Category Archives: Classics Revisited

Retro Review: The Unity Saga

This week Valiant Entertainment have been focusing on the superhero team Unity as their Hero Of The Week, an initiative the company are undertaking to give readers and Valiant fans something to look forward to while the comic industry is on pause.

Valiant Entertainment is the company launched by a group of folks who purchased the first Valiant’s original character rights (Solar, Magnus and Turok were licensed characters used by the original iteration of the company, and weren’t included in the sale which is why you don’t see them in the modern books). The two eras of comics often differentiated by VH1 for the original publisher and VEI for the modern company (there is a VH2, but that’s not relevant right now). Given VEI’s tendency to reuse the names of VH1’s heroes, teams and comics in ways that pay homage to the original, or just as a tip of the hat to fans familiar with the VH1 era, I thought it would be interesting look back at the VH1 version of Unity.

Unity was an eighteen chapter crossover that took place from August – September of 1992 across seven different series published by Valiant Comics, with each of the publisher’s ongoing series dedicating two issues to the crossover. X-O ManowarSolar, Man Of The Atom; Shadowman; Rai; Magnus, Robot Fighter; Eternal Warrior; Archer and Armstrong; as well as prelude and epilogue under the Unity name each had a blue banner across the top of the cover, with artwork that formed two interconnecting images of eight comics. Both Eternal Warrior and Archer and Armstrong were launched during the crossover, with both the first and second issues having the blue banner.

The cover to first part of the story as it appeared in the individual series form a giant interconnected image.

The crossover was unique in that if you only read one series, say X-O Manowar, and had no intention to read the entire crossover, then you could read just the two chapters in X-O Manowar and still enjoy an almost complete story across those two chapters. That’s something that works very strongly in favour for the ongoing series that Unity crosses over, but when reading the story twenty-six years later it does have the effect of causing a sense of repetition as numerous scenes are retold – often from another character’s perspective, but not always. This also allowed for a slower build for the story, almost too slow by today’s standards, with a non-linear timeline that is perhaps necessitated by each contributing series having a complete story across both chapters.

The plot of Unity focused on a being of pure energy, much like Solar, called Erica Pierce who sought to unify all of time into one place, known as the Lost Land, where time moves incredibly slowly in comparison to the rest of the time stream. From the Lost Land, one can enter the timestream at any point, except in the Lost Land’s past, making the place a time nexus.It’s for this reason that Pierce wants to consolidate the timeline and eliminate anything that is not in the Lost Lands. Understandably, the heroes of the Valiant universe, both past and present, band together to stop her.

The covers to the second part also form a larger image when pieced together.

It’s the past and present of the heroes that’s interesting as we get the Eternal Warrior from the 1990’s and the Eternal Warrior from 4001 in the room at the same time, which leads to some interesting interactions between the two characters. What I was perhaps most surprised about was the ease of which you could read the series from start to finish without any knowledge of 90’s Valiant; now obviously I am more than a little familiar with post-2012 Valiant, so I may have had some advantage there, but one could also easily make the case that going in with knowledge as to who the characters are now doesn’t make it easier to read about who they were. It’d almost be like a Marvel vs Ultimate Marvel, or DC before and during the New 52 and then the Rebirth era. Similar, but not the same. More of a case of the new being inspired by the old.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the crossover, and was equally as surprised when I found myself collecting the original Valiant comics as a result. It was an epic story but because it was also designed to be ready easily if you only picked up some of the series involved, say Magnus, X-O Manowar and Harbinger, when reading every single issue you will notice there is some overlap. Often from a different perspective, but it lends those issues a feeling of familiarity that can be hard to shake. Although given the time displaced setting, one can argue that this familiarity is an added layer to the story – and the saga never shies from going in depth with the character’s emotions and thoughts, which is ideal if you’re starting to read VH1 comics with Unity as I did.

As a crossover story by a then young company, this was as ambitious as it was daring. Unity is the benchmark that other Valiant crossover stories are often held to, even today. After reading the story, I understand why.

Because some of the characters and comics included in the story are no longer under VEI ownership, it can be very hard to find the trades of Unity. Fortunately, the floppies are still relatively easy to track down for a very reasonable price. I don’t think I paid more than $4 for any of the books with the average being between $1-2. That is a great price considering what’s presented in this story.

Do you think that this kind of line wide crossover could work in today’s market?

Review: Amazing Spider-Man #667

1956919-ams667Kick starting the Spider-Island storyline, Amazing Spider-Man #667 begins with a quick recap of Spider-man’s current situation including his lack of Spider Sense (nothing’s ever simple) and the Jackal’s villainous master-plan. As you read on it is clear that this story-line is something that Dan Slott has been building up to; a master-plan of his own.

Twisting and tearing into the true nature of Spider-man/ Peter Parker is something that many of Dan Slott’s plotlines attempt to achieve and I would say that this first issue reveals more of this to come with a particularity interesting story arc.

At the beginning of this issue we are introduced to New York as a living entity itself. This is clearly intentional, as throughout this story line New York itself is treated as a character. This is reflected in the depth of art by Ramos and is shown through the relationship between the city and the upcoming plot-line.

Variant Cover

Variant Cover

With a particularly humorous turn of events involving Peter Parker and current love interest, Carlie Cooper, an intelligent and independent New York Cop, Slott starts this issue with punch, while also hinting at what is to come during the rest of the issue. This situation is seriously laugh out loud funny and Parker’s (Slott’s) wit is on point, as always.

The following events lead to a wave of organized chaos sweeping across New York, with petty criminals and gangsters terrorizing residents and generally reaking havoc …with the Jackal’s supervision of course.  This pandemonium warrants the attention of some of the finest of Marvel’s heroes with epic artwork depicting the disorder; but things aren’t so simple for our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

At this stage of the comic, Parker is about to learn that his current problems are about to become a whole lot more complicated (don’t they always) and during the ensuing discord, while old brush top Jonah Jameson rants on (some things never change), Peter Parker learns that perhaps being Spider-Man is not going to help him this time.

