've spent two days surrounded by more comics than at any other time since I was 10 or 11 years old. And guess what? Some of this stuff is pretty good.
As I was saying before I was distracted by an evening of wholesome family fun, Duane Swierczynski and Michel Lacombe's The Punisher
opens with a disquisition on spearing a human being:
"Harpooning a man isn't as easy as you think. ... You've got to catch bone. ... Otherwise the hook will just rip away. ... So you aim for the ribs. ... Avoiding the heart. ... Especially if you want your catch ... to make it back to shore."
Makes you want to keep reading, doesn't it? And that's what a good prologue ought to do. Oh, and the first three panels are wordless. Lacombe's art carries the action alone and does so as simply, dramatically and economically as one could imagine: nothing but a rope unfurling against an aquamarine sky.
Jason Aaron's Scalped
both updates and remains staunchly faithful to noir. Updates? The story takes place on an Indian reservation, a category of setting largely if not entirely unexplored in noir. Faithful? The protagonist is named Dashiell Bad Horse, and the tribute to Dashiell Hammett has not a trace of the cute or the nostalgic about it. This is dark stuff: violent, full of the hardest kinds of choices between bad and worse, and all richly abetted by R.M. Guera's dark art work, redolent of night, blood and arid plains.
Part III of my Great Comics Adventure was a visit to Geppi's Entertainment Museum
in Baltimore, a vast repository of American cultural artifacts from the dawning of the mass-media era. That era started earlier than one might think, but that's material for another post. For now, I noted with interest the occasionally dark shadows amid the garish colors and sharp, stiff lines on comic-book covers as early as the 1930s. Noir influence found its way into comic book early on.
© Peter Rozovsky 2008
Labels: comics, crime comics, Duane Swierczynski, graphic novels, Jason Aaron, Michel Lacombe, noir, R.M. Guera, Scalped