Comic Reviews: June 1992
After a delay of nearly a year, Pirate Corp$! #4 (created by the tortured genius behind Milk & Cheese, Evan Dorkin) is finally here and it was well worth the wait.
For those of you monkeys who still haven’t gotten a clue, Pirate Corp$! is Dorkin’s first love and it shows. Set in the future, the storyline revolves around the so-called “Pirate Corp$” crews of spaceships which are basically mercenary in nature. In particular, PC$ features the cast of The New Jersey Devil. In a wise move, Dorkin has the crew stranded on earth, leading to more mundane, less spectacular tales. And, unsurprisingly, the book has improved from its merely superb past.
The latest issue, #4, is titled “Singles Going Steady” and features a collection of tales about the Devil crew, in particular, Dorkin’s counterpart in the book, Halby. In the well-crafted “Skyway” the reader learns just how Halby encountered and fell for Elsie LeGrande. It doesn’t sound like much, but read it for yourself. Filled with humor and feeling, it packs an emotional wallop. Other contents include a page devoted to your reviewers favorite character, Fibby and Dollar$ To Doughnuts (which features another Pirate Corp$ group, Vroom Socko and the Screaming Retina Gang, in a frankly hilarious ode to doughnut shops). Plus, there’s even another one-page Milk & Cheese detour.
The glory is that Pirate Corp$! has to be experienced first-hand. Evan manages to combine ska, some of the best drawn aliens in comics, humor, science fiction (a little), hockey and personal relationships into a seamless whole that is startling. The maturity wielded by Dorkin in fusing all these elements into affecting stories is to his credit, and coupled with his talented (and growing) rendering, the results are very pleasing. Top all of this off with personal comments, music reviews, and a lively letters page and one discovers a largely undiscovered comics gem in a market flooded with garbage.
Unfortunately, only one local comics store has bothered to order Pirate Corp$!, so it’s recommended that those intrigued with the book either demand that the shops order PC$! or order it directly from Slave Labor Graphics at 983 S. Bascom Ave., San Jose, CA. 95128 for $2.50 + $1.OD for postage.
And while you’re at it, check out Dorkin’s work in Marvel‘s Bill & Ted comic, Slave Labor’s Milk & Cheese and the U.K.’s hippest magazine.
Deadline. You’ve been warned. (B 81W, $2.50)
For those with a twisted interest in B-movies, super-heroes and (just maybe) some thoughtful exploration on the human condition, Tundra Press has released Madman.
Created by the underrated and overlooked M. Dalton Allred, Madman focuses on the adventures of the Spook, a costumed hero trying to discover his true identity. It seems that the only person who knows what he Spook is and how he got to be the way he is, Dr. Boiffard, is cryogenically frozen and only one man, Dr.Flem, can save him. So the Spook sets out to find Flem and there his adventures begin.
#2 (in a three-part series) sees the Spook discover Dr. Flem, only to end up having to save Flem From the results of a cloning experiment gone badly wrong. It turns out that Flem’s clones are badly mutated monsters and … well, you’ll just have to read it for yourself.
Suffice it to say that the good guys win and the reader is in for an enjoyable, campy ride. Allred’s artwork is among the best in comics, with an astounding range from cartooning to realism, excellent anatomy, and superior facial expressions. Coupling this with his developing writing strength, Allred shows signs of becoming one of the comics fields brightest young creators, along with the aforementioned Evan Dorkin and Rutabaga Comics mastermind Tom Kade. It is perhaps the little touches Allred employs which set his work above many others. Besides the merely fun elements, some questioning of existential matters and humanity are employed. Plus Allred “throws in” the addition of “flip action covers” which (when properly used) reveal the Spook dancing and posing a la bodybuilders.
Yes, at $3.95, Madman is kind of expensive, but given the quality production, including blue tone added to the standard black and white, and given the quality of the product, that money seems a pittance. In addition, Brave New Words has a collection of Allred’s masterful Citizen Nocturne storyline from his earlier work,and most shops should carry back issues of GRAPHIQUE MUSIQUE GRAFIK MUSIK, Allred’s finest creation. They’re worth hunting down.
(B & W & Blue, $3.95)
The Eyeball Kid
Once more Dark Horse Comics is publishing forays by Eddie Campbell, speculating on what the Greco-Roman gods would be like in the modern world, with the repackaging of The Eyeball Kid (from the overpriced Cheval Noir).
The The Eyeball Kid for whom this three-part series is named is the grandson of Argus of the Thousand Eyes (look up Argus in your mythology texts. What do I look like, a fucking encyclopedia?), who slew Zeus and stole his power, destroying Mt. Olympus in the process.
Sadly, however, the kid has fallen on hard times, having had the power in turn stolen by the Telchines (usurpers of Hades’ power as well) with the aid of the Stygian Leech (all of this is chronicled in Dark Horse’s Deadface: Immortality Isn’t Forever collection, which is strongly recommended). Now the kid is looking for some meaning in life while the Telchines have more devious plans in mind for humanity.
Ably abetting Campbell in this ambitious effort is artist Ed “Ilya” Hillyer, whose artwork takes the sparkling story away. While decidedly unflashy, Hillyer not only translates the story into reality of sorts, but adds to it with little details and embellishments. However, Dark Horse has to be taken to task for the reproduction which occasionally obscures lines and for allowing the art to be tampered with, sometimes leading to unsatisfactory results.
Campbell’s sprightly plotting and script make the story, though. From the kid’s fractured dialogues to the sly parody of capitalism engendered in the Telchines’ goals, to the commentary on humanity, and, yes, the fun lessons on mythology, The Eyeball Kid is a sheer delight.
The good news, though, is that the postulation on the lives of gods in the real world isn’t over. Besides the aforementioned Deadface collection and the earlier Deadface: Doing the Islands With Bacchus, Dark Horse has announced plans for the new Deadface: Earth Water, Fire, & Air series. And while Campbell himself is doing the art, the comic should be a joy to behold, nonetheless.
(B & W, $2.50)
Check out more from the SLUG Archives:
Comic: April 1992
Book Reviews: April 1992
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