Story: Dan Slott Art: Humberto Ramos
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Indie Icons: Savage Dragon #2

Savage Dragon HeaderRemember, when the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles teamed up with Savage Dragon and fought a giant stone gargoyle? No? Unfortunately, Indie Icons remembered for you. Let’s get strange with The Savage Dragon #2.Savage Dragon CoverOur tale opens, with a large amazon women walking into a police station. It turns out, she is a super hero named Dart, sent to the Chicago police department to cover Savage Dragon because, he left for New York to help solve a crime there. Two main things stick out about this scene. First, her super hero costume rides so high up her butt, there is no possible way it is comfortable or functional when fighting against criminals. There’s a high likelihood something she doesn’t want exposed, is getting exposed. Secondly, every male cop in the precinct has apparently never seen a woman before and freaks out at the sight of her. Jaws drop, coffee mugs shatter on the floor, and old timey cat calls are thrown out. I’ve never been to Chicago but, I can only assume this is accurate and old timey cat calls still happen there all the time.

Savage Dragon DartShe politely tells them all to go to hell. I can’t really blame her for that. She also has darts attached all over her arms and legs. I respect a hero that committed to their name gimmick. A crime comes across the police scanner, sending Dart into action which we never get to see. Instead, we finally get introduced to Savage Dragon. He is standing on a rooftop by a gargoyle with the Ninja Turtles coming up behind him. It looks like the group is all set up for a nice friendly stake out. Then, the Ninja Turtles just start beating the hell out of the Savage Dragon.

Savage Dragon SplashLuckily, he ripped the sleeves off of his suit so he can kick proper ass. Suns out, business casual guns out. The Ninja Turtles jump on Savage Dragon’s back and they are out for blood. These are not your friendly Saturday morning cartoon Ninja Turtles. These Ninja Turtles are not afraid to actually use there weapons. This Leonardo will stab you with his swords instead of just punching you while holding a sword. They do not play around. The only problem is, these are also the Ninja Turtles who all wear the same red masks. In honor of that, let’s play a little game. Which Turtle is the butt-head and which is the pompous jerk?Savage Dragon Butt HeadIf you guessed Michelangelo was the pompous jerk and Donatello was the butt-head… you might be right? I have no idea. I couldn’t figure it out. Back to the story. With the Turtles trying to kill him, Savage Dragon pulls out his comically large gun to start shooting. Leonardo quickly ends this plan and cuts the gun cleanly in two. This doesn’t matter. After being stabbed with a sai and swords, and beaten with nunchuks and staffs, Savage Dragon tosses all four of the Turtles off of the roof and into the alley below. It turns out, the Turtles thought he was the giant gargoyle monster that has been tormenting New York City recently. Savage Dragon actually takes this pretty well and forgives them for the beating they just delivered to him. He is outrageously forgiving. Like, nun level forgiveness.

If you’ve read Indie Icons before, you know I’ve never been in many of the situations I write about. This is just as true here. Surprisingly, I’ve never fought a foursome of Ninja brothers. But, if they tried to kill me, and then I threw them off a roof, I think we would have trouble being friends. Savage Dragon is a much better person than I will ever be. He agrees to help the Turtles find the giant gargoyle monster and then, he is getting the hell out of New York. Luckily, it doesn’t take long to find the creature. He was actually just hanging out a block away from them.Savage Dragon GargoyleIt really makes me wonder how Savage Dragon is a cop in Chicago because, his detective skills seem very poor. I can’t imagine that thing is too hard to see when it’s flying around the city. Another fight quickly ensues. The Ninja Turtles recklessly jump on the monster and just start stabbing away at it. Savage Dragon apparently likes this strategy. He jumps on the gargoyles arm and starts punching it violently in the wrist. The creature is very annoyed by this and casually throws him away. The Turtles continue punching but, they can’t seem to break through the gargoyles hard exterior. It also breaths fire randomly, which is pretty cool. All of this begins to annoy Savage Dragon. He just wants to go home. So, he one punches the entire monster into rubble, making the Ninja Turtles look pretty pathetic in the process.Savage Dragon PunchLeonardo tries to explain to Savage Dragon, that the reason there was a giant stone gargoyle flying around is because of magic. Savage Dragon thinks this is stupid and doesn’t even pretend to believe what he’s saying. Considering he’s a muscular dragon cop who just fought with four talking turtles that know ninjutsu, it’s really strange he finds magic hard to believe. While this is all happening, a scantily clad woman, who may be senior citizen, is watching creepily from around the corner. I wish I could describe her any other way but her large head of spiky gray hairs leads me to believe she’s old. But, her gravity defying bosom says otherwise. I’ll let you guys take a look and decide for yourself.Savage Dragon GrandmaThe Ninja Turtles begin trying to figure out where the creature came from. Savage Dragon doesn’t care. He just want to head back to Chicago. They say their goodbyes and Savage Dragon goes on his way, happy that he got to punch a statue to death and even happier to be heading to his own bed. But, before we can celebrate too much, we quickly cut to a farm in DeKalb, Illinois. A young boy is knocking on the door but, no one seems to be answering. He opens the door to see if anyone’s home…Savage Dragon End…and sees a large puddle of blood. Judging by the rotting corpse, whoever is in that closet is doing something they’re not supposed to. Why can’t Indie Icons ever end nicely?

Indie Icons: Youngblood #1

Youngblood Banner

What happens when Indie Icons looks back at one of the flagship titles from Image Comic‘s creation? Nothing good. Absolutely, nothing good happens. Let’s get into the strange, shall we?

Youngblood CoverThe story opens with a group of heroes in the dark dimension of D’Khay. And, for your guy’s sake, I’m going to get this out of the way right now because they don’t explain it for a long, LONG, time. Each superhero in this comic is part of the Youngbloods. There are at least twenty separate heroes in this story, all infiltrating something at some point too. It can get pretty confusing. Because of that, nobodies name is actually that important. For example, the man below’s name is Wildmane. I refuse to call him that. He will now be known as feral Wolverine. Youngblood Feral WolverineBy the hounds of perdition’s flames indeed. The team, poignantly named the Death Squad, continues to murder their way through the base they are in. Killing becomes so easy and boring to them that they actually start getting mad when someone doesn’t leave enough people to slaughter for the rest of the class. One person is particularly responsible for killing too many people too quickly and that is one Jackson Kirby. I really hope this is an homage to Jack Kirby. If it is, it is the most over the top interpretation ever. It’s also my favorite. Let’s compare.

