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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 88

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic 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 take a look at Garth Ennis and Mike Wolfer’s series, Streets of Glory…
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Enjoy!

Streets of Glory was a six-issue mini-series that Garth Ennis did for Avatar before beginning his just-finished series, Crossed.

It is an exceptionally straightforward plot, but Ennis, being one of the most technically gifted comic book writers that I know of today, makes the straightforward plot sing. Typically, when people take issue with Ennis, it is the subject matter of his comics (too violent, too male centric, etc.) that drives them nuts – but taking that out of the equation, the man is an exceptionally gifted story craftsman. And if you’re like me and you are not put off by his subject matter, then boy is he a great comic book writer.

Streets of Glory is roughly a mixture of the Wild Bunch with…hmm…I dunno, There Will Be Blood, maybe?

It’s about an aging gunfighter, Joe Dunn, who comes out of “retirement” (or some semibalance of retirement) to return to civilization in a frontier town in Montana. Peter Lorrimer, who narrates the story (set in 1895) from the late 1940s/early 1950s….

is a young man coming to work with his brother (who has lied to their parents about being a bartender and aspiring to purchase an alehouse from an old friend of Dunn’s).

Sadly, bandits kill Peter’s brother (there’s a great bit where Peter and his brother Francis delight in the way that in the frontier, they are now suddenly calling each other “Pete” and “Frank”), but Dunn arrives to slaughter them (in graphic fashion).

However, this being the end of the 19th Century, the whole idea of the “wild” west is becoming outdated (like it was in The Wild Bunch).

Ennis portrays the villain of the piece as a man who wants to bring commerce to the people whether they want it or not…

(Morrison reminds me of Daniel Plainview from There Will Be Blood).

I suppose that a major theme of Streets of Glory is the idea of society reaching a point where “civilized” men felt that they could hobnob with the “legends” of the West that they had studied in books and newspapers for so many years. And then, upon meeting them, we learn a number of things in the process – mostly the idea of what is lost when you over-romanticize something. Ennis is acutely aware of the power of the “Western story” to a certain type of people, and the violence in the book is definitely a bit of a “you think being a ‘cowboy’ is glamorous? Well, look at what it is REALLY like!” deal.

I guess there’s a bit of Eastwood’s Unforgiven in there, as well.

Mike Wolfer does a fine job on the art.

Like much of his Avatar work, Streets of Glory represents an engaging, complete story by one of comics’ most accomplished storytellers.

20 Comments

You’ve got some repeating pages there, Brian.

I thought the repeated pages was some sort of clever story telling device!

I thought the repeated pages was some sort of clever story telling device!

I like that line of thinking!

My friend is a huge fan of Lonesome Dove – not so much comics. This sounds like a gateway comic.

The stuff you’ve posted here (this post and the one about Crossed) have convinced me that I really need to get around to reading Ennis’s Avatar stuff.

I think he’s the best writer in comics other than Morrison, and I’m somewhat ashamed that I haven’t read more of his stuff.

Cool, I never even knew this existed! Onto the amazon wish list it goes! Ennis is so masterful that even most of his subpar work is still worth reading.

That guy in the little motorized buggy with the goggles and bowler hat on: COOLEST GUY EVER.

I’ve always considered Ennis’ work to be a great test of character: if you enjoy it, then you’re alright in my book, if you hate it because it’s too violent or “there is too much naughty language”, then we can’t be friends.

Also, while I agree that his work is male-centric, I wouldn’t call it misogynistic as I’ve read some people call it.

By the way, Brian, isn’t Back to Brooklyn another of Ennis’ recent mini-series? Would you recommend it?

This looks like a solid pick, Brian, but I tend to think that the “debunk the Old WEst” genre is somewhat played out , after DANCES WITH WOLVES, UNFORGIVEN, MCCABE AND MRS MILLER, THE SEARCHERS (To my way of the thinking, the true beginning of the revisionist Western), SOLDIER BLUE, etc.For that matter, John Ostrander and Leonardo Manco produced a truly excellent revisionist Western back in 2000 with BLAZE OF GLORY, where they showed the “reality” behind the dime novel facade of the Marvel Western heroes (Two – Gun Kid, original Ghost Rider, Caleb Hammer, Rawhide Kid, Red Wolf, Outlaw Kid, Kid Cassidy and Reno Jones, the Bounty Hawk). It would make a nice Cool Comic pick (hint, hint).

Seems like Avatar consistently puts out quality stuff. Anything with their logo on it automatically warrants my attention.

This came out a little bit before my “re-entry” into comics after a few decade’s absence. I’ll have to keep an eye out for back issues or a trade.

Thanks for another “heads-up” Brian!

FunkyGreenJerusalem

March 30, 2010 at 5:46 pm

I’d been hesitant to pick this one up, but I think this article just sold me!

Help kill the time until Red Dead Redemption comes out as well!

I think he’s the best writer in comics other than Morrison, and I’m somewhat ashamed that I haven’t read more of his stuff.

I’d be tempted to push him over – too much of Morrison’s work has been done with lesser collaborators, and tinkered with by editorial – Ennis seems to only work with the best, and it shines through in the work.
Regardless of what you think of the story, or the characters, his actual story telling is second to none.

I gotta agree with FGJ and the others above: Ennis’s story-telling is top notch work. His Punisher Max run still blows my mind, especially when it ramps up mid-way through and concludes so solidly. I don’t think Ennis gets anywhere near the credit he deserves as a writer, probably because of stuff like the Rifle Brigade and creations like Dog-Welder (who is too awesome for many).

Ennis, interestingly enough, didn’t create Dogwelder. Steve Dillon did. I don’t know how much input Dillon actually had, but once you get past “guy who welds dogs to bad guys’ faces,” the character writes itself!

Dillon created a character for Ennis’ other monthly book while drawing Preacher? That’s very cool of him!

Yeah, in the issue when Dogwelder first appears, there’s a note about him being created by Dillon. I have no idea if they were just bullshitting about goofy characters and Dillon came up with one that Ennis liked or if it was something from years earlier that Dillon never used. Still, pretty neat.

Adventures in the Rifle Brigade is awesome. Its Flex Mentallo for people who grew up reading British war comics instead of silver age superheroes

The story I always heard is that Ennis, Dillon and others were having a drink in the pub when Garth challenged anyone to come up with a dumber name for a hero than Green Lantern. Dogwelder was the winner.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

March 31, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Adventures in the Rifle Brigade is awesome. Its Flex Mentallo for people who grew up reading British war comics instead of silver age superheroes

I think the humour of having people hunt for Hitler’s missing testicle may just seem childish, and not something rooted in childhood, in the US.
I don’t think they grew up with ‘Hitler’s only got one ball, the other’s in the Albert Hall’.

I’ll probably get this some time, but ew that art is ugly!

funkygreenjerusalem

April 3, 2010 at 5:11 am

Good call Brian!

I had an hour and a half train trip to visit family for Easter, so I grabbed this, and had a jolly good time reading it.

I wish Ennis would do more westerns.
(Although, whatever genre I’ve just read from Ennis, I usually say that. War, Superhero, or even retro space story – Dan Dare – I wish Ennis did more of it.)

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