Trekker

Dark Horse Presents 41 (June 1990)

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I guess up against Zick and The Argosy, Randall’s writing on Trekker seems really good. Maybe the plotting is a little better this time around from Randall–I wasn’t expecting the ending at all–and he’s still doing a lot of good work on the art. It’s crazy how different Trekker looks from when it started, even if it hasn’t exactly become original. Though the relationship between the female protagonist and her sister gets close.

The Argosy is something of a train wreck. The most important thing in the entire story happens in a tiny panel on the last page. Zick’s art is Kirby influenced, but in an interesting, thoughtful way, not the obvious. So it’s all right to look at, it’s just really stupid and pointless. Just rent Jason and the Argonauts or Clash of the Titans.

Sheldon’s “story” is art plates with some text. Art’s good, text’s pointless.

CREDITS

The Argosy; story and art by Bruce Zick; lettering by Pat Brosseau. Trekker; story and art by Ron Randall; lettering by David Jackson. Same Story Told Yesterday; story and art by Monty Sheldon. Edited by Randy Stradley.

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Dark Horse Presents 40 (May 1990)

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You know, I think Matt Wagner’s Aerialist is homophobic. Every man is forced to be gay. Anyway, it’s not at all impressive, a Rollerball knockoff. When his characters aren’t in costume, Wagner’s art is rather weak. I guess the hot air balloons look good.

Bob the Alien is absolutely amazing as a) Bob moves to a black neighborhood in Brooklyn and b) discovers God. It might be the funniest installment so far. I can’t believe this comic isn’t more appreciated.

The Argosy is a really wordy retelling of Jason and the Argonauts. It’s fantasy, introduces about forty character names in eight pages. It’s a waste of time.

Randall continues his good art on this Trekker installment. Still bad writing–some really silly developments here.

The Wacky Squirrel story’s a waste of pages, but I guess Bradrick’s art is good.

Campbell’s Bacchus features the (presumably true) store of Dom Pérignon. Fantastic.

CREDITS

Trekker; story and art by Ron Randall; lettering by David Jackson. The Aerialist, Part One; story and art by Matt Wagner; lettering by Kevin Cunningham. Bob the Alien, Bob, the alien, Learns About God; story, art and lettering by Rich Rice. The Argosy; story and art by Bruce Zick; lettering by Karen Casey-Smith. Wacky Squirrel, Diet Riot; story by Mike Richardson and Jim Bradrick; art by Bradrick; lettering by Jack Pollock. Bacchus, Gods, Monks, & Corkscrews; story and art by Eddie Campbell. Edited by Randy Stradley and Diana Schutz.

Dark Horse Presents 39 (May 1990)

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I think Davis’s Delia & Celia has definitively made me hate all fantasy, if I didn’t already dislike it enough. It’s like he sits around trying to think of how much blathering exposition he can fit in each panel, like it’s a contest to one up himself. The story’s completely incomprehensible at this point, but I’m pretty sure it’s never, ever going to end.

On the plus side, Ron Randall’s artwork has gotten fantastic on Trekker. Some of it’s the inking–maybe all of it’s the inking. It’s just gorgeous. Too bad his writing is still terrible. He spends maybe five of his eight pages rambling, trying to find a point to the story. He fails, there isn’t one.

Bob the Alien is, as usual, a delight. I don’t think I’ve mentioned how important “regular” people are to Bob‘s success. Rice has significant insight into the human condition. It’s just wonderful.

CREDITS

Trekker; story and art by Ron Randall; lettering by Steve Haynie. Bob the Alien, Bob, the alien, Schemes; story, art and lettering by Rich Rice. Delia & Celia, Drelin’s Wager; story, art and lettering by Gary Davis. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 22 (September 1988)

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Seriously, a short story? I guess Andrew Murphy provides his own illustrations, but his story is a prose future story about cloning. Not a very logical one either (how do the clones age, for example). I guess it’s not the worst prose story I’ve ever read in a comic, but am I making a compliment? No.

Concrete is a thoughtful story of a young village kid in Asia getting ready for Concrete’s walking tour. Chadwick has probably never written a better story. Too bad the illustration is mediocre. He’s barely got any detail to his faces and I can’t remember a single stunning panel.

Rick Geary’s Police Beat, presumably short true police cases, is great. One page.

Trekker has Dave Dorman inks, which makes the whole thing look completely different. It’s not an entirely successful art experiment, but it’s the first Trekker I’ve sort of liked.

And Duckman is funny.

CREDITS

Concrete, Goodwill Ambassador; story and pencils by Paul Chadwick; inks by Jed Hotchkiss; lettering by Bill Spicer. Reflections; story and art by Andrew Murphy. Police Beat; story, art and lettering by Rick Geary. Trekker, Chinks; story and pencils by Ron Randall; inks by Dave Dorman and Lurene Haines; lettering by Ken Bruzenak. Duckman, Love Me Tender; story, art and lettering by Everett Peck. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 21 (August 1988)

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I hate to say it, but Ron Randall’s gotten better. Not as a writer, of course; Trekker has actually gotten to be worse written since Dark Horse Presents started. The story this issue is practically unintelligible. On the other hand, Randall’s inking has gotten a lot better. The art’s still not so great, but the inking… inking’s improved.

The Mask finishes up here with Badger killing a CIA agent. His second or fourth. Overall, the series has been sometimes decent, sometimes good–usually the best thing in the issue (this one has a lot of misspellings for some reason). Anyway, it’d probably work better in color as a single sitting read. The pace gets lost, especially given how weird it gets.

Delia & Celia either ends with the protagonists in some magical inner earth or with them stuck in a canyon. It’s impossible to tell from Davis’s art. But who cares?

