Topical Reference To Clint Eastwood Designed To Appeal To Target Audience

Eat More Bikes! Nate has been on fire lately. You know what else has been on fire? The comic book internet, ladies and germs!


So then in a Lookwellian turn of events, Mark Millar decided to use his comic-book fortunes to fund the battle against Rape Culture...?

This step in Millar's career-long transformation into a character from a Terry Southern novel was triggered by a Twitter-Troll with a variety of noms de plume, most famously @mistere2009 (presumably after a DC character Wikipedia describes as a "psychotic and dangerous fanatic" driven mad after having seen his father's "degrading and sexual" photographs of his mother and sister; p.s. yikes).  @mistere2009's m.o. included tweet-stalking mostly female comic creators and comics journalists, usually intimating that they should be raped, tortured, violated, etc.; example: "He told me my children should die of cancer and I 'need a raping.'"

Apparently, comic creator Ron Marz (author of the stripper superheroine title Voodoo and other less tasteful comics) was responsible for informing Millar of this Twitter feed. Upset by what he saw, Millar hired private investigators to track @mistere2009 down and identify him. Wait, sorry, I'm legally obligated to rephrase that... Millar hired A-list Private Investigators (who are household names because they are very famous) to track @mistere2009 down in a most blockbuster-ish manner. (I feel unclean now; how does he do it??).

According to Millar and his posse, @mistere2009 is a married man in his 50s living in San Diego. ("That figures," I said when I heard he lives in San Diego, but that's what I would have said if he lived basically in any city whatsoever because that's just how I am and what my journey through life is like.) @Mistere2009's various Twitter accounts have been shut down, and some legal action is presumably being contemplated against him. But misanthropic ghouls need not worry: in a show of hydra-like "cut off one misogynist troll and twenty more will grow in his place" solidarity, Robot 6 commentators have leaped to his defense and taken this story as the opportunity to mansplain why, according to them, he didn't really do anything that wrong (example: "Big girls know Twitter has a Block function").

But... but yeah:  Mark Millar is the Charlie to a Charlie's Angels team of Private Dicks whose mission is to make comics a more inviting place for women. Sure. Who didn't see that coming?


EXPLANATION: This week, your columnist was unable (due to some unwelcome tomfoolery on the part of the United Parcel Service) to get his mitts on the latest installments of Hawkeye and The Shadow. In honor of the last-minute deadline punchers that built this industry, the decision was made to make the best of a bad situation, and clear the shelves. What follows are the books that would have ended up getting Serious And Thoughtful reviews, either over in what's affectionately known as the "Clough n' Collins Corner" of this very website, or over at comiXology, a website I don't have any lame attempts at humor to describe. Don't worry yourself into angry mobbery: things should be right back to normal next week.

By This Shall You Know Him
By Jesse Jacobs
Published by Koyama Press

An 84-page comic detailing a series of disagreements between world-building, life-creating Gods who treat an Earth stand-in as both a laboratory and arena for score settling, Jesse Jacobs never met a panel he couldn't pack to the edge. This is a very easy comic to flip through and chortle at, with its goofy looking "bags of meat" characters, garbage-bag deities, and frank depictions of bodily functions, but the story is worth attention is well. It's a laundry bag of cosmological concerns and Biblical stories, mixed with image repetition and the most immediate kinds of humor --a poop joke, for example--and what it might lack in conclusion is more than made up for in its unwavering commitment to style. As with everything else that I've seen from Koyama, this comic is eminently likable, reading less like a product for consumption than a direct-to-user present, a thing that Jesse Jacobs made for you, and you alone.

New York Mon Amour
By Jacques Tardi, Benjamin Legrand, Dominique Grange
Published by Fantagraphics

There's four stories in this collection, but the majority of the page count is given over to the opening "Cockroach Killer", a conspiracy thriller that reads like a '70s New-York-Is-Hell movie if the movie was made without a stock Hollywood protagonist to focus on. (There's a movie from the '80s called Defiance, made by the same director who did Rolling Thunder. The first chunk of this movie, where Jan-Michael Vincent refuses to help anybody or to even participate in the neighborhood and speak to people at length, has a similar weightless quality.) All the visual shorthand is there, but the lack of some kind of questing agent gives the story a queasy, uncomfortable feeling, which adds to the level of confusion that our exterminator lead naturally brings with him every time Tardi draws his stupid, shlubby face. It's not hard to see things going badly for Walter, and in Tardi's unforgiving depiction, it's hard not to welcome that badness when it finally arrives. He's too much a victim to be a desirable hero. The later three stories are all excellent installments in the various ways the city can grind you into oblivion, and if that's a bit of Krigstein in the excellent "Hung's Murderer", it's a welcome connection.

