me to continue with. And there’s the whole Jack Kirby thing of course; you can thank my LCS for sending me this unbidden.

So, apologies but Christmas will affect productivity but in the meantime you’ll always have COMICS!!!

3 Responses to “ “Why Is That Puppet’s Bosom EXPOSED?” COMICS! Sometimes Corben Endures! ”

  1. I giggled at the Aquaman joke.

    Also reading Conqueror Worm was my first exposure to Corben outside of DHP. Twas good stuff.
    I went and had a looks at some of the stuff he did for Hellboy and that Ragemore book. Doesn’t quite have the same special something when hes not colouring his own work. :\

  2. ” It’s certainly better than the previous writer’s decision to give priority to trying on trendy hats and alphabetising his coloured vinyl 7″ single collection while letting his artists to do all the work.”

    Wow, JK, that there is… cruel!

    And they call me Savage!

    -B

  3. @Dave Clarke: Cheers, sir! The colouring on EAP’sTCW is just amazing, isn’t it? Just…fabulous, dear! I’m glad you likey The Corben. His B&W stuff has its special charms too, tha knows. Honest! Check out that strip in the last CREEPY. ‘s cool beans.

    (Hey, how come Richard Corben’s Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol doesn’t exist? That’s money in the bank right there! IDW or Dark Horse make that happen! Do it! Do it now!)

    @Brian Hibbs: I’m truly sorry. That should of course have been:”It’s certainly better than the previous writer’s *apparent* decision to give…”
    Also, I look like a bit of a coward there. Matt Fraction. It’s Matt Fraction. I’m talking about Matt Fraction there.

    BTW Brian “Savage” Hibbs – I enjoyed that comic Gil Kane did about you. Who knew Retailing was so violent and sexy!?!

    Ho! Ho! Ho! Season’s greetings to all!

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