Howard the Duck 1 (January 1976)

Howard the Duck #1

It’s not clear if it’s going to be the secret of the series or just the secret of this issue, but the way writer Steve Gerber makes Howard the Duck work is by coming up with this hippie political commentary plot and except have it narrated by Sam Spade.

Only Sam Spade isn’t a P.I.

And it’s not Sam Spade. It’s Howard. The talking duck. Gerber moves Howard through the comic like a forties heavy. He’s Edward G. Robinson chewing on scenery while Gerber spins this crazy story of a powerful magician who also happens to be a complete square who wants to use a cosmic calculator to rearrange the universe.

And there’s a girl.

And a Spider-Man cameo.

And gorgeous art from Frank Brunner. Gerber gives him a lot of weird stuff to draw but it’s all weirder going together and Brunner nails it every page.

Awesome comics.

CREDITS

Howard the Barbarian; writer, Steve Gerber; penciller and colorist, Frank Brunner; inker, Steve Leialoha; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Marv Wolfman; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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Manifest Destiny 15 (June 2015)

Manifest Destiny #15

I figured out what’s wrong with Dingess’s writing. He can’t do the scenes. It’s like he’s got an amazing outline–he can do the plot, he can do the dialogue, he can even do the narration (most of it)–but he can’t do actual scenes. Or maybe it’s a strange disconnect between how Dingess writes and how Roberts composes the scenes.

But I doubt it–Roberts is comfortable enough to show off quite a bit this issue. He takes advantage of the script’s possibilities. Those possibilities come from Dingess’s dialogue and characters and plotting. So, if there is a disconnect, it’s from Dingess.

But it’s Dingess who provides the awesome–the blue bird talks and is a big jerk. The bird’s got a modern sense of humor against Dingess’s period people. Also awesome looks at pre-human American civilizations.

Destiny works out overall, it just imagines better than it acts.

CREDITS

Writer, Chris Dingess; artist, Matthew Roberts; colorist, Owen Gieni; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editor, Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

The Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw 5 (March 2015)

The Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw #5

Busiek’s kind of showing his hand with Autumnlands this issue. Not the plot as, though some of it, but more just how the comic’s going to be, how it’s going to read. It’s magic talk around a bunch of anthropomorphic steampunks. Maybe I’m just sick of Busiek not knowing what to do with the narrator. When he just narrates, it’s really annoying.

The issue’s story is a lot of political maneuvering and double-crossing and so on. It’s competently done, but never interesting or original. There’s a lot with the champion, usually through the narrator’s eyes, with these little asides letting the knowing reader in. If you don’t want a narrator, don’t use one. Don’t undermine him, not unless you want the reader not to like him, which is a perfectly reasonable (if unlikely) possibility.

Dewey’s art seems a little hurried and he’s still no better at drawing the human.

CREDITS

Writer, Kurt Busiek; artist, Benjamin Dewey; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterers, John Roshell and Albert Deschesne; publisher, Image Comics.

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