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Reviews: Pulp fiction in Mega-City, how not to succeed in relationships, mystical transpirings in Egypt, bad news in Chinatown, and Alan Moore gets even weirder. It’s all here, people!

It’s about time for some reviews of longer graphic fiction, isn’t it? We all love the floppies, but let’s check out some books with some more meat on them and even (gasp) some with hard covers! Just like actual books, don’t you know!

We begin with The Simping Detective, written by Simon Spurrier and drawn by Frazer Irving. It’s published by Rebellion (and printed in Malta, which is quite excellent) and will cost you £11.99. Yes, it has no dollar amount on it. The Brits are just wacky that way!

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If you’re enjoying Gutsville by these two gentlemen but are a bit flummoxed by the length of time between issues, I would suggest this compilation of stories from a few years back, originally “serialised” in Judge Dredd Magazine. It’s a very nice book that is much more than you might expect.

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At first glance, this is a satire of noir detective fiction, set in A.D. 2129 in Mega-City 1, Judge Dredd’s stomping grounds. Jack Point is a private detective who dresses like a clown (“simp” in Mega slang, whence comes the title of the book) and acts like a hard-boiled P. I. in the Sam Spade tradition. Spurrier adds a nice wrinkle by making him an undercover judge, whose cover is that he was disgracefully discharged from the police and needs to scrape out a living as a private dick. So although he investigates cases, he also tries to bring down the well-connected criminals in Mega-City, with mixed results. In true noir fashion, Jack is always at the end of his rope when he pulls solutions seemingly from nowhere. The stories are filled with future slang, but once you get used to that, these are interesting tales of Angeltown, Mega-City’s seamy underbelly, and the criminal element therein.

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Spurrier also brings in some fairly stock characters from pulp fiction, including the corrupt cop high up on the food chain, the upright and uptight honest cop (in the person of Judge Dredd, who isn’t in the book a lot but shows up occasionally), and of course, the femmes fatale. For a guy who dresses like a clown and acts like a jerk, Jack seems to hang out with a lot of gorgeous women. Spurrier takes these stereotypes and plays with them, giving us stories that feel familiar but are still fresh. It’s a tricky maneuver, but he does a good job with it.

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As we follow Jack through the stories, he does change a bit, and it helps make the book better than it might appear. He always cares about doing his job, but as he learns more about the corruption in the system, he becomes more concerned about the people who might get hurt. There is, of course, plenty of action and adventure and blood and guts, but it’s not just about that. Jack needs to outthink his enemies, and he’s formidable in that regard. In the first long story (the first story is short and introductory), Jack stops a drug lab that is in business with his boss on the force by unleashing a raptaur, a silicon-based life form with sharp teeth and a voracious appetite, on the bad guys. While he’s left with no evidence that his boss was in on the operation, he’s still able to make it known that he’s onto him. This story also gives him a pet raptaur, Cliq, who becomes more important through the series (Point and Cliq, get it?). In another story he meets Galen DeMarco, one of the gorgeous women in the book, who’s a rival private eye. She also becomes important later. The series takes a darker turn when Jack investigates a man who went crazy and shot up a bar, killing 22 people. Spurrier hits his stride with this story, telling it with nice twists and turns that keep us on our toes. In this story, Jack meets Miss Thropé (call her Anne), whom he describes in many memorable ways, my favorite being: “Every time she moves the air files for molestation.” She, of course, also shows up several times, and we discover later more about her hidden agenda. In the final story, which a very poignant tale, Jack wakes up in his apartment next to a dead woman, but he doesn’t remember how she got there. Again, it’s a standard set-up, but Spurrier, going back and forth in time, makes it a sweet tale of a desperate woman with nothing to lose, and the man who helped her even though he didn’t know how. Even in the midst of a pulpy plot, Spurrier does a very good job making us relate to these outlandish characters. Jack doesn’t always win, but he does get a nice ending.

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Irving’s art is, as you might expect, wonderful. Most of the book is in gray tones, and when color does show up, it pops off the page. His Angeltown manages to be futuristic and seedy all at once, and he does a great job immersing us in this world. Irving’s women are stunning, but each character, even the minor ones, come alive. Irving employs caricature to great effect, juxtaposing Jack’s wacky attire with the cesspool of Angeltown, and the realism of the women (yes, they’re beautiful, but they also have real curves) with the strangeness of the perps who troll the darkness. His raptaur is magnificent to behold, seeping out of the shadows with huge triangular eyes and a mouth full of teeth. Spurrier lets us know that Jack barely controls Cliq, and Irving makes this real, with the creature eager to snap the leash of loyalty at a moment’s notice and suck on someone’s brain. In the final story, his portrayal of Meekly Roth, the woman who ends up dead in Jack’s bed, is heartbreaking. She’s a woman who has seen too much, and Irving draws her as someone who can barely stand up. Even so, she radiates beauty and trustworthiness, which is why Jack falls into her trap. It’s one of the many highlights of the book.

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This is a very neat book. It looks great, and if you like pulp fiction, Spurrier does a great job using the stereotypes and turning them around to work for him. I don’t know if the two did any more with the character, but it would be nice to see Jack in more stories.

Next is Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine, which has been getting a lot of love around the comics blogaxy. This might be a compilation, I guess (it’s copyrighted 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007), but if it is, it works much better as a single graphic novel. It costs 20 bones and is published by Drawn & Quarterly.

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I don’t love it as much as many people do, but I still think it’s a very good comic. I believe the Real Matt Brady told me I wouldn’t like it because Ben Tanaka, the main character, is such a dick, and I have, in the past, expressed my displeasure with books in which every character is unlikeable. Well, that’s true to a point. If the writing is good enough, every character can be a tool and I’ll still like it. What I object to is writers who aren’t good enough to make that work, because then they need a character we like to mask the inadequacies of the story. Tomine makes this book compelling for two reasons: he’s good enough to make Ben himself compelling, and the other characters in the book are somewhat likeable, so we’re not completely alienated by Ben’s dickishness.

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The plot is basically about Ben and his girlfriend, Miko, who argue a lot. Miko leaves Ben to go to New York (they live in California) and they drift apart. Later, Ben goes to New York to get Miko back, but finds that she has moved on. The plot synopsis, of course, doesn’t do it justice. Ben and Miko argue about interesting things, including whether Ben is attracted to white girls, a charge he vehemently denies. Of course, it doesn’t help his cause that he hooks up with two white girls after Miko leaves for New York. Meanwhile, a friend of his, Alice Kim, is trying to sleep with as many women as she can find. Tomine does a very nice job of examining personal relationships and expanding them to fit larger cultural issues, such as racism, homophobia, and class distinctions. Each conversation, no matter how benign, feels charged with tensions just under the surface, waiting to explode. But Tomine still manages to make sure the words sound real and not polemical, even when the topics become overt. It’s a very nice tightrope walk that, for the most part, succeeds.

