Comics of the Weak Comics of the Weak

A Horse, A Horse, My Kingdom For A Horse, Please Make It A Horse That I Can Have Sex With


...Sorry. Let's just turn things over to Abhay.

There was some kind of convention in New York. Comic books got promoted to the delight of people who attended in the hopes of having comics promoted at them. All of the different kinds of comics were promoted, from Comics for Lamewads to Comics for Spazzoids-- the entire medium. Those of us not in attendance were forced to press our wet little noses up to the web-ads glittering on our screens, and wonder-- perchance to dream-- what it'd be like to be in the middle of a marketing promotional weekend-long infomercial which we paid with our own money to attend. Yes, comic books were announced or teased or had their announcements teased-- life is a glorious but brief shriek of advertisements.

My thoughts, though, were distracted from these small miracles, by a bit of comic history: the 60th anniversary of Pogo's run for  President of the United States.

In 1952, the beloved Walt Kelly character Pogo was a reluctant candidate for President of the United States for the first time. He quickly earned the support of the Harvard Crimson, who distributed 3000 free "I Go Pogo" buttons to students.

Why, wouldn't you know that Harvard University even invited Mr. Walt Kelly himself to go on down and talk to the students at a Pogo rally, with the Harvard band to attend? Unfortunately, on May 15, 1952, Walt Kelly was late to the speech.

So, that's when the violence started.

The numbers of Harvard students waiting for Walt Kelly to show swelled from 200 to 1600. Bored students, temporarily deprived of the dulcet tones of one of America's foremost funny-animal cartoonists, began to disconnect poles powering the electric trolleys and according to some reports, attempted to overturn cars. So of course, "Police rushed the crowd, beating and arresting students."

"All of a sudden it just erupted," Pogo Riot attendee Paul R. Rugo said later. Rugo ended up in a fist-fight with police and was arrested along with 27 other Harvard students. The Pogo Riot was later described as a "three-hour fracas." Witnesses signed statements alleging that police "used excessive force, [hitting] students with clubs and fists." Rugo was taken to the police station where policemen allegedly clubbed him on the head. Thirty-five years later, one of the editors of the Harvard Crimson could still recall David Halberstam (later, the author of the famous Kennedy Administration book The Best and the Brightest) "covered in blood."

In the aftermath, the Harvard Crimson published a letter to the editor attacking the Harvard students for their actions in the Pogo Riot and defending the police:

Though European students may riot about Communism or Triest, Harvard is right within the American college tradition of rioting over such things as Pogo, ice cream, panties and brassieres. [...] Though they might have been slightly extreme (and I say slightly because, despite the CRIMSON stories of brutality, no broken skulls resulted, but only a few bruises shared by students and police), the police did break up the riot with the only method available to them.

So, just a little slice of comics history, a time when comics could make Harvard students riot.

Meanwhile, in current events, Frank Miller was sued for allegedly letting his girlfriend smear her shit all over the place.


Daredevil 213
By Denny O'Neil, David Mazzuchelli, Danny Bulanadi, Bob Sharen
Published by Marvel, 1984

It's probably just me, but isn't Daredevil saying "So he is. I forgot" as he throws an old man off-panel sort of hilarious? No? Just me then? Okay.

This is another chapter in what must have seemed like an endless story about Micah Synn, this time around focusing on that ever so popular aspect of gritty '70s/'80s cop fiction where the protagonist is prevented from catching criminals not due to a lack of prowess, but because the mother-fudging legal system has so many GD loopholes. Of course, that particular buck-o-stink paves the way for the other popular twist of this particular field of fiction: it means our hero can go rogue, and in a Daredevil comic, what better way is there to go off the reservation than to team up with Kingpin? (He could also team up with the Punisher. Or he could play Russian roulette with a comatose Bullseye. Maybe proclaim himself the new Kingpin. Wear armor? Become an actual devil? Maybe that's not a good line of thought to chase around.)

Anyway: he teams up with the Kingpin, although it turns out he didn't have to, because Mr. Micah Synn goes ahead and kills somebody with the gigantic jungle man-trap (tiger trap?) Synn has built in his Bret Easton Ellis-influenced yuppie penthouse (yuppies!), a murder that gives Daredevil the chance to utter the phrase "this charge they won't be able to lie their way out of," which I'm pretty sure Denzel Washington says in both The Pelican Brief AND Philadelphia, and then the comic gives way to a letters column, where it turns out that the reason Harlan Ellison had interrupted what is clearly turning into the Micah Synn epic is because that's who Marvel had on their speed dial as a pinch hitter in case Denny O'Neil got himself hospitalized, which apparently he had. Will that brush with death, by way of a clogged artery, change O'Neil's perspective on the Synn storyline?: only time, or one of you commenters who lust to spoil my pleasures, will tell.