Youngblood Kirby RealYoungblood Kirby

Basically, twins. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a picture of Jack Kirby carrying comically large guns the size of his entire torso but, I’m sure there’s one out there somewhere. The Death Squad continues moving through the base, killing everything in sight as they’re known to do. After clearing the hallway, they all jump in unison and become frozen in air. Why you ask? Because, Lord Darkthornn has trapped them in what he calls crash limbo. Who is Lord Darkthornn? I have no idea. He says he wants to conquer Earth but then, we never see him or any of the other characters we just met ever again. I’m sure it pays off at some point in a later issue but, I only just finished the prologue and I’m already getting exhausted. OK, which Youngblood is next?Youngblood NewpaperOh, yes. Shaft. He has no pupils in this picture but, no one actually addresses the reason for this. It seems like he can see so, maybe his power is having really white eyes? I don’t know. We’re introduced to Shaft in the middle of an argument with his super model girlfriend. He is upset because all of the paparazzi are following him around. Then, he sees a man steal a woman’s purse and the hero in him finally comes out. He tackles the purse snatcher and punches him right in the face. That is until he realizes it’s just a young kid. He quickly figure out it’s a set up and spots a sniper off in the distance. Shaft does not play these games. He takes a pen out of his pocket and throws it right into this man’s heart.

Youngblood penI guess he really does have pupils. Maybe, his power is being able to throw office products incredibly accurately? The paparazzi quickly surround him. It seems they were waiting for a moment just like this to make themselves known. They ask a quick question about the man he just killed but, that’s all just to butter him up for the real questions. No one really cares about the random dead guy or public murder they just witnessed. They want to know if there is a classified mission going on in Iraq. Shaft ignores them and runs away while his super model girlfriend laughs psychotically in the background. Now, I’ve never been in one of these situations but, it seems like they best way to get information from someone isn’t to try and trick them while they under a high amount of stress. I’ve also never killed anyone. I just imagine that it’s really stressful. I’ll be honest, I just write funny articles on the internet. Sure, there’s some office products throwing. But, normally, no one dies from it. Let’s look at a fun picture to get Indie Icons back on track. Youngblood CerealThis is Thomas. He is so mad that he doesn’t have enough combos in his video games that he can’t even eat cereal properly anymore. I can’t say I blame him either. Combos are serious you guys. After this, we are quickly introduced to the rest of the main team. I mean, I think they’re the main team. They’re on the cover at least. Next, we have the Die Hard unit who is, what looks like, a muscular robot hanging out in a basement in Arlington, Virginia. After that, comes Chapel. His introduction shows him planning on having sex with the woman in his bed until they both die. I wish I was kidding but this is the actual conversation.Youngblood ChapelMight as well, right? He then puts on his uniform and screams angrily at the woman on the bed, asking her if this turns her on. He seems like a really unstable fellow. We then get a few panels of a woman dressed in purple jumping out of a balcony. Who is she? No idea. And that’s the main team. Shaft arrives at Youngblood headquarters and, on the local news, he sees that the Youngblood operation in Iraq has leaked. They plan on destroying Hassan Kussein’s meta-munitions program apparently. It looks like it’s time for the team we have spent the last few pages to finally get into action and save the day! What? That doesn’t happen at all? There’s another team of Youngbloods still!?

Youngblood IraqAn entire, I can’t believe there’s more, new team of Youngbloods land on Iraqi soil and just start laying waste to everything in front of them. They are looking to rescue a target being protected by Kussein. While making their way through the desert, the large Youngblood wearing a giant golden helmet turns out to be an alien and swears revenge. Revenge for what? Revenge on who? I…I just don’t know. So much is happening right now. I’m feeling overwhelmed and there aren’t anymore fun pictures to save this article. Let’s just keep going.

We cut back to the main Youngbloods still sitting at headquarters and trying to figure out if the leak of information is their fault. They decide to go to the hangar bay for some reason and that’s that. We cut back to our team in Iraq, continuing to murder Kussein’s army. They begin to get a bit paranoid because this seems too easy. That is, until they hit a trip wire energy grid that fries their synapses on contact.Youngblood ShieldThis doesn’t effect psi-fire, whose glowing feet you see above. It just makes him angry. We don’t quite get to see this play out though. We first cut to the White House, where the president is freaking out about the Iraqi mission leak. And, that’s it. Do we finally start wrapping up this comic which, at this point, has about 4000 loose story threads? Of course not. The story returns to the main team who are flying over a prison transport at the exact moment a few super villains begin to try and break the prisoners out. And, being Youngblood, there isn’t just one or two villains. There is an entire team of bad guys because this story needs all the characters it can possibly find. And, finally, we get to see the main team in action. The heroes on the actual cover of the comics. The one’s we bothered to learn a bit of backstory on. Look how promising this action pose is. Youngblood Main TeamIt looks like some serious business is about to happen. It doesn’t. We don’t see the main team again for the rest of the issue. We cut back to Psi-Fire who decides to tell Kussein about how he killed his parents by making their heads explode. He then tells him, and I’m not making this up, it’s “better than sex”. I don’t have any words for whats going on at this point. He eventually makes Kussein’s head explode for what I can only assume is because he is sexually excited by the dictator? It’s really weird you guys.Youngblood Head ExplosionThe rest of the team is not happy about this. They actually start freaking out because he just randomly murdered a country’s dictator but, they quickly get over it. With Kussein and his army out of the way, the Youngbloods can finally grab the target they came for. You never get to see that though. This is where the story ends. Nothing is resolved. I’m confused. I’m tired. Indie Icons will be back next week with a comic that is not Youngblood. Never again Youngblood.

Indie Icons: Armorines #2

Armorines LogoComixology currently has over 75,000 comics and it is now my job to dig through them all and find the strangest, most outrageous, and most fun comics deep within the depths and bring them to you at great danger to my own personal sanity. This week, we follow a small group of elite soldiers called the Armorines, as they look to steal a nuclear core from a submarine. This seems like a pretty straight forward, simple mission, except for all of the mutated shark monsters and a whole lot of bad decisions.Armorines coverWe start our story on a helicopter that’s flying off the coast of Australia, where the crew is frantically screaming for the Armorines to respond. It is also interesting to note, that everyone on the helicopter looks exactly like they are all failed versions of Cyclops who were just not cool enough to be in the X-Men. And that’s saying a lot. If you have awesome eye visors and are still not cool enough to beat out Cyclops, then there’s a problem. (Side note: I’m not a huge fan of Cyclops.) Also, their computers show them nothing more than giant orange and yellow pixels which seems…very useless. But hey, it was the mid 90s, computers were still young and clearly not everyone understood how they worked.

