Tags Matching: Dark Horse Comics

Blacksad.

Another one from the crime comics from other countries file, Blacksad’s main character is the other quintessential noir lead character: the hard drinking, chain smoking, always a suspect in very the crime he’s investigating private detective. But the thing is, this detective is an anthropomorphic black cat.

Created by Spaniards (Juan Díaz Canales and the INCREDIBLE Juanjo Guarnido) yet published first in France, Blacksad so far has only had 3 of it’s 4 volumes translated and published in America. The first two were originally published here in a pair of oversized/magazine style paperbacks by the late and semi-lamented iBooks, and then Dark Horse Comics reprinted them along with the third book in the hardcover collection above. In the three stories, Blacksad investigates the murder of an ex-lover, the kidnapping of a child set against the back drop of racial segregation, and a murder set during the beginning of the Red Scare and the nuclear arms race. And in all cases, all of the character are anthropomorphic animals whose species fits the stereotypical traits of their characters. The police chief is a German shepard. The white power leader is a polar bear, the black power revolutionaries include a black stallion and a black bull. The nuclear physicist is an owl. And so on.

Not that the plots aren’t great stuff, but in the end they are pretty run of the mill noir, and really it’s hard to get an idea of just how good a writer is when they’re works being translated by someone else. No disrespect intended, but the real pleasure in Blacksad is the artwork. The attention to detail and variety of animals depicted (even in crowd scenes, Guarnido doesn’t repeat a beast) is just marvelous. In fact, I would even say that if you can only get your hands on the French or Spanish version, you should do it for the art alone.

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Tempus Fugitive.

Tempus Fugitive was one of many comic books I got as a kid from various classmates who had hand me down comics they didn’t actually want to read. It was also one of the few that I got all the issues of. So it’s kind of weird to find that, once I started writing this, I realized I didn’t remember all that much about it

I remember that it was a time travel comic, and that I always thought Ken Steacy’s art was pretty cool, but it’s been so long since I’ve actually read it that I’m at a loss for details. I’m pretty sure at one point some Mad Max types had the hero tied to 4 jets in an attempt to dismember him, but that’s all I’ve got.

DC put it out originally, but for some reason Dark Horse put out the trade.

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Back With A Bang…

A giant bang. From a giant gun.

In 1987, two decades before super violent comics like The Boys, Wanted, and Kick-Ass came along to take the piss out of super heroes by depicting them as perverted, ineffectual, and deluded pricks, Marvel’s Epic Comics imprint published a six issue mini series from Nemesis the Warlock creators Kevin O’Neill and Pat Mills that didn’t just take the piss out of it’s perverted, ineffectual, and deluded superheroes. It beat it out of them. With a barbed wire bat.

Meet Marshal Law.

Marshal Law is a hero hunter. He hunts heroes. He usually doesn’t find any. So instead, loosely veiled versions of every superhero you can imagine get to meet gory ends courtesy the often over-sized bullets of his often over-sized guns. Take Batman, for example (“Superman” was taken care of in the original miniseries). In Marshal’s world he’s a youth obsessed billionaire who tortures criminals via impromptu street surgeries, uses his wards as involuntary organ donors, and who arranged the very murder of his parents that set him down the path to vigilantism.

The Avengers? The Silver Surfer? Mr Fantastic and the Invisible Woman? Namor? Daredevil? Spider Man? All stark raving mad and locked in an insane asylum for the super powered. Throw an ex-CIA torturer version of The Punisher looking for an insanity defense into the mix (and in fact it was originally supposed to BE The Punisher), and it’s almost completely surprising that Marvel agreed to put this out, Epic imprint or no Epic imprint (later Marshal stories would be published by a variety of other companies, mainly Dark Horse).

The Legion of Superheroes? Marshal is forced to team up with a team of very loosely X-men styled heroes to save the Legion analogues from aliens. And when I say aliens, I mean Aliens, the kind you find in the Sigourney Weaver movies (sort of).

Marshal Law hated heroes so much, that he even hated them after they were dead, which allowed him to take on thinly veiled versions of the Golden Age Justice Society… in zombie form.

Later on, Marshal would actually end up crossing over with other heroes. Well, ok, ONE hero (Erik Larsen’s Savage Dragon) and two demonic entities: Pinhead and The Mask.

It was in these crossovers that Marshal finally came to terms with his hatred of superheroes, along with his own self loathing (after all, as a former super soldier with enhanced durability in a leather costume and mask with a secret base and arsenal of weapons and vehicles, he basically WAS a superhero himself), and prepared to retire his SS cap and barbed wire arm wrap… until the conclusion of the Mask crossover, where he returns to the fascist Marshal of series past (sort of).

Sadly, he hasn’t been seen in graphic novel form since (though there have been a couple literary works, which I have not read). There also has not been a definitive collection as of yet, but word is Top Shelf Productions will be coming out with a Marshal Law Omnibus in 2011, and all I can say is it’s about damn time. The violent satire of Marshal Law was every bit as important to the start of the superhero deconstruction movement started by Watchmen, and it deserves just as much attention.

‘Nuff Dead.

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Two Great Things That Go Great Together:

We all know the usual suspects. Peanut butter and chocolate. Cookies and milk. Etc.

Well here’s a new one for the list:

The Creature From The Black Lagoon and Arthur Adams.

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