Posted by: John Kane on February 6, 2014
It’s a Skip Week! (Booo!) So let’s see what falls out of my head (Yay!). Checking the Savage Critic’s mail bag I see several of you may have contacted me expressing intense distress that I have yet to tell you how 2013 panned out for Howard Victor Chaykin. It was definitely several or none. It’s so hard to remember these things. So, hedging my bets I’ll tell you anyway…
Howard Victor Chaykin ended the year of 2013 by sprawling debonairly into the first month of the new year with the final issue of Buck Rogers, which splashed down in January 2014. Judging by the sales you ‘orrible lot were blasé in the face of the charms of Howard Victor Chaykin’s Buck Rogers revival. Well, that’s your loss because I can tell you it was in fact VERY GOOD! Yes, despite the fact that a page in the final issue !OMITTED! !THE! !DIALOGUE! Howard Victor Chaykin’s Buck Rogers was the usual witty, political savvy, oddly meandering then hectically climactic appeal for everyone to stop acting like jackasses, but this time with jodhpurs and jetpacks. Kenneth Bruzenak and Jesus Arbutov all played important parts in giving the series a vibrantly pulpy sheen in keeping with the hoary yet versatile source. It was certainly very Howard Victor Chaykin and finished off what was certainly a very good year for Howard Victor Chaykin. Actually, I don’t know how Howard Victor Chaykin’s year was. It was probably a pretty decent year because throughout it he would have been Howard Victor Chaykin. Head start right there, am I right? You know I am. And what I know is it was a good year for people who enjoy Howard Victor Chaykin’s work; both of us.
Despite being denied an overseas audience in its original periodical form (due to an aversion to spending decades in court) in 2013 Image collected and released Black Kiss 2. Which you will recall is VERY GOOD! So, it appears there are different rules for books and comics when it comes to peddling filth. And those rules are probably totally unconnected to the different amounts of money the different formats bring in. Black Kiss 2 was the one where Howard Victor Chaykin showed that even his sick smut made other people’s smart stuff look sick. Opinions were divided, with some declaring the book merely an old man whacking off in public. Such people are probably unaware just how much work goes into writing and drawing a hundred and odd pages of comics. A lot more work than whacking off, even given how much more work is involved in that the older you get. Particularly in public; you have to really plan that shit out like a caper movie unless you like having your windows broken. Or so I’ve heard. Naturally, untouched by bias as I am, in my head Black Kiss 2 was inventively vile but always engrossing and enthusiastically executed. A lot like an old man whacking off when you put it like that. It was certainly a lot less toe curling than that time Howard Victor Chaykin drew those Bendis Avengers comics. See, it’s that kind of bland doggerel kids need protecting from! Every year lowered expectations kill more people than pictures of gnawed off cocks being spat in people’s faces. Check your stats! Anyway, a mixed reaction to Black Kiss 2 like I say, but while we should always respect the opinions of others we should also remember they are worthless and only I am always right. To sum, Black Kiss 2 was probably a bit rich for most palates and we’ll move swiftly on.
Image continued to curry my favour by finally publishing Century West; this being an OGN from about 6 years ago which originally appeared in Spanish or French or some other vulgar tongue I can’t be arsed to learn because, well, indolence is bliss. Or ignorance. Either way, I’ve got that covered! Come on now, 6 years or whatever it was; what was the hold up there? It’s not like they had to translate it or anything. I know he can be a bit excitable and his dentures might slip making his speech go all mushy but I do believe Howard Victor Chaykin usually speaks English. Anyway, like when our cat went missing that time Century West finally turned up; unlike our cat it hadn’t lost an ear and now hissed at loud noises. Despite being a bit overcrowded layoutwise and so busy with characters and events in its short span of pages it risked leaving you feeling like you’d sucked a three course meal through a straw very quickly indeed, it was VERY GOOD! It didn’t hurt that Howard Victor Chaykin’s busy script and crowded art was blessed by the titanic typography of Ken Bruzenak and Michele Madsen’s lovely colours. There was a James Garner level of cool pleasure emanating from the endeavour embodied by Howard Victor Chaykin sneaking in a sly nod to his early work decades past on the Shattuck strip. One for the keen eyed old timers there. Basically it was another fine example of Howard Victor Chaykin’s love affair with the history of America and his somewhat more ambivalent feelings about the kinematograph (it’s okay, Howard Victor Chaykin, it’ll never catch on!). It was in fact very much like Black Kiss 2 in its themes and concerns but somewhat more sunnily optimistic in its conclusions, and certainly less likely to need stashing when the Rabbi pops round to chat about donations for the next jumble sale.
Throughout the year the odd voice was (reasonably enough) raised in opposition to the occasionally offbeat aspects of his work but it was Howard Victor Chaykin’s art that was the best reason to tolerate the tone deaf Altman impression of Matt Fraction’s Satellite Sam. Hey, another Image book. Image: we keep Howard Victor Chaykin off the streets! Despite Howard Victor Chaykin’s best efforts Fraction’s incessant showboating continued to undermine the effects he was after. He’s like a mirror that man, a mirror to which access is keyed on the DNA of the entire population of the world but me; I can’t see what others see in him. One day his enthusiastic mimicry might make him comics’ Michael Sheen but as the final whistle blew on 2013 he remained comics’ Mike Yarwood. And Satellite Sam remained OKAY! So, that New Year’s Resolution I made to not be such a dismissive prick? Not a success. Anway, I say the art but really it was the art and the lettering which were worth showing up for. Ken Bruzenak was here again, this time busting out an innovative invisible speech approach which harked back to Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon strip with its blunt ended bubble tails. In many ways Howard Victor Chaykin’s 2013 was also Kenneth Bruzenak’s 2013. Not only was Ken Bruzenak all over Dark Horse Presents like a beautiful rash of bruises but he was reunited with his beach dwelling pal on a seemingly permanent basis. Chaykin and The Bruise were back! Chaykin and The Bruise! Sounds like a forgotten quirky action flick from the ‘70s starring Peter Boyle and Alan Arkin or something. Maybe with a jazzily chugging score by Lalo Schifrin and a very special guest appearance by Ann Margaret. Sadly the reality is in all probability naff all like that; just a couple of salty old dudes doing the do old dudes need to do to get the dough.
Oh, there was also Howard Victor Chaykin keeping Marvel sweet with an Iron Man OGN and that weird strip in that A+X comic (which a kind Savage Critic commenter alerted me to). This latter involved Black Widow and The White Queen flashing their breasts at a man until he puked. Because, Howard Victor Chaykin! Some even more magical pals of The Savage Critics sent me reports of Howard Victor Chaykin’s doings at conventions which were very much appreciated (SPOILER: he was a gentleman!). My thanks to all the lovely people who enable my crippling obsession! I have not named anyone because sometimes people don’t like that, but while the mental hygiene behind my thanks may be suspect those thanks are genuine. So, the year in Howard Victor Chaykin there, Actually I just blurted all this out so I probably got all the release years wrong and missed stuff and oh, dear, I have to go now. So, I might have missed something, do let me know. Oh, do!
Anyway, Howard Victor Chaykin: 2013 was another year we should have been glad he still bothered with – COMICS!!!