Friday, May 23, 2008

World of Weird and World of Indigo

Here's how this works: I finish reading something, and I tell you about it, and I try not to bore you to death. Today: reviews of Duke Étrange's World of Weird (Nova-X, 2008) and Greyshirt: Indigo Sunset (America's Best, 2003).

"Hey, Pops - Just 'cause the man hits the stick don't mean that the great green cheese ain't gonna rain down 'pon your knowledge box, you dig?" A comic so cool it comes with its own CD-R soundtrack of cah-razee garage rock, Duke Étrange's World of Weird is a 48-page anthology which pays tribute to 1950s EC horror books, but played through the sensibilities of hyperbolic sixties Marvel Comics. Contributors include Leah Moore, John Reppion and rising 2000 AD stars Al Ewing and Nick Dyer, along with small press vets Ed Berridge, who spearheaded this madness, Omnivistascope's Paul Scott and Richmond Clements.

The book leads with one of its strongest strips, Ewing and Brian Coyle's "Frightening Force," a three-page merry Marvel pastiche which reworks Universal monsters into a misfit, angst-ridden Lee & Kirby superhero team. There's a strong sense of affection for America's B-culture throughout the book, from the bombastic 1950s sci-fi world of "National Socialists from Beyond the Moon" to "One Man and His Dog," which evokes a certain horrible movie with Rosey Grier and Motherfuckin' Ray Milland that I've been known to mention a time or two. There are utterly goofball advertisements and over-the-top editorializing, and great fun from start to finish.

The comic will set you back only £3 and will be available at better cons and shops in the UK. The publishers don't seem to have a web page for ordering yet, but I can put you in touch with one of the groovy hepcats behind the shenanigans if you want to get with the scene, daddio.

A complementary copy of this comic was provided to The Journal of Zarjaz Things for the purpose of review.

You know, I just do not read enough Rick Veitch. This is a completely wonderful book starring one of the supporting characters from Alan Moore's America's Best Comics line. Greyshirt is an homage to Will Eisner's The Spirit, a well-dressed vigilante fighting organized crime in the violent streets of Indigo City.

Veitch, who illustrated Greyshirt's appearances in the pages of Tomorrow Stories, took up both script and art chores for this six-part series. Masterfully, the book suggests to the reader that it's an anthology book with contributions from Dave Gibbons, Frank Cho and others, but gradually all of the disparate elements begin to come together, and the audience realizes that characters and story elements introduced in sections set in other times and places are part of an ongoing "present" narrative, and that the "newspaper" section at the end of each issue provides much more than just local color...

Honestly, I've never been a fan of Veitch's style and his disagreeably ugly people, but his layouts, pacing and storytelling are eye-popping. Indigo Sunset is a deceptively simple book, one which uses the format in an incredibly innovative way and which I recommend highly. Veitch is currently working on a Vertigo series called Army@Love which I intend to look at soon.

(Originally posted May 23, 2008 at hipsterdad's LJ.)

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