If you have any doubt why people speak Berni Wrightson‘s name in tones of awe, check out these images from the Frankenstein portfolio he did back in the 70s:
That’s just a detail from one image. You can see the rest over at Golden Age Comic Book Stories in these posts: one, two, three, and this discussion of background and how a proper artist does an homage.
The best graphic novel published in 2006 was Eddie Campbell‘s The Fate Of The Artist.1 I keep threatening to write a long and detailed post about why this is so, but until I do you will need to just take my word for it.
Given that, you can imagine why I’m excited about Campbell’s new book, The Black Diamond Detective Agency, which came out last week. Ironically, I’m so excited about reading it that I haven’t read it yet–I am worried that it has to be a disappointment after the last book, especially given that this one is not 100% Campbell, as it’s based on someone else’s unproduced screenplay. On the other hand, Campbell has done brilliant adaptations before, and I straight up loved the bit of it that I saw in First Second‘s FCBD teaser.
Anyway, while I’m psyching myself up to actually read the book, you can see quite a bit of information about it. Start with the “trailer” video that First Second made for the book. Then pop over to last week’s Stage Noise podcast to hear Campbell talk about graphic novel storytelling, and his new book. Then finish up with Jog‘s detailed review of the book, from which I have pulled this excerpt:
By the end of this book, it seems everyone is lost in a blank place. I won’t spoil any plot movements – there’s an awful conspiracy at work, of course, along with some fairly improbable coincidences. But the story winds up in what seems to be a series of calculated anticlimaxes. Villains are finally seen, and fade just as quickly. Romantic sparks fly, and promptly die. All of the Good Guys seemingly get what they think they want, only to realize that maybe they didn’t want it at all. The path of the obsessed, go-the-distance hero seems quietly sad, even foolish. The book’s onrushing theme of uncertainty concludes with something that’ll no doubt bring From Hell to mind for many readers – the birth of the 20th century. But it’s not so much madness that breaks out, but a new evolution in humankind’s capacity to fool one another, and to undermine the fantasies of black & white morality and firm ‘sides’ in a conflict. Even though they think it’s a new thing, the impression is given that people have been that way for a while.
PopCultureShock TV brings us this short interview segment with Garth Ennis and Darrick Robertson. While they’re primarily talking about The Boys–a book I’m not terribly interested in, although I did find the hullaballoo entertaining–the interview is still interesting to me, if only to see what Ennis sounds like, and what Robertson looks like. I expected Ennis to sound more like a cartoon Irishman, and I expected Robertson to be older, and to look more like Spider Jerusalem. The mind is an odd thing.
You can head over there to see the piece, or just click on the embedded bit below:
So the blueprint has become pretty clear: a designed “terror state” with a quasi-dictatorial president insulated from scrutiny by an enforced cone of silence and obfuscation; a permanent expanded foreign military presence buttressed by soldiers dragooned into endless service and by private mercenaries answerable to… whom?; a Stalinesque litmus test of party loyalty when filling official positions and inner circle loyalty when filling top official positions, as well as a centrally orchestrated campaign to manipulate elections on a broad scale and disenfranchise “problem” voters in order to maintain a grip on power; and a blustery, stammering figurehead president who admits to only paying attention to that same inner circle. I’m sure there are elements I missed. Okay, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. That may not have been at all what they planned. It may just be what they’ve given us.
I look forward to Grant’s political bits every week much more than anything he writes about comics, or the comic industry.
- Yes, this is a subjective statement. However, you should remember that my opinion is the right opinion in these matters.(back)