Sunday, September 21, 2008

Let's Play: "Where's My Dignity?"

Folks, it's time for America's favorite new game show: Wheres My Dignity??? Three legendary comic creators saw their signature creations come to a recent close and marshalled a "comeback" this year.

It's quite clear that all three are embarrassing themselves and soiling their legacy with these new atrocities. The only question that remains is: which former icon has flushed their reputation the worst and left muttering to themselves "where's my dignity"?

Let's take a closer look at our contestants: Terry Moore, Jeff Smith, and Dave Sim.

Contestant # 1: Terry Moore

Claim to Fame: Strangers in Paradise

This comic book "chick flick" broke all the rules and found a die-hard audience without capes, powers, swords, or sorcery. Moore essentially made a soap opera into a comic book franchise that ran from 1993 - 2007. He inexplicably found a way to make readers care about a character named Katchoo. (Bless you) Very impressive

The New Book: Echo, Abstract Studios

Why It Sucks:

Echo tells the story of Julie, a photographer caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. The government is testing an experimental flying suit, and when a test flight goes wrong, Julie ends up bonding to a piece of the shrapnel.

So now a shadowy group is after her symbiotic artifact and trying to kill her in the progress. Not bad, huh? Yeah. That's a pretty good story. Except I liked it better the first time I read it... when it was called Witchblade.

Uninspired genre tripe for 50 cents more per issue. No thanks. And while Witchblade had artists like Michael Turner and Mike Choi going for it, Echo features simplistic and sloppy backgrounds that appear rushed and amateur.

Contestant # 2: Jeff Smith

Claim to Fame: Bone

Bone came from out of nowhere and quickly became the biggest self-published juggernaut since TMNT. Multiple Eisner awards and many years of critical acclaim followed smith as he published this fantasy-comedy 1991-2004.

The New Book: Rasl, Cartoon Books

Why It Sucks:

Smith's cartoony style does not lend itself to this sci-fi adventure chronicling the adventures of a time-travelling art thief.

The concept isn't bad, but you're certainly not getting much bang for your buck. Smith specializes in splash pages and 4-panel jobs that don't move the story along quickly enough. This book desperately needs some exposition and dialogue - it reads in about three minutes.

Dull, droll, and did I mention it comes out once every fortyear? I think I'll take a pass.

Contestant # 3: Dave Sim

Claim to Fame: Cerebus

Let's face it: Dave Sim is the man. Certifiable and a raging misogynist? Shoor. But the fact of the matter is that the guy put self-publishing on the map, and put out 300 high-quality issues of Cerebus on time every time. He never sold out, and took a cue from Sinatra and did it his way.

The New Book: Glamourpuss

Why It Sucks:

How doesn't this suck? Dave. Buddy. The desire to draw photo-realistic teenage girls is good cause for seeking professional help. It is NOT a good reason to sucker thousands of loyal followers into spending $4.00 massaging your massive ego and indulging your Lolita complex.

Again, sir: DO seek help. Do NOT continue to publish this nonsense, which is in no way meaningful, entertaining, or healthy. That is all.

The Verdict

So who has the most cause for shame? The easy choice would be Sim, seeing as how he has gone quite starkers. But then, we always knew he was insane, so has he really fallen the farthest? I leave that decision up to you, dear reader.

One thing is for certain, though. The mighty have indeed fallen...


Monday, September 8, 2008

Old Man Logan

This eight issue story arc (starting with Wolverine #66) from Mark Miller is set 50 plus years in the future. The Heros have fallen and the United States we are used to is divided up into more and more unpleasant areas. Logan lives in California with his wife and two children. His farm, which I think is a Pig Farm, is not making enough money to pay the rent to his landlords. He refuses to sell his children's toys to pay for rent and when the Banners come a knockin' he gets knocked around like a red headed step child.

At this point in the story arc, Logan refuses to fight, something I hope we find out in later issues. The Banners, descendants from The Hulk, are an inbreed band of bully's who push Logan around but yet he refuses to fight. Down on his luck, Logan gets a visit from his old friend Hawkeye. He has a job for him, running drugs to New Babylon. We get the idea New Babylon is basically Washington D.C. by looking at the convenient map we get in each issue.

Without giving away any spoilers we can see the similarities with the movie "Unforgiven" from Clint Eastwood. The two old warriors on a long journey to save their farm. Even the roll of Hawkeye is played by Morgan Freeman in the movie. With his ability to shoot long distances except for the fact that Hawkeye is now blind. Oops did I give something away? Well you'll have to read it yourself. I saw all the similarities right away but that didn't detract me from lapping this story line up.

It's time to do "The Dark Knight" except with Wolverine and as far as I am concerned it's a no brainer to pick up. It's hip to do everthing dark now and in the long run I might look back at this and realize it was one of the first of MANY comics to go dark in the upcoming months and or years.

Overall this is one of the best story arcs to come out this year. It's by far the best story arc from Marvel. The only thing in my mind that is coming close to this is Pax Romana, from Hickman. We need more Pax Romana! Another great storyline for the year, which has been running for a few years now is "The Walking Dead". Pick up these if you haven't already but I know if you like Wolverine and Mark Miller you are going to love "Old Man Logan."

Story - 5 (It's something new and interesting with a dark and twisted path we are being lead on. Even though it might resemble "The Unforgiven", I still love the idea.

Artwork - 4.5 (The look of this comic is nearly flawless. The only problem I see with it is the darkness in ALL the pages. Then McGiven might be going for this with such a bleak outlook on the world after the Heroes fell, but it gets a little dark at times.)