Annihilator is a comic i meant to pick up in the floppies but I started that bad habit a little too late to catch the whole run. I felt like a jerk for procrastinating on Between the World & Me for this, but that’s the way it goes. I have stacks of books unread on the shelf. Eh, it’ll only be a two day delay in all. The Coates book feels very of the moment and deserves immediate attention. But, hey… comic books!

Let’s see:

  • Insect-headed exo-suits
  • Bullet of information that travels backwards in time
  • An artificial universe within a universe
  • Nested narrative that comments on itself
  • Fiction becomes reality
  • Plot driven by trickster, often a god

Yep. That’s a Grant Morrison story all right. He’s definitely tuned into something. those must have been some seriously detailed trips to give him so crystallized of a vision of the nature of reality. He’s told some of this story before though. I love it and will probably buy this collection too, but he needs a new game. Then again, i have the last few issues of Multiversity around here unread, as well as the current run of Nameless. Maybe there are some new ideas in there.

Frazer Irving. I love him. Klarion the Witch Boy was one of my favorite of the Seven Soldiers of Victory. I’m still kicking myself for not grabbing a copy of Xombi. He’s probably the reason why I’ll wind up buying the damned book.

Io9 interviews Grant Morrison

Io9 talked to Grant Morrison about his concept for the new incarnation of Heavy Metal.

So he’s reached a dead end for now with American superheroes for awhile, eh? We all knew that. Multiversity is great, but it’s been stuck in production for ages. (That’s cool that next year in 2016 there will be a Multiversity Too though!) Morrison’s turning up his nose at cataclysm. That’s all well and good, because while I love Marvel’s current Secret Wars and the long unfolding apocalypse of Hellboy,((This is a great article in its own right)) it would be nice to turn away from Big Endings for awhile. Then again, this is the man who wrote DC’s Final Crisis. Even Multiversity nicely fits into the storytelling trend he’s bored with. He’s had a significant hand in this long trend. This isn’t about Secret Wars and Hellboy, let alone his own work, anyway. This is about DC getting confused along the way and returning to the well of Infinite Crisis indefinitely.

Morrison never mentions Image, aside from Walking Dead indirectly. Image and the other indie publishers are already doing the comics Morrison wants to do with Heavy Metal. Superheroes are waning anyway. I’m certainly going to love what he comes up with, but he’s not leading the charge here. The Big Two are now the place where writers and artists go to build a name, then return to what they really want to do with a following. Indies aren’t the stepping stone, but the ultimate destination.

(Indian and Chinese culture appropriation, eh? I forgot I bought 18 Days in the flurry of other things.)

This is the part I’m most interested in:

Morrison will write some comics for Heavy Metal, but also wants to do a lot of editorial content—to his mind, the best era of the magazine was when it had William S. Burroughs writing for it, plus interviews with Douglas Adams, talks with scientists, reviews of underground comics, etc. He wants to bring back that editorial content and have a “clubhouse feeling,” like “here’s a place we can all go to.”

Who is the new Burroughs? Who is the new Adams? Which scientists?

Read some more Image

I read some more recent Image comics collected in trades this weekend.

  • They’re Not Like Us. It looked pretty. The art and colors drew me in. I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t realize the writer was the Nowhere Men guy until the end. The initial amorality combined with the coolness seemed a little off-putting, until it was obvious that is by design. With all of the crazy worldbuilding stuff I’ve been reading, it was fun to get into a small little world that focused on unreliable characters.
  • Outcast. Kirkman isn’t a favorite. Walking Dead has never been my thing. Invincible I dug for awhile, but it wore me down. Outcast is spooky so far. The graphic violence is relatively restrained, with the worst only revealed slowly in flashback. There might be an actual mystery to unfold, instead of a grueling deathmarch with the back story only being a MacGuffin. I’m still interested.
  • Velvet. Vol 2. Speaking of unreliable characters… Brubaker & Epting continue to put out some fun comics. It’s strange that superheroes are more prevalent than spy comics. Then again, off the top of my head, the only spy comics I’ve read are Brubaker’s, except for the Jon Sable stuff on First Comics decades ago which I don’t even remember.
  • Genius. I hated this comic. Military genius bullshit. Drones, motherfucker. Stingray. Hailstorm. I cannot play with a concept of an autodidact gangbanger destroying the LAPD playing with modern military tactics while completely ignoring what’s happening in our streets right now. Peaceful protests are getting ripped apart by overwhelming force by a heavily militarized police state and a reader is to play along with the events in Genius as if they are any more plausible than Superman moving the planet Earth out of the way of a comet? Fuck that shit.
  • Southern Bastards. This comic left me unsettled. I’m Southern, but more Louisianan than Southern. Southern Bastards is Alabama. I ha e a peculiar loathing for Alabama than goes beyond football rivalry, as I don’t give a shit about football. Football. Southern Bastards is also about football. How the hell did I get hooked on this? I read both volumes back to back and the story still has its hooks in me. Both volumes pulled the rug out from my expectations, although by the second volume, I had my guard up. Grotesque and mythic. It celebrates and damns a culture I see on the horizon like an eternal storm.

