Hey - it's a new remix - check it out! I'll be honest with you - I think this one has a couple genuinely inspired moments. Sometimes it comes out better than others, but this week it just seemed like I had a load of funny ideas. I hope you agree!
And - whoa! - what's this? Has The Official Rejected Breakfast Cereal Mascot Archive been updated? Oh my, I do believe it has! Check it out!
Man, just because I said I didn't want to read New Frontier, you'd think I clubbed a bunch of baby seals or something. I think anyone who complains that I haven't read the book needs to remember that I wasn't reviewing the book. I was commenting on the book, based simply on the numerous reviews I have read bot honline and off. If I had prefaced a review with "I have no intention of reading this book", then you'd be right to scream bloody murder. But seriously, folks, if someone really feels that strongly that I may have mischaracterized the book, well, I don't know what to tell you. Take it up with the dozen or so folks whose negative reviews influenced my decision not to seek it out. Or send me a free copy.
Someone suggested I borrow a copy, but you know, I don't know anyone else who reads comics here in the "real" world. So, I don't have anyone's shoulder to look over. My opinions at this point are almost solely formed by what folks say on the internet - scary, huh?
All opinions, included those borrowed for the purposes of discussion, are labeled as such.
I am building up to write a defense of Marvels, because if there's one thing related to this subject which I am seriously worried about, its that that book may have come to be tarred with the same brush as books like Kingdom Come, mistakenly mischaracterized as a facile retro-orgy. Marvels is a great book, and definitely a book which holds up to repeated readings. I am doing so now and am reminded of how great it works for me - and how much promise Alex Ross once had as not just a painter but as a cartoonist. But, you know, I guess that's what happens when you have the kind of mentality that could inspire you to the kind of anal-retentive detail in Kingdom Come - you tend to lose sight of the important things, like, oh, telling a story in a storytelling narrative. (Which is not to say that Marvels isn't detail-oriented as well, but they don't get in the way of the narrative like they do in KC, which reads like a book of perfectbound microfiche sheets, and us with no light-table.)
And, oh yeah, I saw the typo in Friday's post and purposefully didn't fix it. Wrap that one around your brain!
Travels With Larry
The Couriers 3: The Ballad of Johnny Funwrecker
I don't think I can rightly criticize a book for being something that I have absolutely no interest in. I have often spoken on the need for diversity in comics, the need for multiple genres, multiple viewpoints and multiple attitudes. So, from that perspective, the existence of a fairly successful series like Brian Wood and Rob G's The Couriers is definitely a good development for comics.
The Couriers is the comic book equivilent of a modern action film put on paper, with the same prerequisite world-weary cynicism and hyperbolic plot structure. This is the kind of book where millionaire drug lords live in high-rise penthouses, where gangs of motorcycle-riding ninja vixens can emerge from an alleyway at any moment, and where a high speed chase through the Lincoln Tunnel with a vintage Camaro and a military assault helicopter is only a page turn away. If those things sound like fun to you, then I heartily reccomend this book. The storytelling is glib and punchy: I read through the book in about twenty minutes. It's not, perhaps, the best proverbial "bang" for your buck, but aficianados of action storytelling will probably find much to like.
The problem is that I don't like any of the characters in this book, and the situations are plainly facetious without any satirical indicators. Are we supposed to root for one set of murdererous drug dealers over another because they're not quite so evil, and want to unionize or something? Both of the lead characters, Moustafa and Special, are ciphers whose only real motivation seems to be an atavistic desire to survive and thrive in an illegal industry, despite the consequences and without any real driving impetus besides the implication of youthful ennui (which is hardly, the last I looked, justification for murder). In order for me to accept a criminal as a protagonist, the creators have a lot more work to do than they did here. Sure, riding around on rollerblades, selling illegal narcotics and killing people may be someone's idea of fun escapism, but not mine.
I applaud AiT/Planet Lar for their continued commitment to diversity. The fact that they can publish a book like this that doesn't perhaps appeal to me but which holds the potential to find a significant audience outside the halls of comicdom's rank and file is, on the balance, a good development.