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A big reason for the success of the book is Tomine’s art. It’s very naturalistic, and Tomine does a marvelous job expressing the characters’ feelings without using words. In comics, “show, don’t tell” becomes even more important because of the benefit of art, and Tomine often allows the art to tell us what the words don’t. When Ben goes to see a performance art show that Autumn, his first white girlfriend, puts together, Tomine makes sure that we know he’s lying when he says it’s amazing, first by his facial expression in one panel and then, more subtly, by the fact that he doesn’t hug Autumn back when she hugs him in gratitude. There are many nice touches like that throughout the book, and it adds humanistic depth to the characters even when they’re talking like idiots, which they often do.

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Another reason why the fact that Ben is a dick doesn’t bother me is because he does appear to grow throughout the book. When he realizes Miko has moved on, he is forced to reassess how he has treated her and others. It’s not a pleasant thing to face, but we give him credit for trying. This book is ultimately not just a comic about a jerk, but a comic about a jerk who suddenly realizes he can’t be a jerk. It’s a long road for Ben, but the final page, which is heartwrenching and hopeful all at once, at least gives us the possibility that Ben won’t be such a jerk in the future. Maybe he’ll fail, but he’s going to make the effort.

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So why don’t I love the book unequivocally? I think it’s partly because of Ben, but not necessarily that he’s a jerk, but that he’s stupid. Actually, a lot of the people in this book seem stupid to me. This is basically a “me” problem, because I can’t imagine being so mean and hurtful to another human being without recognizing what you’re doing. Every character is so selfish that they’re not willing to sacrifice even a little of their precious lives to make any relationship work. This is true for Miko and Alice as well as Ben (although, to be fair, Alice learns far more quickly that she needs to compromise). I get annoyed when I read comics or books or watch television shows or movies where the people are so unwilling to give up a little to make someone else happy. I was so angry at the characters in this comic that it lessened my enjoyment of it a bit. I’m not perfect, but both my wife and I recognized early on that you need to compromise in a relationship. We’ve been happily married for 13 years, so something has worked. Ben and Miko are so wrong for each other because they’re so self-absorbed that I wonder why I should even care if Miko leaves Ben or if Ben is being a dick. You might think this is the same as not liking a character, but I got a different feeling from the book than I would if I just thought Ben was unlikeable. It was more frustration with their stupidity. I guess Tomine does a good job because I feel like I want to reach into the book and shake some sense into all of them, but it feels a bit unreal to me, because I don’t have a lot of experience with people being this stupid. It might work better for you.

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For that reason, I don’t love the book as much as others. I admire Tomine’s craft and the way he makes such simple things in conversations about much more than just what’s being said, but I wonder if he pushed that a bit too much and made the characters more caricatures than they needed to be. It’s a very good comic, but falls a bit short of greatness.

Moving on, we come to Cairo, a new Vertigo book. It’s written by G. Willow Wilson and drawn by M. K. Perker and costs 25 dollars. It’s a very good book that tells an interesting story and is infused with real-world politics and Middle Eastern fantasy. It’s an unusual mix, but Wilson makes it work.

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There are several characters that we are introduced to early on. Ashraf is an Egyptian con artist/drug dealer who is carrying around a hookah for some reason. Tova is an Israeli Special Forces soldier who was wounded while fighting smugglers and accidentally wandered into Egypt, where she was picked up by Bedouin and taken to Cairo. She, of course, is desperate to get back to Israel. On a flight into the city, we meet Kate, a spoiled Orange County girl who wants to check out the oppressed people of the world, and Shaheed, a Lebanese-American on his way to Beirut for something less than noble reasons. Finally, Ashraf’s sister, Salma, is carrying on a romance with Ali, a journalist whose articles are constantly censored. These people all come together eventually, as Kate gets lost looking for a hostel and runs into Ali and Salma, and Ali takes her under his wing, while Ashraf sells his hookah to Shaheed for some easy cash and later gets accosted by Tova because his car has Sinai plates and she needs a lift back across the border. Of course, the hookah is far more important than we know, as a drug lord named Nar wants it back and kidnaps Ali and Kate to force Ashraf to give it back. Shaheed soon discovers that inside the hookah is a genie (“jinn,” as he corrects Shaheed) named Shams, who needs Shaheed’s help to retrieve a box from Nar. What’s in the box? Well, that’s part of the fun of the book.

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Confused yet? This is all in the first third of the book, and it’s not as confusing as you might think. Wilson and Perker do a wonderful job giving us completely real characters, even Shams, who is, after all, a creature of legend. Perker’s art is beautiful, giving us a very good sense of the city and its environs and also giving us characters who look like actual human beings from different cultures. Kate and Shaheed are innocent Americans, Kate perky and Shaheed falsely seedy, while Ashraf is actually seedy and Ali is a stuffy intellectual who never has gotten into a real fight. His women are very nicely drawn, as well, with Kate and her short blonde hair contrasted with Salma’s exotic beauty and Tova’s steely toughness. As we move into the fantastical sections of the book, Perker handles that well too. Ali and Kate end up trapped under the pyramids along an underground river, which Ali says is called the “Undernile.” Nar, who is a magician, is a runt of a man, grinning maniacally as he attempts to open the box and solve its mystery. And Shams takes Shaheed on a quest to become a hero, as we soon learn that Shaheed was going to Beirut to become a suicide bomber. Shams convinces him that there is something more noble to life than that, but Shaheed has to learn what it is. Shaheed manages to get ahold of something called “the Companion Sword,” and through using it, he comes to a better understanding of what it means to be heroic.

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Eventually, there’s a final showdown with Nar, but Wilson is too good to make it play out the way many showdowns do. Every character learns something about themselves and the world in which they live. Wilson takes the fantasy of the setting and uses it to examine the Arab-Israeli conflict (with Ashraf and Tova acting as stand-ins) and America’s atttitudes toward the Middle East (with Kate as the Innocent Abroad). But even when she gets polemical, as when Kate and Ali argue about her ideas of revolution, it comes from the personalities of the characters and doesn’t feel forced. She also does a wonderful job examining the tenets of Islam, again without bashing us over the head with it. We have heard so little about what makes Islam a potential force for good in the world rather than for evil, and although Wilson doesn’t go into a deep philosophical discussion about the religion, she manages to show us why so many people adhere to it and why people are wrong when they kill themselves in a crowded area. She does this without preaching, which is a nice trick.

