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1987 And All That: Blood: A Tale #1-4

A column in which Matt Derman (Comics Matter) reads & reviews comics from 1987, because that’s the year he was born. Click here for an archive of all the previous posts in the series.

Blood1Blood: A Tale #1-4 (Epic) by J.M. DeMatteis, Kent Williams, Gaspar Saladino, Robbin Brosterman, Daniel Chichester, and Steve Buccellato

Countless works of fiction—and non-fiction, too, while I mention it—have been built around the protagonist’s journey of self-discovery. One might even argue that every story, to one degree or another, is about the hero’s path toward self-actualization, just as some would say that self-actualization is the driving force behind everything we do. Whether or not it’s truly such a universal phenomenon, the search for self is certainly common, in our real lives and our entertainment. Blood: A Tale is, above all, another example of such a story, its main character constantly striving to define himself and his world. But the book steadfastly refuses to settle on a consistent narrative identity, moving through its beats with a manic, chaotic energy and pulling from as many genres as it can think of along the way. It’s a fairy-tale horror, a fantasy adventure romance, a metatextual story about stories, and a spiritual time travel narrative all in one. It is also none of those things entirely, and the lush but often blurred and/or vague artwork only adds to the schizophrenic atmosphere. I don’t mean to indicate that Blood or its creators are confused about what the comic should be. On the contrary, the ever-fluctuating tone and rhythm are deliberate elements, there to underline the difficulty and, perhaps, the futility of the hero’s efforts to understand himself and find his place. Each of us is a million people in one, behaving differently and wanting different things depending on where we are (physically and emotionally), who we’re with, and any number of other unpredictable external and internal factors. Blood celebrates that fact by letting its title character play numerous roles, all while trying to uncover what his role is really supposed to be. Continue Reading »

Year of the Artist, Day 189: Steve Ditko, Part 8 – Coyote #7

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Steve Ditko, and the story is “The Djinn” in Coyote #7, which was published by Marvel (under Epic Comics) and is cover dated July 1984. These scans are from Coyote volume 3, which was published by Image and came out in 2006. Enjoy!
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Comics You Should Own – Stalkers

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Admit it: You thought Starman was next, didn’t you? Well, so did I, and then I re-read this underrated gem. Let’s dig into it!
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Year of the Artist, Day 32: Bernie Wrightson, Part 2 – Dreadstar #7

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Bernie Wrightson, and the story is “Devolutionary Dilemma!”, the back-up story in Dreadstar #7, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated November 1983. Enjoy!
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Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 37: Stray Toasters #3

Every day this month, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. This month I will be doing theme weeks, with each week devoted to a single artist. First up: Bill Sienkiewicz! Today’s page is from Stray Toasters #3, which was published by Marvel (under their Epic line) and is cover dated 1988. Enjoy!
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Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 27: Dreadstar #20

Every day this month, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from Dreadstar #20, which was published by Marvel/Epic and is cover dated August 1985. Enjoy!
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