Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Christmas in July: Pt2 No Moore after this

Move over Bad Santa

Chris Kringle is a dirty bird, didn't I say so? The above is a cover of Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson's 4 issue comic Happy. It sadly wasn't part of my Xmas haul so I can't include it, but it helps put me in a taking the piss outta Santa mood. The blue unicorn winged Happy isn't Photoshopped FYI. Come Dasher and Cupid, and whoever after the jump!

Marvel Essential: Warlock & The Life of Captain Marvel

Jim Starlin & various


Are you Cosmically Aware? Have a doubleshot of pure 70s distilled Stalin and break through the stratosphere on a space odyssey. 

Writer/Artist Jim Starlin’s early work on these two cosmic heroes feels very raw and profoundly revolutionary. In the context of time, with the aftermath of the naivety of the 60s moving into a more cynical decade still in the midst of the Vietnam War, that it would be the right moment for a couple of existentialist heroes fighting against genocide and guilt to shine brightly.

If you listened to Joss Whedon’s audio commentary for The Avengers then you know that these comics had the biggest impact on him, and while the influence might not be as obvious in his movie, it is there in his other work, such as in Angel, about a vampire struggling for redemption and preventing apocalypses (How did Hollywood get stuck with Twilight “literature” for a decade?). Captain Marvel spends an entire issue fighting his own manifested inner demon, while Warlock stands against the religion of the Universal Church of Truth led by his own corrupted future self. Sounds a little familiar if you ever watched any episode from Angel’s five season battle against the forces of an evil L.A. law firm and his own demonic past. Starlin, like Whedon, didn’t mind killing off favorite characters.


Peter Milligan & Duncan Fegredo

 This 8 issue miniseries creates a well crafted surreal mystery involving a mature understanding of human relationships and personal identity. “Mature” isn’t a word to throw around lightly since it seems to have become sullied by excessive violence and sex without substance in lesser works of artistic merit. Enigma is a book I wish I read when I was thirteen. I don’t know if a retailer would have let me, but the book’s themes would have been more beneficial to my mental development for it.

A series of crimes are being committed and a life passerby nobody remembers similar crimes occurring in the comics from his childhood. He embarks on an adventure to confront his hero, super villains, the comics’ creator, and as well as his haunted past.

When fans often try to defend comics as being worthy of recognition alongside other respected media, similar comics often get a shout out, such as The Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen, Maus, anything by Grant Morrison, etc… I’d have no problem adding Enigma to such a list, but I don’t care if Jack Kirby’s work isn’t placed next the Mona Lisa. Personally, I see a much stronger humanist statement and imagination on display on a Kirby splash page than in what might be a Da Vinci in drag, but I like how comics are viewed as trash by the elite. Who cares what the criteria is for high art? Being in the lower depths allows for greater subversion to succeed.

Lobo (4 issue miniseries circa 1993)

By Keith Giffen, Alan Grant, & Simon Bisley

Apparently Stan Lee’s favorite DC character. Lee also regrets not having a hand in creating Wolverine, so that might explain it. As a kid I never read an issue featuring Lobo and wasn’t until watching but I vividly remember seeing adverts featuring the “Main Man” usually with his chain and hook, a beer bottle, and one time with little angel wings and cherubs. I just didn’t feel ready for Lobo. Those adverts were too intimidating with his glam rock gone to hell, over saturated testosterone poising, and those red eyeballs, while at the same time reading a healing factor dampened Wolverine with knuckles oozing black blood after retracting his bone claws.

Being older and a lover of smart parody, the space dolphin loving bounty hunter, Lobo is up there with Beavis and Butthead and Dog the Bounty Hunter (He’s a fictional right?).

That's it for that commercially fuel holiday. Next time I'm getting political with Beware the Batman.

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