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Cairo is a dense comic loaded with good characters and ideas. It’s a love story in more ways than one, it’s a quest saga, it’s a fantasy novel, and it’s a glimpse into a world that most Americans don’t know about. It looks great and it’s fascinating. What else do you need?

Next, we come to The Goon: Chinatown and the Mystery of Mr. Wicker by Eric Powell. It’s published by Dark Horse and will set you back 20 dollars. If you’ve ever seen Powell’s art, you know it’s gorgeous. But is it worth your time? (I’m going to try not to SPOIL this, but I will probably fail. Proceed at your own risk!)

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I have never been a big fan of The Goon, because I don’t think Powell is funny. The comic, despite looking very nice, is boring for me to read because I just don’t laugh at it, and that’s part of what it’s going for. When I read that this “ain’t funny,” as it says on the first page, I decided to check it out, because I do love Powell’s art and wanted to read a story stripped of what I think is a rather sophmoric sense of humor (I’ve heard that his letter columns are very tongue-in-cheek, which is good because they’re not funny either, but the book’s humor is sophmoric too).

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I’m a bit conflicted over this book. Powell makes it beautiful to look at, of course, especially late in the book, when the Goon (pre-scarring) stares at himself in the mirror after something traumatic happens to him. In five full-page pictures of our hero, we see him slowly go insane, and it’s horrible to watch, but Powell does it so brilliantly we’re transfixed. As usual in Goon books, there’s a nice contrast between the weird (Franky, who has blank white eyes) and the realistic. When the Goon explodes into violence, it’s disturbing not only because of what triggers it, but because Powell makes it look like real violence, and it makes us uncomfortable.

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The story switches back and forth between the present and the past. In the past, we uncover an early story of the Goon, before he was scarred and before he became as hardened as he is. He comes into contact with Xiang Yao, the crime boss of Chinatown, and in the course of his dealings with him, discovers that the man is holding an old flame of the Goon’s, Isabella, in servitude. In order to rescue her, he concedes control of the docks to Xiang Yao, and as he escorts Isabella around town, his stranglehold on the underworld weakens. Franky is particularly distressed about this, and the rift between them widens, until something happens that makes the Goon turn hard and reclaim his place. It doesn’t come without a fight, as Xiang Yao almost kills him and succeeds in scarring him, but it’s a formative event in the Goon’s life.

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In the present, he faces a similar challenge from a new crime boss, the Wicker Man. This is a bit more interesting as a story, because we’re not sure who the Wicker Man is (he’s literally a wicker man, too) and what connection he has with another woman in the Goon’s life, Mirna, the singer at the bar he frequents (owns?). The Goon believed that Mirna was just being nice to him because she wanted something, and he brushed her off. He tries to apologize, but she still holds a grudge. This has implications beyond just a failed romance, but we don’t learn what it is until later. The Wicker Man, like Xiang Yao, is a significant threat to the Goon, not because of a woman, but because he is temporarily able to exploit the Goon’s weaknesses. Even though the Goon recovers and defeats the Wicker Man, the consequences of that victory linger, as it’s not as black-and-white as it seems.

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Both stories illuminate crucial facets of the Goon’s personality, and the similarities between the plots means Powell gets to highlight how the Goon has changed. In the first plot, he allows a woman to influence his decisions. In the second plot, he doesn’t. How this happens is why I have a problem with the book. (And here’s where I might SPOIL it, even though I’ll try not to.) The comic is almost seeping with hatred toward women. Both Isabella and Mirna are presented differently but with contempt. The Goon is presented as Isabella’s shining knight, and she uses him for what she wants but doesn’t really love him. However, we know nothing about her, just that she doesn’t love the Goon. She’s a stereotype of a heartless bitch, and that colors the way we see her. We have no idea why she treats the Goon poorly, just that she does, and therefore we are automatically directed toward sympathizing with the Goon and hating Isabella. Mirna, meanwhile, comes off slightly better, but not much. She gets more development, but her rejection of the Goon, while more understandable in light of events in the book, is still shaded as a bitchy move, because the Goon tried to apologize to her. Why can’t she just get past what happened, the reader is invited to ask, and give the big lug a break? The relationship between Franky and the Goon is presented as the “real” one, and the women are just obstacles in the way. You may say that it’s the nature of the genre, as we often see tough guys who have bad luck with the ladies, and it’s not that the book itself is misogynistic. It’s a question of tone, however, and this book’s overarching feel is that women are not to be trusted. In The Simping Detective, several women are not to be trusted, but there are many different kinds of women and they all have different motives and some of them can be trusted. In Shortcomings, Ben treats women poorly, but we get the feeling that Tomine is not in favor of how Ben acts (whether Ben is an autobiographical avatar of Tomine or not, the tone is still unfavorable toward Ben). The Goon, however, is clearly the wronged party in this book, and that’s why I have a bigger problem with this book than the other two. It’s as if Powell is defining how we should feel about Isabella, Mirna, and the Goon, and he wants us to sympathize with the Goon. I don’t have a problem with that, because he’s the hero, after all, but it’s done by making the women stereotypical evil bitches, and that’s where I object.

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There’s a lot to like about this book. It looks great, and the two plots complement each other nicely and do a decent job showing how the Goon has evolved. I can’t say it’s a great book, however, because it seems like Powell takes a bit of an easy way out when he has the format to make this a much more complex work.

I guess I can’t avoid talking about The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier forever, can I? This is, of course, brought to you by Alan Moore, the Crazy Old Man of the North, and Kevin O’Neill, possibly the most underrated artist working today. The evil scumbags at DC bring this to you, although technically it’s published by Wildstorm and America’s Best Comics. It’s 30 big dollars, and it’s not worth your money, unfortunately.

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It’s not that it’s not interesting. I actually enjoyed reading this book, but I can’t really recommend it. It’s far more admirable as an accomplishment than as an actual piece of fiction. Moore appears to be more concerned with showing off than putting together a coherent and interesting story. In the previous installments of LoEG, Moore used the characters to tell a story. The use of famous fictional people as both the protagonists and as the secondary characters was interesting, but didn’t interfere with the plot. In this book, however, this is all about Moore trying to fit as many literary cameos as he can, and it weakens the book. It’s far more interesting as kind of a history of this alternate world Moore has created, and as I enjoy history, it was kind of fun reading the map Moore laid out. But as you continue to read, you realize that there’s not much going on, and it becomes clear Moore is indulging in some of the things he’s gotten more and more obsessed with: high-class porn, the world of imagination, and how very clever he is. And that’s not terribly entertaining.

