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A Year of Cool Comics – Day 182

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 look at one of the comics on Mark Waid’s personal list of his greatest stories ever told, the tie-in to the Kingdom, Kingdom: Offspring #1, drawn by Frank Quitely!

Enjoy!

This comic came out soon before Frank Quitely became known as Frank Quitely, superstar artist. Back in 1999, Quitely was just an amazing artist who had not yet gotten that big mainstream hit (which is now pretty much all his does – mainstream hit comics).

This issue, titled “Flexibility,” spotlights not only Quitely’s great artwork, but some excellent characterization work by Mark Waid on Offspring, who is the son of Plastic Man in the future (the Kingdom Come future, that is).

Set against the backdrop of the Kingdom event (which introduced Hypertime to the DC Universe, but more specifically involved Gog threatening the very fabric of the Kingdom Come reality), we see Offspring try to make it as a hero even though no one takes him seriously.

Here he is in an excellent introductory sequence by Waid and Quitely…

Quitely’s inventiveness really shines in the above pages.

When Offspring comes home to his girlfriend, Quitely once again sparkles…

but it is Waid’s story that really grips the reader, as he examines the strain Offspring’s relationship with his father (and their clowning reputation) has on their relationship…

Waid does an excellent job showing a young man balancing between what his father wants him to do, what his girlfriend wants him to do and what HE wants to do, which is, unsurprisingly, somewhere in the middle.

There’s an especially brilliant two-page sequence (that is so good that I don’t want to blow the experience of reading it for you here) where Offspring’s girlfriend explains to Offspring why she specifically has a problem with Plastic Man.

The ending of the book is strong, as well, as father and son interact – and the whole thing even manages to tie-in with the overall Kingdom storyline at the end, even while still basically drawing the story to a close.

This is a textbook example of how to write a tie-in to a major company event and, of course, Quitely’s artwork is textbook great comic book art, as well.

This one-shot is collected in the Kingdom trade paperback. Go get it!

9 Comments

This issue was just about the only thing I liked from The Kingdom. I found the rest pretty meh.

I just think it’s nice that Baby Plas is now in continuity. But where are Penny and Hula-Hula?

That was some really solid cartooning. I didn’t know Quitely could do that.

Travis Pelkie

July 3, 2010 at 5:27 pm

This is a great one shot (I say one shot even though it ties in so much to Kingdom/Kingdom Come). The art’s great, the story touching. But did Offspring appear in Kingdom Come at all? I don’t quite remember.

It’s too bad DC never really seemed to do more with Hypertime. Awesome concept that could have led to all sorts of neat interactions. I hope the Morrison “Multiversity” or whatever it’ll be called comes close.

And it’s kind of nice that both Waid and Ross had a shot at telling post-Kingdom Come stories. Too bad that “Kingdom” series that got promoted never panned out.

Must… find…

Travis Pelkie

July 3, 2010 at 10:56 pm

Whoa, Bill Reed doesn’t already have this?

Excuse me while I pause to laugh at him, Nelson style. Ha-ha!

Sorry, don’t know what came over me.

Oh, it’s good Bill, it’s good.

Travis Pelkie

July 3, 2010 at 11:09 pm

Oh, and after I posted and scrolled back up the page, I noticed Offspring’s girlfriend’s name, and it occurred to me that it’s quite likely that it’s “Micheline” as a nod to “Michelin” tires. Y’know, keeping with the rubber/plastic theme?

And is Offspring’s name (Ernie) short for, perhaps, Earnest, as in, wanting to be taken seriously, but he’s still being called by the diminutive version of the name? That Mark Waid is clever. He might go places…

Actually, I believe the other specials (not including Planet Krypton, although then again, come to think of it, yeah, that too) also involve kids trying to live up to the standards set by their parents, and trying to make a life on their own. Which I suppose continues on with the themes from Kingdom Come. It might even improve on that particular theme, actually, in that each story has some space to breath.

This looks pretty awesome.

Brian, I’m writing to say thanks for mentioning this. I don’t normally read this column (sorry) but somehow I stumbled upon this one and I’m a sucker for anything Quitely’s done. So I remembered to pick it up and it’s great stuff.

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