Thursday, June 7, 2012

Creator-Owned Heroes #1

Written by Steve Niles, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Justin Gray
Art by Kevin Mellon and Phil Noto

Before even discussing this book, I think we should take a moment to absorb the notion that this new series, so dedicated to creators' rights to own their own comics that they gave it the clunky name Creator-Owned Heroes, debuted on the same day as the first of DC's Before Watchmen comics.  Intentional?  Coincidentally awesome?  It's all good.

This is perhaps an example of the concept being better than the product, but I'm still relatively happy to plunk down $4 for something like this.  This is a thick issue, which opens with two 11-page comics, and is followed by some magazine-style backmatter.

The first series is American Muscle, by Niles and Mellon.  I'm not usually a big Steve Niles fan, but I have liked some of his books, and I enjoyed Mellon's recent work on Heart.  This series is about a group of friends crossing a post-Apocalyptic America in classic cars, aiming for the West Coast.  Niles explains that the catastrophe that finally more or less wiped out humanity was internal, involving the failure of our immune systems.  It's a bleak little tale that reads like an homage to B-movies about cars.  It's cool.

The second comic is by Palmiotti, Gray, and Noto, and involves some sort of assassin called a Trigger Girl.  We follow this one as she is awoken from some sort of pod, and sent on a mission that involves a US senator on an airplane, and two fighter jets.  It's good, but it doesn't do much more than set the tone for what is to follow.

The backmatter, which includes an interview with Neil Gaiman, is pretty much all forgettable.  Its clear that Palmiotti and company haven't fully decided where they're going with this title, and that's fine, but everything in the back half of this book felt very self-serving.  I like to support creator-owned work, but the concept is not all that new or groundbreaking, and probably shouldn't be discussed as such.

Anyway, this is a book worth supporting.  The two strips are not bad, and together they still make up more content than you would get from a $4 Marvel comic, even if you don't read the stuff at the back.

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