I told you I’d do this. I TOLD YOU! As a Father’s Day present, I presented my father with 2 graphic novels that he had never heard of and told him he’d have to write about them for this site. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! Without further ado, I’ll let my Dad do some reviewing…he seems to be channeling Stan Lee a little bit (despite being a DC guy), so I’m adding a nickname to his byline.
Reviews of 100 BULLETS : FIRST SHOT, LAST CALL (Vertigo Comics: Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso) and CHEW: VOLUME 1: TASTER’S CHOICE ( Image Comics: John Layman and Rob Guillory )
By “Terrific” Tony DeKams
When asked by my son, the comic blogger, to review these two comics, I must admit that it proved more of a task that I bargained for in the undertaking. The last comic books I purchased were back in 1962 when I was twelve and just beginning to outgrow my five–year devotion to any/all DC comic superheroes starting with Superman and Batman.
Comics back then were not heavy-handed in either plot or message…basically good vs. evil rehashed monthly in scenarios which changed ever so slightly in story arc. Readers became enamored with the familiarity of the environs of Metropolis and Gotham City and their over-the-top inhabitants. We faithfully put down our ten cents per comic ( twelve cents in the inflationary times of 1960-1962) wondering how our super friends would save the Earth from dangers lurking in the demonic imaginations of their evil-doing antagonists. Looking back it did seem to providee few minutes of uplifting respite from the very real dangers of atomic annihilation in our real world back then.
So, now you know where this reviewer’s viewpoint is coming from .
Did I enjoy either one or share in the hosannas of the current aficionados of comics “suggested for mature audiences” splattered on both comics’ back covers? No. Somehow a tale about a cibopathic detective (Tony Chu…get it …cibopathics receive psychic impressions of whatever they eat…let’s leave it at that) in CHEW who struggles to uncover the murderer of a missing FDA health inspector (Evan Pepper) in a world where eating poultry is against the law does not tickle my literary taste buds. Nor does 100 BULLETS: FIRST SHOT, LAST CALL whose enigmatic Agent Graves mysteriously arrives to assist victims of all types of squalid injustices to exact revenge in a non-judgmental sort of way make me want to come back for more.
Before you twenty-something’s roll your eyes at the generation-gapped rantings of a sexagenarian, let me give credit where it is due. The noir atmosphere of both comics, more especially 100 BULLETS, creates the dismal post-apocalyptic mood intended . The detailed artwork when truly examined frame-by-frame adds so much to the appreciation of the plot.
The tongue-in-cheek humor of CHEW made even me chuckle who was basically turned off by the subject matter and violence. Yes, the modern “mature” comic take unmistaken moral stands ( one way or the other ) dealing with issues in the twenty-first century which in itself is praiseworthy.
Perhaps if I had kept up with the evolution of the comic into its darker prisms explored since the 1970’s ,I might have a better understanding and ability to appreciate this modern genre. Sorry, Paul, you won’t see me crossing the road for chicken intrigue in CHEW or calling upon Agent Graves ( even in my darkest daydreams dealing with professorial revenge ) to symbolically reduce the population of those we love to hate . Give a much-awaited Superman $1.00 annual issue any day!
So there you have it. He didn’t like them too much, but seemed to appreciate the effort that went into them. So if Terrific Tony’s sticking with Superman, then I’m going to ask him to review, WITH ME, All Star Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, right here, in 30 days time. I know, I know, I was all like “superheroes: grr!” at the start of this blog, but when it comes to that genre, I’m going to treat it equal with all the rest, and tell you about the best of the best.
I enjoyed reading my Dad’s take on two comics that I enjoy, and hope y’all did too. Even if he did call himself a “sexygenarian.” That’s pretty egotistical, no?