Yeah, yeah I know, but hey it’s still Tuesday!
“I met him, fifteen years ago; I was told there was nothing left; no reason, no conscience, no understanding; and even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, of good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and the blackest eyes… the devil’s eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized that what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply… evil.”
–Dr. Loomis, Halloween
The horror genre has long been a major part of my life. Long before other mediums, film and television were my gateway into the land of horror. While my friends shielded their eyes from the likes of Michael Meyers, Linda Blair’s portrayal of Regan, Mr. Barlow, and Pennywise the Clown, I was positioned in front of the television watching these horrors come to life before me. My mother likes to tell people–in fact, she just told this to my fiancé two days ago that The Leprechaun was one of my favorite movies growing up, and I would watch it over and over again.
In this series of articles we will take a classic comic book arc and break it down issue by issue, getting to the root of just what made it great.
In this episode of Mythic Structure:
Swamp Thing – The Uncle Arcane Saga
Issues #27 through Swamp Thing Annual #2, 1984-85
Last week we were treated to a stellar DC Comics Villains Month issue in the form of Swamp Thing 23.1 Arcane. In a slew of sub-par one shots, this villain issue delivered the goods – an entertaining story told within the continuity of the series and what has come before it. It also didn’t hurt that the art work was stunning and truly grotesque – and when you are dealing with a despicable character like Anton Arcane the grosser the better. The mark of a great character is its longevity – and believe it or not Anton Arcane has been around for close to 40 years, but if we are completely honest it really wasn’t until Alan Moore got his silver ringed fingers on the evil uncle that he became the stuff of nightmares. Moore instilled in Arcane what it took for this character to stand the test of time. Lets take a trip back to when Anton Arcane first crawled his way from the dark pit and into our four colored world.
Each Tuesday, the NBC Staff will comprise a Top Ten list for whatever the topic is for that week. In the comments section, we can all compare the lists to see if there were any patterns. Also, feel free to post your own top ten lists. Today we tackle the many relaunches and reboots of comic-books.
Top Ten Comic Book Reboots!
10. Captain America
Captain America never connected with me before I read Ed Brubaker’s take on him. Finally, he was a compelling character. Also, Brubaker brought back Bucky, which, in and of itself, is probably one of the biggest ret-cons ever .
In Nemo: Roses of Berlin Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neal tell a fun and engaging story that shows how the creators still have a lot to say with these characters after all that we’ve already seen. You can take all the nonsense that Moore has said through the press over the years but you can’t take away his talent because despite him not ever quite reaching the peak of his abilities that he did in the 80’s the guys can still write a mean comic. Part of that comes from this just being a fun romp more or less without some of the heavy baggage that he brings to his other work (NO RAPES!!!) and the other is Kevin O’Neil who get’s to flex his illustration skills something lovely on this issue. He still does sharp lines but the inks are lighter here and it works great to distinguish this book from his past work but what really stands out are several fantastically detailed double page spreads like I’ve never seen from him before and as previously stated there are many. This is connected to The League of Extraordinary Gentleman somehow but you really don’t need any back story to get into it as it’s more then capable of standing on it’s own. You can write off Moore’s opinions these days (as I have) but you can’t deny his talent. Nemo: Roses of Berlin is a strong piece of the duo’s ever growing catalog and while it’s not Miracle Man (what is?) it’s still well worth your attention. You don’t have to like Moore but you can still enjoy him while he’s here. That much is easy.
By Mick Anglo, Don Lawrence, Alan Moore, Gary Leach
So this is a couple golden aged stories written in the 1950’s with an extended history lesson and interview with Miracle Man/Marvel Man’s creator (which was a Shazam rip off anyway) but the real meat of this and what really matters here is the Alan Moore work and let me tell you it is something. Miracle Man which was written in 1981 predates Moore’s seminal DC work on Batman, Superman, Swamp Thing and of course The Watchmen. What’s so striking about this comic is despite coming before all of that work this still feels like he’s fully formed doing all the things that made his writing great. There’s the fall from grace of the golden age superhero as a symbol for the decay of the “great society“, the constant paranoia of nuclear holocaust and apocalypse in the cold war, the wonderful narrative devices and Moore’s underrated strong dialogue that carry’s his work and engages the reader to the characters. Forget all that cash grabbing prequal nonsense from 2013; this is the real Before Watchmen and over thirty years later it still feels as vital and full of life and wonder as if it was created today.
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