I like Volume 2 better actually, much better, as an inter-connected story. That has the serial killers' convention and this has the gathering of ugly-...moreI like Volume 2 better actually, much better, as an inter-connected story. That has the serial killers' convention and this has the gathering of ugly-looking things begging for the key to hell. Oh joy.
Good storytelling, but ridiculously overrated story arc. Certainly important and crucial to the mythos of Sandman, probably leading to its absurdly high rep.(less)
Both the artwork and the writing has a tenth of the charm of most of Herge's later work on the Tintin comics, but that's still enough for this to be a...moreBoth the artwork and the writing has a tenth of the charm of most of Herge's later work on the Tintin comics, but that's still enough for this to be a pretty fun, quick read. A surprising amount of political satire on the soviets (some falls flat, some surprisingly hilarious), and drunken polar bears amongst other things. Quite amusing, if primitive and basic when compared to the lush, wonderful nature of most of the Tintin stories. (less)
A lot of fun, and a great introduction to the world which Spawn inhabits and to the characters. Some hackneyed writing is overcome by an emotional qua...moreA lot of fun, and a great introduction to the world which Spawn inhabits and to the characters. Some hackneyed writing is overcome by an emotional quality and the hideous beauty of the artwork, as well as the compelling stories. I don't know if I'd ever consider this a sophisticated comic, but it's a good one.
This trade paperback contains the first five issues.(less)
this one is a thoroughly mixed bag. After the awesome first five issues McFarlane goes a step in the wrong direction with issues #6 and 7, and Overt-K...morethis one is a thoroughly mixed bag. After the awesome first five issues McFarlane goes a step in the wrong direction with issues #6 and 7, and Overt-Killer is just really, really lame.
Luckily issue #8 sees Alan Moore come on board as a guest writer and the result is a pretty brilliant piece of fantasy. Same goes for Neil Gaiman's issue #9. Both these are easily worth 5/5.
Then comes Dave Sim, whose issue is a semi-decent attempt at shoe-horning his Cerebus into a Spawn story. Issue #11 is truly awful, the epitome of why Frank Miller sucks so immensely as a writer. Truly miserable.
So, a thoroughly mixed bag, and a collection of issues which resulted in, believe it or not, more than one lawsuit. The Gaiman and Moore issues are brilliant though. (less)
it's hard for me to say this without seeming like kind of a dick, but with mainstream superhero comics like Batman, the storytelling is generally of a...moreit's hard for me to say this without seeming like kind of a dick, but with mainstream superhero comics like Batman, the storytelling is generally of a consistently okay level, a level occasionally transcended by great writers and artists, who produce genuinely very good work. There's certainly a lot to remember about The Killing Joke, but I'm not sure it's truly transcendent as much as it is memorable and sort of cool. It's definitely nowhere near Alan Moore's best work as writer, and the thematic stuff, while fascinating and very clever in the abstract, comes off as laboured and maybe a bit pretentious (and I don't use that word as often as most people do) on the page more often than not.
It's definitely good, and better than most Batman comics I've read. I'm just not sure I think it's as good as a lot of other people seem to think, and I wouldn't put it in the elite category of Batman trades.(less)
It's mostly just readable and kinda sorta captivating. I like the art a lot, but the script was just okay, and actually quite bad in places. It's wort...moreIt's mostly just readable and kinda sorta captivating. I like the art a lot, but the script was just okay, and actually quite bad in places. It's worth reading once, I suppose.(less)
McKean's artwork is just staggeringly good. I don't have much else to say about it.
The effect of the thing is very Lynchian more than anything else. I...moreMcKean's artwork is just staggeringly good. I don't have much else to say about it.
The effect of the thing is very Lynchian more than anything else. I think Lynch doing this as a movie would be utterly awesome. It's very much in that same category where you have to feel and experience it, where a close reading is actually less rewarding (and fuck you Grant Morrison, if you disagree) than just letting it wash over you. It plays on the emotions and is really very dreamlike and atmospheric.
It's really hard to write about this book without coming off as sort of pretentious. Grant Morrison himself comes off as sort of pretentious when he writes, introducing the copy of the final draft of the script included at the back of the soft cover, that:
"The story's themes were inspired by Lewis Carroll, quantum physics, Jung and Crowley, its visual style by surrealism, Eastern European creepiness, Cocteau, Artaud, Svankmajer, the Brothers Quay, etc. The intention was to create something that was more like a piece of music or an experimental film than a typical adventure comic book. I wanted to apprroach Batman from the point of view of the dreamlike, emotional and irrational hemisphere, as a response to the very literal, "realistic" "left-brain" treatment of superheroes which was in vogue at the time, in the wake of THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, WATCHMEN, and others."
or in the script and footnotes, where he explains a fuckton of the symbolism etc. and occasionally comes off as very clever and occasionally as maybe well read but not all that smart (i.e. inevitably pretentious). That this stuff is in the script is mostly fine, but he uses the footnotes to provide 'insight' to us as well, like when he talks about how the story's construction is based on the architecture of a house, and how the journey of the book is like moving through the floors of a house itself.