Armorines CyclopsWe soon discover that the reason the Armorines are ignoring Cyclops’ siblings is because, they are busy fighting giant mutated sharks that look like they are decaying in the water. Apparently, they have been hanging out too close to the sunken underwater nuclear sub but, they shouldn’t be too much of a problem. The Armorines have a suit with giant glowing swords and ion cannons that shoot from their arms. They should be fine right? Right?

Armorines Sword and CannonNo. It won’t be alright because the Armorines for some reason brought down a group of divers who decided to put some foam on the top of some tupperware containers and smash it onto their face as a diving mask. They don’t have any useful weapons or protection either but, damn it if they aren’t brave to the point of stupidity. After the Armorines fight off a few sharks, the remainder start to feed on what’s left of the dead. This gives the Armorines and friends the perfect opportunity to enter into the safety of the sunken sub through a large hole in the side. With all of them finally in the ship, they do what any sane person would do in this situation. They leave the ship to go stab some more sharks. The problem is, our friend Tristan forgets his has no stabbing weapons but shows a lot of bravery by playing chicken with one of the mutated monsters.

Armorines Shark CrushThe lesson here guys, is to never play chicken with a shark, especially one mutated by nuclear radiation. And if you do, bring more than bravery to the fight. It’s not as effective as you may have been told. This finally leads to everyone deciding to enter the submarine and stay in the submarine. Lessons are being learned. The team of Armorines quickly splits up, one to grab the nuclear core and another to plant explosives on the ship. Why? No idea. I guess there is other important information on there that they just don’t feel like carrying around and explosives seem like more fun. It’s not a terrible argument.

Before anything else happens, we get a quick cut away to the captain of the warship floating above the Armorines. He is getting word that his men are being eaten by sharks and vows to see reinforcements. He says its time to bring in the special rescue team. It seems like these are a very important unit, who only come when situations are extreme, so I assume these are some tough people. The problem is, the captain never actually sends any help. Or the special rescue team is actually nowhere near the coast of Australia, and they’re still on the flight over while the Armorines are working. This would have actually been a great time for the rescue team to come because, a giant Hammerhead has made this ship his home. And he does not like intruders.

Armorines HammerheadHe also has a very cute mutated stingray best friend which is nice to see. Even mutated creatures need friends. The shark quickly eats a scuba diver, again making me question why they were brought along without an armored suit. The shark then makes the mistake of attacking the Armorine who pokes out his eyes, instantly killing him. Incorrect fact of the week: All of a sharks vital organs are located in its eye and if poked the entire creature dies. A second hammerhead comes and is quickly stabbed. This leads to one of the Armorines deciding it is time to leave the ship even though they haven’t accomplished their mission yet. He quickly learns that there are consequences for slacking off at work when, what appears to be, Mother Brain from Metriod zaps him with a laser and kidnaps them.

Armorines Mother BrainNo one really seems to notice this, as the very next page they are lifting the nuclear core into a transport helicopter above. Then, the most ridiculous thing in this comic, a comic that includes mutant sea creatures and a giant brain like alien ship with tentacles, happens. Four dolphins randomly appear wearing harness and ready to help the divers not quite qualified enough to be Armorines. These dolphins were apparently trained by the Navy for situations just like this. And, while this may seem strange to… well, anyone really, the divers are only shocked because they thought the Navy abandoned the dolphin project a long time ago. It’s never really address why there was a dolphin project in the first place but, I need to hear that story. Hopefully, whenever Hollywood gets a hold of the Armorines license they’ll add that in as a gritty flashback.

Armorines dolphinA few dolphins get needlessly sacrificed but, the divers eventually escape with the help of a few Armorines who have come back to murder a some more sharks before they decide to finally call it a day. Then, we get back to the Armorine that went off to set explosives in the submarine that I completely forgot about because, his job seemed pointless to start with. After seeing how he handles his escape, I’m not surprised they sent him off on a useless mission because he is not good at things. The Armorine leaves the ship but, not before being speared into the submarine by a shark that nuclear radiation has clearly given the skill set of Goldberg.

Armorines SPEARThis destroys his propulsion system but, not his cannon, which he uses to blast the shark through the face, essentially disintegrating it. Now, I may not be a scientist, I may actually have a degree in history, (Yes, history. Leave me alone.) but, I think all of that heavy metal armor he is wearing should drag him to the bottom of the sea. Or, he has incredibly strong legs to overcome the force pulling down on him. It turns out to be the latter as he casually swims to the surface. He did accidentally hit the submarine with his cannon blast though, sending it over the edge of the cliff it was on. He seems pretty distraught about it too, even though it blows up 50 feet further down from where it was originally going to blow up but, I’m not an Armorine so maybe I am missing something. And so, I guess the day was saved? They captured the core, a large amount of innocent men and dolphins dies, and they blew something up. Alright, so they really didn’t save anything but they’ll need to do some saving here soon. Remember that guy captured by the Mother Brain ship? Yeah, here’s where he ended up…

Armorine endIn a room completely filled with corpses. Yup. Welcome to Indie Icons.

Indie Icons: Monkey Man & O’Brien #2

M&O Banner

CM&O Coveromixology currently has over 75,000 comics and it is now my job to dig through them all and find the strangest, most outrageous, and most fun comics deep within the depths and bring them to you at great danger to my own personal sanity. After last week’s discovery of one of my favorite comic book characters ever, it only felt right to continue my hunt for more great monkey characters hidden throughout comic history. This led me to a comic which I never would have dreamed possible, where a giant woman, and an even larger anthropomorphic monkey, fight off an army of frog people called froglodytes, Monkeyman and O’Brien. This premise sounds awesome until you realize the froglodytes are the absolute WORST invading army in history.

The story opens with Ann O’Brien and Monkey Man, aka Axwell Tiberius, holding a press conference because everyone is wondering who these people are and where they came from. And, this is helpful because, I was wondering the same thing when I realized O’Brien was twice as tall as anyone around her and Monkey Man was clearly wearing a custom tailored suit. Why is she so large and where does one get a suit that big? While the latter is never answered, which is a crime, we do get quite a bit of information. Mostly, that O’Brien can do a standing shoulder press of 1,600 pounds but still likes to go to regular gyms so other people can quiver in fear of her.