Prophet #29
By Brandon Graham, Farel Dalrymple, Joseph Bergin III, Charo Solis
Published by Image Comics

If you've spent a second wondering why Farel Dalrymple's contributions to the House of Prophet seemed to be taking a while to come out, wonder no longer, as the answer to that question is available in just about every single panel of Prophet #29, his second issue of the title. Regardless of one's enjoyment of the script he's working from--personally, Graham's work with his other artists (Simon Roy and Giannis Milonogiannis) reads a bit more fun, a bit looser than this issue's omnipresent monologue--it's hard not to be wowed by Dalrymple's drawing ability, to look at the edge of a page and easily imagine the panels extending further than the paper can contain. Stand some of these up alongside Theo Ellsworth's masterfully psychedelic Understanding Monster; they fit there more than they do most of what Image provides.

Superman #0
By Scott Lobdell, Kenneth Rocafort, Sunny Gho
Published by DC Comics

Lobdell and Rocafort are the guys who initially came to disrepute when they began their run on a DC title called Red Hood and The Outlaws by depicting the Starfire character as an amnesiac sex object, which clashed with her more classical depiction, wherein she remembered the sex she had. And while you couldn't really "look past all that" and find much else--Red Hood and The Outlaws was sex and violence, and that's it--it spent the last year being consistent, which is way more than you can say for the majority of the New 52 titles. One of the more egregious failures has been on the Superman title (Grant Morrison's Superman appears in Action Comics, and while that title hasn't failed as spectacularly as Superman, it certainly couldn't be listed as anything approximating a success, either). Superman has been a non-stop revolving door, using up and spitting out a line-up of creators from every decade that human mortality hasn't closed itself to, and while DC's editors are certainly somewhat responsible--with Superman's Eddie Berganza being the worst of that notoriously terrible bunch--the placing of Lobell and Rocafort in the you-fix-it role is the best call DC has made with the character. This issue is a loose origin story for the character's family that does the unthinkable and makes Superman's mother interesting enough that you might actually not want to see her die in a planetary holocaust, and it showcases all of what Lodbell and Rocafort have spent the last year doing on Red Hood: weird art (Rocafort's main influences are '90s X-Men comics and those cheap kaleidoscopes you find at fireworks stores) and Lobdell's slick, fast-moving dialog. As was often the case in his Red Hood scripts, this issue sees an internal monologue delivered faux-documentery style to the reader, usually working to set up and comment upon whatever the rest of the comic and its characters were saying while mostly ignoring what they were doing. This is a choice that works well with Rocafort's overly-complicated page layouts, most of which make sense only when you realize that the artist has figured out that it's in his professional interest to make an impact on the reader, and it isn't like Lobdell is giving him much to work with anyway. They rarely hurt each other, but that isn't a definition of helping, now is it?

The Punisher #16
By Greg Rucka, Marco Checchetto, Matt Hollingsworth
Published by Marvel

Similar to Superman #0, this is a competently done super-hero comic that makes surprisingly good use of digital tweaking atop art that probably didn't need it, resulting in a comic that feels like more work was put into it that its audience expected, a rare enough occurrence to give one an enjoyable buzz not dissimilar to flat-out enjoyment. Everybody here seems to be trying, and while that shouldn't garner too much praise ... well, if you read a bunch of these at once, you'd have a hard time going to the mattresses when there's one that actually gives a shit. And while all of Rucka's failings on this title are front and center--he clearly dislikes the character, has watched Se7en way too often and way too recently, and will probably go to his grave still getting in the way of a good action scene--his vague neglect of his lead results in an unexpected breeze of coolness, making for one of those rare times when you find yourself looking at a superhero drawing and wondering, you know: should I buy a jacket like that?

Crossed Badlands #15
By David Hine, Eduardo Vienna, Digikore
Published by Avatar

So, this is about Morrison Con, actually? It's about rape and mutilation and sexual violence and murder, sure, but it's set in a way that lets you make fun of the cult of personality surrounding Grant Morrison. As that, as a poking-fun-at-Grant comic, it's toothless, weak comedy, not the sort of think you'd expect if you've read reviews of David Hine's comics, but exactly the kind of thing you'd see coming if you confined yourself to only reading David Hine's comics. But for what it's worth, there's still an achievement here: somebody finally managed to make a Crossed comic that's unwilling to offend.