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It’s frustrating, because Moore so desperately wants this to read as “classic” literature, but it doesn’t reach that level. It’s pastiche, and although it’s well done, the fact that we’re so very aware of the machinations of the author, it becomes more of a chore. It’s a shame, because it begins much like the other volumes – with a story populated by interesting characters who happen to be from different books. Mina Harker picks up a guy in a bar who turns out to be James Bond. She gets into the Ministry of Love and steals the Black Dossier, which documents the exploits of the various Leagues throughout history. This part of the book is quite good, as Bond is a complete tool and very funny before becoming much more frightening later on. But then Mina and Allen Quatermain delve into the book, and it grinds to a halt as Moore comes up with all sorts of clever ways to impress us. The problem is that the vignettes he tells are dispassionate and somewhat listless. Moore doesn’t really tell stories; he summarizes stories that have already happened. It’s like someone is explaining the story to us, and we keep thinking, “I guess I had to be there.” We can see that the stories could be interesting, but the way Moore tells them removes us completely from the equation because we don’t experience them first-hand. It’s a weird conceit, and it’s why I wonder if Moore wants simply to impress us. He goes through comic strips, a fake Shakespeare play, a letter from Fanny Hill to her creator about her pornographic adventures, a Jeeves parody with Lovecraftian overtones, and an absolutely awful attempt to write something that looks like the original scroll of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, which no one I’ve spoken to or read on the Internet has finished. Man, that thing is terrible. The main plot continues, and Mina and Allen escape to the Blazing World, where everything goes 3-D and Prospero delivers a speech and it’s all very similar to the ending of Promethea, from what I’ve heard (I haven’t finished Promethea).

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The parts with Mina and Allen, as thin a plot as it is, are pretty interesting, because we’re not bludgeoned over the head by Moore’s brilliance. Sure, James Bond and Harry Lime and others show up, but at least things are happening and the narrative doesn’t come to screeching halts because of the format Moore uses. Plus, it allows O’Neill to shine, and he’s probably as big as reason to get the book as Moore is. It doesn’t matter if Moore wants him to draw a comic strip, a porn memoir, an 18th-century political cartoon, postcards from exotic locations, 1950s science fiction, an instructional pamphlet (with more porn), or a freaky 3-D world, O’Neill is up to the task. The details are maginificent, especially when Mina and Allen get to the Blazing World and O’Neill goes a bit nuts. It’s part of the marvelous package and almost saves the weak narrative.

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There’s certainly a lot to like about this book. I liked reading it, but was disappointed by the way the story, such as it was, unfolded. I’m not sure why Moore has become so obsessed with taking classic characters from literature and making them fuck, but it’s not as fascinating as he seems to think it is. If you can find it for cheaper than 30 bucks, it’s an interesting book to read, but ultimately, an interesting failure. It seems like it’s a book that exists just to give Jess Nevins a job (and, as usual, he does it very well). Let’s hope Moore has gotten this out of his system and goes back to writing cool stories.

So those are some longer books that have come out recently that you might enjoy. Of course, I just got a bunch more last week, so I’ll have to review those soon too! So much good stuff abounds in the comics world!

44 Comments

In reference to Shortcomings, people can act that “stupid” (as you would say.)

When I read it I couldn’t help but see the similarities between the actions of the characters in the story and the actions of myself and my most recent ex-girlfriend. It was very reassuring to know that other people can be just as “stupid” as we were. I think the book resonated with me on a higher level because of that.

Thanks for the reviews, Greg. I look forward to picking up Cairo.

As for “Black Dossier”, I have to agree whole-heartedly with you. Moore impresses me with his knowledge, but most of the text pieces I had to force myself to read, the Sal Paradyse piece especially (for $30 dollars I felt the need to read every tedious word). I appreciate he knows a lot and has many wonderful influences – I just don’t care to read about them all. It was clever…but ultimately clever for clever’s sake.

I read someone (someone on here?) state that Moore is the best fanfic writer ever and I thought that was an especially pointed comment with this book. No one does it better…but writing about a ton of characters interacting is what this was.

I’ll be on the lookout for THE SIMPING DETECTIVE – thanks for bringing it to my attention! But I disagree with you on Black Dossier. I really loved it! It was a lot to digest but totally worth it and I WOULD recommend it.

The absolute best critique of Black Dossier I’ve read, very well done and perfectly captures my problems with it! Thanks!

Billy F: I probably should have written that they act stupid, not that they are. Ben and Miko and Alice are obviously intelligent, but smart people do stupid things all the time. I understand that when you’re in love or even in a relationship you might act differently than you do otherwise, and I’m not saying I haven’t said stupid things in my marriage or in other relationships I had prior to it, but Ben seems to go out of his way to be antagonistic, and it annoyed me. Some of things he said made it sound like he was spoiling for a fight, and why would he want to do that to Miko? If it resonates with you, that’s cool. I did notice you wrote “ex-girlfriend,” however!

Sad to say I pretty much agree with you about The Black Dossier. Not sure if I got the feeling that Moore was out to “impress me” (and you know, a great deal of it did), but overall I walked away from the book wishing that Moore would have taken an interest in telling a story, and not a story about stories. Sometimes Alan Moore’s brain is just too big for its own good, I think.

I still more or less like it and consider it one of the more interesting and ambitious comic projects to come out this year. And yet somehow, still a bit of a letdown.

Wow. I’m surprised that you got *misogyny* out of “Chinatown”. What’s more surprising is that *you* perceive the women in the story as “evil bitches”. Yikes, who’s being misogynistic? Re-read the story again and see if they are in fact “heartless” and “evil”. [For anyone who hasn't read the book, the following will be a bit SPOILERish]. It’s a book about a bunch of people making a bunch of bad choices based on false assumptions, including the Goon and Franky. No one wins in the end. Thus the absence of funny.

The book isn’t stand-alone, btw. This might be colouring your perceptions.

I get that no one wins, maija, but I couldn’t see any good reason for Isabella doing what she does. It seemed simply to reinforce a notion of women being untrustworthy. Mirna, as I mentioned, gets off a bit better, but I still think we’re supposed to see her as unsympathetic and the Goon as sympathetic, when it reality, neither of them ought to be. The Goon, it seems, makes choices that turn out to be bad because of the way the women treat him, not because he’s making an obvious bad choice.

