web stats

Klaus Janson Archives - Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources

1987 And All That: The Punisher #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.

Punisher1The Punisher #1-4 (Marvel) by Mike Baron, Klaus Janson, James Novak (#1), Ken Bruzenak (#2-4), Carl Potts

I’ve never been crazy about the Punisher. It’s not his morality (or lack thereof) I object to, though admittedly I do prefer it if my superheroes try to avoid using fatal tactics. Although…I guess he’s not a superhero in the strictest sense because he has no powers, but he wears a costume and has a codename and hangs out with lots of other Marvel super-folks, so I think the label still applies. At any rate, what has historically turned me off about the Punisher is that he’s seemed too simple to me, too one-note. Even the Hulk, a literal embodiment of instinctual rage, turns back into Bruce Banner sometimes, and thus has multiple facets to his personality. Frank Castle is always the Punisher and vice versa, his violent hatred for crime never subsiding or even being hidden under the mask of a secret identity. He’s so narrowly and determinedly focused on his personal war, it has never felt to me like he allows for much room for any storytelling beyond locating the next battle, the next villain to slay. I’m sure every creative team finds (or tries to find) their own angle, a way to freshen or expand Castle’s character and world so that he isn’t just the pissed off guy with huge guns all the time. Nonetheless, that’s the way he’s come across whenever I’ve encountered him in the past, and it has consistently failed to capture my interest.

Mike Baron and Klaus Janson’s The Punisher, which marks the first time the character ever had his own ongoing series, somehow manages to play up the single-mindedness I thought I disliked in Castle, yet still be a comicbook I enjoy. A lot of that is Janson, who does all the art from pencils to colors, producing strong work with several breakout panels over the course of these first four issues. Credit where it’s due, though, Baron writes Punisher as a man who’s not necessarily pleased with the life he’s chosen for himself, but commits to it 100% anyway, and that’s an approach I can get into. In his rare moments of self-reflection, Castle points out the same problems I just did above, namely that his life has no room for anything other than fight after fight after fight. He doesn’t exactly struggle with that, but he is at least aware of it, and somehow that tiny bit of acknowledgement, combined with Janson’s visuals, sold me on a hero I’d always avoided before. Continue Reading »

1987 And All That: Silverblade #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.

Silverblade1Silverblade #1-4 (DC) by Cary Bates, Gene Colan, Klaus Johnson (#1), Steve Mitchell (#2-4), Joe Orlando, Gaspar, and Denny O’Neil

First of all, I do I realize that I’m reviewing only the first third of a 12-issue series, and that as such, my impressions of the book may be incomplete or skewed. For anyone who may think this is dumb/pointless, I don’t necessarily disagree, but the arbitrary rules I set for myself when I began this project were to read only comics with a 1987 cover date, and to select what I read largely at random, based on whatever I happen to come across or already own from that year. I’ve managed to stick to those rules so far, and I will continue even if it means reading only part of a whole. In the case of Silverblade, I picked it because I saw an ad for it in some other DC comic that I reviewed for this site before (I don’t remember which one…it may even have been more than one) and it looked interesting and weird so I figured I’d give it a go. I did no in-depth research, just went online and quickly figured out which issues were dated 1987, then ordered them right away. I legitimately have not read beyond issue #4 yet, because I don’t own anything past that point, since I only bought the ’87 issues to start. I will most likely end up getting the rest of the series eventually, partly because of being a completist, but mostly because this comic was every bit as bizarre and baffling as I’d hoped, and now I need to see where it all ends up. Before I do that for myself, though, let’s talk about these opening four chapters and how, despite a few big missteps, they manage to be a charmingly insane and delightfully horrifying start to this story.

Continue Reading »

Year of the Artist, Day 171: John Romita, Jr., Part 5 – Captain America #1

capamerica6006 (2)

Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is John Romita, Jr., and the issue is Captain America (volume ∞) #1, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated January 2013. Enjoy!
Continue Reading »

Year of the Artist, Day 168: John Romita, Jr., Part 2 – Amazing Spider-Man #246 and 250

asm4004 (2)

Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is John Romita, Jr., and the issues are Amazing Spider-Man #246 and 250, which were published by Marvel and are cover dated November 1983 and March 1984, respectively. Enjoy!
Continue Reading »

Year of the Artist, Day 129: Walter Simonson, Part 1 – Detective Comics #440

manhunter3003 (2)

Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Walter Simonson, and the issue is Detective Comics #440, which was published by DC and cover dated April/May 1974. This scan is from Manhunter, the collected edition, which was published in 1984. Enjoy!
Continue Reading »

Year of the Artist, Day 109: Keith Giffen, Part 1 – The Defenders #46 and 49

defenders4004 (2)

Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Keith Giffen, and the issues are The Defenders #46 and 49, which were published by Marvel and are cover dated April and June 1977. Enjoy!
Continue Reading »

Comics You Should Own – The Spectre

02-08-2014 12;03;41PM

There’s nothing better than a little Wrath o’ God, right?
Continue Reading »

Comics You Should Own – Silverblade

10-22-2013 04;13;58PM

Silverblade?” say you. “Silverblade,” say I, definitively. You shrug. “Let’s read!” say you.
Continue Reading »

Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 178: Detective Comics #439

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. This month I will be doing theme weeks, with each week devoted to comics from one decade. This week’s decade: the 1970s! Today’s page is from Detective Comics #439 and was published by DC and is cover dated February/March 1974. This scan is from Archie Goodwin and Walter Simonson’s Manhunter #1, which was published in 1984. Enjoy!
Continue Reading »

Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 177: Jungle Action #8

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. This month I will be doing theme weeks, with each week devoted to comics from one decade. This week’s decade: the 1970s! Today’s page is from Jungle Action #8 and was published by Marvel and is cover dated January 1974. This scan is from Marvel Masterworks: The Black Panther volume 1, which was published in 2010. Enjoy!
Continue Reading »

Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 56: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #1

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. This week: Frank Miller! Today’s page is from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #1, which was published by DC and is cover dated February 1986. Enjoy!
Continue Reading »

Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 54: Daredevil #172

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. This week: Frank Miller! Today’s page is from Daredevil #172, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated July 1981. Enjoy!
Continue Reading »

Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 52: World War Hulk #5

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. This week: John Romita Jr.! Today’s page is from World War Hulk #5, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated January 2008. Enjoy!
Continue Reading »

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives