Saturday, May 26, 2012

Hero Comics 2012

Written by Kevin Eastman, Tom Ziuko, Chris Ryall, Russ Heath, Christian Gossett, Alan Kupperberg, Richard Starkings, Robert Washington
Art by Kevin Eastman, Gerry Acerno, Ashley Wood, Russ Heath, Christian Gossett, Alan Kupperberg, Dave Sim, Chris Ivy

There is a different expectation when reviewing or discussing a book like Hero Comics.  To begin with, the comic is an anthology produced to funnel profits to the Hero Initiative, a fund that helps ailing and destitute comics creators who are in financial need.  The work they do is essential - these writers and artists are freelancers who have contributed to an art form that does not provide a pension or, frequently, gratitude for a life of service to a product that we all love.

The collection of work in books like this, then, is a hodge-podge of work by creators who are donating their time.  Usually, there are some cool and special things in these books for true comics fans.

This issue opens with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles story by Kevin Eastman.  I've never been a Turtles fan, but this is a nice story.  There is also a collection of Zombies Vs. Robots strips, which did very little for me.

What had me most excited here was the fact that there is a new The Red Star story by that comic's creator, Christian Gossett.  I love the Red Star, and have been missing it.  Gossett gives us a story about soldiers fighting in Al'Istaan, and the comic is clearly a metaphor for America's current involvement in Afghanistan (the rest of the series can be read as an examination of the Soviet Union's Afghan policies, albeit with science fiction flying crafts and magic).  Gossett doesn't use any of the digital tricks he usually employs, but I still got a thrill out of reading this.

Dave Sims draws an Elephantmen story here too.  This is a matching of artist and story that I can't believe hasn't happened before now, as I can't think of a better artist for this.  The story is wordy and doesn't go anywhere, but it looks incredibly cool.

There are also a number of one-page strips spotlighting creators who have had to turn to the Hero Initiative for help.  They include comics legend Russ Heath, which just feels wrong to me.  Also included here are Tom Ziuko, Alan Kupperberg, and Robert Washington.

This is the type of comic that everyone should be buying, as it goes to a good cause.  If you felt even a little bit of outrage about the Avengers/Jack Kirby thing, you should go buy this comic, just to balance out your karma a little.

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