Secret Service #4
By Mark Millar, Dave Gibbons, Matthew Vaughn, Andy Lanning, Angus McKie
Published by Icon

Mark Millar is the same guy that once wrote a Wolverine comic book set in a Nazi concentration camp where it was revealed that Wolverine liked to travel around, driving Nazis to failure and suicide by pretending to be an unkillable Jew that kept magically surviving the ovens--this isn't a joke, I feel the need to say that--while inexplicably choosing not to just go all Wolverine-y with his claws and what not on the Nazis, because spooking them I'm-just-standing-here style was just way more literary or something. This guy wrote that. And you know what?

There wasn't a single word in the story of Wolverine: The Uncookable Jew Who Stands There that rang as false as the passage depicted in the panel above.

Winter Soldier #11
By Ed Brubaker, Butch Guice, Brian Thies, Bettie Breitweiser
Published by Marvel Comics

Hawkeye shows up in this, apparently because Ed Brubaker wanted to do some kind of buddy cop kind of thing, and it works about as well as it did to team up Bruce Willis with Justin Long in that last Die Hard movie. Hawkeye just never made sense to me. Not the archer thing, that makes sense fine, but that anyone liked the character. He's like Doctor Who and Green Lantern, characters that just seem like they exist just beyond the edge of what you should care about, that they represent the line beyond which you hear plates clattering to the floor, because your mother's hands just jumped involuntarily to her mouth as she gasped. (Aquaman used to be in this camp, until Geoff Johns landed upon the solution nobody else had thought of, which was to embrace "being a huge fucking joke" as a major part of DC continuity, and considering that cutting off the character's hand gave him nearly a decade of apparent viability, playing him like a Michael Kupperman character will probably earn him a Noah Baumbach movie.) It's not that Hawkeye (or the Doctor, or Green Lantern) actually are from an actual kind of netherworld of pre-Gandhi untouchability, it's that they represent a very personal one, a knee jerk response of "no thanks" said incredulously, because isn't everybody's answer going to be no? Which is of course false: these characters are hilariously popular, hysterically so, they're at a level right now they haven't been at before and it doesn't seem to show any sign of slowing. But, like Captain Britain and Chester Brown, there's some things that are just anathema, and for now, today, and most likely forever: Hawkeye is the fucking worst.

29 Responses to A Horse, A Horse, My Kingdom For A Horse, Please Make It A Horse That I Can Have Sex With

  1. Some thoughts:

    Mark Millar, with all his money and success from having shitty comics he’s made turned into movies, telling us money and success don’t make you happy…that’s like a porn star telling you having sex on film isn’t a good career choice while they flash a bunch of cash at you. That example really works because we’ve all been getting orgasmed on by Millar since his last good comic, The Ultimates. Everything else he has made seems to be as painful as a pop-shot to the eye getting filmed.

    Prophet is the best sci-fi comic in years and I spend nights screaming in terror that Liefeld will want to take over some art or writing on it–which he could do as it is that whole “Extreme” line that has good comics based on his crappy past-work.

    Greg Rucka would be an utterly amazing writer if his many writing-tics didn’t get in his way. He has to put in the tough-as-nails woman, for one example. Rucka has more than tics than I did when I went through an obsessive-compulsive phase. Maybe they should pump him up on drugs like they did me. I kid…or do I?

    Also, Hawkeye is awesome and no matter how much people hate on the character I will always love him. He is like that stinky kid at school no one wants to be friends with. Sure, he reeks, but he’s actually a pretty interesting guy. Unless he is actually just a dumb jerk who also happens to smell. Then you, my friend, are fucked for trying to become his friend and getting invited to his birthday party. After all, no one else is going so you can’t cancel even if you’d rather pour head-and-shoulders in your eye sockets than be around him. Yeah, that’s Hawkeye…one of those is.

    Lastly, a Crossed comic that isn’t grossly offensive isn’t a Crossed comic, it’s just a tragedy.

  2. mateor says:

    I love that Frank’s old lady is “shocked” that the suit is going forward, since the assistant turned down a “huge settlement” just the other day.

    Weird, right? That usually means you’re forgiven!

    I can’t believe that she would do that though, I though she was a Shakespearean Scholar.

  3. R. Fiore says:

    It’s a great thing for devotees of the second banana superhero that no character is so marginal that he doesn’t get revived from time to time, if only to maintain the trademark. Hawkeye was in the movie, so of course he’s invulnerable for the next 10 years at least.

  4. D. Peace says:

    If the allegations were a lie, why would they be so specific and bizarre as to involve poop and used feminine hygiene products? Also, if someone is leveling these accusations at you, wouldn’t a more correct response be “DEAR CHRIST, NO, THAT NEVER, EVER HAPPENED” rather than “Oh, I thought we were done talking about this already”? Of course, this is all for the courts to decide, allegedly, innocent until proven otherwise, etc etc.

