Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!
Today we take a look at Garth Ennis and Mike Wolfer’s series, Streets of Glory…
Streets of Glory was a six-issue mini-series that Garth Ennis did for Avatar before beginning his just-finished series, Crossed.
It is an exceptionally straightforward plot, but Ennis, being one of the most technically gifted comic book writers that I know of today, makes the straightforward plot sing. Typically, when people take issue with Ennis, it is the subject matter of his comics (too violent, too male centric, etc.) that drives them nuts – but taking that out of the equation, the man is an exceptionally gifted story craftsman. And if you’re like me and you are not put off by his subject matter, then boy is he a great comic book writer.
Streets of Glory is roughly a mixture of the Wild Bunch with…hmm…I dunno, There Will Be Blood, maybe?
It’s about an aging gunfighter, Joe Dunn, who comes out of “retirement” (or some semibalance of retirement) to return to civilization in a frontier town in Montana. Peter Lorrimer, who narrates the story (set in 1895) from the late 1940s/early 1950s….
is a young man coming to work with his brother (who has lied to their parents about being a bartender and aspiring to purchase an alehouse from an old friend of Dunn’s).
Sadly, bandits kill Peter’s brother (there’s a great bit where Peter and his brother Francis delight in the way that in the frontier, they are now suddenly calling each other “Pete” and “Frank”), but Dunn arrives to slaughter them (in graphic fashion).
However, this being the end of the 19th Century, the whole idea of the “wild” west is becoming outdated (like it was in The Wild Bunch).
Ennis portrays the villain of the piece as a man who wants to bring commerce to the people whether they want it or not…
(Morrison reminds me of Daniel Plainview from There Will Be Blood).
I suppose that a major theme of Streets of Glory is the idea of society reaching a point where “civilized” men felt that they could hobnob with the “legends” of the West that they had studied in books and newspapers for so many years. And then, upon meeting them, we learn a number of things in the process – mostly the idea of what is lost when you over-romanticize something. Ennis is acutely aware of the power of the “Western story” to a certain type of people, and the violence in the book is definitely a bit of a “you think being a ‘cowboy’ is glamorous? Well, look at what it is REALLY like!” deal.
I guess there’s a bit of Eastwood’s Unforgiven in there, as well.
Mike Wolfer does a fine job on the art.
Like much of his Avatar work, Streets of Glory represents an engaging, complete story by one of comics’ most accomplished storytellers.