M&O StrengthThe explanation for where Monkey Man comes from gets incredibly sci-fi heavy to the point where it seems like our friend Axwell is just throwing science like words around to confuse all of the humans. It definitely confused this human. But, to try and summarize, Axwell is from another dimension when his planet is populated by creatures that look like gorillas but are actually genetically more like humans. This is where I had to stop because I thought that we were super closely related to primates as it was so, it seemed like a weird distinction to make. Naturally, I did a bit of research. Fun fact of the week! While 70% of our genome is closer to chimpanzees, of the remaining 30%, 15% of it is closer to gorillas while the remaining 15% is very similar to both chimps and gorillas. Who knew? If you want more on that check out the article here.

Anyway, back to the story. Monkey Man was chasing a criminal through terminus, which is the inter-dimensional no man’s land that separates all other dimensions where apparently he works as a cop. It was at this exact moment, that O’Brien’s father built an extra-dimensional exploration device and he got caught in the tractor beam. And, why is O’Brien so large? Did she just happen to eat a lot of protein as a child? Does she have acromegaly like Andre the Giant? Has everyone around he just shrunk to minute proportions? No, she just got some radiation from her dad’s machine and it made her an unstoppable juggernaut. It’s a very disappointing explanation. They also fought these things last issue:M&O ThingsAnd all of the reporters were pretty happy about it so it must have gone well. After a solid amount of backstory, we finally get to the froglodytes and their very, very, phallic shaped space ships.

M&O Ship1M&O TeleportThe froglodytes have decided to invade Earth because, their home planet of Devonia is over populated, so they need to find new swamps to live in. Their evil plan centers on melting the polar ice caps with bombs and flooding the planet. They can then enslave the humans and live happily ever after. There’s only one problem. Their ship scans the planet and realizes there is only one threat on Earth that could possibly stop them; Monkey Man. They then begin the worst invasion ever by teleporting Monkey Man to their ship, rather than say, using one of their bombs on him while he stands helplessly in the open. Before he disappears from the conference, O’Brien jumps on his back because of, what I can only assume is, serious separation anxiety. Also, no one at the conference seems particular shocked by anything that’s going on.

M&O Ship2The froglodytes trap them behind a force field and begin an extremely long monologue about who they are but, really the only important thing to note is that phallic ships have been part of their culture for a very long time.

At this point their entire plan quickly falls apart when O’Brien decides she is bored and just shoves her way through the force field holding them. The froglodytes did not have a backup plan in place for if the greatest threat to their conquest ever got loose in their ship, and they are absolutely horrible at crisis management. All the frolodytes just begin screaming at each other to stop them but, none of them actually do any stopping. Also, O’Brien may have some serious anger issues because, she does not wait around before she starts punching everything within reach and using one of the most underrated insults in all of human history.M&O Weenie

Weenie. If one word truly encompasses the froglodytes, that’s it. The beating continues for a few more pages before Monkey Man begins to reprogram their ship, while O’Brien continues to search the craft for more frogs to feed her blood lust. There is also a page about the head of the fugitive that Monkey Man was chasing, being attached to a robot body in an underwater fortress but, it’s not really important so we’re going to skip over it because, there is only so much sci-fi insanity I can keep up with at a time. O’Brien eventually runs out of bodies to pummel and asks Monkey Man to send her to the bridge to get the captain because, smashing low ranking frog soldiers is fun but, smashing a captains face? That’s where the true fun lies. While she continues her crusade to destroy the jawbone of every frog in existence, Monkey Man teleports monstrous fireflies from…somewhere, the size of the froglodytes ships to destroy them because dragonflies eat tadpoles. Oh! Their ships are supposed to be tadpoles. Not…never mind.

M&O DragonflyMonkey Man then runs to the engine room so he can punch a few frogs because O’Brien had probably told him how much fun it was and also, takes time to reprogram their engines. At the same moment, O’Brien has finally been bested by being dog piled on by at least 13 frogs. The froglodyte’s finally have done something right and they take a moment to cackle and celebrate their brilliance. The captain prepares to execute O’Brien but, not before drifting into another long monologue. Apparently, breaking into long winded rants is just a big part of the froglodyte’s culture? This gives Monkey Man enough time to teleport O’Brien to the ship hanger where they casually steal a spacecraft and fly away.

M&O EndNaturally, O’Brien is satisfied with what they’ve done because she has met her skull smashing quota but, Monkey Man does not think so small. To make sure the worst alien invasion of all time is officially over, he uses the froglodytes’ main ship to capture every other vessel in a force field and then sends them back to their home world at light speed, where he assumes they will get punished for their failure. It’s kind of a risky plan hoping that they don’t actually gather more frog soldiers and just come back but, it’s only a three issue series so I am assuming Monkey Man knows they won’t have time to make it back before the finale. Our heroes fly away victorious after having saved the earth one punch at a time.

I totally forgot about the weird monster from the beginning of the issue. Apparently, it’s coming back. I don’t know if I can handle another Monkey Man and O’Brien issue so soon. No comic, it won’t be OK and I am very afraid.

Graphic Policy must regretfully inform you that in his terror Kenny Coburn has locked himself in the hall closet and, says he will not be leaving until he doesn’t have to read anymore monkey themed comics. We will break in and have him writing more Iconic Indies by the end of the week.

Indie Icons: Bob Powell’s Cave Girl

Cave Girl Header2
Comixology currently has over 75,000 comics and it is now my job to dig through them all and find the strangest, most outrageous, and most fun comics deep within the depths and bring them to you at great danger to my own personal sanity. Today we are going to start with the comic that inspired this entire idea, Bob Powell’s Cave Girl. And guys, Cave Girl pulls no punches when it comes to strange. First thing is first though. This comic is kind of, and by kind of I mean really, racist in how it portrays Africans.
CaveGirlMashupLike I said, pretty racist. Now, racism and hate of any kind are not right in any form or in any situation. But, it is important to understand the culture that Bob Powell was living in. Times were different back in the fifties and you could get away with a lot more discrimination and hate, simply because people saw that as the norm. The first issue of Cave Girl was originally released in 1952. Now, for comparison, let’s take a look at a fairly popular Disney movie that came out just one year later that you may have heard of and compare:

Oh yes, the old Peter Pan What Makes the Red Man Red? scene. A classic in American racism. And it isn’t as if this was not popular when it was released. It was the 2nd highest grossing film of the decade behind Lady and the Tramp which was released two years later. This is not to excuse the racism in this comic for its depiction of Africans, rather it is to show how a cultural norm then, can be appalling generations later but, accepted by those at the time. Enough serious backstory though, let’s get to Cave Girl and an opening scene so important it couldn’t be contained by the cover.CaveGirlCover

This may be one of the saddest opening scenes I have ever scene in a comic book. Cave Girl’s pet monkey, Chico, is being attacked by a boa constrictor when Cave Girl rushes in. This story does not waste time with pointless buildup about who these people are. No, you see a monkey in danger and you immediately know that this is a heartbreaking moment. (Side note: there need to be more monkey pets in comic books. I refuse to believe that Beppo the Super Monkey couldn’t work today as Superman’s go to animal friend.)

