Blogathon Best of 2012: #9 – Scalped
We continue the top ten comics of 2012 with last year’s number one comic… SCALPED BY JASON ARRON, RM GUERA, AND OTHERS!
Scalped released its final six issues in 2012 and I had a chance to read the entire 60 issues over the course of a week. It is an impressive work, especially in its final six issues. Jason Aaron doesn’t give us a clean, easy conclusion. It’s messy and awful and ends in a way that I hate yet respect and understand. It wasn’t a book that was going to end in a way that satisfies, honestly. We all wanted a happy ending. After 59 issues of death and pain and struggle, all you really want is an issue where some peace and happiness can be found, especially for the book’s lead, Dash Bad Horse. Scalped is an ensemble piece with the Rez acting as the star to a degree, but Dash is the closest thing we have to a protagonist and, fuck, I wanted him to get a win. I wanted him to be happy. I could live with everyone else getting fucked, but Dash? He did some awful stuff and I wasn’t more happy reading this book than at the beginning of that final arc when he was happy and seemingly settling into a leadership role in the Rez. Not the leader, but someone who was finally looking beyond himself and his concerns.
But, it wasn’t that kind of story. I should have known better.
I don’t always (or often) get invested in characters like that. It takes something special to do it and Scalped had that. A big part of that was the art of RM Guera. It took some time, but I grew to appreciate and love his art. His work is so savage and sweet at the same time. There’s so much passion in his line work and the way he builds pages. Even moments of calm (of which there are two or three over the couse of Scalped) have this energy that makes them seem like a page can barely contain them. His art is messy and grotesque in those best ways. His characters look like people and not — exaggerations, but so specific and deep that they may as well be real.
Endings are hard to land in cases like this. How could that final issue live up to everything that the previous 59 issues promised? Hell, who wanted this book to end? We hate endings, because we don’t want endings. Especially in comics. Comics don’t end, they keep going forever! It’s hard to really love an ending to a comic. Like I said, I respect and understand the final issue of Scalped… but I kind of hate it. Yet, this book makes my top ten comics of 2012 nonetheless, because it was still a damn good ending even if I hate it. Does that make any sense?
Every single one of these six issues released in 2012 were issues that I greatly anticipated and… they all delivered in their own way. They surprised me, they moved me, they entertained me, and they stuck with me.
In 90 minutes, I will return with the first pre-2012 comic that made its mark on me in 2012.
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