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Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 356: Zot! #12

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. As it’s now December, I will be examining the LAST pages of random comics, so watch out for SPOILERS! Today’s page is from Zot! #12, which was published by Eclipse and is cover dated March 1987. This scan is from Zot! 1987-1991: The Complete Black and White Collection, which was published by HarperCollins in 2008. Enjoy!

It's getting dusty in here, isn't it?

Scott McCloud’s Zot! is a brilliant comic, at least from issue #11 onward (I don’t own issues #1-10 – they’re not collected here, and McCloud writes in the introduction that they’re pretty much a different comic completely, so while I may track them down one day, I’m in no hurry), and issue #12 ends with this beautiful page, as Zot, who’s from another dimension, thinks about going back home because his world is so much brighter and more fun than this one. He’s just gone through a traumatic experience, and he wants to leave, and his girlfriend, Jenny, tells him to shove off, basically. On the page before, she tells him that there isn’t anything in this world that he needs, which causes him to reach out to her in Panel 1 and tell her she’s wrong. That leads to a fairly standard grand romantic scene, but McCloud sells it very well. Notice that because Zot is standing in front of the portal to his world, the light from it shines through and illuminates Jenny, while Zot remains dark because he’s backlit. The implication is clear – Zot has experienced darkness, which has changed him, but his love for Jenny will rescue him. It’s obvious, of course, but it works. McCloud actually darkens Zot even more as he draws Jenny closer, and the fade to black is particularly effective – as McCloud zooms in, he doesn’t show us Zot and Jenny kissing, but ends the book on that wonderful moment right before the kiss, when the anticipation is almost unbearable. Notice that Jenny’s eye slowly closes as Zot draws her to him, again showing her anticipation of the kiss. McCloud even adds wind to the page, blowing Zot away from his world and toward Jenny – another nice touch. It’s a gorgeous page, and it’s not surprising that McCloud still has the original art – he resisted offers to buy it and gave it to the woman he married.

Zot! is a superb comic, and this collection is listed at $25 for the best part of it, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t read this sucker. Go on now!

Next: The first comic by a current Marvel superstar! What could it be? You won’t find it in the archives!

11 Comments

I have always felt that the final page of the first storyline (I believe it was issue #6) is one of the best endings to a comic book ever.

The first ten issues are a very different comic and at the same time part of the cohesive whole. There’s a lot of world-building in the first ten issues and the following twenty-six issues are rooted in that world, even though their focus is far more on the real world and real issues and far less on magic quests and grand adventure. I would highly recommend tracking down the first ten issues. They’re enjoyable and they serve as a great companion to these issues.

Thanks for featuring one of the black-and-white Zot! issues. The storytelling skill combined with the clean art on every page, and the incredible heart and soul shown in every story… these are amazing comics. With Mr. McCloud’s permission, I used to use some of them to teach American Culture and Creative Writing classes and the students were just blown away by them. Inspirational and yet unassuming, like their creator.

I snagged a batch of Zot issues (11-20 and the 14 1/2) many years ago for cheap, and they are wonderful. Fun fact: The finishing artist on 19-20 is Chuck Austen!

In a semi-roundabout way, the whole reason I’m here at CSBG is because of Scott. I used to have suggestions for Choose Your Own Carl on his website, and eventually he had an online Zot story hosted at CBR. So I started checking CBR out, and eventually CSBG came here, and now here I am.

That’s right, blame Scott McCloud!

Actually, you can buy new copies of the book on Amazon starting from $5.97 (used copies are practically a steal at $2.48). The book has been available cheap for years. It’s also a fact that hurts a bit now since I paid for retail price when it first came out; I actually thought the price would go up in value one day, not plummet like RIM stock.

ThenewDC: Yeah, I figured if I poked around I could find it cheap. Usually I just list the MSRP because I know there are going to be different prices at different places, and I’m glad that you can find it cheap, because people should read it!