                                                                        Superboy 76

Being the badass that she is, Cave Girl stabs the boa repeatedly but, not before poor Chico is killed and buried. That’s when we have a hard cut to a very strange man sneaking up behind an African tribesman with a knife. This reduces poor Chico’s funeral to one short panel which is a travesty. He deserved better than that. I’ll never forget you Chico.CaveGirlChico

The chief quickly dies but, not before literally pointing at his killer to tell him he killed him and cursing him. After these two deaths, time passes. You may be wondering how much time passed. Me too. The only indication of how long Chico and the chief have been dead is a caption reading “then one day”. So yeah, I have no idea how far ahead we just jumped. But Chico is alive again! Bob Powell clearly understood the true star of Cave Girl. Also, the chief, known as Chief Tom, is alive too. So, I guess that’s good. Cave Girl also stubs her toes. I have no witty caption for this, I just thought it should be known.Cave Girl Toe Stub

It’s also important to note that all this snake killing, chief killing, monkey killing, and toe stubbing action has all happened on the first three pages, counting the cover. This book does not pause to take a breath and it’s taking all my energy to try and keep up. I do have to give Bob his due here by naming the African chief Tom which, is the most neutral and boring name you can give anyone rather than some random stereotypical African sounding name like Mukeefu. What? Mukeefu is the name of his village? Chief Tom of Mukeefu, huh? Ok, I’ll accept that I suppose.

We quickly find out Chief Tom was killed in a power struggle and it doesn’t take long before Cave Girl decides to help him take back his power because…she’s bored? There’s no explanation but I think Cave Girl just wants to hurt more things after her python murdering adventure. And, that is exactly what she does. Cave girl does not play around.

Cave Girl fight

Oh, and Chief Tom kills a defenseless man in a single blow, setting the perfect example on why he should be chief again. Alright, now that we have two resurrections and a power struggle out of the way, we can catch our breath and finally get to some of the truly bizarre parts of this comic. Cave Girl leaves the village only to be randomly assaulted by a man hiding in a cave literally three panels later. She is having a tough day. And for what nefarious means does he attack her for you ask? Well, that’s quite simple, to send her into the future using his time machine that runs on a fortune teller’s crystal ball.

Cave Girl Time Machine

We find out this is how everyone’s favorite pet monkey, and true hero of the story, Chico was brought back to life when Ralph Norklander, our friendly mad scientist, sent his body back in time. But, apparently he is sick of saving lives and helping everyone because that was just a side hobby to kill time. Really, all he wants to do is make people super old so they miss all of their best years. Honestly, this is a pretty sick plan and makes me question how much I really like Ralph since he does want to kill Cave Girl, but he did save Chico… Let’s just see how this plays out before I make any final judgement.

Cave Girl old

He sends an elderly Cave Girl (Woman?) out to die and probably be eaten by animals. Fine, he’s a jerk and I don’t like him. Sorry, Chico. Cave Girl apparently has super powers though, because she can now talk to animals. For some reason, having that power above ground automatically makes her cooler than Aquaman in my mind, even though she’s doing the exact same thing. Anyway, if we have learned anything about Cave Girl in all this, it is that she will hurt you if you mess with her. And, sometimes, even if you don’t do anything to her.

Cave Girl sends her new animal friends to attack Ralph, throws the machine in reverse, and gets back her youthful glow. The day is saved thanks to…hold on guys, a wormhole in time and space just opened up. We are nowhere close to done. Centuries start to pass before their eyes and, Ralph being Ralph, he decides to jump in and ends up lost in time. But this bores Cave Girl, so she does what anyone would do after the past couple of days that she’s had. She hops on her antelope, next to her bear and tiger friends, and rides off into the sunset.

Cave Girl End

And the day is saved thanks too…wait. How am I only one page 8? Chico died and came back, she saved an entire village, and she even traveled through time all in 8 pages? This doesn’t make any sense. How? What…………….

Graphic Policy must regretfully inform you that Kenny Coburn has lost most of his sanity and won’t have it back until we force him to do this again in a few weeks.

Review: TMNT Color Classics Series 3 #7

STK677597“What about honor?”

That seems to be the question throughout this month as we open up with Casey Jones (Sans hockey mask and stick) is humbly bagging groceries at the local super market. However his humility is so easily achieved as his boss Mr. Talbot is pushing his buttons by publicly humiliating him. Casey doesn’t take the bait at first but then he loses his cool and slugs his boss soundly. As he’s on his way out of the store he has a change of heart and walks back in and begs for his job back. Mr. Talbot having been embarrassed orders Casey to get down on his knees. Casey obliges but Talbot degrades him even further. At this moment Casey has enough and knocks out his now former boss. Though he is now jobless he leaves the premises but with his head held high.

At the same moment across town we follow Splinter who is lost in thought wandering back alleys and smoke stacks. He is on his own, separated from his four sons. In the midst of his roaming he spots a small colony of ordinary rats and reminisces. His train of thought quickly gets derailed due to a collapse in a loose foundation and he takes a long fall down a dark hole. When he comes to, he realizes his ankle is broken in two places and tries to power through by sheer will. He is soon overcome by pain and succumbs to the darkness.

Across town a familiar face, April O’ Neil is being harassed by a new colleague who seems to have less than good willed intentions on his mind. (though with the way April was illustrated in these early days one would seem to wonder why.) April is then picked up by a very close friend and her young son and they reminisce about the Connecticut Christmases of yesteryear. Determined to get a tree of their own they head out on the travelled road.

It’s at here we are introduced to the stars of our show and in a page that could have been drawn by Frank Miller himself, one of our heroes cloaked in what appears to be a burlap hood falls from the sky. A few moments later we are revealed that it is actually Michaelangelo. He was disguising himself on the way to the Turtles safe house inside a local water tower. When he arrives it is a most solemn sight indeed. The downtrodden heroes are holding sanctuary against weather and foe alike. Even their most faithful and optimistic of their family, Leonardo is having serious doubt about whether they make a difference in the world at all. The rest of his brothers are struggling with the fact that he may just be right.

