Item of interest #1: Savage Things, #1
Like many collectors, the amount of comics I buy often ebbs and flows on foolish tides, or tides of necessity, or tides of convenience or inconvenience. When my kids were little and most of my so-called disposable income went towards pesky items like formula and diapers and I’d find myself cutting back to one or two titles a month, those titles would often come from DC’s Vertigo line. This is probably why I’ll always have a soft spot for Neil Gaiman; most often, that one book a month would be the latest issue of The Sandman, and while all my old friends were running off into other people’s long boxes, Neil and I would sit at the dining room table, holding a baby, and turning the pages ever-so-slowly, trying to make the sensation last for another thirty days or so.
That’s also probably why I’m always interested in Vertigo #1’s; there could be another Dreaming inside any of those covers. Inside the cover of Savage Things from Justin Jordan and Ibrahim Moustafa, the Dreaming is all darkness, including nefarious government programs, a half dozen or so gruesome dismemberments, and a school for sociopaths. In general, I’m not a fan of the serial killer trope (that said, I wondered right away if I should even say that; what if a serial killer is out there reading this right now and I offend him by insulting his genre?), but there’s enough of a twist here that I’m curious to see what happens next.
I meant to write about Bullseye #1, but as usual a million other things happened at the shop and that issue found its way into the bins, unlauded and probably a little underappreciated, especially a particularly disturbing sequence where Marvel’s unhinged assassin casually kills most of a crowded street by flicking paper clips out a window. Ed Brisson and Guillermo Sanna bring us more discomforting mayhem in issue #2.
There’s something weird about this book, but I haven’t quite pinned it down yet. There’s nothing unusual about seeing Bullseye do awful things, but what I find interesting is that the book doesn’t seem the least bit interested in illuminating Bullseye’s interior life at all; instead of trying to turn him into an anti-hero, Brisson and Sanna seem content to let their character remain blissfully non-heroic. He tortures and kills because that is the only tool in his toolbox; when he’s tasked with finding a drug lord in South America, his only strategy is to keep doing horrible things until finally someone notices.
To me, this book is a little bit like putting on a dirty sock; you don’t feel exactly great about it, but at least your toes aren’t cold.
If you’ve always wanted to read a book where a detective giraffe is searching for a missing snuff film (prey fantasy, the other animals call it; still other animals call it hunt porn), this is the book for you. I can’t say that I exactly love this book, which is written by Izar Lunacek and Nejc Juren with art by Lunacek, but I want to. I had a lot of fun trying to decipher the rules of a world where animals smoke cigarettes. Also, there weren’t any people. What happened to the people?
I always want to stock Fantagraphics books, but honestly? Most of the time they’re just a little too expensive, and I worry about having expensive books languishing on the shelves. I know someone will find all of this amazing work eventually, but it can be a long wait.
So when I saw that the launch of the All Time Comics series at $3.99, I jumped on the chance. This first issue–calling it a fever dream seems more appropriate–features a story by Josh Bayer with art from Herb Trimpe. As a kid, I always liked Trimpe’s work on The Incredible Hulk; sure, he wasn’t as flashy or cinematic as some of the other Marvel artists of the day, but I liked his tormented Hulk and Banner, and I thought his action scenes were fun, and when I picture the Hulk in my head, he looks like Trimpe’s version.
The story focuses on a character called Crime Destroyer, who wears shoulder pads with detachable fists jutting out of the top. If that isn’t weird enough, he also fights another hero, named Atlas, then the Wotan Cult, and finally a guy called the White Warlock, but none of that really mattered to me; what I loved was the strange, stream-of-consciousness path of the story, complete with coloring from Alessandro Echevarria (probably my favorite color work of the year thus far), and the fact that the book is printed on something close enough to newsprint to make me cry big, weepy nostalgic tears. Maybe it was that paper that made Trimpe’s work, which is some of his last, seem so much like finding an old friend.
Posted by shopkeeperic