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Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 277: Nextwave #8

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. This month (for a while) I will be showing pages chosen by you, the readers. Today’s page is from Nextwave #8, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated November 2006. This page was suggested by BeccaBlast, who unfortunately could not find a first page in which Travis Pelkie is referred to as a “drillrod.” Enjoy!

Oh yes

Nextwave, as we all know, is a wonderful comic book, and this first page is an example of what you can expect from it. If you find it funny, then Nextwave is probably for you. If you don’t, then avoid the book at all costs … because this is an example of restrained humor in the comic.

Warren Ellis knows when to let his artist put together a sight gag, so he stays out of Stuart Immonen’s way (except for two notable words, as you can see). Immonen and Ellis decide, for no discernible reason, to have the Mindless Ones do a homage to West Side Story. Immonen gives us the snaps, and adds a bloodied “Live Strong” bracelet on the second one, because the Mindless Ones are, after all, killing a lot of people in this story, and presumably that One just dug the bracelet. Then we get the big panel, which Immonen nails. The way the panel is designed – moving us from the top left to the bottom right – and the fact that they’re all in sync is just perfect. If that’s not enough for you, Ellis adds “dance, critters” to the “Nextwave” banner at the bottom. It’s understated but hilarious. Notice, too, that Dave McCaig does a fine job choosing colors for the backgrounds in the first four panels. Those colors are downright cheery, suggesting the “musical” aspect of this page. McCaig doesn’t have much choice in using red for the Mindless Ones’ eye … spaces, but he still makes sure that they’re glowing a bit, which makes them creepier and the fact that they’re snapping and tapping down the street even better.

I suppose it’s possible to not love Nextwave, as the comments section in that link show, but if you enjoy it at all, you probably enjoy it a whole hell of a lot. This page is just one reason to love it!

Next: Possibly the oddest first page I’ve featured so far, mainly because of the language in which it’s published! No, it ain’t English! Fret not, though – there are plenty of English comics in the archives!

21 Comments

When you’re a Jet, you’re a Jet all the way, from your first cigarette to your last dyin’ day…

Man, why DID they homage West Side Story, this page is hilarious!

One of the best comics of the last decade… if not the best ?

I think you should retroactively go back through Nextwave and select the most airwolf panel from each issue.

That would be impossible, Third Man.
In Nextwave every panel is airwolf. Internet Jesus made them that way.

Nextwave shows us what comics should be. Truly, it was too beautiful for this world.

Nextwave took everything that’s awful about comics and somehow made it more wonderful than everything that’s wonderful about comics.

When I finally get around to doing my autobio in comics form, I will refer to myself as a drillrod for Becca’s benefit. Or something.

I haven’t reread Nextwave, but damn it was good. I liked in this 2 parter where the Dormammu like guy refers to digging the Suicide Girls. It was extra funny because Ellis was writing a column for that site at the time. Dirty self promoting bastid!

Damn it! I knew as soon as I finished my top ten runs list that I’d have daily reminders of what I left off the list. Thanks a lot Greg.

Ok, I have never read Nextwave but this page definitely got me interested.

Acer… for the best of all reasons — because they could think of it, and they thought of it; and the Lord saw the it, and the Lord said, “Me DAMN, that’s some good it! I think I’ll let them live.”

Which ticked off the dinosaurs, but that’s another story…

Terrible-d, we are a forgiving nation — your sentence is to re-read the whole series until you have consumed a case of Lizard Squeezings.

Oh, Travis, you dear sweet rotating inclined shaft. It was more that I couldn’t decide which front page of Stan Lee Presents: The Indefatigable Drillrod! to use — I hope you’re not disappointed. But Ellis would be that cheeky, wouldn’t he? Man has to make a buck where he can…

AS, you are in for a treat — enjoy the craziness! But you must remember this one thing:

It will not be all right. It will never be all right again… Nothing good can come of a robot in a bra.

Oh, and Greg?

Thanks for making a mouthy broad feel welcome!

Becca: No problem. We’re all mouthy here!

I miss this book SO MUCH!

Actually I’ve never read Nextwave, though if I see a used collection somewhere I’ll probably pick it up because of all the good things I’ve heard, and I’ve always liked Machine Man.

But this page art presents 3 problems for me: Big rocky hands like that can’t snap, nor are they drawn with the fingers impacting the palm as they would on a snapping hand. Snap your fingers now, there’s no sound until you hit the palm. The sound effect says it, but the art doesn’t. Second, the hand is way too big to fit that bracelet over it, so how did it get there? Lastly, in the last panel they all look like they are floating or hovering along, and the large bulky figures behind the front row are not casting shadows at all. It looks like there are speed lines on the road instead, which for me adds to the hovering effect.

@Ganky

I would say that if your thoughts on this page turn towards the incorrect mechanics of rock creature hand-snapping, then Nextwave is decisively not for you.

It’s a good gag, I just don’t think it’s particularly well executed. And they still look like they’re all floating and not casting good shadows for such prominent light sources. Hey, this column is supposed to be about the art, isn’t it?

@Ganky

I don’t think this feature is about art- its about how effectively a first page gets a the reader into the comic. That encompasses art, writing, pacing, scene-setting, etc.

And how could anyone see this first page and not immediately love this comic? So again, if your thoughts on this page run towards the flaws in the mechanics of the art, then I don’t think Nextwave is for you. And that’s okay; not eveything is for everyone.

@BeccaBlast
The only thing those Mindless Ones need to complete the look are letterman jackets and 22 gallons of Brylcrem hair gel.

It has its own theme song.

= awesome

Acer: I was about to point out that Mindless Ones don’t have hair, but then I realized that a gang of Letter jacketed Mindless Ones with Brylcreem piled on their heads in the rough shape of greaser hair would be the most awesome thing ever.

@TJCoolguy
I wonder who would be the Sharks in this case…

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