Create, Consume, Recycle 06/13/11

June 13th, 2011 by | Tags: , ,

stuff i made

-A quick preview of Adam Warren and Emily Warren’s Empowered: Ten Questions for the Maidman, a one-shot released last week that was pretty dope.

Graphicly just redesigned their site, and I took a quick look at what works.

-This is the remix: I took this post about X-Men First Class and turned it into this post, inviting dozens of comments from idiots about race. That sorta thing is sorta why I hate writing about race for a mass audience, because sucker ducks always got something to say. Whatever though. I’m gonna go sleep on this pile of money.

something i like

Four pages from Mike Mignola, Duncan Fegredo, and Dave Stewart’s Hellboy: The Fury, a series that’s going to be positively apocalyptic and more worthy of your attention than pretty much any other ongoing comic:

There’s something incredibly pure about Hellboy these days. Mignola and company have been pumping out quick series or one-shots that do a lot with a little. With The Fury, we’ve got three issues that can go in any direction, save for maybe the death of Hellboy. Then again, we’ve already seen him maimed, so that might not even be off the table.

This intro is enormously effective. It brings to mind a ton of things. I look at it and see a boxer’s long walk to the ring. It’s the stranger riding into town while strangers grip their pistols and spit. It’s Deebo walking up and everyone in the hood going silent. It’s the beginning of the big war conference in any movie ever, where warriors bang shields and monsters roar at the moon. Lightning strikes either as a show of approval or as an omen of disaster.

“Now I am become Death,” the witches say as they look on their handiwork. “The destroyer of worlds.” They’re not as powerful as they thought they were, and now they’re wracked with doubt and guilt. Then they spot a lone figure walking out of nowhere, and begin creating stories about him to suit their purpose.

“It’s Odin out wandering the world.” Wise and all-seeing, Hellboy is the all-father in human form. Wikipedia tells me that Odin is “related to ōðr, meaning ‘fury, excitation,’ besides ‘mind,’ or ‘poetry.'” There you have the title of the series and the tone. The Fury is the epic poem of Hellboy’s life. Hellboy’s stuck in a Homeric tale, and he’s almost at the end of his run.

“He carries a hammer. Thor then.” He’s the thunder and the lightning, destruction and health, a terrifying protector. A hammer is used to build and destroy. Sometimes that’s the same thing. The myth parallels Hellboy’s journey, too. Thor battles Jormungand, the Midgard Serpent.

Hellboy is every god, every hero, every messiah, and not in some stupid Joseph Campbell sort of way, either. He’s fighting something that is the ultimate evil, so it stands to reason that he has to be the ultimate good. The only thing that matters is beating her.

This is the eschaton in progress, where evil breathes in before pulling the trigger and heroes stride down off the mountain, glorious in demeanor and unafraid of death.

It’s Mignola synthesizing all of his interests, from myths to ghost stories to Jack Kirby comics, and creating something fearsome.

More than anything, though, this has what a lot of theoretically exciting cape comics lack. This is exciting. It builds tension. This is how you do the slow walk.

Funny coincidence. Marvel’s Fear Itself, courtesy of Matt Fraction, Stuart Immonen, Wade Von Grawbadger, and Laura Martin, features the Asgardian host battling an ancient evils. I picked up the first issue and found it overwritten by far, though the art was nice. It had a bunch of people telling you why something’s scary or dangerous instead of that thing putting the fear of God in your heart. What little tension there is isn’t earned at all.

Fear Itself didn’t feel effortless like this does. The Fury is a snowball rolling down a steep hill, and the weight of the past few years does it wonders, but the difference is still striking. Maybe that’s unfair. I don’t think so, though.

There’s a gang of Hellboy available digitally. Read ’em in order, or check out The Island and the Third Wish, Makoma, or Buster Oakley Gets His Wish. I like those a lot, especially Makoma and Buster. Corben and Nowlan are beasts. Nobody should be able to draw cows as cool as Nowlan does.

