Filing Cabinet of the Damned

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Random Comical Thoughts

An old idea of mine, brought back to the fore by the revival of Spider-Woman and a retelling of her weird-ass convoluted origin:

Adding the High Evolutionary (and his accompanying baggage) into a story instantly transforms it into a pile of crap. Take any story you like, any story that kicked ass, and add Big E. Sucks now, doesn’t it?

Take any story with Big E in it and remove him (and his accompanying baggage) and replace him with damn near anything and hey, look! A better story!

Someday Marvel editorial will realize this.


The upcoming release of the “Essential Nova” volume brings back memories, lemme tellya. One of my first collecting quests as a young’un was to reconstruct the entire run of the Human Rocket. I thought he looked super-cool. That helmet? The weird flight trail he left? Snazzy.

Reaching the goal was not easy to do, what with me being (a) twelve or thirteen and (b) already collecting damn near as many comics as my allowance and/or paper route could support. But complete it I did. Ha!

As a wee bairn, I dug that damn comic. Thinking about it now, it kinda stunk. (Kid brother builds a robot Sherlock Holmes? Que?) Ah, well.


Digging around the longboxes recently, I ran across and re-read my run of James Robinson’s breakthrough title, Firearm. I had fond memories of it. The titular character, a private detective who didn’t much like being called "Firearm," got involved in normal-sounding cases that always ended up involving superhumans. He was a weirdness magnet of the first order and a welcome change from both the spandex set and the “grim and gritty” vigilantes of the day.

When the series came out in the early nineties, I thought it was the best thing out there. Now? It’s boring and felt repetitive. Sitting down and reading them en masse left me dissatisfied.

I tried a re-read of my good-sized run of Robinson’s follow-up title, the well-beloved Starman. I liked that series even less. All I will say is this: setting plus countless references to pop culture ephemera does not equal compelling read.

Le sigh.

Finding old favorites now read poorly is not fun.


Issue #2 of Kyle Baker’s Nat Turner miniseries came out just recently. Yep, it tells the story of Nat Turner's 1831 revolt, America's largest slave rebellion.

Like issue #1, it’s freakin’ brilliant. One of the best comics to come out in ages.

Baker knows when to include text and when to be silent; when to be cartoony and when to be realistic; when to use a sharp line and when to use a rough one. His work here is phenomenal.

With a handful of small exceptions, all text in the issue comes from the actual confessions of Nat Turner, and the comic is all the stronger for that decision.

This is gripping, brilliant stuff that burns with passion and rage. Head and shoulders above damn near anything else on the market right now.

Read this book, dammit.


  • Didn't Firearm have an issue packaged with a video tape "issue" of the comic?

    I always wanted to see that.

    By Blogger Jhunt, at 5:55 PM  

  • "Finding old favorites now read poorly is not fun."

    Amen, brother. I have a similar experience every time I pick up another issue in my own collecting quest for ROM:Spaceknight.

    I loved, LOVED the series as a kid.

    Now the cracks are showing.

    By Blogger Chris, at 11:46 AM  

  • I just went through a purge where I re-read several comics and found them wanting. More disappointing, though, was realizing how many medicore series I'd been storing away for years that I wasn't sure why I'd purchased in the first place and had no intention of ever reading again (post-Peter David Hulk, I am looking in your direction).

    I want to read Nat Turner, but Kyle Baker's art never seems appropriate for something like this. I was looking over Truth a few days ago and just couldn't believe how much the scribbly cartoon figures took me out of the story. The part that actually kept me engrossed are a tribute to how compelling bits of the story were because I was into it in spite of, not because of, the art.

    By Blogger Jake, at 1:04 PM  

  • Check out the Nat Turner preview thingy here. The comic isn't nearly as cartoony as his normal work. Still expressionistic, but with more realism. He also increases and decreases the realism of the art as the circumstances require, which is great. Here's an interview with Baker that has a few pages from issue #1.

    I had the Firearm #0 half-movie/half-comic. Bleaugh. The videotape portion (which I may still have was dull, dull, dull. The second half of the story, the comic, was better. Not a big surprise.

    By Blogger Harvey Jerkwater, at 10:20 AM  

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