At that very moment we then are looking down at these problems from over 30,000 feet. As we peer inside we are shown a woman passenger on an airplane plotting her next move. She is viewing important captured video footage and she discovers a most interesting fact. One of the Turtles in action. She stares intently with a wry smile across her face.

The rest of the issue contains a sweet holiday moment and a harbinger of things to come with our fearless foursome. Not much to do but ride out the calm before the storm and prepare for the war ahead.

Overall: This title was my first taste of comic rebellion in the 1980’s and amen was it ever sweet. It was my alternative to the big “Two” Marvel and DC Comics and it was a sight to behold. From the moment I first laid my eyes on the intense imagery of the black and white original comics of Mirage Studios I have been hooked. The Turtles were so different, such a kidish concept but yet not handled with kid gloves whatsoever. Years later now seeing these adventures in color is quite a sight. (Big ups to Adam Guzowski, the colorist) Honestly, I do maintain that still to this day the art was very rough in some places. Any scene that has April or a normal human being can appear to look juvenile. However the scenes and splash pages with any of the Turtles is something that could be displayed in the Smithsonian. It’s just breathtaking stuff. I remember this storyline well as kid, and years later with the increased color and touch up it doesn’t really increase it’s merit from the filler issue it is. I cannot wait for the remaining chapters of the “City at War” storyline. Even though I know how it turns out, it will be nice to see it through a different “color” lens.

Till the next we meet, it should be a Shell of a time!

Story: Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird Art: Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird and Jim Lawson
Story: 6 Art: 7 Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass (this chapter)

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 01

Dredd01Looking to get into Judge Dredd? I say start at the beginning. Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 01 including 2000 AD Progs 2-60 should be your next read. The lack of color may cause others to pass, but fear not for artist Carlos Ezquerra, Mike McMahon and Brian Bolland are able to provide a stunning amount of detail.

In short as Judge Dredd proclaims he is the law. After reading this you will see there is so much more. A depth of moral struggle to be tough yet fair is entwined with a satirical view of society cast in a post-apocalyptic city where Judges replace the executive branch of government to maintain peace and order. Violent crime and over population in a sprawling city where citizens work only a few hours a week if at all calls for tough measures and harsh punishments. Half way through the book you will find my favorite cell in all of comics. As Dredd cruises along his internal commentary explains the lowest form of crime. Getting kids hooked on old comics.

This collection includes several stories that resolve in a few pages starting out and evolves into the multipart epics that are cornerstones of the Dredd universe.  Brace yourself for war with robots. Then hang in there with Walter, Dredd’s faithful robot servant. He ends up being a pivotal character whose bravery and comic relief will grow on you after a few pages. The same however cannot be said for Maria the cleaning lady. Highlights include Call Me Kenneth, the rookie trial of Judge Giant, the return of Rico and the 22nd Century Futsie. Ah, the futsie. A criminal driven mad by an inability to cope with the speed of space age life. Excused for his crimes due to his condition receives treatment instead of jail time seems out of place where even petty crimes will land you in an ISO-cube.

Story: John Wagner Art: Carlos Ezquerra, Mike McMahon and Brian Bolland
Story: 9 Art: 8 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Reviewer purchased his copy to stay compliant with Mega-City penal code A34-G78. Ignorance to the law is no exception.

Classics Revisited: Watchmen

“Classic Revisited” is a monthly column for (re)exploring and (re)introducing the author and audience to those time-honored gems of comics publications that are considered classic, to consider why they are classic, and to even introduce works not previously considered ‘classic’ into the canon.

1462_400x600Reading a ‘classic’ for the first time is, for me, a daunting task, fraught with a hope that by the time I’ve finished the reading the book or comic/GN (or watching the movie/play/opera/musical) I have hopefully seen everything in the narrative and artistry that gives it the classic status that first compelled me to pick it up, and also rank with the possibility for offering a new interpretation despite my so recent introduction in the face of decades (or centuries) of analysis. Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen is an obvious classic in the comic world, having ushered in an era of comic production sometimes called the Copper Age (though some will argue that Marvel’s Secret Wars launched this Age, the period was inarguably characterized by dark, gritty stories and changing publishing techniques and names). In addition, Watchmen, alongside Maus and a few others, is seen as the graphic novel par excellence, and is often the only graphic novel on lists of best or top books.

Needless to say, reading Watchmen was a daunting enterprise. This article discusses my experience and interpretation, and though it won’t add much to the ongoing conversation about Watchmen‘s legacy, it’s my first foray into critically analyzing this narrative art classic.

Alan Moore’s Story: Heroes, Communism, and Aliens, Oh My!

When writing about Alan Moore’s writing, where to begin? I think anything that needs to be critiqued about his writing style, if anyone has serious critiques for a master of his craft, has already been said. Watchmen, like many of the comics before the 2000s, is jam-packed with dialogue, monologue, and narration, and it takes much longer to read the 28 pages of a single Watchmen chapter than it does to skim through the comparatively wordless, big-panel mainstream books today. There is definitely much more of a focus on books’ look today, than there is on good dialogue (how do you think certain companies, the names of which I will not say here, stay afloat in the cut throat comics market?), though there are still gems of writing on the shelves, and I wouldn’t say that a focus on art is inherently bad, just a shift that has occurred over the past two decades.

Watchmen, to be sure, is one of the most complex books I’ve read. It took over a week to digest, and I read on average 2-3 chapters (of 12) a night, following it up with a re-watch of the Zack Snyder film. I really like Alan Moore’s writing style, especially the dynamic way in which he captures so many different psychological entities, from the stunted speech of the nearly-crazy, right-wing Rorschach to the matter-of-fact Jon (Dr. Manhattan) to the smart but somewhat neurotic Dan (Nite Owl). Dr. Manhattan wins my vote for favorite character, not because of his wacko origin story which hearkens to the best of Stan Lee’s “science” inspired origins, but because he offers a perspective from which Moore can challenge the reader’s mindset, and, for some readers, quite literally blows their minds with his reframing of humanity.