Great choice, Greg. ZOT! is such an all-around wonderful comic, and McCloud had a knack for great last pages. Witness some of the final pages during the “Earth Stories” run, such as Zot’s awkward moment with Jenny and the bluff in the finale to the story focusing on Terry…

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Zot! I love Zot! The story of the first 10 is sweet and charming. I had the opportunity to work for Eclipse for a couple of years, so I got to experience Zot! from start to finished production. Scott is one of the nicest guys, and I’m happy to see that he is still doing what he loves.

I don’t know why I never commented on this when you first posted it, but this is one of my favorite comic pages ever. If I could own the original art of any 25 comic pages, this would probably be one of them. (And that would be a fun list to make.)

Anyway, I wanted to chime in about the first ten issues of Zot, AKA: the color issues. McCloud is right in that it is a completely different comic. While the black & white issues dealt with issues and really were an auteurist work, the color issues were simply a straight-forward adventure comic. However, the first ten issues of Zot are truthfully one of my favorite adventure stories ever. It is, quite simply, about as much fun as you can have reading a comic. Great art and storytelling, a nice balance of action and humor, high stakes, interesting locations, compelling villains, good twists, drama and levity, snappy dialogue… I would honestly recommend it to anyone. Objectively, the black and white issues are better, but the color issues are absolutely worth tracking down, and they still represent great comics, even if of a different and possibly lesser sort.

Damnit, now I’m thinking about the 25 pieces of original art I would own, and I feel compelled to take a crack at it. Assuming that these are all things I would keep (so that there’s no sense in picking something for the sake of resale value), here goes…

(this was done very quickly in the interests of not wasting a whole hell of a lot of time thinking about it)

1. Something from Watchmen, probably first issue title page
2. A Bisette/Totleben Swamp Thing page, possibly the last page of #24
3. A Miller DD page, probably the first page of the Elektra/Bullseye fight from #181
4. A Harris/Von Grawbadger Starman page, probably one of the splash pages from the first Talking With David
5. A Lee/Williams X-men page, probably from either #268 or #275
6. Something from Sienkiewicz’s New Mutants, probably the Legion issues
7. Something from Barry Windsor Smith, probably from Uncanny X-Men #205 or Weapon X
8. Something from David Mazzuchelli, probably from Batman Year One, probably the “You have eaten well” page
9. Something Tim Sale Batman, almost doesn’t matter what (Batman & Joker? Blades?)
10. Something Mignola Hellboy, almost doesn’t matter what
11. Anything J.H. Williams III
12. One of those Miller/Rubenstein Wolverine mini-series fighting with Shingen pages
13. A Byrne/Austin X-Men splash page, maybe #116
14. An Art Adams X-Men page, probably from Annual #9 or 10
15. Something Walt Simonson, either from Manhunter or Thor
16. A Sam Keith page from Sandman #3 or 4
17. A Bachalo/Buckingham Death: The High Cost of Living page
18. This Zot page
19. A Bone page, preferrably something with both the rat creatures and the dragon
20. A Darwyn Cooke Parker page
21. A Sienkiewicz Moon Knight page, probably from one of the last several issues he did
22. A Hester/Parks page from Green Arrow: Quiver
23. The Gibbons “Burn” page from For The Man Who Has Everything
24. The Porter/Dell “Yield! Never!” page from JLA #7
25. One of the following: Kirby, Neal Adams, Brunner Dr. Strange, Gene Ha’s first issue of the Shade, P. Craig Russell/Charles Vess Sandman, Paul Smith From the Ashes, Portacio Uncanny X-Men, Kubert, Quitely, Lapham Stray Bullets, Planetary, Animal Man breaking the panel barrier… this is hard. I give up.

Travis Pelkie

May 1, 2013 at 2:55 am

Oh, I hate you for making my mind go in that direction too, Third Man. HATE! I’m not going to be able to not think about it! ARGGH!!!

Sim/Gerhard Cerebus pages would be high on my list. Maybe from 190/191 (one of those 2 is my favorite issue of that series, but right now I can’t remember which one it is). Or something from Guys with the ’90s alt comix parodies. Or that part from Going Home where they meet up with Alan Moore and Rick Veitch. Or…

DAMN YOU THIRD MAN!!! DAMN YOU!!! YOU BLEW UP, YOU MANIACS!!!!!!!!

ahem. Sorry.

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