P.G. Wodehouse writes novels and stories that are easy to read and fairly thin on plot, but that doesn't mean that his books don't have substance. It'...moreP.G. Wodehouse writes novels and stories that are easy to read and fairly thin on plot, but that doesn't mean that his books don't have substance. It's the *way* he writes that's important: the deft characterizations, the dialogue, and the quick wit that's on display in every page that make his books so immensely readable. _Very Good, Jeeves_ is a collection of the Jeeves & Wooster short stories, each of them showing idle bachelor Bertie Wooster involved with some sort of very upper-class tragedy that somehow goes even further downhill, but is always pulled out of the soup by his ingenious "gentleman's personal gentleman", Jeeves. This third volume of the Jeeves & Wooster stories is, like all the others, worth reading: it'll give you a genuine chuckle every page.(less)
**spoiler alert** This book collects all 24 issues of the hit indie comic Scud: The Disposable Assassin, which started out as a crazy-cool black &...more**spoiler alert** This book collects all 24 issues of the hit indie comic Scud: The Disposable Assassin, which started out as a crazy-cool black & white comic full of off-the-wall humour, action, and pop culture references and eventually became something very different. It's not just the story of one super-cool robot killer, but also the story of its creator, Rob Schrab, and about never giving up even when things seem impossibly bad.
The world as set up in the comics is a futuristic society where you can buy disposable robot assassins from vending machines, program them with a target, and let them loose, knowing that when the contract is completed, the Scud will self-destruct. The first twelve issues were full of Scud being birthed from his vending machine, "disposing" of his contract, and going on a bunch of fun, wacky adventures (taking on mob hit contracts, fighting evil Voodoo Benjamin Franklin and his army of undead dinosaurs, defending a town with his replacement werewolf arm, and so on). Full of mindless fun and excitement, something that would perfectly capture the imagination of the mid-90s comics fan (particularly if you weren't looking for anything particularly deep).
But in issue 13, Rob Schrab introduced a quasi-love interest for Scud, and that's when I noticed a real change. The adventures were still ridiculous and funny, but there was a darker undercurrent to all the stories, and the story started escalating at a fantastic pass. I don't know much about what was going on "behind the scenes," but if I had to guess, I would say that Schrab was seeming disappointed with the work, and began using it as a way to work out the stresses in his real life. Again, I'm not saying that's what happened. I just noticed a change in tone, a growing uneasiness with the story as it stood, and introducing more urgent and "serious" subjects. Something that wouldn't have necessarily been a bad thing, but seemed to point at something uncomfortable and ugly in where the story was heading.
So, the stakes kept getting raised higher & higher, and finally it looks like Scud has nowhere else he can go. Then, tust as things seemed hopeless and inescapable...Schrab introduces a dimension-hopping robot horse and Scud & his ladyfriend go on five (apparently) unrelated adventures. And while they were generally good and sometimes more fun, it just seems like Schrab got bored with his original storyline and wanted to abandon it without going through the effort of wrapping anything up. It would have been an interesting story loophole if Schrab ever went to go back to it...but then in issue 20 he did something drastic. Without giving anything away, he basically ripped the last bit of lighthearted fun out of the story, hacked the characters into little pieces, and abandoned the entire enterprise.
For ten years, at least. But after some time had passed, and his personal and professional lives had apparently gotten more manageable, Schrab came back to finish the series. His line had definitely improved, and although the story was still wallowing in darkness and a number of the characters had changed drastically, it seemed like he had recaptured a bit of his earlier spark. And finally, in the oversized issue 24, when everything was at its darkest, Schrab and Scud do what I thought was unthinkable. To paraphrase one of my favourite characters from the series: "We get back everything we lost." Things resolve. And in the most satisfying way possible.
If the series had never been finished, if it was just abandoned at issue 20 and Schrab never came back to it, Scud: The Disposable Assassin would have been worth reading but disappointing seeing the potential fizzle out of it. With this complete edition - that also includes the Drywall: Unzipped one-shot, my favourite story from the collection - Schrab makes the Scud series not only worthwhile reading, but satisfying as well. Scud has his story resolve, Schrab seems to have exorcised his demons, and the reader gets a story that shows that even though things might turn dark, it's not necessarily all for the worst. Or forever. I can't think of a better or more surprising ending for a story about a disposable android hitman.(less)
First things first: I love Mike Allred's style. His 60s aesthetic filtered through 30 years of pop culture developments; his manic, full colour action...moreFirst things first: I love Mike Allred's style. His 60s aesthetic filtered through 30 years of pop culture developments; his manic, full colour action scenes; his deceptively simple characterization; the way he handles the quiet emotional moments of the characters; and the crazy supporting cast he's making for Madman. It's like Metamorpho plus The Bible plus Metal Men plus The Beatles plus Batman plus...plus a million things. He does actual thought-provoking, non-corny existential and existential crises in the midst of mind-blowing action sequences.
There are so many great moments in this collection, from the small moments (the tiny robot with the New York City accent) to the big ones (possibly finding God). And then the twist at the end of this volume? Simply unreal. Love Madman. Love Allred. Love Comics.(less)
The sexual and political ideas in this book are...let me be charitable and say "questionable" at times. But the comic is brilliant.
In the issues conta...moreThe sexual and political ideas in this book are...let me be charitable and say "questionable" at times. But the comic is brilliant.
In the issues contained in this collection, Howard Chaykin did things with page layout, visual storytelling, and dialogue, that surprised me. Funny and shocking, sometimes mindless and sometimes profound, and visually overwhelming, it's a surprisingly complex work, considering what the mainstream companies were coming up with at the time. The "futuristic" setting is dated - unsurprising considering Chaykin was extrapolating from the Cold War Climate of the early 1980s - but it still works, which speaks to the strength of the world that Chaykin constructed. Everything's dynamic: even when the characters are standing still they look like they could spring into action at any second. Also: it's got busty women, go-gang violence, illegal basketball games, political intrigue, betrayal, interplanetary travel, Soviet jewelry, and a talking cat who works at a police station. Incredibly complex and powerful comics, American Flagg is the kind of book that rewards re-reading - something I plan on doing sooner rather than later.(less)
I started off with negative feelings towards this book because the movie version stars Hugh Grant, and he generally puts me off. However, this is a le...moreI started off with negative feelings towards this book because the movie version stars Hugh Grant, and he generally puts me off. However, this is a lesson in not judging a book by its (movie version's poster) cover, because I really liked this book. It would be incredibly hard to have a jerk character befriend a troubled young boy without making it incredibly sappy or completely destroying the main character, but Hornby pulls it off. The problems are real problems, the attitudes are real attitudes, and nothing's magically solved or swept away by the end of the book. There's growth and change, but it's believable and limited, and by the end of the book you're left with the feeling that everyone's done a little bit of growing but there's so much more to do. Despite the preposterous initial premise, this book felt like something that could happen in life. And the dialogue, particularly between Will and Marcus, is terrific. Definitely recommended, I'll probably re-read it one lazy afternoon in the future, and it actually made me want to check out the movie to boot.(less)