4.14.10 Reviews (Part 1)

DMZ #52 (DC/Vertigo): At first glance, this issue feels like more of the same, it's just Matty Roth wandering the city looking for a point to his sudden newfound style of existence, but the real world political commentary is quite profound. It’s full of zingers about the de facto “Bush Doctrine,” justification for pre-emptive military strikes, and the suspension of personal rights if you happen to be characterized as an enemy combatant without that pesky little thing called due process. We’re used to being told about these things occurring abroad most of the time, but it’s chilling to see them play out on American soil, even in this fictitious reality. Brian Wood makes a wise choice because it personalizes those dynamics when they’re very close to home and makes us question their validity when we realize the parallel line of thought – that they’re actually occurring out there in our real world. They stop being lost in the nightly news, stop being abstract things occurring in faraway places, and stop being lost in a fictional story, they become real and relatable. DMZ is such an atypical work. It’s not often that a piece of fiction can be entertaining, but also worthy of CNN style examination, worthy of study in college classrooms around the country. Regular series artist Riccardo Burchielli is in top form as well. It’s easy to get lost in the dirty glory of thousands of empty shell casings raining down from attack helicopters overhead, as they attempt to eradicate the surviving remnants of the Delgado Nation. But, when you look at the longer arc of Burchielli’s penciling, you see that he’s slowly and steadily been increasing the urban decay we see in this book. In just a couple of short years, his NYC now looks more like Mogadishu, or Beirut, or Port-au-Prince, or what I imagine parts of Baghdad looking like. It’s an open expanse of desolation, despair, and destruction that’s not as cute as that alliteration makes it sound. Grade A.

I also picked up;

Bodyworld (Pantheon): Dash Shaw’s latest project is a marvel of unique production quality and will surely be worthy of some eventual in depth analysis, but what I loved more than anything was the pull quote on the back cover. It’s from David Mazzuchelli, who in addition to being the writer/artist of Asterios Polyp (the other book besides Shaw’s own Bottomless Belly Button that comprised the most universally praised duo of publications last year), actually produces a pull quote that’s a direct homage to music critic John Landau’s description of his first encounter with Bruce Springsteen. Landau was an influential critic, wrote for Rolling Stone, and saw Springsteen’s performance one night in 1974 in Cambridge, Mass. The actual quote by Landau was "I saw my rock and roll past flash before my eyes. I saw something else: I saw rock and roll's future and its name is Bruce Springsteen," but over the years it’s been condensed and bastardized to the point of becoming accepted music industry lore as “I have seen the future of rock and roll, and its name is Bruce Springsteen.” Here, Mazzuchelli writes: “I have seen the future of comics, and its name is Dash Shaw.” Now, I don’t want to get off on a rant here, but if you read some of Landau’s accounts of Springsteen, it makes for an interesting (if gushing) comparison to Dash Shaw’s work vis-à-vis the typical output of the comic book industry. For example, "Tonight," one of his columns began, "there is someone I can write of the way I used to write, without reservations of any kind. On a night when I needed to feel young, he made me feel like I was hearing music for the very first time. When his two hour set ended I could only think, can anyone really be this good, can anyone say this much to me, can rock and roll speak with this kind of power and glory? And then I felt the sores on my thighs where I had been pounding my hands in time for the entire concert and knew that the answer was a resounding yes. Springsteen does it all. He is a rock n' roll punk, a Latin street poet, a ballet dancer, an actor, a joker, bar band leader, rhythm guitar player, extraordinary singer, and a truly great rock n' roll composer. He leads a band like he has been doing it forever. I racked my brain but simply can't think of an artist who does so many things so superbly. There is no one I would rather watch on a stage today." That all might sound a bit hyperbolic, but I’m pretty excited to sit down and absorb this book, and I really like Springsteen, in case you didn’t catch that.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home