Posts Tagged ‘vertigo’

BULLETS, BLOOD, AND BLASPHEMY

April 12, 2009

The first two volumes of PREACHER left me with a feeling similar to the one that followed THE DARK KNIGHT STRIKES AGAIN, and by that I mean a feeling of dizziness and delirium. In my opinion, these two volumes were packed with just the right amounts of bullets, blood, and blasphemy to keep me turning the pages.

Writer Garth Ennis and artist Steve Dillon team up to tell the story of Jesse Custer, a hard drinking pseudo-preacher endowed with the word of God, on the run from renegade angels, rogue cowboys, the government and his own grandmother. It’s a fast and frenetic barrage of drugs, violence, perversion and religion. You might be able to say it’s DOGMA meets PULP FICTION with a southern flair. You could definitely say it’s sick, in all meanings of the word.

While I enjoyed Ennis’s southern / western dialogue and motifs, I feel as though I were more won over by Dillon’s artwork. While his line work is fairly straightforward, it still draws the viewer in and effectively conveys info on the fly. His action scenes whiz by fluidly, and while the way he draws blood is extremely bloody, the violence is typically glossed over in a KILL BILL kind of way- awesome but without the gravity of actual violence. Bullets blow entire holes in faces and eye sockets, like punching holes through paper. It’s raw but not overwhelmingly intense. Furthermore, I find Dillon’s layout extremely inspiring. I don’t often see jagged panel edges and an embracement of white / negative space in a professional comic book, but I do believe that it cleverly adds to the frantic fuck-it-all feeling of PREACHER.

I wasn’t as seduced by PREACHER as I was by Vaughan and Guerra’s Y: THE LAST MAN (which I just finished in its ten volume entirety, and was absolutely floored by). But Vaughan’s homage to PREACHER via Yorick’s “Fuck Communism” lighter (which I would love for my birthday, if anyone wants to buy me one) encourages me to keep on chugging through it.

LAST DANCE

March 31, 2009

ythelastmanOn page 32 of Y: THE LAST MAN, 2.9 billion men (and every other creature with a Y chromosome) suffer spontaneous asphyxiation, followed by a violent outpouring of blood from every facial orifice, and subsequent death.

How sick is that?

Writer Brian K. Vaughn and artist Pia Guerra catapult you headfirst into a world half empty (or half full?), decimated by death and in quite a pickle: how will life proceed after all the men have died?

Or more accurately, how will life proceed after all but one of the men have died? For you see, Brooklynite and budding escape-artist Yorick Brown (and his male Capuchin “Ampersand”) has been mysteriously spared. He is – effectively – the last man. So what now? What do the women want from him? Some want to sleep with him. Some want to kill him. But all Yorick wants is to find his girlfriend.

And thusly we enter the world of Y:TLM, and in my opinion, it’s hard not to be fully immersed. Vaughn and his cast of artists do a bang-up job with each page, employing a clean-line style and a varied panel layout to best suit the story. Each panel pleases the eye, but more importantly, conveys information quickly and efficiently. Vaughn takes a cue from traditional television writing (I believe Vaughn is a writer on ABC’s LOST) – every issue ends with a gutwrenching cliffhanger. There is simply no time to spare with Y:TLM, you just have to see what’s going to happen next.

While Vaughn’s story is fairly original, it does harken back to some of the classic sci-fi of my childhood (mainly THE OMEGA MAN, THE WARRIORS,

... I knew him well, Horatio.

"... I knew him well, Horatio."

and the PLANET OF THE APES series). However, while science-fiction often attempts to transport its audience to a world alien from their own, Y:TLM is rife with cultural references that anchor it in the American mindset circa 2002. Amongst references to 9/11, Harry Houdini, and obvious nods to the Bard, I counted subtler references to the Pixies, Paul Simon, Miller’s Crossing, and “Space Oddity.” But while I’m normally turned off by these devices, I really enjoyed them in Y:TLM. Sure, they date the work in a specific time and place, but they also heighten the credibility and realism of it. Also, these references are usually spat by Yorick, and in the form of a witty joke, and who doesn’t like a witty joke?

I must admit, sometimes Yorick is a bit too witty, considering half of his friends and family are dead, and a rogue gang of one-breasted lesbians want to kill him. Despite his deftness in the art of escape, he seems to often do brash, stupid things that require these escapes. Even three volumes in, I feel like Yorick is one of the characters I know the least about. But I’m not so worried, because I have seven more volumes to get to know him. And as impulsive and enigmatic as he may be at this point, he may also very well be earth’s last chance.

And with no yearning desire to explain how this links thematically or intellectually with Y: THE LAST MAN – –

Donna Summer – Last Dance