It’s certainly possible that the fact that it’s not a stand-alone book is coloring the way I see it. If that’s true, I’m a bit grumpy, because it seems like it is a stand-alone book, or at least should be. It’s strange that Powell chose to do something in this format if it’s not going to tell a complete story with no strings attached.

[...] Posted by Greg Burgas, Monday, December 3rd, 2007 12:02 PMcomic Book Resources – USAThis might be a compilation, I guess (it’s copyrighted 2004, 2005, 2006,and 2007), but if it is, it works much better as a single graphicnovel. … [...]

In the Goon book, I think that Isabella is unsympathetic, but I don’t know if that’s the case with Mirna. I didn’t quite take it like you did, Greg; I thought she had her reasons for brushing off the Goon at the end, and while she might have been harsh, it was understandable. But that’s my take, and I understand yours. I certainly don’t think *you’re* misogynistic for reading it that way. Jeez.

As for it not being standalone, I think it’s meant to work apart from the regular ongoing series (although the bit where the Goon rejected Mirna’s advances was in a previous issue of the series). I just wonder if Isabella isn’t going to return at a later point; that’s the only way I would see it as being tightly connected to the series.

[SPOILERISHNESS!] So being in love is a more sympathetic motivation for bad behaviour than losing a loved one? Being dumped is a better motivation for homicidal rage than any possible motivation for doing the dumping? One is pardonable while the other can only be “evil”?

I’ll concede that Isabella’s motivation is cryptic and that might be a weakness in the story (though I think it would be too pat if it was spelled out), but it’s clearly conveyed that the reason must be important and that Isabella certainly isn’t “heartless”, let alone “evil”. There’s a clue to her motivation in the story told by Xiang Yao. We would know her reason if Franky hadn’t burned that bridge. We don’t know that she *doesn’t* love the Goon. I will guess that she does, but she’s also afraid (like the woman in Xiang Yao’s story).

No one in the story comes off as trustworthy, except perhaps Franky, but he also makes a grave error in judgment about Isabella. If Goon knew about it, I’m not sure that he’d be pleased.

“Chinatown” is the culmination of the series (that you’ve dismissed) up to now, so I can’t be sympathetic to your grumpiness. It can’t exist in a vacuum. The important points are contained in the book, but Chinatown has roots that go back to the beginning of the series.

Sorry, I meant “It *doesn’t* exist in a vacuum”. Obviously it *can* if it needs to.

I think looking at Ben & Miko in relation to your own successful marriage is kind of missing the point. These people clearly aren’t cut out for a meaningful relationship: They’re unwilling to compromise, they’re dishonest and deceptive, they have unrealistic ideals. Part of Ben’s problem is that he doesn’t even know what he wants – he’s willing to throw Miko away because he’s sure he can do better; the grass is much greener (or whiter) on the other side of the fence. In a lot of ways, the story is about Ben growing up – or at least realizing he has to.

Ben seems to go out of his way to be antagonistic, and it annoyed me. Some of things he said made it sound like he was spoiling for a fight, and why would he want to do that to Miko?

Because Ben Tanaka is an emotionally stunted, hypocritical jerk. To me it seemed like Ben was designed, as a character, in the opposite way of most protagonists. Usually we get a hero who, while having flaws, is generally good, and we connect with that aspect, cheering as he leaps the hurdles in his life. But with Ben, you have this guy who is mostly made up of negative qualities, so every time he has to face his own shortcomings (yeah, I worked it in) or make a mature decision, you’re rooting for him because you want him to be better. It’s fiction, so you expect him to, but he’s so far gone in the wrong direction that the minor improvements he makes really make the difference.

I saw a lot of myself in Ben, and that was pretty revelatory and off-putting to me. He’s a mean person, who alienates himself and then complains about being alone. And in the end, you can see that he’s realized that he’s made his life this way, but also that he’s kind of doomed to it, because everything he’s done has been unconsciously. He put Ben Tanaka first, and now he’s stuck with himself. He knows he’s wrong, and now he has to live with it.

I thought it was really powerful.

By the way, Greg, these were all very nice reviews.

I think it’s pretty obvious that Isabella (and, for that matter, Mirna) are going to reappear at some point in the regular book. Isabella’s motives are just too much of a question mark–after all, there’s that letter she wrote to the Goon that neither he nor we ever got to see, so there *must* be more to the story. Obviously we’re supposed to interpret it as “Isabella is a horrible bitch” for *now*, because that’s how the Goon interprets it, but I think it’s pretty clear that we’re going to learn the other side of the story some time down the line. So yeah, labelling it as misogynistic is both extreme and premature.

But then, I find the regular “Goon” book to be hilarious. And I read and enjoyed all of “The Crazy Wide Forever”, and I’m going to take issue with your labelling it as “horrible”. Of course it’s not for all tastes, or even most tastes–that’s totally understandable. But it’s not horrible. That’s unfair. As with the rest of the book, Moore wrote it in a literary voice that’s now fallen way out of fashion, but which, obviously, he didn’t create. And as far as that goes, he did a brilliant job–like the rest of the book, he ties in various characters from different fictions (the writing style is more William S. Burroughs than Kerouac, by the way) and mimics the style, dropping references throughout. Call it a failed experiment if you like, but as with the rest of the book, the more familiar you are with the literature in question, the more you realize that Moore is tying things together in a very neat way. Again, I can completely understand someone not liking it, but I take issue with the way people are simply dismissing it out of hand. It actually proves part of Moore’s point, which he says is going to be a big factor in the next volume, about the decline of culture. Nowadays, we want everything spoon-fed to us, and get angry at something that requires a little work.

The Simping Detective sounds — and looks — great. I wonder how much overseas shipping costs…

Greg,

yeah, I can see where you’re coming from. Ben was definitely very…”jerkish” at times. Mostly unconsciously I think, but sometimes he was definitely doing it to spite. I guess this is a bad quality, but sadly I was able to relate to that as well. Like you said, we all say and do “stupid” things when we’re in love…

and yes I said ex-girlfriend…we all say and do “stupid” things when we’re in love…

I’m always hitting nerves around here …

Maija, you seem awfully angry about the fact that I didn’t love the book. Why? If you liked it, great. I liked it for the most part, and was just uncomfortable with that aspect. Maybe labeling it “misogynistic” is “extreme,” as Prankster says, but I stand by the way the women are portrayed.