more comic book hoarding

A new batch of Image trade paperback collections have popped up in the bookstore. I’m scrambling to read or buy what I can. Between the short shelf life of some titles and thieving teenagers, I often have to grab what I can early or wind up ordering them, which is always an obstacle. I’m so impulsive that I can plan that far ahead. I was planning to get the rest of East of West, as I’ve been reading them all along, thinking I’m not enthusiastic enough to own them,. However it clicked awhile back. It’s on on back burner while I investigate the newer stuff. Titles I’m acquiring:

  • The Autumnlands. One of the guys at the LCS swears by it. It was a surprise to see Busiek writes it. In flipping open the first few pages, I’m already impressed by the surprising details like lamplighting and emptying chamberpots. That doesn’t necessarily make good story, but an artist who is conscious of acts like these while drawing fantasy makes me want to pay attention. It’s already a more plausible world, even if everyone is a bipedal animal. Sinewy, muscly fantasy.
  • Wytches. The forums won’t shut up about this one. Snyder’s Batman is not my favorite. He writes some good stories, but I loathe his Joker. I wasn’t into his Swamp Thing either. American Vampire (sprawling) and The Wake (oddly abbreviated) were enjoyable. Jock. I often forget to follow his art. Last thing I recall was an odd one-off Wolverine story. Wytches is already going to be a movie, eh? I don’t know about this, even though it looks gorgeous. Comics designed to be movies are tiresome. Horror.
  • Wicked & Divine Vol. 2. Honestly, I don’t own vol. 1 yet but I will. This title doesn’t do as much for me, but I want to see where it goes. It’s peculiar that I enjoy the work of each of these guys more separately than when they work together. I don’t look back on the Poptimism years in the early ’00s fondly. Gillen’s great when he’s writing trickster gods or deviant despots, but his take on self-possessed, self-aware teens puts me off. Mckelvie’s art is unnaturally pretty. His character designs make me want more, but his action leaves me cold. They’re static moments. Likely this collection will put me on some axe-grinding tangent, but the truth is that I enjoy that they’re making these comics, as they need to exist and I’ll appreciate them more in the long run.
  • ODY-C. Oh, this is what Fraction has been up to. (Aside from Sex Criminals. I already read that though.) Again, slipped right under my radar. The colors and images look groovy. Letting Christian Ward’s work wash over me after a couple of glasses of wine will be nice. Sci-fi gender swapped Odyssey? Yeah, I can roll with that.
  • Rumble. Again, it seemed like the comic forums I read don’t talk about this one at all. It’s hard to tell whether because those forums suck or this title is underwhelming. Regardless, it’s by the team of that has been on B.P.R.D. for ages and deserves a chance.

Almost all Image titles I prefer in trades obviously. It feels like a Golden Age in creativity.

Grant Morrison to be new editor in chief of Heavy Metal

Grant Morrison as EIC of Heavy Metal. The first issue doesn’t appear until February of next year.

I’m… excited? Honestly, I’m not sure what to expect. I came to Morrison’s work later than some, popping in right as Morrison transitioned to Marvel. the bookstore in which I previously worked didn’t carry graphic novels. The new bookstore, inferior in almost every other way, did carry them and lots of them. I read every comic on the shelves, Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Image, and any manga. Morrison wowed me most at that time. I bought everything I could afford as the years dragged on. The Invisibles held a special place because it ticced off every obsession of my teen years (although by that time I was in my thirties.) He’s not exactly my favorite comic writer, as I have no concrete pantheon, but he’d rank near the top.

There’s part of me that feels Morrison is well past his peak, because he’s been at DC for quite awhile and I’ve not seen anything from him that I bought. It’s not true. I loved his Batman run, despite it actually not being weird enough. The just completed Multiversity is amazing. I’ve bought Nameless and Annihilator, but am still filling in missing issues, as these started right before I settled into buying select monthly titles. I snapped up 18 Days last week, although it too is unread. Morrison himself seems bored with superheroes.

Heavy Metal. I’ve told a few friends that I don’t care for Heavy Metal. The tits and ass with sword and rayguns it’s traded in for decades does nothing for me. However, I’ve mentioned a few times about a kid back when I was in grade school who smuggled issues of Heavy Metal onto the schoolbus when I was a kid in the ’70s. The weirdness of them stuck with me as much as the battered, coverless copies of EC Comics I read in the barbershop.1 Metal Hurlant is where it was at. The stuff that I connected with in Heavy Metal seems to have been uniformly reprinted from its French predecessor.

Morrison’s collaborators have almost always impressed me. (It’s funny that Frazer Irving didn’t know he was going to be in the magazine.) As EIC, he would likely have the same eye for interesting talent. His aesthetics are still what I align with naturally.

Part of me wishes he’d ask for work from Jim Woodring and David B, but they already have platforms to reach their audiences. I need to support their publishers more as is.

It’s the writing I’m curious about. Who does Morrison connect with in writing? He and Ellis have never worked together to my knowledge but Ellis used to write at length about the state of short story anthology magazines. Would he be interested?

It seems like Vice would already have certain other writers that might work on an new incarnation of Heavy Metal too. I need to research more. I don’t know enough.

  1. Yes, really. These things freaked me the hell out and I’m still curious as to how they survived and wound up in Loranger, LA. They were probably belonged to the son of the barber and he never looked inside. []