Some Recent Reading
by Dan Nadel
Thursday, March 20, 2008
I’ve been a little bad about writing (as usual), but there’s a lot going on in PictureBox land and man oh man it’s hard to think. Anyhow, I’ve recently gotten into the fun habit of stopping off at my local comics shop, Rocketship, and buying some comics on my way home from the office. Oh man it’s enjoyable to do that. Lately, co-proprietor Alex Cox has been egging me on to buy various pamphlets and, since I can’t resist, here’s what I’ve been reading lately:
Punisher War Journal: Matt Fraction writes it and Howard Chaykin draws it. I have to say, I really like this title. Fraction is firmly in the Morrison/Milligan self aware tradition, but he has a sarcastic, easy style — somehow more casual than the the Brits. I like his work here, which so far concerns washed up super villains going about their daily lives. Basically these are noir slice of life stories, like a riff on Eisner’s Spirit, where The Punisher only appears at the end to, well, make it a Punisher comic. Chaykin’s art is awfully fun. He’s never been the most subtle of artists, but he’s using photoshop is some very curious/possibly retarded ways and I like it. In any case, can you believe Howard Chaykin is drawing the Punisher? Remember American Flagg? Or Cody Starbuck?
Nexus 99 and 100: Well, whenever I read Nexus I think of Frank’s smiling face, so how can I resist. This is totally fun space-opera stuff. Rude is in good form and he looks more like Russ Manning than ever. This is just delightful stuff written and drawn with utter conviction. It’s nice to see a comic book that’s not snarky or “meta”, and yet still contemporary enough to hold my attention.
Powr Mastrs 2: I read the first fifty pages last week. They’re being scanned now. Let’s just say that CF might’ve learned a thing or two from Russ Manning as well. It’s his best, most exciting work to date.
The Last Defenders #1: This comic was more or less incomprehensible to me.
Omega the Unknown #6: Another great issue, as the plot deepens and some very odd formal tropes come into play. I love this series and I think the more intricate it gets (now there’s a “Watcher” stand-in) the better.
Rasl #1: This is Jeff Smith’s new comic. I was never much of a Bone fan, but I like this. Did anyone else notice the similarities between it and Sammy Harkham’s Crickets? Or Frank’s Incanto? Lone man wandering in a hostile landscape? Well, not the most unique idea, I know, but funny to see it pop up three times in recent months. Jeff Smith’s rendering can irk me a bit sometimes — it feels overdone, too knotty and muscled. But this story, which sets us in the midst of a somewhat ambiguous scenario, moves swiftly and is perfectly paced for the pamphlet format. It’s a complete story but leaves enough questions to make me want to get the next one. That’s good serialization.
By the way, I re-read Miracleman 1-6. Oh boy, it’s awesome — it’s funny to read it now and realize it’s still so much better than the million imitators still going.
That’s all for now. Back to work.