CREDITS

The Mask; story and art by Mark Badger; lettering by Tim Harkins. Trekker, Vincent’s Share, Part Two; story and art by Ron Randall; lettering by Ken Bruzenak. Delia & Celia, Under Tiltannon; story, art and lettering by Gary Davis. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 20 (August 1988)

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This issue is a sixty-four page giant–only most of the extra is filler. They could have gotten away with a lot less pages.

The Mr. Monster story is real short (and lame). Gary Davis has a short space alien story showing he’s read some Arthur C. Clarke (it’s long, wordless filler).

Rick Geary’s got a nice two page story, which is filler but really excellent filler.

Then there’s the start of a Trekker serial. It’s incomprehensible if you haven’t read the Trekker series and probably even if you have.

Doug Potter has an excellent story about homelessness.

Oh, I missed Bob Burden’s Mystery Men and Flaming Carrot two page filler.

Then a real Mask story, which seems to be wrapping up. The narrative’s a little pat dramatically, but I’m not sure Badger cared.

Bob the Alien and Mindwalk have stories. Bob‘s hilarious, Mindwalk‘s weak.

Finally, even more filler.

CREDITS

Mr. Monster, The Thing in Stiff Alley!; story by Chuck Gamble and Michael T. Gilbert; pencils by Gamble, Gilbert and Chuck Wacome; inks by Gilbert; lettering by Ken Bruzenak. Anomaly; story, art and lettering by Gary Davis. A Mother’s Tragedy; story, art and lettering by Rick Geary. Trekker, Vincent’s Share; story and art by Ron Randall; lettering by Ken Bruzenak. The Mystery Men!; story and art by Bob Burden; lettering by Roxanne Starr. The Visit; story, art and lettering by Douglas C. Potter. The Mask; story and art by Mark Badger; lettering by David Jackson. Concrete, Watching a Sunset; story and art by Paul Chadwick; lettering by Bill Spicer. Bob the Alien, Bob, the alien, Goes Birddogging; story, art and lettering by Rich Rice. Mindwalk; story by Randy Stradley; art by Randy Emberlin; lettering by Willie Schubert. Wacky Squirrel, Mixed Results; story, art and lettering by Jim Bradrick. Black Cross; story and art by Chris Warner. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 6 (April 1987)

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This issue drags.

It opens with Trekker‘s story line ending. Hopefully Dark Horse just gave Randall his own series so I don’t have to read any more of it. The story nearly gets okay on the last page, but it’s still got Randall’s awful writing to bring it back down. The art’s real lazy too.

Workman’s Roma continues to be a Love and Rockets knock-off, but at least this issue it’s a little more engaging. The strong design sense comes through a lot, creating a nice looking story, but not a particularly good one.

I’d like to say Concrete‘s back on track but only slightly. Chadwick does a Concrete in Hollywood–with hints at Concrete’s real identity (Ron). It’s supposed to be funny and the end is supposed to be funny but it’s really just mediocre.

Then, for the close, Mattsson plagiarizes some of Dune in a weak effort.

CREDITS

Trekker; writer and artist, Ron Randall; letterer, David Jackson. Roma; writer, artist and letterer, John Workman. Concrete, Little Pushes; writer and artist, Paul Chadwick; letterer, Bill Spicer. Doc Abstruse, Explains Warp Speed; writer, Steve Mattsson; artist, Tony Salmons; letterer, David Jackson. Editor, Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Dark Horse Presents 5 (February 1987)

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There’s very little to say about this issue’s Concrete story. It’s not a bad story, just another waste of time–though I guess the art is nowhere near as strong as usual. The story’s about this young woman who wants to be an artist and wants Concrete to be her subject. When she meets him, does she overcome her urban withdrawal and talk to him?

No.

Then there’s John Workman’s Roma. Workman–who’s lettered just about everything at one time or another–initially gives the impression of being a really good artist. Then it becomes clear he’s way too design oriented. As far as the writing, I think Los Bros Hernandez should have pursued plagiarism charges. Roma reads almost exactly like early Love and Rockets.

I could barely follow Randall’s writing on Trekker so I’m hoping it passes quietly from my memory.

Smith’s animated animal adventure is, once again, charming.

CREDITS

Concrete, Burning Brightly, Brightly…; writer and artist, Paul Chadwick; letterer, Bill Spicer. Roma; writer, artist and letterer, John Workman. Trekker; writer and artist, Ron Randall; letterer, Workman. Pookey, Pickin’ Up Sticks; writer and artist, James Dean Smith; letterer, David Jackson. Editor, Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Dark Horse Presents 4 (January 1987)

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It’s a real toss-up this issue for worst writing.

Randall’s script for Trekker is laughably bad, but there’s something almost confrontational about Stradley’s Mindwalk script. It’s like he’s punishing the reader for taking the time to read the story, as though he or she isn’t being punished enough by Emberlin’s artwork.

Randall’s Trekker art, on the other hand, isn’t terrible. He’s got some issues with proportions and perspective, but his enthusiasm and persistence are clear. He worked hard illustrating his derivative, atrocious sci-fi story.

The rest of the issue is similarly unimpressive. Sure, Chadwick’s Concrete artwork is amazing, but the story is another one where Concrete spends eight pages doing something then decides to reverse and not tell anyone. So why does the reader have to put up with it, to sympathize for the character? Why should we?

Once again, a moderately cute Boris strip closes the issue.

CREDITS

Trekker; writer and artist, Ron Randall; letterer, David Jackson. Concrete, The Gray Embrace; writer and artist, Paul Chadwick; letterer, Bill Spicer. Mindwalk, Mindwar!, Part Two; story and script, Randy Stradley; story and art, Randy Emberlin; letterer, David Jackson. Boris the Bear, The Boris Chronicles; story and art, James Dean Smith; script, Randy Stradley; letterer, David Jackson. Editor, Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.