Day: 19 October 2010

Detective Comics - Gerry Conway

Detective Comics 506 (September 1981)

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I know kids actually read comic books back in the eighties so Conway had to keep them in mind, but he’s got a story about a golden mannequin lady killing people… he didn’t need to open with a really obvious prologue setting up the character. He could have just revealed it all when he will get around to it next issue.

Still, there’s some cool stuff here–Conway’s Bruce Wayne pages are good, really good. There aren’t enough of them. He has Bruce and Alfred discussing Gotham City politics and Bruce at the Studio 54 stand-in. Both those scenes are excellent. There’s a real effort here to make Gotham seem real, which I don’t tend to get out of modern comics–they’re terrified of exposition for setting, apparently.

The Batgirl backup’s fine. Delbo’s better than usual and the lack of a surprise ending is an interesting choice from Burkett.

CREDITS

Who Dies for the Manikin?; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Don Newton; inker, Steve Mitchell; colorist, Adrienne Roy; letterer, Ben Oda. Farewell, My Lovely; writer, Cary Burkett; penciller, Jose Delbo; inker, Joe Giella; colorist, Tom Ziuko; letterer, Milt Snapinn. Editors, Dave Manak and Dick Giordano; publisher, DC Comics.

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Battlefields: Dear Billy 3 (March 2009)

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It’s a tad… Victorian, isn’t it?

I mean, it’s an excellent issue and a decent close to Dear Billy, but it’s just too confined.

With the whole letter to Billy thing–Ennis either has to use it as a letter to the guy or a narrative device. So he uses it as a narrative device. A delivery system for the story, which it’s not properly equipped to do. It’s a letter, it’s meant to be read.

The letter doesn’t open this issue and maybe it needed to be present again, from the start. Ennis’s spends the first two issues expanding the world of the protagonist–but not in the third issue. He constricts. Worse, he shifts a lot of the storytelling attention to Billy, away of Carrie.

It’s a very serious story and Ennis takes it seriously. But in being respectful, I think it got a little loose from him.

CREDITS

Writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Peter Snejbjerg; colorist, Rob Steen; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybrandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Battlefields: Dear Billy 2 (February 2009)

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I can’t remember how Dear Billy ends. Even reading another issue, I can’t remember. I spent a while, in the back of my head, anticipating Ennis’s cliffhanger. Three issue limited, he’d have to cliffhang… but he doesn’t.

In fact, for a comic featuring a nurse killing three–wait, four–Japanese POWs, the most sensational thing in the comic is the two gay American intelligence guys. It’s a very strange scene, practically a domestic scene between the protagonist, Carrie, and her beau, the titular Billy, out with some friends.

Even when Carrie figures out a way to meet up with Billy on the front, it’s nowhere near as sensational as those two gay Americans. Girl on the front for a night of romance is unlikely, but gay American spies during World War II… it’s really not done. I don’t even think it’s done for soldiers in the Iraq War II (yet).

CREDITS

Writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Peter Snejbjerg; colorist, Rob Steen; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybrandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Battlefields: Dear Billy 1 (January 2009)

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I’ve forgotten most of the details to Battlefields, which is nice as it turns out. I then can remember things, anticipate them as I read, makes the experience seem richer. It’s a rather rich experience to begin with–Ennis’s writing here, from a first person female narrator, puts his contemporaries to shame. As usual.

But I didn’t remember the specifics of Dear Billy, not until the last few pages did I remember what will unfold. So I got to read the issue both raw and a little aware. It makes for a fine experience.

There’s everything to recommend the book–Snejbjerg alone makes it essential–but it’s still just about Ennis’s amazing writing. He opens the issue with a moment of intense tragedy and never lets up on the reader, even when a relative calm comes over the protagonist. It makes her few smiles all the more powerful.

Ennis’s writing is simply devastating.

CREDITS

Writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Peter Snejbjerg; colorist, Rob Steen; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybrandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.