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12 comments to “Create, Consume, Recycle 06/13/11”

  1. I read your piece on Comics Alliance and also was disappointed by some of the comments. Don’t let it get you down man… it’s important that people hear about the racism and the portrayal of people (regardless of ethnic group) in media. Even if some people don’t want to hear about it or even want to think about it, problems like that don’t go away on their own.

    I just want to encourage your writings and thoughts about race in comics, because it’s something that honestly needs evaluation and observation. Keep fighting the good fight, man.

  2. You mentioned that The Fury’s tension is helped by the years of Hellboy that came before it, but is it possible to start with Hellboy here? The previews look really cool but I haven’t actually read any Hellboy before – I saw one of the animated movies forever ago, and I think I get kind of the basic idea of Hellboy. Is there anything specific I should read before this? Or do I have to like go back and read ten trades before I can come at this thing and get the full enjoyment?

  3. @Munkiman: That’s tough to tell. You don’t need to have read all of Hellboy to get it at all, I don’t think. Hellboy has some great recap pages, but for the full effect… the Duncan Fegredo stuff would work for you. I would backtrack to Hellboy, Vol. 8: Darkness Calls, and then read Hellboy, Vol. 9: The Wild Hunt, and then pick up the currently uncollected 3 issue mini The Storm, which leads directly into The Fury. That’ll give you 80% of what you’ll need to really dig this, and you can fill in the blanks later. A lot of development happens in short stories that get recapped or mentioned during newer stories, so you’ll be good.

    But yeah, two trades + three issues and you’re good to go.

  4. I’d like to thank you for adding “sucker ducks” to my vocabulary.

    I echo what dichotomic said. Chumps will be chumps.

  5. I’ve really liked what Fegredo has been doing with Hellboy during his run. His arts more busy then Mignola , true, and sometimes it does get too cluttered. But damn, every issue he seems to get better an better, an hes made some incredible, epic visuals. That last page with Baba Yaga in The Storm #3, that was perfect.

    And he draws zombies like a boss, so I’m glad hes on board.

  6. Haven’t seen the movie, so I can’t make an argument for or against your point – although I can say having read your writing on this site for the last two years I trust you, and feel like when you bring it up there is always something important and interesting to say about race in comics, even if I don’t always agree with it 100 %.

    But man, I read the comics alliance post and saw a smattering of reasonable posts that disagreed with you to some extent, but in a logical way, and I was pleasantly surprised. Jump to now, and so many more comments, and HOLY GOD but that’s some ignorant BS. Most incredible is the notion that people get to decide that Kravitz’ daughter isn’t black, b/c, you know, that’s something they are able to make judgement calls on.

    You really making a pile of money? I need to start writing on comics.

  7. *Reads posts about how Kravitz’ daughter is actually Jewish and not Black and so that means it totally ISN’T racism*

    Ow ow ow ow ow

    I’m glad that CA has basically replaced Blog@ as the go to place for comics blogging, but man I wish you guys hadn’t got all of the stupid from there as well…

  8. What’s priceless to me are the comments implying that the racial politics of the movie are a secondary concern to REAL pressing issues, like how Emma Frost is an adult in this but a kid in the Wolverine movie

  9. . . . now reading the multilevel discussion of whether Darwin can die when white men shove things down his throat according to the rigorous laws of superhero movie physics:

    Yes, but the internal body pressure of land animals on earth is about 14lbs per sq. inch, aka. what’s necessary to equalize with atmospheric pressure. In a vacuum there is no atmospheric pressure, but our bodies still have internal pressure, so

    This is the gift that keeps on giving. I guess this is how these comics get sold.

  10. Those four pages almost stand as a story in and of themselves. I gotta pick this up.

  11. And the ultimate irony: Fraction is a huge Hellboy fan.

  12. Finally got down to pick up Hellboy: the Fury. So good. I don’t know if Hellboy’s death is off the table, though. Unlike just about every other comic out there right now, I think there is definitely a planned date when Hellboy will end.