We kick off the top ten countdown (with breaks for some of those pre-2012 books that made my 2012 so much better) at 10am with the comic on this list most suited to not being discussed at such an early hour… PRISON PIT BOOK FOUR BY JOHNNY RYAN!
Book two made my ‘best of the year’ list, while book three did not last year. What makes book four of Prison Pit so worthy? After all, you’ll see that a lot of big, important, fantastic comics did make this list. Yet, a comic about depraved violence does? Mindless, brutal violence with no redeeming value, some might even argue! I wouldn’t be one of those people. I love fake violence. I read superhero comics, watch professional wrestling, and love me some Prison Pit. I love Johnny Ryan’s imagination. While there is an element of “If you’ve read one Prison Pit book, you’ve read them all,” that’s not true. Because he surprises in every book with the ways he does the same sort of violence in new ways. The ways in which he keeps himself and the reader from being bored at a little bit more of the old ultraviolence. The ways he comes out with new monstrosities and new conflicts for Cannibal Fuckface to deal with, each bigger than the last. Each seemingly more hopeless.
Book three ended on a cliffhanger that left me wondering “What next? How can Ryan get CF out of this? WHAT HAPPENS TO PRISON PIT NOW, YOU BASTARD!” And, then, here we are, and CF gets out of it in a clever, entertaining way. Recently, I’ve become fascinated with the way writers will create seemingly impossible situations for their protagonists and, then, get them out of it. I love that stuff. And, like most fiction, that’s all Prison Pit is at its core: Cannibal Fuckface gets into a seemingly impossible situation and, then, gets himself out. Usually, it’s a big, monster of a foe that he has to kill in a bloody, disgusting way. We’ve seen him eaten by an enemy… and break his way out. He’s set on a collision course with a former enemy in this book and the end of this book is… well, you have to see it to believe that someone would make a comic like this.
And I love it.
I spent a lot of time after getting Prison Pit book four flipping through it, letting Ryan’s art just sit in front of my eyes… His messy blacks — pages covered in black inky blood! That splash page where you can hear the metallic score reach a high mark in the background as CF stands with a sword, head and torso covered in blood as he demands another guy’s boots and kneepads. It’s pure fucking heroic storytelling! THIS IS COMICS!
In 90 minutes, I will return with my #9 book of 2012. The Blogathon will continue on GraphiContent.
[Don’t forget to donate what you can to the Hero Initiative (Details in this post)! After you do, let me know via comment or e-mail (found at the righthand side) so I can keep track of donations — and who to thank.]
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