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CSBG Archive

Snark Free Corner for 3/24

Welcome to the latest installment of your breath of snark free air!

Enjoy!

SNARK FREE DEBATE

Better Garth Ennis work – Preacher or Punisher MAX?

Garth Ennis is drawing to a close on his Punisher MAX run, and he’ll have roughly the same amount of issues of Punisher MAX as he did of Preacher, so I think it is fair to compare the two now.

Do note that I mean Punisher MAX, which is a lot different than the Punisher series Ennis did for Marvel Knights, which was split up into the original Welcome Back, Frank maxi-series, which was a brilliant comedic work, and the 36 issue or so Punisher Marvel Knights ongoing series, which was a much less brilliant comedic work – more a case of just stretching a joke insanely thin.

However, Punisher MAX is as tightly plotted as Preacher, probably more so, as the 60 issue or so run is completely tied together throughout the run, as plots from the first story arc ended up having an effect even now.

Preacher is the funnier of the two series.

Punisher has, like I said, a tighter plot, so reads more cohesive.

Preacher has better character interactions, and probably had better characters.

Punisher’s characters, though, while perhaps not as good as the Preacher characters, interact on a more believable and relatable level.

(Do note that I am not counting the art, as that’s unfair, as Dillon destroys the MAX artists, who ARE quite good, just not nearly as good as Dillon)

Punisher is the more mature work (it’d be kinda depressing if Ennis WASN’t more mature now), but lacks the same heart Preacher had.

I dunno, what do you folks think?

And if you haven’t read Punisher MAX, seriously, give the first trade a chance. You don’t need to know anything about the character – just pick up the first trade.

COVER THEME GAME

As always, here is the game. I show three covers. They all have something in common, whether it be a character, a trait all three characters share, locale, creator, SOMEthing. And it isn’t something obvious like “They all have prices!” “They all have logos!” “They all feature a man!” etc.

In addition, please note that you must have some familiarity with comic book history to correctly guess these comics. You cannot guess the connective theme just by looking at the covers solely, you must have some knowledge beyond just the covers.

A cool point to the first person to figure it out!

Good luck!

1.

56974_20060810155146_large.jpg

2.

76248_20070107123420_large.jpg

3.

3679_20060728131147_large.jpg

SNARK FREE CHALLENGE

Who would win in a foot race – Kyle Rayner or John Stewart?

THE COVER GAME

This week’s game is as follows…

Find me a comic cover that features Diamondback that ISN’T a Captain America comic!

Here is an example (which you can’t use!)….

8583_20060831131517_large.jpg

Remember, only one cover per commenter!

Good luck!

WHO IS IT?

Remember, tell me who it is and what number clue gave it away!

1. This character is currently deceased.
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2. This character has had not one, but TWO of his offspring take up his name (or variations to the same effect).
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3. This character showed up in a flashback in a popular title awhile back, revealing something notable he did in the past.
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4. This character was a mutant.
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5. The character was a member of the Hellfire Club.

Who is it?

Well, that’s it for this installment of Snark Free Corner.

Hope you had fun!

37 Comments

Kyle and John in a foot race surely that is a No contest, I mean wasnt John a marine?

Yeah, but he’s also a good bit older than Kyle, right?

Kyle and John in a foot race, No contest surely? And this is a majore Kyle Rayner fan talking here!!

Kyle might have youth on his side, but isnt John a former marine???

Whooops something weird happened there, can I delete that??

Mastermind (Jason Wyngarde), clue number 2.

Cover Theme: Mr. Bones, Brom Bones (the Headless Horseman, at least in the original Washington Irving story), and Bonecrusher.

You couldn’t find a Star Trek cover featuring McCoy?

Tom Fitzpatrick

March 25, 2008 at 3:30 am

I’d say Preacher is a better book since Steve Dillon drew all of the 66 issue run (except for most of the one-shots and mini-series).

I like the Punisher MAX, but too many artists, spoils the book. I’m currently reading the hard-covers, and so far, Larosa? of the first story arc is the favorite.

Have they retrofitted the Marine thing onto John Stewart from the cartoon? Because last I remembered, the comics one was an architect.

This is too obvious to be it, but for the cover theme, all of them have a character wearing a cape.

Why do you hate HITMAN, Brian? That’s better than Preacher!

Tough call on Preacher and Punisher, as both are special to me. Have to reread Preacher (or both) before I decide.

I wasn’t sure on Mastermind until 5.

I think they did retrofit the marine sharpshooter thing, which makes him a whole lot less interesting to me.

mastermind, clue 2
i don’t know about the theme, but uncanny 252 was the first comic i ever bought. i still have it.

Preacher. Punisher just seemed so…repetitive after awhile. Not bad, but essentially the same thing over and over again.

As for Kyle or John, are we talking sprint or long distance? I’d give Kyle’s youth the edge in a sprint, but John’s more determined stick-to-it-itiveness the nod in a long distance race, whether he be Marine or Architect.

I thought “Who is it?” was Ted Knight after #2, of course. I have no idea who it actually is, but that other commentator is probably right.

Footrace – gotta be John. He’s athletic, right? Especially after recovering from his injury. Kyle’s just some dancing schlub.

While both Punisher and Preacher both made it in to my top 5 for the voting on my favorite run (Still time to vote, people!) I’d definitely give Preacher the edge. There were a few times when Punisher was as good, if not better (The Slavers, The one shots in the First to last TPB, the end of Long, Cold, Dark) but Ennis did have a few mediocre stories (Kitchen Irish, the first Barracuda arc and his mini series) in there was well. While Preacher did have it’s lower points, just about every TPB has merit and are quite re-readable.

While I haven’t read the whole series (Thanks DC!) I’d guess that Hitman is better than Marvel Knights Punisher

I’ve only read parts of Preacher, and what I read I didn’t really care for, so I’ve got to go with Punisher, which I’ve read most of. I don’t mind the rotating artists on story arcs, and for the most part their art is pretty similar.

Hmm, I think the “them bones” thing is almost right: Mr. Bones, Bonebreaker.

The second cover has the Horseman menacing a guy named Bones Bullinger.

[blockquote]I’d say Preacher is a better book since Steve Dillon drew all of the 66 issue run (except for most of the one-shots and mini-series).[/blockquote]

Actually, IIRC some of the regular Preacher series issues were drawn by Mccrea.

But the Dillon art really does bring it together. Dillon art makes any comic far better than it would have been otherwise (take for example the Nighthawk spinoff of Supreme Power).

Preacher beats Punisher, Hitman beats both. Hitman #60 is one of the best final issues ever.

I would say that Preacher is better based on the character of Cassidy and the end of the serie which was huge (huge was the sole word that came close to describind it, at least in my mind).

Goin’ with Punisher.

Like you said, the writing in Preacher is SO sloppy SO much of the time. If Ennis and Dillon had cut, say, forty issues out of Preacher and focussed completely on the central character arc, I’d vote for it.

I guess I like craft more than heart. :)

Wow, I thought Diamondback had managed to squeeze onto the Avengers cover at some point, but it looks like I was mistaken. I’ll have to settle for Cable & Deadpool #22, then.

I agree with buttler that I’m certain I have seen Diamondback on an Avengers book. Since I can’t find it I’ll go for the easy one and use a handbook cover.

http://www.comicbookdb.com/graphics/comic_graphics/1/56/33758_20060324014403_large.jpg

I’d pick Preacher by quite a bit over Punisher. Punisher has been good, but it feels more like a series of story arcs, while Preacher felt more like one overall story to me. Granted, I read Preacher in trades and have been reading Punisher in single issues, so maybe when read all at once Punisher seems like more of a coherent story.

Eric P:

Preacher #1-66 was 100% Dillon. McCrea might have done a spin-off, I can’t recall.

Preacher. It’s Ennis’ best book ever and probably even the best series of the 90′s. Puniser MAX I dropped after about 30 issues becuase it became repetitive. I loved some of the storyarcs, though.
————-
Cover Theme Game: Bones seems like it – Mr. Bones, Bones Bullinger and Bonebreaker.
I thought Roy Thomas may be the connection, but it’s only 2 of 3 (Writer on Infinity Inc., Editor & EIC on Supernatural Thrillers).

McCrea’s only art chores on Preacher was inking Dillon’s pencils on the Tall In The Saddle one-shot. Dillon penciled the whole ongoing series, except for most of its mini-series and one-shots.

Didn’t get the Who Is It? until the last clue — up until then I thought it was Kraven. I suppose only one of his kids has actually used his name, though.

