Sunday, January 20, 2013

Wednesday Spans Time & Geography For All I Care #170

47 Ronin #1
Caligula: Heart of Rome #1
Great Pacific #1
To Hell You Ride #1

47 Ronin #1 (Dark Horse, 2012, $3.99)
The guy who publishes Dark Horse and occasionally co/writes comics nobody gets much excited about has had a hard-on for a piece of Japanese history/folklore for decades. I'm sure Stan Sakai wasn't his first choice to draw it, because he could have probably gotten Sakai to do it years ago. It looks good, and it's kind of nice to see Sakai draw human beings, but his style always make you wonder when the punchline is going to roll in. Might as well have gotten Sergio Aragonés, Sakai so undermines any attempt at dramatic gravitas. It doesn't really matter though, because this is another tale of feudal Japan in an industry stuffed fat with same. You also have to figure the story of the 47 Ronin is as familiar to the Japanese as Paul Revere's ride or the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, which is to say overly familiar and likely done better elsewhere.

Caligula: Heart of Rome #1 (Avatar, 2012, $3.99)
I'm loving my new comic book supplier, because instead of offering hefty discounts on five boring ass totally mainstream books as a loss leader, the new guys spread the love a bit to get me to sample books I might actually enjoy. I still have a hearty "fuck you" to publishing at the $4 price point, but at least the odds of getting a trade are much better.

I've enjoyed David Lapham's writing more often than not in recent years, and the stuff he's done that I want to read has tended to be at Avatar. Going into a book from this company called "Caligula," I really expected a lot more incestuous rapey stuff. Everything I know about Caligula came from Bob Guccione, and all that Starz Spartacus stuff isn't much less porny. The cock and the pussy do make appearances here, but I was surprised to find it was in the context of a supernatural serial killer thriller. It's also a sequel, so much of the book is telling what happened in and since the first mini-series. I wish all those Aspen primers worked this well, but as an entity intended to stand alone, I couldn't quite get excited about it. German Nobile's art is nice, but I was getting Innovation flashbacks from the product as a whole.

Great Pacific #1 (Image, 2012, $2.99)
Thirty-one pages for three bucks is a good deal, and I like Martin Morazzo art. Even Joe Harris' story is involving, and yet, it's an ecological thriller. That's like a contradiction in terms. I honestly don't believe a desirable existence for humankind will make it out of the 21st century, and I look forward to dying childless and uninvested once things get bad enough that I'm ready to check out, yet I simply cannot get excited about an ecological thriller. Maybe its the "saving humanity" part I don't like, since if this were a horror title depicting the inconvenient truth of our collective doom, the toxic cynic in me might have appreciated that. Getting back to the smutty talk from Caligula, some things simply don't hit the sweet spot in your brain to trigger an erectile response. Good effort-- wish you guys the best-- but I'm simply not a foot fetishist.

To Hell You Ride #1 (Dark Horse, 2012, $3.99)
Here's another starfucking Virgin style leftover, but that much sadder when the tired old prick emptying his nutsack down the throats of comic industry creative man-whores is merely grizzled character actor Lance Henriksen, who of course gets drawn into the book in a supporting role. Get this: Native Americans get drunk and ornery until the spirits of their ancestors do some fucked up plains full body scalping shit. Nothing as painful as a white guy of Norwegian descent tackling the plight of the American Indian while strip mining their culture for an elevator pitch. Some dude I never heard of does the actual typing up of a purple-tinged slow moving "cinematic" script. Tom Mandrake does his best with it, though the scanning and coloring of his art is kind of funky in places.

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