This post is coming to you an hour late for forces out of my control. I’ve moved out of the city for a home in the suburbs that I hold all the liability for even though it’s essentially majority owned by a bank for the next thirty years. Moving here added another twenty minutes to my commute and when I got home I had to walk my dogs and then go in the basement to pick up my dogs shit that he does during the day when I can’t take him out and here is where the monkey wrench comes in. While I was outside throwing away said shit Ed the pitbull decided to follow me to the backyard and run laps for reasons only known to him. I played around and chased him a for a few minutes before going inside where my better half discovered a small wood chip sticking out of his paw. So you know: patch that up, a cone of shame, some more responsibility stuff later and here we are. Sixteen year old me would look at all this and call me a sell out. I think he’s an idiot but on some level I get it. I was never a punk rock kid, Biggie was my Jesus and Wu Tang wrote the bible. I posed as one for a little while though. I picked up Misled Youth when I was 15 and wanted to be that for a short time. Even though I didn’t really love the music or lifestyle in any meaningful way it hit something in me. I get a similar feeling when I read Deadly Class now. As stated I was never a punk rocker nor was I ever a homeless orphan or spent any of my adolescence in the 1980’s but there is a primal energy going on in this comic that I strongly relate towards in spite of all that. Like watching Jamie Thomas nollie down a large stair case to “Babba O’Reilly”, it hits you in the gut and won’t let up. This is simple in description but much more difficult in practice. Where pumped with watered down versions of art and advertising trying to ratchet that feeling out of us 24 hours a day, so much so that sometimes we mistake a fleeting reminder for the real thing. But it takes true talent to bring that out and that’s what Rick Remender, Wesley Craig and the rest of the team on Deadly Class have in spades; talent they utilize 100% in each issue to the point that they are evoking powerful emotions and feeling at our core with every new installment, this one being the best work of the series yet.
In it’s debut, Material feels like writer Ales Kot’s most ambitious and complicated work in a short career that’s been defined by ambitious and complicated work. This is a writer that’s made the final arc of his cyber punk government assassin saga about William S Boroughs and turned a Bucky Barnes ongoing into a galactic Moebius riff on love, but perhaps most surprisingly, is how ordinary Material’s setting is. Almost nothing about Material crosses over into the fantastical, the closest it get’s to science fiction comes from a sentiment AI, which really isn’t that far from reality anyway. But that’s also what gives the book it’s strength, it’s finding the wonder in the everyday occurrences the way Terrence Mallick’s most recent films have that gives the book it’s resonance. Unlike Mallick, Material has a lazar like focus on it’s expansive cast and in a few pages, it gives forth a rich character study on several different people from varying walks of life, all with a uniquely personal struggle. Those personal struggles are used touch on hyper modern and of the moment concerns; things like police brutality against African Americans, PTSD from America’s extended foreign war time activity, gender politics within the entertainment industry; it’s all given an insightful and full examination in a small economy of pages and it’s the smart character work that makes those story resonate. Kot has this incredible trick in Material where he makes big ideas feel personal by putting the reader in the place of the character, in effect allowing us to view our own world through fresh eyes. Artist Will Tempest, who previously worked with Kot on issue #5 of Zero, has a strong illustrative presence that feels like Dan Clowes/Harvey Peker and helps center the books experience and establish it’s mood by using a shifting color palette that does well in accentuating the character studies and the relationship they have to their environment. All of this makes for a impressive debut. While the complicated low stakes is not be for everybody, the subtlety with which it explores the splendor of the mundane is a welcome reprise where Kot explores many of the same themes that permeate his prior work, but does so in a way he’s never done before.
In Where Monsters Dwell, writer Garth Ennis returns to Marvel, the publisher of his last great series, Fury Max. Unfortunately, If the debut of Where Monsters Dwell is any indication, we won’t be seeing the same level of writing this time around. The comparison is unfair, Fury was a maxi-series used as a deep mediation on the United States military industrial complex while Monsters really isn’t meant to be anything else besides a fun romp but that is paramount to the books greatest weakness, in spite of the inherent joys of it’s premise and skills of it’s creators most of Monsters seems to fall flat. The jokes don’t hit and the characters just feel cliché. In his greatest moments, Ennis can have sidesplitting humor with deeply rich character work and insightful pathos on the human condition but more and more, it’s starting feel like by isolating the former, the writing can’t stand on itself. Artist and former The Boys collaborator gives a workmanlike effort here, it never goes above and beyond but it never hurts the story either. Much of where Monsters fails is in it’s mechanics, the core of it’s writing doesn’t resonate and that’s disappointing. So much of what’s been enjoyable about Secret Wars is how surprisingly great it’s been in spite of itself. Where Monsters Dwell should have been a layup, maybe Ennis can’t make those anymore.
In addition to his earlier announcement for his new app Moore will also be contributing a ten page story to a God Is Dead anthology issue being released in August of 204 from Avatar Comics. The story will be illustrated by Facundo Percio of Fashion Beast, Caliban, Anna Mercury & Star Wars while the anthology also feature work from series writer Mike Costa also of GI Joe, Transformers & All New X-Men Special along with Si Spurrier of X-Men Legacy, X-Force, Six Gun Gorilla & Crossed. More details at bleeding cool
Legendary comics creator Alan Moore of The Watchmen, From Hell, Miracle Man, Batman The Killing Joke, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Swamp Thing, V For Vendetta, Prometha & Superman will be launching a new open source comics app designed to enhance the reading experience of comics digitally while allowing creators, developers and readers to adjust the applications functions and settings. Creators confirmed to be working on comics for the application include Garth Ennis of Preacher, The Punisher, Fury Max, Hitman, Caliban, Hellblazer & The Boys Peter Hogan of Tom Strong, Terra Obscura & Resident Alien and Leah Moore of Vampire Diaries, Sherlock Holmes & Judge Dredd in addition to Alan Moore himself. More details at The Cult Of Mac
Over the years, filmmakers have depicted Batman in a variety of films unauthorized by the character’s publisher, DC Comics. These unauthorized films offer different artistic interpretations of the character, ranging from fan homage to comedic spoof to commercial ripoff to pornography. In the 1960s, both before and after the success of the camp Batman television series which debuted in 1966, several unauthorized Batman films were made in the United States, the Philippines, and Mexico that depict Batman and Batman-related characters in a comedic manner that fit well with the tone of the Batman television series.