New Comics riff
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Comics shop reverie. Ah, the new store. Up in the clouds. Heaven. Copacetic rules the roost in Pittsburgh. Best feeling shop in town. I guarantee it! I work Sundays folks, come on down! Take a seat in the easy chair and read the funnies. Have a coffee.
This was a big week for a fanboy/wanna-be-critic like myself. Can you say “paradigm shift?”
Let’s count ‘em off: Bulletproof Coffin #2, Orc Stain #4, King City #7 (I know, that came out weeks ago but I missed it and had to re-order it), The Man with the Getaway Face preview, and the new Matt Kindt graphic novel, Revolver. What was I saying about the Direct Market being dead? Sorry, I was high. This has been a great summer already for my new drug: Fusion comics. My term for what Charles Brownstein calls “Boys Comics.” And the Direct Market is delivering my fix, so who’s complaining?
Leading off, The Bulletproof Coffin #2 By David Hine and Shaky Kane. This is my dream comic. I’m in love. This comic is my girlfriend. At this point I wouldn’t care if she fucked my best friend. This comic can do me no wrong. For me, it’s a perfect mashup of styles that POPS with bright colors and dripping blood. The whole book looks really sharp, I think, and the story’s clever unfolding owes a lot to its design. There’s another comic-within-a-comic interplay (Shield of Justice cover to your left) that twists up the story and makes it all swing. If you couldn’t find issue one, I’d say you could still jump on board with #2 and not miss the train. There’s a great synopsis on the inside front cover that made me laugh. Reads like a comic book, like serial entertainment. And for me, really, it’s just the joy reading a Shaky Kane comic. Talk about Fusion – Shaky’s able to somehow subtly, easily shift styles that it really creates a jarring, discordant note in the story. Check it out.
Second up: Orc Stain #4. James Stokoe continues to give me a contact high just from leafing through his spectacular otherworldly narrative. Damn, can that dude draw. (See above spread.) I just try and keep up and decipher it all. I’ve noticed it’s bit hard to take in for the uninitiated, meaning potential new readers. Stokoe’s layouts sort of overwhelm these potential readers. But the sheer drawing skill on display usually sells the book. A favorite of the kids downstairs at the record store.
Batting third: King City. I know, I know, King City didn’t come out this week but I still wanted to write about it anyway. I’ve noticed that girls really dig King City. It’s the cat. They love the cat. Cracks them up every time. So much for “Boys Comics.” Fusion, baby, Fusion, I say!
I must be a little girly cuz that cat gets me too. It’s pretty funny. There’s a “cat master” and his cat. The cat is a fully armed ninja with an adorable personality who’s also a supercomputer of sorts. Got it? And it’s drawn in an updated Moebius/Bode style that to my mind just shreds much of the competition these days. I can’t think of a more current and relevant style than Brandon Graham’s right now. What’s so current about it? I think it looks like the streets of NYC or Vancouver somehow. It looks real to me. The backgrounds, the streets, take over. It’s so easy to read. Looking at his art and reading the story just gives me such a good feeling. It’s that feeling I get listening to a new band that I know I’ll love forever. A weird connection that I cannot explain – but will try to on Inkstuds, July 29th live on CiTR Vancouver. Tune us in, True Believer! Brandon Graham, Michael DeForge, Robin McConnell and myself will duke it out for your listening pleasure.
And in the clean-up position: The Man with the Getaway Face. This is the oversize IDW $2 preview edition – It’s a really handsome paperback volume and is, I think, a pitch to get you to drop 25 bucks or so when the complete book comes out in the fall.
I don’t care what Dan says, I’m totally riding the Darwyn Cooke/Parker bandwagon. When I saw it I thought “Cooke is doing a Mazzucchelli-esque Rubber Blanket #1 style in his own way”- which of course was DM’s own take on the throwback framing style that Cooke’s developed for years and is mastering on these Parker books. It’s that spot color and the stage blocking. The figures and brush work too, but less so. It’s a shared language of the era that most readers instantly recognize. Cooke may be, at times, too generic – but good God, if this book was just from the old days and it was something by some unknown generic artist that I found in the back of some dusty bookstore, I’d shit my pants.
Also this week is Matt Kindt’s Revolver from Vertigo. A big hard-cover original graphic novel. I read the first 20 or so pages and was really getting into it, but then a customer wanted to buy it and I had to give up our only store copy. So more on that soon… Looks great! Can’t wait to read it.
How’s that for Team Comics boosterism? What’s a paradigm shift? Shall Earth endure?
Frankie the Wop