I don’t think the Goon’s behavior is terribly good, I’m saying that it appears Powell wants us to sympathize with him, not excuse him. We have all felt a pain like his, and while I’m sure we haven’t gone on homicidal rages, we can understand why he does, because that’s his nature. So it’s not that we excuse his rage, but we do understand it more than we understand Isabella. You yourself write that Isabella is “cryptic,” and therefore open to interpretation. I just choose to interpret it differently than you do. I want to believe good things about Isabella, but Powell doesn’t really give me any indication that she is a good person. Maybe you see it. I don’t, and I think that’s a big weakness in the story.

As for it being the culmination of a series … when it was solicited, it never claimed to be part of the ongoing. There’s no indication in the book itself that it’s part of the ongoing. Obviously, the Goon stars in an ongoing and Powell will probably incorporate elements from this book into that, but why shouldn’t I believe that this is a stand-alone story that simply features characters from the ongoing? I am interpreting this as a single story because there’s nothing here to let me know: “Wait! The saga continues in the regular series!” If Powell is going to do that, great. I think that’s a bit cheap, though. Again, that’s just my interpretation. Prankster thinks it’s obvious that Isabella is going to return and all will be explained. Why? What gives you that impression? Just because Powell doesn’t do a good job explaining Isabella? That’s my point – maybe he won’t explore the character any more, and this is what we’re supposed to know about her. I just think it’s fairly obvious why the Goon does things, and why Mirna does things (even if I think she’s portrayed unsympathetically), and even why Franky does things. Why does Isabella get the short end of the stick?

As for “dismissing” the ongoing, yes, I have dismissed it. I read about five issues and found them to be nice to look at, with some interesting characters and stories, but far too juvenile in their approach to the humor. I wish Powell would write more like he does in this book, because then I might pick up the ongoing and find out that Isabella isn’t supposed to be seen as a heartless bitch. Oh well.

Ryan: I understand your point, and it’s not that I was viewing Ben and Miko through the lens of my own relationship necessarily, I was just offering my reasons why it didn’t resonate as much with me (as I pointed out, it’s a “me” problem). I can see why Ben and Miko act the way they do, it’s just vexing, because looking at it from the outside, we can see how foolish they’re being. As I mentioned, I do commend Tomine in making me so angry at them, because that’s the mark of a good writer.

That’s another good point, Dan, about Ben. I guess my biggest problem with him is that I feel he’s too old to be acting this way. Isn’t he supposed to be 30 (or thereabouts)? I don’t have the book in front of me, but I thought it was mentioned somewhere. Now, I realize that there are plenty of 30-year-olds who are “emotionally stunted,” but again, I don’t have a lot of experience with them. You do a good job summarizing who Ben is, and he’s just someone I can’t fathom. It’s very cool that you relate to him so much, and I think that’s what makes the book great for someone – how much we relate to Ben. I like the writing and the art, but don’t feel as connected to Ben as others are. That’s cool. Thanks for your nice words.

Finally, we get to Prankster’s idea about Moore. I called it “terrible,” Prankster, not “horrible”! Sheesh. ;)

Having never read Kerouac, I checked out a copy of the Original Scroll, and I thought Moore was ripping that off more. If you say it’s more like Burroughs, I believe you (haven’t read him either), especially because Kerouac actually uses punctuation in the Scroll.

Anyway, I read about three-quarters of it, and what annoyed me about it wasn’t actually the style in which it was written (although it took me a while to slog through it), but because it was not unlike the rest of the book, which is Moore simply being clever. I take offense at the fact that Moore thinks because we don’t bow down and kiss his feet for deigning to write something that our entire culture is dying. As I mentioned when I wrote about Moore’s interview in Wizard magazine, Mark Danielewski, Milorad Pavic, and Italo Calvino (to name just three writers) are far more experimental than Moore, because they come up with new ways of telling stories rather than ripping off others. House of Leaves, which is not only one of the most terrifying books I’ve ever read, is a masterful new way of telling a story (I haven’t read Danielewski’s latest, but it’s very odd as well), while Dictionary of the Khazars and Landscape Painted with Tea are brilliant books that twist conventional narratives but still tell good stories. If Moore hasn’t read If on a winter’s night a traveler, he ought to, because Calvino knows how to write a book in a challenging way but still entertain us. It’s just annoying that Moore, who tells brilliant stories, has chosen to indulge himself in this kind of so-called storytelling. Why does he do it? If he’s so worried about the culture dying, he should invent new ways of entertaining. None of what he does in LoEG makes me want to check out the stories he’s cribbing from. In interviews, he often refers to his influences. That’s where he can make his case for use to go back and read things. In his stories, he should, I don’t know, tell stories.

Speaking of clever references, the main character of “The Simping Detective” is named after the clown character in Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Yeomen of the Guard.” (I’ve used it as a username and E-mail alias several times, so it instantly caught my eye.)

I generally agree about the Black Dossier; I think it helped that I read it in small doses rather than in one sitting, so I was able to appreciate individual bits without being completely overwhelmed. (I did love the Wodehouse/Lovecraft pastiche, because I’m a huge Wodehouse fan and I was able to appreciate the craft of it all. It wasn’t terribly immersive, because I was spending my time appreciating the cleverness of it all, but fortunately that didn’t hurt it much because regular Wodehouse can be like that as well.)

I do have to give a shout out to the cleverness of some of the effects in the 3-D section, even if it didn’t seem to focus quite right for me and the “two overlapping worlds/close one eye to see each one” only really worked for one eye. The Lovecraftian horror with the different color effects for different types of speech stood out as a striking effect it would be impossible to achieve any other way.

Apodaca, you’ve perfectly (and poetically) described the Ben character. This book was really disturbing for me, as I, too, found myself to have far too much in common with the protagonist (and I’m over 30!).

That’s another good point, Dan, about Ben. I guess my biggest problem with him is that I feel he’s too old to be acting this way. Isn’t he supposed to be 30 (or thereabouts)? I don’t have the book in front of me, but I thought it was mentioned somewhere. Now, I realize that there are plenty of 30-year-olds who are “emotionally stunted,” but again, I don’t have a lot of experience with them. You do a good job summarizing who Ben is, and he’s just someone I can’t fathom. It’s very cool that you relate to him so much, and I think that’s what makes the book great for someone – how much we relate to Ben. I like the writing and the art, but don’t feel as connected to Ben as others are. That’s cool. Thanks for your nice words.

Ben’s definitely immature. He is absolutely too old to be acting this way, and unfortunately, it takes him until the end of the book to realize it. Part of that is because of his refusal to be honest with himself, but the other part is that until 2/3 of the way in, he’s got Alice, who’s willing to be immature right along with him. But then Alice meets someone who helps her progress, and now Ben’s stuck. He built a world for himself, and then the world got up and walked away.

