Today on the site, we present a debut review from Tessa Strain, who evaluates the latest Garth Ennis & Goran Parlov Punisher comic.
Set dressing aside, this “America Was Never Great” narrative path is a well-trod one, memorably blazed by James Ellroy, among others, in his Underworld USA trilogy. Ellroy’s influence was all over Ennis and Parlov’s Fury: My War Gone By series from a few years back, and like him, Ennis has a tendency to use his cynicism about American self-mythologizing as a moral smokescreen for indulging in violent, macho excess. The nastiness can be exhilarating, but culturally (in both media and real life) it feels like we’re well past the point of saturation for that brand of nihilism, and it makes me wonder if it’s still possible to enjoy these kinds of stories, let alone gain anything from them. This may sound like I’m holding Punisher: The Platoon to an unrealistically high standard, but it would be easier for me to read it as straightforward exploitation fare were the framing device any less naked in its intentions. But when you have characters bludgeoning you with the thematic context of the story every five pages, at a certain point you have to take them at their word.
—Misc. Ron Wimberley is Kickstarting LAAB, a new magazine that looks like it will be exploring the intersections of black culture, science fiction, and comics, among other things.
Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do has been nominated for the NBCC Leonard Prize.
IDW’s Library of American Comics has launched a podcast.
Here’s a 1970s NYU documentary on Marvel artist Herb Trimpe: