I missed getting comics last week due to all that holiday madness so I had a huge haul this week. Add to that the fortuitous little sale at my local shop and boom, Ben buys $80 worth of comics at the drop of a hat. I couldn’t help myself. Now I’m not going over every single issue, too many, but I want to highlight some of my favorite reads.
The Ghoul #1-3
An awesome limited series by artist Steve Niles and Bernie Wrightson, the Ghoul is a monstrous government employee who investigates paranormal disturbances around the world. Sounds like Hellboy right? There are some nice things about the Ghoul that differentiate him from Mignola’s red demon. The Ghoul is still a mystery to the world, making the entire tone of the story a little more tense whenever he’s out in the world.
Also, the Ghoul is much more… human. I suppose that doesn’t make much sense but he’s more worldly, more in tune with the mortal plane. He eats our food, he uses our guns (to awesome effect), and doesn’t have a depressing prophecy hanging over his head. But enough about the Ghoul himself, what about the comic?
It’s got a decent story, nothing ground breaking, but it’s a fun supernatural thriller of sorts. Niles does a great job of fleshing out the Ghoul, his personality, and the world he inhabits, someplace not too different from our own. The rest of the characters aren’t exactly ancillary but Detective Klimpt provides a necessary neophyte foil to the Ghoul’s battle-hardened veteran persona and I thought Dr. Macabre and the Dead Detective were fun additions to the plot, however short their appearances.
Wrightson does a wonderful job setting the tone of the tale with his pencils. Everything is dark, nothing is pretty. The words “gritty” and “sublime” come to mind. The Ghoul is appropriately monstrous, as are his enemies. Unfortunately, Wrightson only gets 21 pages to work with as 5 pages are used for a nice little back-up story that helps to more thoroughly explain who the Ghoul is, his motivations, and his history.
Honestly, I really enjoyed The Ghoul. It doesn’t redefine the horror/detective genre but the writing is solid, the art fits well, and the comic is fun. What more do you want?
Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows continue to drag me down their horrifying sexual rabbit hole inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Obviously an homage to the late great master of terror, the entire story revolves around the old gods of Lovecraftian lore, and I’m hanging on every word. Yet I can’t help but be repulsed by the plot and imagery at the same time!
In this book women are raped by super natural entities in the worst ways, thankfully off panel, but there’s a method to the madness. While interspecies sex is involved, it is a means to an end, and Moore knows that the most taboo subjects are oftentimes the most intriguing.
I wish I could explain this comic book better, or at least more intelligently, because there is something about it that keeps me coming back for multiple reads. The writing is superb, as is par for the course when it comes to Alan Moore, and Jacen Burrows’ art can’t help but fit the tale like a glove, both disgusting and captivating at the same time. This comic pits logical people against irrational realities and it’s a delight trying to figure out the story with them.
Finder: Sin-Eater, vol. 1
Whatever I write here won’t be able to do this book justice. I just simply haven’t given it enough time to gestate in my head, but I need to say something about it. Ok, so I don’t know what’s going on really when it comes to the plot. There isn’t much of a plot per se in this volume. The story follows Jaeger, a finder, through his meandering day to day existence.
Sounds a little dull right? Well you would be terribly wrong. Carla Speed McNeil does such a good job writing her characters: Jaeger and everyone he interacts with, you could swear you’d met their real life double somewhere. They all fit. Their words roll off their fictional tongues as though they were talking TO you. Also, the lettering is wonderfully done and I’ve never been one to notice lettering. Some speech bubbles simply brim with personality and tone and that was nice to notice.
The art is probably the weakest part of the book but that is no means an indicator of poor pencils or inks. It’s simply the least consistent part of the comic. Sometimes it’s difficult to differentiate between characters, which isn’t too big a complaint really. You can actually see a difference between the first pages and the last, as Carla gets a better handle on her characters, line width, that sort of thing. It’s a beautiful book though, filled with characters straight out of a sci-fi movie, in very familiar circumstances.
Do yourself a favor, read Finder.
Other comics I picked up this week in no particular order: Haunt #12, Green Lantern Corps #55, Chew #16, Uncanny X-Men #531, Invincible #76, X-Men: Curse of the Mutants #6, Ultimate Doom #1, Wednesday Comics #1-11, Hulk #28, Last Call, vol. 1, One Bad Day, Green Lantern #61, Ultimate Comics Avengers #5, Hellboy The Sleeping and the Dead #1, Astonishing X-Men Xenogenesis #4, Scalped #44.