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CSBG Archive

Almost Hidden – Keith Giffen’s PunX

Even with this large amount of comic books that have been collected in trade paperbacks, there are still a number of great comic books that have never been reprinted (I’d say roughly 60% of them are DC Comics from the 1980s through the mid-1990s). So every day this month I will spotlight a different cool comic book that is only available as a back issue. Here is an archive of the comic books featured so far.

I want you folks to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com with your suggestions for comics that I should feature this month. I’d like to see what you all would like to see get more attention.

A number of you asked me to continue the Giffen goodness with PunX, so, well, here ya go! PunX was an ill-fated series Giffen did for Valiant, written and drawn by Giffen, inked by Claude St. Aubin and colored by Lovern Kindzierski

While ostensibly this series was about a group of “Generation X” superheroes in the town of Acclamation, Oregon (a play on the owner of Valiant at the time, the video game company Acclaim), the three issues Giffen produced of this series before it was canceled were not really about plot, per se, and more about mocking the very conventions of the modern day comic book (particularly through the various superheroes who live in Acclamation). Luckily, Giffen did his mocking in a compellingly offbeat fashion, so it was a lighthearted and amusing satire of comic books.

Take this inspired bit from issue #2, for instance…

Here’s a hilarious bit about recap pages from #3…

One of the more outlandish sequences in the comic came toward the middle of #3…

Spot on parody, and very cool of Bernard Chang to go along with the joke. The Massersky stuff is very much a throwback to the way Julie Schwartz was used in Ambush Bug.

On top of the three issues, there was also a “manga special” one-shot with artwork by Kevin Lau. It involved a Godzilla-like creature who decides to move on past just terrorizing Tokyo…

These issues are actually somewhat hard to find on the back issue market, but if you do, they’re each worth picking up. They’re all funny, irreverent comic books.

11 Comments

The “Understanding Comics” bit was pretty inspired.

There was supposed to be a fourth issue but it never saw print, and it’s been said that Giffen destroyed all the artwork for it.

love the bit where keith even makes fun of his own comic plus also the understanding comic bit thrown into the thing . too bad who ever owns the rights has not tried to reprint this comic.

I have a “Valiant preview” (or something ressemblin it) somewhere, with the cover to issue 4

and there is an internet page dedicated to all the valliant series, where we can see the covers to future issues with the teaser for each

[url]http://www.valiantcomics.com/valiant/neverwas/neverwas.asp[/url]

with punx 4, punx redux, punx specials ….

and the futur issues of “Quantum and Woody” (another hidden treasure )

I loved Punx. Wasn’t that part of the Winderjammer line that had Neal Adams’ Valeria the She-Bat?

No, PunX was simply an Acclaim book, no relation to Winderjammer.

randypan the goatboy

August 14, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Its good but it’s hardly the undiscovered country. Giffen loves to do this to his audience doesnt he? All of this probably was going to be in an Ambush bug mini that DC backed out of, I do have to admit the part about the comic crossover fight routine was some inspired lunacy…it just felt like Ambush bug or one of giffens more surrealist takes on lobo…Not bad just easy to see why there were only 3 issues. To be honest this could have done double duty on almost hidden and i love ya but your strange…very strange indeed

randypan the goatboy

August 14, 2011 at 8:19 pm

I did love the ass signal..awesome stuff and a total slam on the creators of the day…and some drom today that just havent caught on to the fact that the bad girl craze is over..

PunX featured two characters from VALIANT proper, Toyo Harada from Harbinger and Tank from the second iteration of Secret Weapons. A preview for PunX published in Previews featured Solar talking on the phone with Layton and telling him, if I remember correctly, that he refuses to appear in the series.

All that said, neither PunX nor Manga PunX (the latter of which, in my op, is the superior story because it has a clearer plot and more appealing art) are in continuity, clearly. From the fictional setting of Acclamation to the tone of the story, nothing in it is in line with the rest of the VALIANT Universe, which strived to be “the world outside your window”, i.e. no fictional cities.

http://wiki.valiantentertainment.com/index.php/PunX

You can learn a bit more about the characters at the Book of Geomancers.

The cheek of that Chang bit!

Man, I haven’t read this in ages. I’ve got a whole box of various Giffen stuff that I’ve got to go through, but I just read my comics so slow anymore. I am lucky enough to have the 3 issues of this, PLUS 2 copies of the Manga Punx issue. If anyone’s interested…

C’mon, keep going and feature Trencher and Vext and stuff!

The McCloud bit is very nice, and what makes it work better for me is the underlying poke that Giff is taking at him with the oh so serious tone he had with UC, and subtly reminding us that McCloud did do his big fight comic, DESTROY! Even a comics theorist isn’t immune to the desire to try to out-Kirby Kirby!

DESTROY would be cool to feature here, actually…

I’m not trying to take a shot at Scott, mind you. His site was the first comics site that I regularly visited, I posted suggestions for choose your own Carl (which occasional commenter Rusty Priske also did, from what I’ve seen looking again at the archives — anyone else here that was on CYOC about 10 *gulp* years ago?). Also, with his online Zot, I first discovered Comic Book Resources and started visiting that regularly.

And look where that’s led to. So if you think I’m annoying, what I’m saying is blame Scott McCloud!

Another Giffen series I never got to see. And again, I see Punx was an example of why I both love and hate his work.

Giffen IS a great satirist; he’s spot on in his criticisms and presents them in pretty inventive (and hilarious) ways. And 90′s comics definitely had plenty of stuff to criticize!

On the other hand, he can be WAY too unsubtle. As I read the above pages I kept thinking “OK, I get it, move on to the next gag already!” He really dragged his own jokes to the ground. And there’s such a thing as being TOO sarcastic; if everything in your story is absurd, well, it isn’t a story at all, just a string of bad jokes. I can see what he was trying to do with PUNX, but I think he went too far.
I actually think Heckler was better.

Still, I wouldn’t mind seeing more of his comics featured here (especially his earlier work, like those Ambush Bug/Superman stories.

And btw, I hear The Bug will show up in the Brave And The Bold cartoon soon (battling Bat-Mite of all people!) I’m not sure if I should look forward or dread that one (the series has lost it edge recently, honestly.)

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