Last Week’s Comics In Brief

Last week was an incredibly slow week for comics, and I was away for the Fantastic Films Weekend in Bradford over the weekend (about which I may write tomorrow). On top of that, none of the very small number of comics I bought on Thursday allow for very much analysis, so I’m going to pinch the Mindless Ones’ idea and do Tues Reviews To Make You Snooze or something…

Adventure Comics 12 by Paul Levitz, Kevin Sharpe, Marlo Alquiza and Marc Deering.
This is the first issue of this title I’ve read, and I was mildly – but only mildly – impressed. Despite Levitz’ reputation when last working with the Legion Of Superheroes for doing BIG stories, such as The Great Darkness Saga, all universe-spanning epics, this reads like a Silver Age Superboy story.
Or, more precisely, like Kurt Busiek ‘doing’ Silver Age Superboy in Astro City – much like Busiek’s work there’s the slight padding of what feels like an eight-pager into a full story, the cosy Norman Rockwell family scene at the end, and a sense of ‘look, I’m writing a proper Silver Age style story’ rather than just *writing* a proper Silver Age style story.
There are also faults that are common to current DC – in particular, every character having to tell Superman how specially special he is – and ones that are unique to this book (only Brainiac 5 gets even the slightest characterisation, and the line art is slapdash).
Nonetheless, this is competent and pleasant enough. Which given DC’s current standards is a major achievement.

Dodgem Logic 3 by Alan Moore et al
Dear God but this is a heap of shit. I’ve given this three issues because Moore is ALAN MOORE and because there are a number of very talented people involved in this (in this issue, for example, we have Melinda Gebbie, Kevin O’Neill, Steve Moore and Josie Long). But this third issue is exactly like the other two – a couple of half-decent essays (and I do hope Moore publishes a book of the essays he’s done for this or something), a nice free gift (a T-shirt transfer by Melinda Gebbie that would be useful were I the kind of person who went around wearing T-shirts with drawings of naked women on them) and a load of shit.
The shit comes in many varieties – grumpy old man who thinks the world should be like it was when he was a kid shit, pseudo-radical ‘post-civilisation’ shit, sixth-formers who think they’ve discovered something new that the rest of the world knows about shit, and worst of all people who *AREN’T* sixth formers who write like that.
There’s actually an article in here – BY A RECORD SHOP OWNER – that treats Badfinger (except he spells it Bad Finger), Adam And The Ants, The Chocolate Watch Band, Celia & The Mutations and Bobbie Gentry as being somehow obscure musical figures that need bringing to our attention. I mean seriously.
This is just pisspoor, and my huge affection for Alan Moore will only let me indulge him so far.

The Bulletproof Coffin #1 by David Hine and Shaky Kane
THIS is much more like it. This first issue is mostly set-up, but it’s an intriguing set-up – our main character finds a stash of comics that should never have been published.(“Issue 198. The Comic Buyers’ Guide lists the last issue of The Unforgiving Eye as 127. This comic shouldn’t even exist”), created by the classic 1950s comic creation team of Hine and Kane. We get to read one of these – an eight-page EC pastiche, and we get a lot of odd, quite disturbing details (like a TV showing the murder of its previous owner).
It’s very far from being done-in-one, and it’s not the most original thing ever – the mock ads and comic history seem reminiscent of 1963, though I do *LOVE* the ad on the back for a “U-Control Darling Lab Monkey” (which reminds me a lot of Kane’s work in 2000AD in the early 90s, like his Believe It Or Not parodies). But it’s still fascinating.
For those not familiar with Kane’s work, he’s school-of-late-Kirby in much the same way as Tom Scioli, taking his cues far more from Devil Dinosaur than Fantastic Four, but with a wonderfully sleazy line and sense of place. Combined with the story we have something inhabiting a narrative space somewhere between Seaguy and a PG-rated version of The Filth, but formally closer to 1963 (and with a text piece at the end very like those in Watchmen). If ‘Jack Kirby draws Seaguy for EC Comics’ sounds like your kind of thing, then while this doesn’t live up to that description it is almost certainly worth you checking out.

And that was all I picked up last week. But on Thursday we have BATMAN 700, so you can expect a lot of comment from me about that over the weekend…

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6 Responses to Last Week’s Comics In Brief

  1. Bill Reed says:

    “Jack Kirby draws Seaguy for EC Comics”


    On the other hand, I have never heard of any of those bands you say are totally not obscure. Well, I might have heard of Adam and the Ants, but I am *pretty* sure I’m confusing it with Hanna-Barbera’s Atom Ant.

    Then again, I haven’t heard of 99.9% of musical acts that came into existence after 1990. And I’m, like, not an old person.

    • Andrew Hickey says:

      These are actually quite old bands:
      Badfinger – you probably know their US hit No Matter What. They also wrote Without You for Nilsson and had a hit with Come And Get It.
      Adam & The Ants – *HUGE* in the UK in 1981
      The Chocolate Watch Band – anyone who knows about 60s garage rock knows their song Let’s Talk About Girls.
      Bobbie Gentry – Huge hit in the late 60s with Ode To Billy Joe.

      Celia & The Mutations are less well known, but that’s because it was a one-single pseudonym for The Stranglers.

  2. Zom says:

    Told you DL was shit!

    Bulletproof Coffin had me worried because the previews led me to believe that it would pretty art plus rubbish aren’t superheroes silly but we love them but aren’t they soooo silly humour. Is it that? I don’t want to read your review in case I wind up buying it.

    • No, it’s *definitely* not that. My one-line spoiler-free summary is “If ‘Jack Kirby draws Seaguy for EC Comics’ sounds like your kind of thing, then while this doesn’t live up to that description it is almost certainly worth you checking out.”
      Or as David A put it on Twitter – “The Bulletproof Coffin is the real deal. Think Flex Mentallo. Think Solo 12. Think EXCELLENT COMICS!”
      Again, I wouldn’t say it was as *good* as those, but those are the kind of reference points I’d use. It’s very good so far…

    • David says:

      The Flex/Solo 12 comparisons are maybe a little bit hyperbolous (because: Twitter!), but it’s definitely using the “weren’t those old comics mad?” routine *that* way, rather than as the jump off for some sort of geek Peter Kay thing.

      There are elements I’m not 100% sold on so far, but there are lots of wonderfully unsettling moments and effects, and it’s got room to get much, much better as it goes on.

  3. Zom says:

    You’ve sold me

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