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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 2

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we look at Brian Michael Bendis’ Jinx!

Enjoy!

Did you know that Brian Michael Bendis just recently celebrated ten years of working at Marvel Comics? There was a whole special trade paperback by Marvel celebrating the occasion (while I’m at it, Tom Brevoort just recently celebrated TWENTY years working at Marvel! Congrats, Tom!).

I mention this only to note how odd it is, then, to think back to the time when Bendis was mostly doing stuff like Jinx. I remember the time and how much of a…I don’t know exactly how to put it, but it was almost like he was a hidden talent. The guy you knew was a good writer, but no one else did. And when you discover a comic book writer (or a band or an actor or, well, anything) that way, they’re never going to have that same charm that they had for you when they were “undiscovered.” That really has nothing to do with the quality of Jinx, I just mention it because that’s one of the first things I think of when I think of Jinx.

The next thing I think of, naturally, is “Man, that was a cool comic book.”

Jinx is about a bounty hunter named Jinx Alameda who gets involved with a con man named David Gold (who starred in Bendis’ earlier series, which was named after Gold’s nickname – AKA Goldfish) and, unsurprisingly, complications ensue.

Now I happen to enjoy Bendis’ artwork – I think he manages to use photo-realistic artwork mixed with shadows to good effect, particularly where (like most of his early work) he is going for a noir feel. However, it is pretty clear that the artwork by Bendis is mostly a delivery system for his writing, which is the clear star of the comic.

All of what we have grown used to over the years from Bendis’ writing style is at work here, especially the David Mamet-esque dialogue.

But also at play is the impressive work Bendis puts into developing the characters, especially Jinx, who is a very well-rounded heroine.

The series originally appeared in a few issues at Caliber, then a few issues at Image. The collected edition is truly the “definitive” edition, and that’s what I’m using for samples of the work.

Here is an introduction to Jinx at work…

And here is an exchange between Jinx and Goldfish (he sees her at a diner and then calls the diner and asks for her, and they begin to talk)…

There is nominally a plot (essentially an homage to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly) about Goldfish and his grifter friend, Columbia (who is modeled after Bendis himself) discovering the whereabouts of $3,000,000 in cash, but each man only has part of the information leading to the cash, so they have to work together, but Jinx also sees this as a chance to get out the bounty hunting business. Add in Columbia’s paranoia and Jinx and Goldfish becoming more involved, you have yourself a plot.

I say “nominally” because the work is really all about the characterizations, and the plot is really more a way to deliver set pieces where Bendis can have characters interact with each other – really quite similar to a play.

It’s a great, multi-layered work that holds up well more than a decade later.

16 Comments

Tom Fitzpatrick

January 3, 2010 at 7:40 am

And to think that Joe Q. hired Bendis for his dialogue storytelling and not for his art. (chuckle)

Still, I think Bendis’ TORSO one of his best next to his run on Sam and Twitch.

I absolutely love JINX. The first Bendis book I ever read, and I’ve been a fan since. I also really miss his artwork.

I ended up with the first volume of this series, but I really should get the entire thing in collection, as it’s quite good.

I liked TORSO as well, but feel that it doesn’t really age all that well, as the flaws become noticeable upon re-reading it.

Oy vey! I’m one of the many goofballs who’s never read any of Bendis’s stuff outside of Marvel, but you got me on the hunt now! Thx for this sneak peak!

I had no idea his art was so good. I’ve seen a piece he did of Daredevil for a gallery in either #100 or #500. Now I understand why there’s always been talk of he and Oeming switching roles for an issue of Powers.

I liked Jinx too. The noir art works quite well for this story and the dialogue is very good. A lot of the fun for me came from seeing Columbia fail over and over again.

will have to try and track it down for loved the look when Jinx busts rick for being a parole violator by pretending to be pregnant.

I like Bendis; I think I’ll try to track this down.

You say the trade is “truly definitive”–does it really look good? The trade of Goldfish (I believe also published by Image) had absolutely terrible production values–art and dialogue cut off, pages falling apart, blurry lettering–just the worst!

You say the trade is “truly definitive”–does it really look good?

It has about the same production values as Goldfish, honestly.

I say “truly definitive” because Bendis re-worked the comic a bit for the “definitive” edition, so this is really how Jinx is “meant” to be read, ya know?

Aw, phooey. That would incline me to find the original issues.

Have you read both versions? How would you characterize the changes?

Oh, and thanks and good luck on the new feature!

Good choice.

I miss Bendis’s art.

It’s been sitting on my shelf for ages. But now that you’ve featured, it’s climbed a few spots on my to-read list.

The character “Jinx” also made an appearance on Bendis’ run on “Sam and Twitch”

I remember seeing the first page where she showed up pregnant from some non-wizard comic magazine when it first came out. I could never find it because I lived in a small town where the comic shops all closed and I had to get my fix at the local rite-aid. If they did put it out in collected form, I am definitely going out and finally picking it up.

Not a fan of most of Bendis’s stuff at Marvel, but this, this I could get into. Could you showcase Torso? I’ve her some good things about that one.

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