Batman 295 (January 1978)

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I’m sure writer Gerry Conway wasn’t trying for a “Scooby Doo” homage, but he doesn’t quite come up with anything better. This issue features Batman and the mystery gang. Or something along those lines. Mystery Adventurers Club maybe.

It’s a bunch of Gotham citizens and celebrities who solve mysteries together, with Batman sitting–in cape–on a sofa having cookies with them. But not here, because here–with a real murder to solve–Batman is very angry with everyone. Lots of yelling.

It’s low blood sugar Batman.

Conway spends his time setting up the mystery, the clues, the solution, but no time making it an interesting comic. All of the mystery gang is disposable and forgettable, except perhaps the eventual damsel in distress.

The Michael Golden art almost makes the comic worthwhile. He’s got some great composition and some lovely panels.

It’s a fast read too, which helps a lot.

CREDITS

The Adventure of the Houdini Whodunit!; writer, Gerry Conway; artist, Michael Golden; colorist, Jerry Serpe; letterer, Ben Oda; editors, E. Nelson Bridwell and Julius Schwartz; publisher, DC Comics.

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Edgar Allan Poe’s The Conqueror Worm (November 2012)

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Richard Corben adapts Edgar Allan Poe’s poem in The Conqueror Worm. The poem, reprinted at the end of the comic, doesn’t have much narrative (if any). So Corben stitches the poem his own narrative, which feels a little like Hamlet, but it all fits. Corben does well with angry men and forbidden lovers.

There’s a lot of design to Worm. Corben meticulously composes the panels–one can tell, without even reading the afterword, he feels strongly about Poe and wants to do it right. There’s a lot of mood to the comic, but not necessarily the space; Corben uses smaller panels for mood and action.

The end of the story comes with a morale… or at least the implication of one. The poem itself does not and Corben has a complicated finale, which leaves Worm to sit with the reader after he or she has finished.

It’s an excellent comic.

CREDITS

Writer, artist and colorist, Richard Corben; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Daniel Chabon, Shantel LaRocque and Scott Allie; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Swamp Thing 154 (May 1995)

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There’s a cute little reference to Ultraman and Owlman on the news at the beginning of the issue. Alec’s travels bring him to Earth-Three (or something like it) but he doesn’t run afoul of the supervillains. Instead, he finds himself with the Arcanes.

Only, Anton’s the good one and Abby’s the bad one.

There’s a lot of awful stuff this issue. Millar never gets too graphic, keeping it at the “just enough” level but he makes up for the lack of visuals in disturbing intimations. As a Swamp Thing comic it’s interesting because it’s the first time Millar’s written Abby solo, but it’s more interesting as a DC comic.

The implications of Earth-Three never really come through like they do here.

Lots of great art from Hester and DeMulder. All of it’s disturbing… it’s still great.

Millar’s just wasting time though. Alec isn’t learning anything from his trip.

CREDITS

River Run, Chapter Three: The Bad Seed; writer, Mark Millar; penciller, Phil Hester; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, Richard Starkings; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.

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