Saturday, October 09, 2004


What I bought and what I thought, week of October 6

Light week, with only one new comic purchase. I wanted to pick up Garth Ennis' 303, but my shop didn't get it- or only got one or two copies for holds customers and no rack copies. Either way, I didngeddit.

Self-absorbed, dissatisfied yuppie businessguy meets cute street girl who apparently knows everything about him including his desires and insecurities, and he becomes obsessed with her as they continue to meet. As happens so often with me and this book, it's what we never get to find out that frustrates me- specifically, why was the apparently psychic cute street girl doing what she was doing? More I can't say, because I don't want to give away the surprise at the end. I know, I know, with this series you're not supposed to ask why, just take the events at face value 'cause that's all there is, no more, no less. I can play that game, but more often as not I need more. Becky Cloonan's art is fine, more manga-influenced than she's given us lately, but it looks a little rushed. Again, another stand-alone, well-done, absorbing story which left me unsatisfied at the end. Now, refresh my memory- "Demo" is Greek for what? "Incomplete"? B+

Like many of you out there, I'm sure, I'm an admirer of Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion stories, in my case his tales of Elric of Melniboné, Dorian Hawkmoon, and Captain Manfred Ritter Von Bek. I'm not so much of a fan that I have everything he's written, but I have read most of his major works and have always enjoyed his skill at interweaving all the concepts and his flair for dramatics, and dramatic dialogue with its genuinely weird character and place names. So it's pretty much a given that I'll like his ventures into comics, especially when aided by an illustrator as accomplished as Walter Simonson, right? Moorcock's problem here is (as it was with the pair's previous attempt at collaboration, Helix's thouroughly unremarkable Michael Moorcock's Multiverse) when it comes to writing comic-book narrative, he brings none of the qualities that make his prose work special. We get page after page of flat, dull, mostly expository dialogue wedded to a confusing "Is it a dream, or is it real" type storyline, and to me, anyway, it was a hell of a slog. One has to wonder whether this is perhaps being ghosted on Moorcock's behalf, because it scans so utterly unlike what has been, in my experience, his style. And Simonson doesn't help much- he gives us some of his trademark dynamic poses and sequentials, but nowhere nearly enough to liven things up and his character designs are bland, some sort of cross between Native American, Viking, and the armor in which he depicted the denizens of Jack Kirby's Fourth World in his superior Orion series. Moorcock, for his part, fared better with Craig Russell in the Topps comics adaptation of Stormbringer a few years ago. However, unlike Simonson (apparently), Russell hasn't run out of inspiration or ideas- so maybe there's the rub. Perhaps Moorcock and Simonson should agree to pursue different comics-related career paths in the future. One thing's certain- I'll pass on the next three issues. C

My friend, the most esteemed Stupid Llama Mik Cary, loaned me a few trade paperbacks the other day, and I'm in the process of reading them, so look for commentary on Spaghetti Western, The Tomb, Tales From the Bully Pulpit and The Black Forest soon. I also received a fun-looking mini comic recently, Dope Fiends of the Zombie Cafe!, and that will also be coming. Chin-chin!

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