And trust me when I say that I HATE how much I relate to Ben. Part of why I love Tomine’s work is that I find characters that I identify with, and then he really sticks it to them. I guess it’s kind of masochistic, but when I find art that not only tells me something about myself, but something that’s important and unpleasant, I really grasp onto it. I’m not asian or 30-something, but reading that book was like watching myself face failure and tragedy, totally separate from reality. It’s pointed, profound, hurtful, and totally right. And with any luck, I’ll be able to learn something from Ben and be better off than him.

It also really creeped me out/made me feel important, because Autumn was just like this girl I was infatuated with, who was younger than me and totally disinterested and Sasha reminds me of this girl I dated for a little bit who was a “fence-sitter”, so to speak. And my best friend is a girl. So, yeah.

Greg, it’s clear there’s more to Isabella’s story because of the letter she writes to the Goon that never gets delivered. I already mentioned that. But even aside from that, I’m not getting the “misogynist” thing. Even if you think Isabella is a horrible person, what’s wrong with Mirna? You’re kind of brushing off what the Goon does to her. Yes, he was within his rights, but that’s not the kind of thing people can forgive easily. I mean, come on! Can you blame her for being upset? And all she does is get angry at him and leave! How is that a negative portrayal of femininity?

And Moore never claimed that our culture was dying because people don’t “kiss his feet”–that’s an absurd exaggeration. He feels that culture has declined (I don’t neccessarily agree with him, by the way, but I’m pretty sure even he isn’t claiming that literature is dead or any such thing). He’s evoking various older forms of literature and comparing them as a way of making that point. And people are negatively reacting to various degrees, especially to The Crazy Wide Forever. That seems to make Moore’s point, since none of this stuff is orginal to Moore. If you want to argue that Moore’s stuff is inferior to Burroughs’, or Wodehouse’s, or Cleland’s, or whatever, that’s one thing, but people are pretty much sweepingly dismissing entire genres in their criticisms of this book.

At any rate, Moore’s goal with The Black Dossier is simply to provide a backdrop for future adventures; it’s a sourcebook, but one that he’s decided to give a narrative. That’s the irony here. This is the equivalent of “The Handbook of the Marvel Universe”, but because it strives for something a lot more elaborate, people are misreading it and coming away disappointed.

We have no idea what was in the letter that Isabella wrote. Sure, Powell might return to it, but like I said, I’m judging this solely on what’s in the book. That’s all.

As for Mirna, as I mentioned, the Goon apologizes to her, and I get the sense that we’re supposed to side with him and see her reaction as unreasonable, as far as I can tell. I certainly think that Mirna’s reaction is justified, but again, I got the feeling from the way Powell presents it that we’re supposed to be angry at her. But that’s just my interpretation.

Moore does imply that his work is so much better than everyone else’s, and ties it to the culture dying. I’m just not sure how aping past styles makes his point. People are reacting negatively to some of the stuff in the Black Dossier because it’s boring, not because it’s done in a style they can’t handle.

At any rate, Moore’s goal with The Black Dossier is simply to provide a backdrop for future adventures; it’s a sourcebook, but one that he’s decided to give a narrative.

I don’t want to put words in his mouth and I haven’t read the book yet myself (it’s not available here in Europe) but it seems to me that pretty much confirms Greg’s point; It has lots of interesting bits and pieces but fails as a story.

Again, haven’t read it myself, just summarizing his review. I’ll still read it as soon as it becomes available over here, it might be a lot cheaper than 30 bucks to with the current rate of the dollar.

i’m glad you reviewed these HCs, Greg… i was pretty interested in Egypt, but i wasn’t sure because i really knew nothing about it and couldn’t skim it since it’s shrinkwrapped. thanks for giving me a look inside!

ditto Black Dossier… of course, i was going to buy it on general principle, but i wasn’t sure whether i needed to get it now or if i could just wait for the softcover.

think i might wait.

[...] Posted by Greg Burgas, Monday, December 3rd, 2007 12:02 PMcomic Book Resources – USAYes, it has no dollar amount on it. The Brits are just wacky thatway! If you’re enjoying Gutsville by these two gentlemen but are abit flummoxed by the … [...]

“but it seems to me that pretty much confirms Greg’s point”

Yes, but it also means that Greg’s point is to criticize the book for something it wasn’t particularly trying to do but that he wanted it to do.

Like, “Man, Frank Miller doesn’t draw people the way they look;” it would be an accurate criticism, but it would also completely miss the point of the art.

Many of the things Moore does do in this book are truly, almost undeniably brilliant. Unfortunately, the story is not one of them, but to just focus on it when it was an afterthought to all the other work seems reductive.

Sure, Moore does plenty of things brilliantly in the book. But I don’t think asking for a story when it’s something in an entertainment venue that costs 30 dollars is too much to ask. That’s why I said it wasn’t worth your money, because of what it is. I did enjoy reading it (as I wrote originally), but I just think it’s presumptuous to slap a 30-dollar price tag on something that’s a guidebook to a completely made-up universe. Yes, the story is an “afterthought,” but as I’ve argued over and over, Moore doesn’t really do anything original with the format to justify any claims of brilliance on his part. He’s showing off, and even though it’s amazing to consider the depth and breadth of his knowledge, that’s all it is. As I mentioned with the examples above, it’s possible to “invent” a new kind of format and still tell a story. I haven’t read, say, Ulysses, but I would consider both the story and the way Joyce tells it because that’s part and parcel of the book. This is, as I’ve written, pastiche, and although it’s very good pastiche, it just doesn’t seem worth the money nor Moore’s rather immense talent. That’s all.

“If you want to argue that Moore’s stuff is inferior to Burroughs’, or Wodehouse’s, or Cleland’s, or whatever, that’s one thing, but people are pretty much sweepingly dismissing entire genres in their criticisms of this book.”

To illuminate my point about the Wodehouse pastiche and extend it to other parts of the book: I enjoyed it very much and thought it was well-done…but *because* it was a well-done pastiche, I found myself thinking “This is an entertaining and well-done Wodehouse pastiche” rather than simply reading it as a story. In previous LoEG volumes, Moore has used characters and plots from other works; in this one he’s using their form, as well, and that changes how one approaches it.

“At any rate, Moore’s goal with The Black Dossier is simply to provide a backdrop for future adventures; it’s a sourcebook, but one that he’s decided to give a narrative. That’s the irony here. This is the equivalent of “The Handbook of the Marvel Universe”, but because it strives for something a lot more elaborate, people are misreading it and coming away disappointed.”