Watchmen is at its core a superhero book, but it’s also a book about meaning. Not just meaning in the trivial sense of “A superhero is a heroic person with powers,” since even this basic meaning is at contended by the narrative’s various players. But the leitmotif of “meaning” wends its way instead into more epistemological territories: asking questions about history, political and moral values (and their correctness); broadly sampling human psychology and wartime paranoia; critiquing economy and big-business capitalism; questioning heroism, superheroism, and Samaritanism; and commenting upon the sacrificial exchange necessary for peace. This scope of themes and ideas, and more so their importance in contemporary (then and now) society is what makes Watchmen a classic. Sure, much less talented people have attempt to throw the same philosophical verbiage in one book, short story, comic, movie, television show, or modern art piece, but did they do it well? Probably not, or else you’d have heard about it by now, at least in the same way that you know Watchmen is always going to be on comic bookstores’ and Barnes & Noble’s bookshelves.

“But the Cold War is over, and that’s what Watchmen really grabs on to. Do I still have to read it?” Well, you don’t have to read anything. But you’d be an ignorant twit if you didn’t. The Civil War is over, as is World War II and the Holocaust, and yet you still learn about the Emancipation Proclamation or go to speeches by Holocaust survivors. Watchmen is just a different way of experiencing American history. I can’t speak for those who grew up during the Cold War, for those who read Watchmen as it came to the market, since I was born in 1991 just a year after the ‘fall’ of the Soviet Union. Watchmen for Americans of my young years is a means to understanding an era which is difficult to grasp, especially when those years are better remembered in VH1’s I Love the 19##s or by jokes about hippies, gifs of Martin Luther King Jr. with feel-good out-of-context quotes, or sleepover viewings of The Breakfast ClubWatchmen reminds us that fear of the Bomb was real, at least for some and for a certain period of time, and that the world was split in two, an egotistical and ideological battle between Red and White (America, right?). It’s a dark, some would argue Gothic, view of world history during a time that has been sugar-coated with psychedelic tie-dye prints, retro-themed school dances, and dress-like-the-80s parties. It’s a classic because it reminds of us things that are hard to remember, and, at least for me, because I study American history and popular culture, it’s a contemporary way of getting the darker side of the times, and a much more effective teaching tool than a dry textbook.

Additionally, there are layers and layers of plot, and I best love the inclusion of a comic within a comic, where the text of the diegetic comic is correlated to events outside of it, and the outside dialogue matches the diegetic action of the comic-in-the-comic. That’s some complex semiotic play that I’d love to deconstruct, and is a testament to the beautiful panel correlation orchestrated by Gibbons.

Dave Gibbons’ Art: Oooh, the Colors!

I must admit, reading Watchmen was my first time with an Alan Moore work, and my first time looking at Dave Gibbons’ art, and I was truly amazed. The first thing I realized right off the bat, is a pretty general critique that I somewhat mentioned above. Along with the recent change to having more focus on the big shiny pictures, there is ironically also a shift away from the panel-clouded page, with very few comics containing more than 6 panels per page, and usually more like 3-5. Gibbons’ pages are, like Alan’s word bubbles, packed with panels, and his panels packed with art. Visually references abound, with easter eggs hidden throughout the book that foreshadow events, make diegetic references to characters or past events, or are subtextually thematic (see below).

As noted above, Watchmen is includes complex juxtaposition between dialogue and panel, and between panels in which the action takes place separately in time and space but their side-by-sideness creates subtle meaning that needs more than a cursory glance to be (1) noticed and (2) deconstructed. And while Gibbons’ panel work is phenomenal and glued my eyes to the pages, adding an extra 20 minutes to the reading of any one chapter, the pièce de résistance is Gibbons’ fantastic color work. My favorite colorist (yes, I actually have one) is Star Wars regular Michael Atiyeh, who makes the galaxy far, far away come to life and has mastered the ability to color across artistic styles, from the cartoony Star Wars: The Clone Wars digests to the more serious material of the regular comics. But now I believe Gibbons might challenge Atiyeh in my eyes for my internal “best colorist” award, not because the colors are realistic, but because the choices are so oddly right. He ranges the color spectrum: light blues, every shade of purple, bright yellows, multiple browns, few blacks, and shocking reds. Watchmen opened my eyes to the way color can really play across a page, setting moods and creating an unrealistic atmosphere than places the reality of characters not in their physical forms, but in their actions and their psychology.

I’m sure I could say much more, but art is a difficult thing to talk about, and so variable across personal preference and experience. So I’ll leave that art critiquing to the people who know what they’re talking about (or the people who think they know).

Anti-Semitism and Homosexuality as Underlying Themes

There are uncomfortable themes of anti-Semitism, the purpose of which is obscured by a first read-through, albeit an attentive-to-detail one. “Knot-heads” killing Hollis Mason, constant references and a final panel of everyone dead at the Pale Horse and Krystalnacht concert, derrogatory comments about a character with a Jewish surname, and a caricature in one of the inserts from the New Frontiersman with a Yiddish-accented businessman. It seems as though perhaps these references are, like many other aspects of the dark, thoughtful, on-the-edge narrative, a critique of anti-Semitic sentiments, though if that’s true it is a rather strange thing, since I don’t believe that anti-Semitism was as prominent in the 1980s as other issues tackled herein, e.g. nuclear warfare. However, perhaps it is best to give the benefit of the doubt; after all, the “knot-head” do all die in the psychological wave that destroys half of New York.

In the same vein, homosexuality is referenced casually a number of times, a rather interesting occurrence for a mainstream comic in the 1980s. There is a casual relationship with Joey and a “knot-top” on the streets of New York, which eventually erupts into violence as the more masculine of the two (Joey) becomes angry about their breakup. Perhaps this is an allusion of the times, since these characters fall into two polar opposites of stereotypes about lesbians: the butch, large, muscular woman who is basically a man with boobs, and the heavy-metal dyke. References are also made to Hooded Justice and Captain Metropolis being gay, noted by James Gifford in a paper in which he argues that the two are easter egged into a panel in the first issue; and accusations of homosexuality are leveled against Rorschach. Like the relationship of the comic with anti-Semitism, I believe attempts at stereotyping a purposeful, since they run the same course as the anti-right wing commentary peppered throughout the book, an attempt to mock the warmongers and haters of equality (*cough Orson Scott Card *cough*).

While anti-Semitism and homophobia are not major themes of the series, and in fact have been barely studied or noticed, these themes are one of the many hidden layers of this complex onion (or parfait) of a graphic novel.


Watchmen is perhaps an obvious classic by now, one of the comics medium’s most beloved, alongside popular graphic novels like Maus or Persepolis. So perhaps this was a throwaway, but where better to start the “Classics Revisited” than with my own first experience with a widely lauded classic? If you haven’t read Watchmen, what are you doing not reading it?!