Some of the footnotes are useful, however. Morrison's clarification of his characterization of Batman in Arkham Asylum is especially worth noting, considering how often that is used as a criticism of Morrison's writing here.
I would not suggest reading the script/footnotes. It does nothing to enhance the experience and everything to degrade it. Imagine watching a comedic film and being given an annotated copy of the script at the end, a copy that explains every joke in detail.
The effect of Arkham Asylum in itself is exhilirating. It's not in that frustrating 'not your daddy's Batman' category of The Dark Knight or something, it's just unlike any other Batman story. It's not supposed to be like any other Batman story. It does feel more like watching an 'art film' than reading even a very good comic book/'graphic novel.' All that pretentious blabber I quoted from Morrison up there, it's true. All of it. It came out exactly as planned (actually, probably better than planned considering some of the imagery).
Preacher was one of the first comics I got into outside of the big famous superhero stuff, which I only have limited interest in. It's also how I met...morePreacher was one of the first comics I got into outside of the big famous superhero stuff, which I only have limited interest in. It's also how I met my first girlfriend; we were buying the same Preacher book at the counter and we got to talking and what not. So Preacher's been a relatively important thing in my life. It was also the first thing of its type I fell for, well before I had any appreciation for witty, over-the-top gonzo pulpy pomo-ey movies, for example.
And reading Preacher now is a different experience, but I like it no less. A reread of the entire run has long been due, and while I've had several false starts (Gone to Texas I've read many more times than later collections), I think I'm ready to take all of them on.
Preacher is great fun. It's wildly over-the-top, unbelievably violent, often hysterically funny, and gloriously indecent, everything it's known for, in short, but it's also a fantastic piece of comic book storytelling. The art by Steve Dillon is perfect for Ennis' scripts; Dillon does a great job of capturing mood and mimicking the visual style of whatever film genre is being paid homage or parodied, but also develops an aesthetic that is entirely Preacher's own. And Ennis' writing is also impressive that way. This comic is one cliche and genre convention after another (and certainly you'll probably like Preacher better if you're well-versed in movies and pop culture), but the end product is entirely its own thing. There have been imitations, there have been predecessors, but Preacher is Preacher and it's awfully hard to find anything that's really especially like it.
This opening collection (of the first seven issues) is just good, not exceptional, and not nearly as insanely entertaining as some of the later trade paperbacks are. The first four issues are great fun and do a good job of setting up the rest of the run and introducing the characters, but the latter three, Preacher's take on The Naked City, have few real bright spots. (less)
"Orpheus" and "Ramadan" are amazing. Neil Gaiman and the Sandman stories at the height of their power and resonance. None of the other stuff is as goo...more"Orpheus" and "Ramadan" are amazing. Neil Gaiman and the Sandman stories at the height of their power and resonance. None of the other stuff is as good, but none of it is bad, either. Much of it just isn't all that memorable.(less)
I surely don't need to point out the similarities between The Sandman and Doctor Who. Brief Lives is kind of like a Doctor Who story focused entirely...moreI surely don't need to point out the similarities between The Sandman and Doctor Who. Brief Lives is kind of like a Doctor Who story focused entirely on Gallifreyan stuff, very tied to the nature of the Doctor and his home planet and the Timelords, etc etc. This is all about the Endless, the whole story arc is, really, and that just doesn't seem all that interesting to me, much like I'd be less concerned with the aforementioned Doctor Who story than other ones. I realize this puts me in a different camp than plenty of other readers/watchers.
Gotta say, though, aside from some all too cutesy bits, Brief Lives is an unexpected (to me) triumph. Gaiman juggles the characters and situations brilliantly, and ends up producing an immensely sophisticated narrative. I still prefer other sorts of Sandman narratives to the whole Endless deal, but I have to admit that this is a pretty great story arc. (less)
The Angelville storyline is Preacher in nearly peak form. These issues get real sweet and touching w/r/t Jesse and Tulip's romance and Jesse's relatio...moreThe Angelville storyline is Preacher in nearly peak form. These issues get real sweet and touching w/r/t Jesse and Tulip's romance and Jesse's relationship with his father and mother, but also include God's first appearance in the series (He is suitably douchey), some good John Wayne stuff, and some typically over-the-top twisted stuff about Jesse's childhood, featuring his fucking evil grandma, among other things.
Unfortunately, this collection's quality dips hugely with the Jesus de Sade issues, which consist mostly of obligatory setup and strained attempts at humour and gross-outs.
The final issue picks things up a bit. Turns out Jesse prefers Germaine Greer over Andrea Dworkin. (less)