Johnny Red: Red Devil Rising
By Tom Tully & Joe Colquhoun
Published by Titan

There probably aren't enough people in the United States deeply in love with Titan's reprints of '70s war comics to make up a regulation volleyball team, and considering that even the most dyed in the wool war freak has been heard to say, "Jesus, how do you get used to this lettering?", that probably isn't going to change. It is, however, in keeping with the martyrdom of the comics publisher, and Lord knows my arms aren't tired from saluting Titan and their commitment to making Garth Ennis (who writes almost all of the introductions for these oversized and underpriced hardcovers) and the other six of us happy. This volume of Johnny Red sees more of all the wonderful shit that showed up in the first volume of Johnny Red, only this time the story has turned our hotblooded criminal, guilty as hell, into a hotblooded criminal, framed as all get out, thus making his impossible to believe adventures that much more fun to believe, because now our improbable hero is fired by rage and honor, which is far more entertaining than guilt could ever be. Johnny Red's constant improvisation saw the story through multiple shifts in continuity, his origin being only the most obvious example, but all of these changes were for the good, streamlining the character and his supporting cast into a well-oiled machine, intent on the delivery of brute entertainment. Coupled with Colquhoun's essentially incomparable depiction of aerial combat, this volume is unashamedly extreme, perfect war comics that know how cool everything it's doing must seem to its assumedly young audience. It's less like Garth's war comics (the most obvious comparison) and more like Bruce Lee's Enter The Dragon--a cool thing that never winks, and cannot age.

Legends of the Dark Knight: Jim Aparo Volume 1
By Various, Mostly Jim Aparo & Bob Haney
Published by DC Comics

This is exactly what it sounds like: a collection of Batman comics drawn by Jim Aparo. And while most of the stuff in here has been reprinted before in a series of excellent (and cheap) black and white Showcase editions focused on the Brave & The Bold series, it's not hard to see why DC felt like going back to the well again. People who grew up during the reign of Aparo are now the reigning target market for a fifty-dollar hardcover collection of the comics of their youth, much like five years from now will see an explosion of interest in fancy editions of The Maxx, and maybe those issues of Hulk that Peter David did with Dale Keown. But don't let the visible seams of capitalistic manipulation turn you away from the guaranteed pleasure that is this book: it is as promised, a veritable Bible of why Batman comics will always be the Platonic ideal, the very fiber of a man's soul, the superhero comic that bests them all, even ones that are arguably more important or even provably "better." Every story in here is a base hit, especially the first, which sees Batman taking an oath to protect a mother and son at the deathbed of a dear friend, only to then throw the kid in a burlap bag and kidnap him after becoming convinced he is the son of Satan himself, a story that reaches its macabre conclusion when the mother (now revealed as a murderous concubine of evil) and the child end up going over the staircase banister while Batman watches, plummeting to a grisly death. Like all good superhero comic books with some nostalgic connection to the reader's youth, these can't be overpraised: and these are legitimately excellent substitutes for the majority of human interactions.

The Furry Trap
By Josh Simmons
Published by Fantagraphics

There's been a solid amount of recommendations already for this volume, and there's not going to be any contrarian tut-tutting to be found here: this is worth reading, owning, and possibly gifting, especially if this political climate has got you hankering for a way to upset an uncle who doesn't refuses to understand your "UNSUBSCRIBE" responses to his endless string of e-mail forwards regarding "our Muslim-in-chief." You may think that your MOME subscription and wildfire Paypal transactions have earned you all the Josh Simmons comics this book contains, and that very well may be true, but trust The Weak, popular teen: having this much nasty in one hardcover is a reading experience like no other, and one you'd do well to deny not one minute longer. It does get funnier than this, but nothing funnier gets more harrowing. Lock it down.