O Say Can You See: The Greatest Patriotic Super Heroes of All-Time
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 »
Growing up I was lucky, unlike most British children I had a lot of access to a broad variety of comic books. My mum and dad (practically still kid themselves at the time) left all kinds around the house; There were the comic books specifically for me, like Dandy and The Beano (which my dad would read too), then there were American superhero comic books my parents bought because of their interest in Pop Art (which I would read too), there were Peanuts paperbacks (which my mum brought over from America and I read them insatiably), and later there were all sorts of weird, so-called “head comix” (which I wasn’t supposed to read, but I still did… Robert Crumb might draw some crazy stuff, but he draws it well). Like Obelix from the French Asterix books (which I discovered in my parents’ friends’ houses when we drove all over Europe), I fell into a proverbial cauldron as a baby and so I grew up with comic books as part of me.
Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is J. H. Williams III, and the issue is Promethea #30, which was published by DC/Wildstorm/America’s Best Comics and is cover dated July 2004. These scans are from Promethea Book Five, which came out in 2005. Enjoy!
Continue Reading »
Momentum is a funny thing, particularly when it comes to reading monthly comic books. Recently I was surprised to realize that Unwritten is not “the new comic book which I’m not I’m going to buy regularly”, but is actually the book I’ve been buying faithfully for 3 years. It is monthly, (or maybe sometimes it’s bi-monthly, I’m vague about the specifics), and the upshot is that I’ve completely inadvertently made a somewhat major commitment to this comic book. Yes, it delivers, at least in terms of anticipation – on the weeks that I walk out of the comic shop with it crammed into my handbag, I’m always genuinely excited to get home and read it and until now, I’d never looked beyond that flush of instant gratification. Thinking of it as a “new” comic book, I hadn’t considered what it meant to me, but recently the real world intruded and I found myself facing an oddly uncomfortable reality – after 3 years and a major financial investment, I don’t really know what it is about and apparently I don’t mind enough to be bothered.
Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from Promethea #23, which was published by DC/Wildstorm and is cover dated December 2002. Enjoy!
Continue Reading »
Apparently there are journalists who are so naive as to think that the reason more women comic book creators aren’t successful is because they don’t feel comfortable with the aggressive subject matter of superhero comic books. It has been suggested lately by a number of people (who should know better) that the main reason women aren’t well known, mainstream comic book artists, writers and creators is because women prefer stories about their feelings with more dialogue and less action.
In the next few days it will not only be Thanksgiving but also my birthday, so I’ve decided to create my own unconventional creator/superhero wishlist. On previous Thanksgivings I have asked diverse comic book creators about what they’re thankful for and discussed my own gratitude for comics, but this year I’m taking a different direction and writing about what I’d like to see.
Bad comics come and go and are usually forgotten by the next week, because there’s another bad comic or two coming out soon enough. HILARIOUSLY bad comics, however, like a certain comic featuring Oliver Queen weirdly declaring his undying love for a guy who once destroyed the universe and then blamed an giant bug for it, are classic, because they inspire … Photoshopping!
First, there’s Douglas Wolk’s excellent Promethea homage. Next, Caleb realizes that if Hal is quoting Glenn Danzig, the book makes a lot more sense. Finally, Cheryl Lynn gives us a certain Man of Steel figuratively bitch-slapping every Leaguer. Because he’s, you know, Superman. (Thanks to Tim for pointing out the last one, or I might have missed it.)
More from the comments: The Mutt couldn’t resist pointing out how hard it is keeping track of who’s wearing what costume these days, while Mxy goes ahead and makes the faux title official. Thanks, guys!
Have you seen any others, good readers, as you peruse the web which spans the wide world? Let me know – I’ll edit them in!
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.