Mar 24, 2018

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 1123: Supreme #18, August 1994

Having our Death By Whiskey party tonight. I'll blog this, if I'm able, tomorrow!

Mar 22, 2018

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 1121: Supreme #16, July 1994

Nope. I was right. Random superhero fight.

Yesterday's issue was an aberration, I think, a fluke in which all of a sudden there was growth and character development - Supreme was becoming a rounded individual. Maybe it's every two issues....?

The appearance of Stormwatch in today's issue reminds me of the idea of a recuperation of the old Image titles through the series they would one day become. Stormwatch is pretty basic for the first while, until Warren Ellis gets his dark hands all over it and it becomes some of the best superhero stuff out there. Seeing Hellstrike and Fuji and everyone here was a nice reminder to me of what they would eventually become. And of their grisly fate.

Though perhaps that's been retconned now?

More to come...

Mar 21, 2018

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 1120: Supreme #15, July 1994

A welcome return of Pedram Shohadai, or Pedi, to the pages of Supreme. I'd mentioned in his earlier issue (#11) that his art style is far more McFarlane Studios than it is Extreme Studios, which is probably why he ended up drawing this issue. It looks awesome. Inside, anyway. I'm not a big fan of the Jeff Matsuda cover. One detail of his art that I really appreciate is that he actually draws a mouth under Spawn's mask:

I also am eating my words, virtually speaking. When posting a link to yesterday's comic on Facebook, I snarkily wrote "Ah, I see. A series of pointless superhero vs. superhero battles. Okay then." But today's issue is just a sit-down with Spawn. Supreme lands in the alleys and begins telling Spawn his life story, how short-changed he feels that people got worse in the time he was gone. There's some interesting stuff going on here in that Spawn actually knows that the story Supreme is telling is not true. Or perhaps it's the other way around. Perhaps Supreme's version is true, and what Al knows is wrong. Either way, we're getting a bit more background on Supreme - and for perhaps the first time, he's developing character. I've spent 14 issues trying to figure this character out, and one conversation with Spawn clears a lot of things up.

Of course, old Al tells Supreme to suck it up, everyone's got it rough, and he sold his soul to the Devil. Supreme is upset by this and flies away.

I have to say that, overall, this is the best this comic has ever been, in that I felt like I'd had a satisfying reading experience that added something to the overall narrative I'm following in Supreme. But this was a really good comic, not just a really good issue of the series. I was bemoaning the fact yesterday that the character just seemed to bounce around all over the place without having any real reason behind anything. Today's issue gives us the beginnings of a reason. Could it be that Kurt Hathaway came to the same conclusion, and so gave us this gem?

And will this trend continue?

More to come...

The 40 Years of Comics Project - The Bi-Weekly Graphic Novel Number 62 - Mother Panic v.1: A Work in Progress, 2017

Moments before starting this post, I left a comment on Facebook that was something like "Young Animal fills a Doom Patrol-shaped hole in my heart that's been there since the Empire of Chairs." "The Empire of Chairs" being the last story in Grant Morrison's run on Doom Patrol.

Hyperbole aside, after finishing "The Milk Wars" crossover, I went out and bought all of the stuff Young Animal has put out (with the exception of Bug - the trade comes out soon!). And it's all fantastically good. Each book is very different, each is telling its story in remarkable and innovative ways. There's a lovely aesthetic cohesion that binds all the books together, and I want to say it's Vertigoesque. Can we make an adjective out of that imprint, please? It's been influential enough to warrant one.

So Mother Panic is just great. I'm still not certain that Violet Paige fulfills the requirements to be called a superhero, but she's got powers and seems to be doing good things. My son and I were talking about this character and her story, and we've both come to think it's a very interesting look at class - perhaps as a metaphor for the ways in which class is reinforced in contemporary North America. Plus, as the series is based in Gotham, I feel like I've still got my toe in a nice corner of a universe that I barely recognize these days. Maybe that's why I like Young Animal's books. They're telling stories about the corner in which I'm comfortable.

Jody Houser has, or seems to have, a very clear idea of where this tale is going. And the art in the book evokes the grittiness of Gotham through the lens of Violet's often hallucinatory world view. Lots of people accuse Batman of being every bit as mad as the villains he confronts - Violet is actually much closer to that level of mental illness. The difference is that she recognizes it for what it is, something that was done to her, and decides to make every last person involved pay.

And if she saves some people along the way, so much the better I guess.


Mar 20, 2018

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 1119: Supreme #14, June 1994

Union guest stars today, and does something that I've rarely seen a superhero do: he pretends to be beaten so that Supreme will fly away and leave him alone. And then he basically goes home and doesn't worry about where the mad demi-god with Thor's hammer is off to next.

Someone else's problem, I guess.

That aside, a pretty generic superhero vs. superhero(?) fight. There is an interesting subplot brewing with one of Grizlock's former henchmen, but my hopes that it plays out interestingly are not high. The series shifts directions so suddenly (remember back when Supreme was leader of Heavy Mettle?) that I'm never sure the things I like are going to get continued.

I should also note that between issues 12 and 13, issue number 25 was released. This happened across the Extreme titles, and possibly the Image titles more generally. Each writer jumped a year forward in their story and gave us a glimpse. I'm curious as to whether it was a matter of the writers knowing that far in advance what would be in that issue, or if they had an idea and then filled in the blanks to get there. Either one would be a very interesting way to build a narrative. Priest and Bright did something similar with Quantum & Woody, though sadly they never got the chance to tell the story that would have led to the future issue. I'll rail about the injustice of this series getting cancelled when I read it, though.

The cover of tomorrow's comic promises an interesting guest. I'm actually kind of looking forward to this one.

More to come...

The National Social Welfare Assembly presents: "What's Your B.Q.?" - May 1966

Though 50 years old, still relevant.