X-POSITION: Phoenix, Upstarts & More Tear Up Bowers & Sims' "X-Men '92"
Recently I’ve been revisiting the surrealist comic book authors who have successfully conveyed the kind of disruption of reality which I experience in dreams. I want to pinpoint the ways in which they have been able to successfully communicate and provoke a kind of emotional dissonance with their work.
Neil Gaiman (and by extension, artist Dave McKean) immediately comes to mind, specifically on his long-running and groundbreaking series; The Sandman, but also in works like Black Orchid and The Books of Magic. In many ways this is the most linear representation of truly surreal environments that I can think of. He provides us with entire universes of insane, nonsensical, mythical imagery and logic, but he presents each story in a very direct, linear manner. His way of telling a story in this context is very much like a fairytale, with one event leading inevitably to the next, it is deceptively comfortable, almost hiding the craziness inside. When he does move the storyline towards something more evocative of chaos (i.e. towards the end of the books) he still lays all of the elements out carefully so that by the end the reader can happily piece together a logical continuity (that is to say it is logical within the context of the universe he has created). Continue Reading »
Some books simply demand the stark simplicity of no color, the absence of any warmth or hope. Steve Dillon’s stunningly beautiful artwork shines in black and white. Simultaneously, Jason Aaron creates an all-encompassing bleak world view for the inhabitants of the Punisher’s world. The PunisherMAX has little use for color.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; Emerald City Comicon is my favorite comic book convention. It truly is all about the comic books, not just for the fans but for the creators too. There is something almost thrilling about how excited everyone gets about the medium, whatever the perspective, the enthusiasm is palpable. I made a postcard about it (right), because this boy’s quiet smile and nifty, painted mask exemplify the fun everyone has at ECCC.
For some reason I always thought I was immune to that whole “Not Safe For Work” thing people always squeal about. It isn’t that I’m completely shameless, but I really don’t care what my co-workers see me looking at online (excluding, of course, the horrible body modification links that Warren Ellis used to post.) Turns out I do have a sense of shame and it isn’t about the MAX or whatever R-rated comics there are, it is about the relatively cute one.
With a Lapham/Baker Deadpool MAX, my expectations were high, but it is possible that someone mixed up the contracts. Hiring Kyle Baker to write Deadpool MAX with David Lapham to draw it would make so much sense. Instead Lapham shows that he is more than capable of writing some seriously nasty stuff, but his humor is distinctly mean-spirited and Baker’s art only compounds the misery.
People do a lot of year end reviews, but I never have. This week I was forced to confront a year of reading all at once when I decided to clear the growing pile of comic books next to my bed. Continue Reading »
Links, art, criticism, and discussion– sans the porn, it’s another week on the internet!
CHALLENGE OF THE WEEK: What if newspaper comic strips were written by today’s premiere comic book writers?I find the newspaper comics page to be a sad, boring place, populated by unfunny drain-circlers, occasionally peppered with decent strips or good art. So what if your favorite comic writer got in on the action? What would they write? Can you imagine the bizarre possibilities? My suggestions under the cut.
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