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Everybody’s Somebody’s Baby – Day Nine

Here’s the next look at a beloved run (of someone) that did not make the Top 158 of the Top Comic Book Runs.

Enjoy!

Scott McCloud’s Zot!

Zot! #1-36

Zot! was a great series of the 1980s by Scott McCloud for Eclipse Comics.

Zot! was a hero from an alternate Earth – he came to our world and became friends with a girl there named Jenny.

Early on, there was a lot of action and adventure.

Later on, though, the stories were more character-driven, and dealt mostly with Jenny’s friends.

The series ended on a bit of a cliffhanger with the 36th issue.

Here is reader Matthew why Zot! is the tops…

Why do I think Scott McCloud’s “Zot!” is one of the best comic book runs of all time? I could go on at length about why it’s one of the best comics ever, period, but the reason it’s my top run is because it is so much the personal vision of its creator. That’s not too unusual, of course — you could say the same about any creator-owned book written and drawn by the same person — except that in the case of Zot!, readers got to see the development of an artist who would become one of comics’ foremost innovators. Nearly everything that McCloud discusses in Understanding Comics and its sequels first appears in Zot — his discovery of manga (and Tezuka in particular), his experimentation with different kinds of panel transitions for pacing and mood, his use of “bleeds” and silent panels, and so on.

What’s even more remarkable is that the content changes along with the form. Zot! begins as a fairly typical science-fiction superhero series — Jenny Weaver, normal Earth girl, is drawn by chance into helping teen hero Zot (aka Zachary Paleozogt) unravel the mystery of the Key to the Door at the End of the Universe, and stop a war between (his version of) Earth and another planet, Sirius IV. Before long, though, Jenny has more or less taken over as the lead character — Zot’s still there, but the story’s really about Jenny — and the focus moves to comparisons between Zot’s world and our own; the last ten issues are set solely on Jenny’s (our) Earth, as McCloud moves into a realism that would make Harvey Pekar proud. By this point Zot has changed from being an action hero to being a character whose very existence, as a product of a utopian alternate Earth, throws everything about our world into question.

What else makes Zot! a great run? The supporting characters, the villains (McCloud has a flair for visually memorable characters: 9-Jack-9 with his boater hat and his wireframe eyes, Dekko with his Chrysler-building head), the humour — and of course Zot in Dimension 10 1/2, a you-just-have-to-read-it take on Zot! that appeared in every issue from 11 on, featuring alternate adventures of the book’s cast by the king of minicomics, Matt Feazell.

The first ten issues of Zot! (the colour issues) have been available in TPB form for a while now, but the big news is that an omnibus of all the B&W issues — 11 to 36, IIRC — is coming out this summer. If you haven’t already read these, do yourself a favour and pick it up (and don’t worry about the first ten issues, you don’t really need them to understand what’s going on.)

Thanks, Matt!

11 Comments

Amen! That was a great appreciation that hit the nail right on the head, Matthew.

I only read the first trade of Zot, so I never got to see some of the developments mentioned above, but those first 12 issues or so on their own made for a wonderfully fresh and quirky sci-fi adventure book.

I always wanted to see Scott McCloud write Superman, or Spider-Man. I don’t imagine that’s too likely to happen as that sort of thing doesn’t really seem to be within McCloud’s mission in comics books. Nevertheless, it would rawk.

Tom Fitzpatrick

May 31, 2008 at 6:43 am

Didn’t CBR run a serial Zot! in colour, awhile back?

Stefan,

In fact Scott wrote a dozen issues of Superman Adventures around 1997
http://www.scottmccloud.com/store/books/supes.html

Cheers, Doomer John M

here’s the online Zot comic he did: http://www.scottmccloud.com/comics/zot/index.html

The rest of ZOT! is finally coming out in trade paperback? Hot damn, how’d I miss that news?

Andrew Collins

June 1, 2008 at 12:37 am

E.D. said:
“The rest of ZOT! is finally coming out in trade paperback? Hot damn, how’d I miss that news?”

Yep, coming in July from Harper Collins.

The detailed listing over at Amazon-

http://www.amazon.com/Zot-Complete-Black-Collection-1987-1991/dp/0061537276/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1212305720&sr=1-1

Zot is right up there as possibly my all-time favorite comic. Only Morrison’s Doom Patrol gives it a run for its money. I’m glad to see it’s still getting some love despite no new issues being put out for nearly 2 decades now (not counting McCloud’s occasional dabbling in Zot webcomics).

Doug Atkinson

June 1, 2008 at 11:15 am

McCloud also wrote a three issue Superman mini-series, “Superman: Strength”.

Ah! I missed that completely John. Thanks; I’ll have to check that out.

My great disappointment is that apparently Matt Feazell’s Dimension 10 1/2 stories will not be included in the book. If Matt has any gumption, he’d slap together a collection himself.

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