Perhaps because one expects form to follow function to some extent? The Marvel Universe handbook is written in a straightforward manner because that’s the best way to convey information efficiently. The ABC-Z book had an overview of “Top Ten” in comic form, but it took the form of a straightforward tour and character introduction, and by being in comics form, it was able to take advantage of the strengths of that form (a picture being worth a thousand words, and being able to use text to convey what a picture can’t). On the other hand, by hybridizing an entertainment form with an informational purpose, the Black Dossier has to live up to both expectations. That’s not misreading; that’s expecting the work to live up to the implicit promise the author makes when choosing the tools with which to create his work.

The contents of the Dossier reach both extremes: the 1984-style Tijuana Bible doesn’t really convey any information but is entertaining (in no small part because the mismatch between form and function makes it funny); the section on the French and German Leagues isn’t especially entertaining but is informative (much like the travelogue in the back of volume 2, although that did have its moments). The Wodehouse pastiche was entertaining but took four pages to convey information that could have been stated in one sentence (and had already been referenced earlier in the book). “The Crazy Wide Forever” isn’t really either; it’s written in a form that isn’t all that popular *and* is the antithesis of clearly conveying information.

What it comes down to is that the form in which a creator chooses to present their work is a key element of that work (arguably one of the most important), and while it’s valid for the artist to choose whatever form they wish, it’s equally valid for the audience to take it into account when responding to the work. (That’s one of the reasons why I quit reading Cerebus around the “Reads” storyline: as an artist Sim had the right to hijack his narrative into a commentary on the state of the comics industry at the time, and as a reader I had the right not to care.)

Well, here’s where we get seriously subjective, because I didn’t find it boring, nor did I find it a waste of time. I love this kind of postmodern riffing, personally, and since LoEG has always been a gigantic easter egg hunt/pastiche/literary playground, I’m not seeing how the Black Dossier is some kind of major departure.

Honestly, it just seems like you guys weren’t willing to take the book on its own terms. If you thought it was a failure in that context, that’s one thing, but you keep saying things like “It didn’t have enough story” and “it’s just pastiche” as if those inherently devalued it. Which I don’t get. People who claim that LoEG is just an elaborate bit of fanfic are absolutely right, and also completely missing the point. What’s wrong with fanfic, if it’s done well?

And I fail to see what the $30 price tag has to do with narrative, unless you felt that last set of encyclopedias you bought had an anticlimactic resolution.

Does anyone have a link to one of these interviews where Moore talks about how brilliant he is (other than that “It’s the greatest thing since oxygen” quote, which was obviously intended as joking hyperbole)?

I think my biggest disappointment from the League book was that some of the passages like the one with the French League sounded like they could make for great stories on their own. I wish I was reading those stories in a comic book form verses a few paragraphs of text.

But because of the detailed description of the events it seems Moore only wants this as backstory for his future League stories. Much like the Almanac in the back of Volume 2. I did enjoy it though and thought it was entertaining. But like others have said it’s basically a sourcebook. Just a very nicely packaged one. Though I’d argue a more complicated narrative would have detracted from the other elements which is basically the meat of the book. League III on the other hand sounds like a much stronger work.

Not sure what to make of Chinatown. As someone who enjoys the Goon for it’s humor (though Satans Sodomy Baby was such a major letdown… how could it not be though) it was hard for me to get into and I kind of wondered if a straight up serious Goon story just can’t work because of the inherent silliness of the property. I do think the sequence with Goon looking in the mirror was pretty impressive.

Need to purchase Short Comings.

[...] Posted by Greg Burgas, Monday, December 3rd, 2007 12:02 PMcomic Book Resources – USAIt doesn’t matter if Moore wants him to draw a comic strip, a pornmemoir, an 18th-century political cartoon, postcards from exoticlocations, 1950s science … [...]

Prankster, in the latest issue of Wizard, Moore talks about how great the book is in relation to everything else from mainstream American publishers. While I can’t argue with him about that (if he’s talking about DC and Marvel superhero books, which is weird if he’s comparing this to those), he does come off as a bit arrogant.

Greg, I’m not angry that you didn’t like the book, and I’m not angry. You’re welcome to not like the book. I don’t recommend the Goon to many people because I know it’s not many people’s cup of tea.

I’m frustrated by that you can’t see the problem with your own labelling of the female characters as “heartless”, “evil” and “bitches” and that those are your chief evidence for your serious charge of misogyny against Powell. Those labels are *yours*. You want to make them Powell’s, but they are not supported by the material in the book. If Powell himself had plainly cast the female characters as being without remorse and with willful cruelty you’d have a case for those labels, but he didn’t.

Greg, regarding The Simping Detective. The last story in the current collection was only published in the Judge Dredd Megazine earlier this year. I think there’s certain to be more, but it’ll probably be a while before there’s enough for another TPB.

Check it out here: http://tinyurl.com/3625hk

Glad to hear you enjoyed it.

I didn’t use those labels to classify the women, maija. I used them to indicate what I felt Powell was telling us about them. When I read the book, I felt that Powell wanted me to see Isabella as a “heartless bitch,” and so that’s what I wrote. If that makes me misogynistic, so be it. I’m only going on what Powell wrote. Do I think Powell himself hates women? I doubt it. I’ve never met the man, so I know nothing about him, but I would venture a guess and say he’s not. Do I think the book is misogynistic? As I’ve admitted, maybe that is a bit extreme to say, but I do think we are supposed to feel contempt for the only two major female characters in the book. And yes, I still say we’re supposed to feel “contempt.” I guess you feel differently. As I’ve pointed out, the problem with the book is that Powell leaves it open to this interpretation. You may disagree, but I don’t think you can prove the tone isn’t anger toward Isabella and Mirna.

Ian, your local comic shop can order The Simping Detective, which is indeed completely wonderful. I want to say the US retail price is $24.99. It’s in Diamond’s catalog under Rebellion.

US readers interested in more from the company who produced Simping Detective can find out about the entire range of Rebellion/2000 AD trades here: http://www.2000adonline.com/books/

[...] Posted by Greg Burgas, Monday, December 3rd, 2007 12:02 PMcomic Book Resources – USASpurrier lets us know that Jack barely controls Cliq, and Irving makes thisreal, with the creature eager to snap the leash of loyalty at amoment’s notice … [...]

[...] Posted by Greg Burgas, Monday, December 3rd, 2007 12:02 PMcomic Book Resources – USAJust like actual books, don’t you know! We begin with The SimpingDetective, written by Simon Spurrier and drawn by Frazer Irving. … [...]

bonus pokker…

regretted preference:Melvin …

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