Archive for March, 2008


March 4th, 2008 by jason

Written and illustrated by Jeff Smith

Wow. A new comic from the creator of Bone. And it’s stunning. The artwork is beautiful. Jeff’s style is evocative of the best animators in the business. It’s a cartoon in still-life, making you want to forget that Pixar ever came into being. In an interview, he said that his primary influences have been Carl Barks, of Duckburg fame, and Walt Kelly, the creator of Pogo. You can see a definite evolution from Uncle Scrooge to Pogo to Fone Bone, and while RASL isn’t anthropomorphic animals (or Bones), that same sense of design is there.

RASL (first name? Initials?) is a thief, a cat burglar, with a taste for fine art, not so fine hooch, and cigars. He’s also good at getting out of tight spots, which he appears to have no trouble getting into in the first place. This is a noir story, where we’re coming in after a lot of the action has occurred. RASL is injured, but appears meditative, and then we’re taken back to what happened to him. Or at least a part of what happened to him. In fact, RASL and Kick-Ass both kind of start the same way. The heroes of our stories are injured, in danger, something dire has happened to them, and we start finding out what, piece by piece. This was a common trope of noir films, such as D.O.A, Double Indemnity and Sunset Boulevard, where we know the ultimate fate of the protagonist, and the unraveling mystery is how they got there. And how did RASL get to the desert? We’ve barely begun to find out, but what was revealed in this first issue is enough to hook me. There’s a combination of the fantastic and the mundane, a combination of noir and sci-fi, a little bit of Chinatown and a little bit of Blade Runner, with a touch of Looney Tunes thrown in for good measure.

The next issue comes out in May, according to the last page of this one. It’s going to be a tough wait.

Kick-Ass #1

March 3rd, 2008 by jason

Kick-AssWritten by Mark Millar, drawn by John Romita, Jr.

Awesome comic. Creator-owned, so not beholden to Marvel, although they do a lot of name-dropping of Marvel stuff in there, which makes sense since it’s an Icon book (Marvel’s creator-owned imprint–they publish Powers).

It’s about a teenager who decides to become a super-hero. He doesn’t have any powers, he doesn’t have any special training, he just has a costume and the balls to do it (although maybe not for much longer after the third page). The rest of the issue is a flashback of his “origin”, what there is of it.

I’m kind of surprised by how much I liked the comic. I’m not a huge fan of either Millar, or Romita Jr, but don’t really have anything against either of them. Romita Jr’s art really works here, although I keep picturing the main character as a cross between Sprite from the Eternals and Ken Connell from Starbrand. The first issue goes by really fast, but that seems to be the state of comics these days–everything seems to be written for the trade, or maybe that’s just the expectation that we give comics now. I finished it wanting to read more right away.

The story itself seemed very realistic to me in terms of what a teenager, what I as a teenager, might think of doing. That you might actually think it’s a good idea to put on a costume and go beat up bad guys, and how that might end up not working out so well for you. It’s pretty brutal, both in violence and in how teenagers get treated by each other.