Saturday, 11 December 2010

I went to Dublin and all I got...

Well How do, folks? I spent last weekend gallivanting around Dublin meeting up with some lovely friends and drinking in some lovely sites. I also managed to get to a comic shop and see what the Craic was there. My friend gave me a little list of the three comic shops in Dublin and I plotted course for the first. Sub City on Exchequer Street. Sadly neither of the other two were open; one was clearly closed down, the other locked up, with the surly chap in the Head shop downstairs telling me that it never really opens. Balls.

Sub City is a small shop, oddly reminiscent of Gosh! or Comics Showcase (RIP) when it was still on Neal Street. Sub City was pretty damn poor for new releases (I didn't find one book I wanted – this could be due to snow induced lack of delivery though, I didn't ask but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt) I did manage to pick up #2 of Hellblazer: City of Demons, which I missed last month, which was a stroke. Where Sub City excels is the extensive selection of Graphic Novels and trades, they had pretty much all a seasoned pro or an adventurous newbie could want. Having to save money for cigs, gigs and lock-ins (which went rather well indeed thanks for asking) I didn't go nuts but could well have; their Trades clearance sale was particularly enticing, and on the subject of bargains, they had a marvellous selection of discounted books, recent and old. It would have been rude not to, so I picked up a 1 Euro grab-bag enticed by the Marvel UK title visible. Little did I know the horrors I would unleash...

Grab Bag A Go Go!

Warheads #6 & 7 (Marvel UK)
When I were a wee lad in the early ‘90s there used to be a real selection of anthology books for the UK market. There was 2000AD and Judge Dredd the Megazaine obviously, and others like, Toxic (violent), Crisis (righteous) and two from Dark Horse; Aliens (reprints of their US mini series’) and an odd tittle called Total Carnage, which reprinted Grendel: War Child, The Mask, Batman vs Predator, and the Army of Darkness film adaptation (I loved that magazine hard). I’ll halt my digression there and save it for a later post, but one of my favourite UK anthologies was Marvel UK's Overkill. Overkill had a few strips per issue and featured stories set in the periphery of the Marvel Universe, characters like Death’s Head II, Motormouth & Killpower, Hell’s Angel, Black Axe and Warheads (all as X-Treeeeeme! as they sound). Each strip had its own monthly printed in the states in the standard US format, which were released to varying degrees of indifference.

The Warheads were clearly -lets be charitable- inspired by the Space Marines in Aliens, but instead of dicking around in space getting killed by Xenomorphs, they dick around other dimensions getting killed by Warhammer 40,000 Rejects. At the behest of the shadowy Masons-stand-in cabal that is the MysTech board, they jump from world to world with their sass-mouths Liefeld guns and high mortality rate. In these nigh-incomprehensible issues a bunch of characters get massacred, some have a fight with Death’s Head II, some try to kill an off-model Mephisto (Spoiler: They fail), a talking gun has an identity crisis and starts talking like a Madam from the deep south and others do... I dunno, other stuff. There’s even an upside down Silver Surfer cameo. It’s a fun old romp, and I did genuinely enjoy the issues but I have to say they weren't as good as I remember. I will maintain though that these characters are ripe for a revamp. A Tigon Liger-led Exiles team anyone? Oh sod you then.

Shadowman (Valiant) Anyone remember Night Man? From Valiant? Valiant? Anyone? He had a cross-over with Aerosmith? The band Aerosmith? Now you're just being obstinate. Anyway, my words can not even begin to do justice to this '90s anti-hero, so instead I'll treat you to this scan of the final page. Oh yeah, check out the November Rain hair and brooding. So strong, yet so sensitive, a warrior and a poet. How did this ever cancelled?

Gross Point Presents #11: Mystery Meat (DC)
With a sub heading like "He turns into a monster at the touch of a pretty girl!" I was expecting something fun, but sadly this sounds a lot better than it looks. Not much to say about it other than it doesn't seem to live up to the promise of the premise and that I have never heard of this series in my life. The art is very much not to my taste. I would even go so far as to say that it's a big bag o' shite.

Team Youngblood #9 (Image)
Listen up kiddies and I'll tell ye of a time when industry hack Rob Liefeld's creator-owned super-team Youngblood was popular enough to have not one, but two ongoing spin-off series; Youngblood: Strike File, and this little wonder, Team Youngblood! Team Youngblood, as far as I understand is the more internationally active branch of Youngblood, who were US based... I think, but to be honest this issue is set in the states and from what I gather from the opening page roster shots, this issue of 'Team Youngblood' focuses almost entirely on characters from Youngblood, the parent title.

Somehow this issue, though not without some perverse charms, manages to be worse than expected. I never like to jump on a hate-wagon (this is a lie), but Good Lord this is bad! I think this deserves post of its own. Every criticism anyone has levelled at Rob Liefeld's 'art style' (pronounced 'hyperactive ineptitude') is painfully apparent here:

Nonsensical Plot? Check
Poor Anatomy? Check
Character designs ripped off from Marvel? Check
Inconsistent costuming? Check
Lack of realistic 'acting'? Check
Inconsistent Hair? Check
Even worse anatomy? Check
Lack of feet? Check
Ridiculously-spined women? Check
Weird weird weird haircuts? Check
Gigantic implausibly hanging tits? Check
Excessive 'detail' lines to disguise technical failings? Check
Total inability to draw normal street clothes? Check
Only 2 facial expressions? Check
Obscenely large guns? Check
With square barrels? Check
Pouches? Oh hell check!

I really could go on all week, but I'll stop there.

And Finally...

When I got back I picked up the latest issues of iZombe, American Vampire and Sweet Tooth. All of which were chuffing good. Also I got the unsavoury beast that is Action Ash to pick me up a copy of Taskmaster #4. I hope it’s not soiled when it arrives.