And John’d smoke Kyle. It’d be close, but I think John’s marine training (which I’m glad was carried over to the comics since it’s one of the more interesting aspects of the animated version) gives him an edge.

Have a good day.
John Cage

I still rate Hitman as the best thing Ennis has ever done, mostly for the supporting cast, but I’d put the recent run on Punisher in a close second place.

It was lagging somewhat up until the end of Long Cold Dark, which was one of those rare issues which made me stop and think yes, that’s exactly how it has to be.

That said, Jesse Custer is a more interesting character than Frank Castle.

(If you’ve got a lot of two-cent bits, I’ll happily tell you my theory that yes, there are good characters and bad characters, as well as good writers and bad writers, and Ennis’s run on Punisher Max is a perfect example of exactly what a good writer can do with a bad character)

Glad to see a little spotlight on Diamondback, one of my favorite Marvel characters. I’d like to see her used more than she has been since her heyday as Cap’s love interest during Gruenwald’s run. Always preferred her over Sharon Carter anyway…

Sadly I haven’t been able to find any non-Cap covers beyond the ones already linked to. :(

Diamondback was one of my favorites too. I am surprised how few cover appearances she has made outside of Captain America. I only found 3.
Cable and Deadpool # 22.
http://www.coverbrowser.com/covers/cable-deadpool

Hitman, definitely. Preacher is a close second, but Hitman had so much heart.

Will

FunkyGreenJerusalem

March 25, 2008 at 4:45 pm

I’ll have to say Punisher MAX – it was when reading that and War Stories that I decided Ennis had truly become a master of the form – but I feel bad for Preacher for saying it.
They are just totally different beasts, so if it wasn’t for the writer, they’d never get compared at all.
But Punisher wins due to the tight plotting in each story, and for making what’s basically a formula in each arc seem new and different – and in the best one’s, I find my self hoping the horrible, horrible bad guys get killed, but also scared to turn the page because you know whatever Frank does, it’s going to be horrible.
(Also, the collection of The Tyger, The Cell and The End is a great book to loan out and get people into the character/reading a comic).

As FGJ said, it’s nearly impossible to truly compare the two, for what really boils down to one simple difference: Preacher was ultimately a story about redemption, about three deeply flawed people facing their pasts and becoming better for it. Punisher MAX is a series about damnation, as we see that Castle is not only trapped by his past, but also completely unwilling to escape the hell he has voluntarily made of his life.

It’s interesting to look at Punisher MAX as a companion piece to Hitman, especially aided by the appearance of O’Brien/MacAllister and members of the Mitchell family in both series, looking at the differences in their protagonists. Tommy and Frank both face this horrific legacy of violence from childhood onwards (from his very birth, in Tommy’s case), but it is Tommy who clings to his compassion and dies, and Frank who constantly endeavors to bury everything human about him and survives.

To me, Preacher still ranks as having probably the greatest ending ever to an overall series, but none of the individual arcs ever reached the sheer power of the endings to The Slavers, Widowmaker and The Long Cold Dark.

It’s so hard for me to make this call without feeling like I’m diminishing one series or the other in some way, but I think I have to come down on the side of Punisher as well. It may lack the redemption that came at the end of Preacher, but overall it feels like the work of a much more experienced and mature creator, and ultimately it’s probably the better series despite being less broadly accessible.

(I’m actually planning on doing a pretty long piece breaking down the entire Punisher MAX series and spinoffs, including Fury, at some point in time once the series proper finishes, so compiling my thoughts on it into a brief comment is a lot more time-consuming for me than it should be.)

John Stewart would win the foot race, no question. Marine > Freelance Illustrator.

I thought the mystery character was the Green Goblin until clue #4 (And only in comics could someone be described as “currently deceased” :).

Hmm, because of the echoing silence from Brian about the Cover Theme, I’m going to take another angle with it, which I’ll call “resemblance to popular characters by the same creators”:

Mr Bones looks a lot like artist Todd McFarlane’s later creation, Spawn.

The Headless Horseman resembles Ghost Rider, also created by writer Gary Friedrich (and sometimes drawn by artist George Tuska).

With Jim Lee it’s more of a general style (he does like those ponytails and straps blowing in the wind), but I will say his Deathblow looks like a cross between Lady Deathstrike and Bonebreaker on that X-Men cover.

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