    Anyway, I thought smearing shit across things was a Frank Miller trademark. Just look at Holy Terror, for example.

  5. Tony says:

    The Millar Wolverine in Auschwitz comic is about to be reprinted, along with other Greatest Hits of the character, in a Limited edition slipcase hardcover at 11 1/2 x 15 1/2 size.

  6. Jayhawh says:

    Crossed: a world in which everyone’s hands are paralyzed so they cannot grip objects.

  7. Christopher M says:

    I feel like Tucker might appreciate the really early Doctor Who – as in, the 1963, black-and-white, crazy old man who lives in a junk yard and kidnaps his granddaughter’s teachers because they Know Too Much. “Oh, you found out we have a time machine, did you? Well, it’s goodbye to earth forever for you! Now, let’s go fuck up some cavemen!”

  8. Jayhawh says:

    Two possibilities:

    The story is massively biased, where they did not ask or did not print Miller’s actual response, and Cox was misquoted, context abused, and the claim comes from someone who personally dislikes Miller and wants to drag him through all sorts of mud just because she can.

    Or Frank Miller is crazy.

    I mean he could be crazy and actually innocent but the scale came pre tipped. That’s the only reason why I would question the lawsuit in the first place. Aside from that, just the picture of that Cox lady, she looks like a shit smearer, just look at them eyes.

  9. D. Peace says:

    I am not the least bit interested in a Mark Millar Wolverine story but I have to admit that Tucker’s “Uncookable Jew Who Stands There” description is too insane (and therefore delicious) for my curiosity not to be piqued.

    And I’d like to add that the way-too-expensive hardcover is a great format for a classic you’ll want to own forever but a completely illogical, terrible format for the kind of cheap thrills Marvel offers on their best days.

  10. Fiore, you pretty much hit the nail on the head, although I must admit I can be the fanboy who loves less-popular characters sometimes. As you could tell I was joking about Hawkeye, but if a Moon Knight movie came out I would probably defend the character violently no matter how good or more-likely terrible the movie was.

  11. Tony says:

    They’re mixing one of the former, afaic, BWS’ Weapon-X, with other things like Origin, and things by Ellis, Millar, Aaron…

  12. MG says:

    I used to read this column, but now I don’t because it’s come to the point where I can tell what Tucker’s blurbs are going to say almost verbatim before I actually read them.

  13. mateor says:

    Oh yeah, she did it.

    No reason to offer a “huge settlement” if she didn’t.

    The scholar thing, I remember from here although you can see how I felt about it at the time in the comments…

  14. Kim Thompson says:

    I was curious enough to check this “actress” on IMDB, and she has exactly one credit, a bit part in Frank Miller’s SPIRIT movie.

    One of the grossest/funniest things about Miller’s commentary track on the SPIRIT DVD is the degree to which be slobbers over every attractive actress as she shows up on screen.

  15. Tony says:

    Yeah, but that’s homegrown, IDW is doing it officially now.

  16. R. Fiore says:

    How does Baldy-with-a-Beard (as opposed to Neal Adams Baldy) get his dildo-handle knife to stay on his hand like that?

  17. Tony says:

    I’ve forwarded your enquiry to the artist.

    Seriously, I sent him a quick e-mail with a link to this thread. I’ll let you know if I get any reply from him.

  18. mateor says:

    not cool

  19. Tony says:

    Lighten up.

  20. hmsh says:

    That’s good. I personally hope you enjoy your life now that you’ve removed the inconvenience of reading something you don’t like to read from it.

  21. Abhay says:

    If this is going to turn into The Dead Zone, I get to grab the baby.

  22. MG says:

    I hope the great humor of a TCJ reader whining like a little baby that someone is criticizing something isn’t lost on you.

  23. Don Druid says:

    I guess I am just so old that I think, oh, that man did that for as many dollars as he could possibly get.

  24. ant says:


  25. ant says:

    Come on man that is the opposite of not cool.

  26. ant says:

    There’s a hilarious-looking page on Mr. Vienna’s site of Superman (or maybe Superboy? I neither know nor care) falling head-first out of an elevated train window and doing the “iconic” shirt-ripping-open thing as he plummets, almost frozen over three thin vertical panels…I thought Mr. Vienna had maybe uploaded the art upside-down until I realised it was supposed to be like that. Weird transitions and story-telling.
    I for one will be hoping you get a reply, Tony.

  27. Pingback: Comics A.M. | Manga creators team up to help devastated region | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment

  28. MG says:

    I’m confused about how exactly what Millar’s character is saying is false – being a privileged upper middle class white man with a lot of money (I assume by “decent” this dude just means in comparison to celebrities) and a job he enjoys sounds like a fucking good deal to me, even without being famous.

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