So, Mike Wieringo died. There's nothing much I can add to that besides rote platitudes. I liked his work a lot, but likeÂ a lot of the cartoonists who have passed away recently, he wasn't one of my absolute favorite creators, so I'm not feeling deep, personal sorrow or anything;Â besides, I've got fatigue from that sort of thingÂ after having to dealt with this guy's deathÂ and all of the lurid, horrible things involved in it, not to mention all of the other pro wrestlers dropping dead lately that I grew up watching on TV. It's become so common place that WWEÂ runs death notices on their websiteÂ next toÂ promos forÂ their variousÂ cable shows. But enough about my other favorite genre involving spandex clad men hitting each other. Â
It's a shame to seeÂ such a talented guy die so damn young, on both a basic human level and a selfish, comics-centric one (I never got to see him do a run on the Hulk!) IÂ try to ignore but still have to acknowledge, just like whenÂ someone like Eddie Guerrero died (I'm sorry about the wrestling references).Â But I can't, in good conscience, do aÂ eulogyÂ for the guy, because he didn't mean that much to me other than being a cartoonist I could rely on to drawÂ aesthetically pleasing comics; I'll direct you to Abhay'sÂ excellent post at the Savage Critic which features the words of the man himself for that; I'm sure you can findÂ a lotÂ of good, heartfelt tributes from people profoundly touched byÂ the man with a simple internet search.
Now,Â on to the promised frivolity!Cassanova's back;Â I am happy.Â It's that simple. Despite a new, almost overpoweringly blue, art style from Fabio Moon,Â its still a hell of a ride; the kind of thing that makesÂ you happy that they stillÂ make single issue comics.Â I'mÂ sure it would still read well as a trade (my pal, the misanthropic Tadhg, dug the first volume (or album) that way), but I enjoy the periodic charge ofÂ manic ideas,Â genre bending, and high energy action too much toÂ "wait for the trade". Sure, the $1.99Â Slimline formatÂ makes thatÂ feel like a steal (and, I have to say, I probably wouldn't have tried it inÂ singles if it wasÂ $3 or $4Â a pop), butÂ that's only really icing on the cakeÂ at this point.Â Give it a try if you haven'tÂ alraedy; it will only set you back $2 if you, for some reason, do notÂ enjoy it. I won'tÂ presume why, but I think it meansÂ the awesome centerÂ of your brain is off balance. Also, you might not have a soul. This is just conjecture, mind you.
I'm also really enjoying World War Hulk.Â So muchÂ so thatÂ I decided to not onlyÂ not wait on the trade, but to buy some of the tie-ins. Not all of themÂ mind you; I am neither richÂ or foolhardy enough to buyÂ Heroes for HireÂ or Ghost Rider just because GladiatorÂ Hulk will be slapping them around for a couple ofÂ panels. But I'veÂ enjoyed theÂ Greg Pak writtenÂ Incredible Hulk issues a lot, and maybe a couple of the ancillary titles. Not Frontline, though, because seriously; has anyone ever liked one of those comics? Ever? At all? IÂ will buy a dozen copies if Sally Floyd or whatever her name is gives the Hulk the same "You don't understand America" speech she gave Captain America, and he is left to consider it in stunned silecne...Â before promptly punching her in to orbit. I'm guessing that may be too obviousÂ to actually be printed. Or brilliant; I'm never sure which is which anymore.
I barely paid attention to theÂ San DiegoÂ ComicÂ ConÂ news this year. I watched G4's televised coverage, but that was just indicative of how little comics matter in the context of the event anymore. I can't be entirely sure, but I think that after they cut away from their interview with Joe Quesada, G4's comic book gal Blair Butler pushed him out of the way to talk to Dane Cook and Jessica Alba; that was just the vibe I got off the thing. Not that I blame them for focusing their coverage on the movies and other things that part of actual mass medias in America; that's what the majority of the people watching televised Comic Con coverage were surely tuning in for and if I cared at all about comics centric coverage, I would have checked CBR's, or some other site's*. It's just kind of bemusing that the comics have been marginalized at a show called the San Diego Comic Convention.Â
I did happen to read the news that Darywn Cooke was leaving the Spirit to work on some creator owned projects and, as sad as I am that I won't be getting a (semi) monthly dose of the man's art, I can't say that it's a huge loss.
AsÂ enjoyable as his work on the series was, it verged on the generic at times; it was good, solid action/adventure/superhero story telling with gorgeous work from the tremendous trio of Cooke, J. Bone, and Dave Stewart. It just wasn't anything more than that. It certainly didn't have the epic sweep of their work on the New Frontier, not that a monthly adventure comic could, and it could never hope to match the verve and creativity that the best stuff Eisner and his legion of assistants turned out. I found a lot admirable about it: it featured satisfying, self contained stories that made it worth reading as a monthly; it didn't rely on shock tactics to keep your interest; and most of all, it was, well, good, solid adventure comics with gorgeous art. AllÂ laudable things when most mainstream comics can't even manage a couple ofÂ them at a time, but I'm still okay with Cooke moving on to do his own thing. I seem to remember he was primed to do thatÂ after New Frontier anyway, and it should be interesting to see what he can do outside the throwback superhero niche. If nothing else, maybe they'll use the Eisner-esque 7 page format for the next creative team/teams, which theyÂ implemented in the fill-in issue that I actually liked more than any of Cooke's work with the character/concept (which Burgas did a good job of talking about, in between rounds of goat buggery). Really, I'm just hoping for more Kyle Baker parody goodness, and the Spirit was a pretty good vehicle for that.
So, it feels like to wrap up this ramble, because the only other comics related thing I have to talk about is the Essential Conan volume I finally got around to reading, but Geezer Greg does a better job talking about that stuff than I do, despite the notable handicap of being very old.** So go read his stuff now.
*Not that there are any other comic sites worth reading. Or that I would. Put down that club, Jonah!
** I kid because I care. And because I'm pretty sure Mr. Hatcher, whom I have the utmost respect for,Â is okay with it. And, moreover, I don't think he could catch me in a foot race if I did anger him. Because he is a decrepit octogenarian. Unless he had one of those damn Rascal Scooters. Then I'm pretty much boned.