Saturday, February 07, 2009

never a simple chimaera

It has been a while, and then a while. In the doldrums, becalmed by a season in which my local Warriors are tepid whilst bland. My ancient ways of loyalty to Denver have been sorely strained by their unintriguing competence; I retreat to my tent with a stack of novels.*

Through the summer, I fattened myself on the works of Steve Gerber, as Collision's interest spurted into obsession. Mostly I found Marvel Essentials collections--volumes containing 20-some issues, & the only way to read comics in these revolting times. In order:

  • Howard the Duck
  • Man-Thing
  • Man-Thing 2
  • Hard Times: 50 to Life
  • Omega the Unknown
  • Howard the Duck MAX
  • Dr Fate: Countdown to Mystery

All this in something like 6 or 7 weeks.

Gerber is the echt humanist--angry, frustrated, despairing, depressed, energetic. I like him less than Collision does, b/c I'm nearly as interested in things as I am in people. (Also, unlike Collision, I haven't that much use for those works mainly about comics: HtD, Omega the Unknown... For me, his greater achievements were not primarily critical: Dr Fate, Hard Times, HtD MAX, and above all, Man-Thing.)

Still, though nothing here topples V for Vendetta from Fat's Throne, I do now suspect that Moore, for all his mammoth achievements and indisputable genius...doesn't actually have very much to say. Or, anyway, anything much to say about things other than books. Gerber at his best is at least talking about life, the intercourse of those sad, confused apes & the tragedies, hijinx, frequent lived nightmares & occasional connections they variously chase and endure, like so many mad, desperate pinballs.

I have since summer sworn off buying comics for the remainder of 2009--a protest against bad products delivered thru an absolutely asinine business model. My swan song (of myself) was American Flagg.

This monumental little triumph displaced from Fat's Throne of recommendations the Dark Knight. Turns out, a couple years before Miller, Chaykin had done everything Miller would do, only more inventively & much, much funnier. Also, his characters are closer to actually, interestingly fucked up (impotent, drunken, violent in sex & friendship) than Miller's cartoons of fucked up (grimjawed revengey solitude).

Stunning piece of work, and an essential experience whether or not comics (or cyberpunk) is of interest to you.**

I also had a long engagement with Michael Moorcock. I'm not quite ready to blurb on this, however I note for the moment that one conquering facet is his combination of a set of explicit politics with a set of aesthetics, this combination forming what I'd call the ethic of these books.

Moody bastard heroes, strong & mostly aloof, generally looking out into lives suffused with doom like ashes freshly on a tongue; yet arguing to & for truth, fumbling towards good & the good; trying.

Also, this cover sells itself.

*There is going to be a notion about how nobody is paying attention to the Nuggets, so lookout, West! This will inflate right quick into a widespread belief--and a positive raft of posts--that nobody is talking about the Nuggets, thus the dark horse in the spot light.

**One big success for Miller, though, was the Spirit. Here, he mangaged to combine Eisner's slapstick (schlubs, schmucks, & schlemiels) with Eisner & Miller's noir (dolls, molls, thugs, fists bricks & breasts). Somehow, it worked marvellously, this blending of two quite distinct refractions of life.

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2 Comments + Unabashed Criticism:

Blogger d.d. tinzeroes said...

classic frazetta cover, even if it isn't frazetta: the woman has no feets!

9:12 PM  
Blogger Fat Contradiction said...

Classic DDT comment, looking at the feet...I never made it below her belt!

2:00 PM  

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