Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dark Horse Presents #16

Written by Phil Stanford, John Layman, David Chelsea, Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Carla Speed McNeil, Erika Alexander, Tony Puryear, Edgar Allan Poe, Richard Corben, Nate Cosby, Bo Hampton, Robert Tinnell, and Chad Lambert
Art by Patric Reynolds, Sam Kieth, David Chelsea, Tony Akins, Carla Speed McNeil, Tony Puryear, Richard Corben, Evan Shaner, Bo Hampton, and Apri Kusbiantoro

Another month, another collection of short comics of varying topic and quality.  Let's see what was impressive...

Of course, I continue to love Carla Speed McNeil's Finder the best.  This episode has Jaeger wandering the desert looking for water, which is the way to complete the ritual he began last month.  I love the complexity of McNeil's world, although I do really miss the explanatory notes that she has filled her collections with - not because I need them to understand the story, but because they help me appreciate how truly layered and well-realized her fiction is.  The colours this month, done by Jenn Manly Lee and Bill Mudron, look very different from what we've seen before.

Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, probably the two most prolific writers and idea creators in comics, start Deep Sea this month.  Usually these two work for DC or Image, and it's interesting to see them providing a story for DHP when they could just as easily include it in their own anthology Creator-Owned Heroes (unless, of course, there is no one heroic in their comic).  This is an ocean bottom exploration/love story/potential time travel story, and it looks pretty interesting.  Art by Tony Akins never hurts.

Concrete Park has another good chapter, as the two strands of the story get closer to colliding.  Tony Puryear and his crew have really caught my attention with this series, and I look forward to seeing where this is going.

Richard Corben adapts Edgar Allan Poe's 'Berenice', a strange story about an obsessive young man who marries a woman with alluring teeth.  For some reason Corben adds a gender-bending element to the story that is probably not in the original, and it makes the story extra disturbing and bizarre.

Chad Lambert returns with another comic memoir about his days in the radio industry.  I particularly appreciated the love Lambert shows for my all-time favourite sitcom 'WKRP in Cincinnati', both literally and figuratively.  What is it about Cincinnati and autobiographical comics anyway?

John Layman and Sam Kieth's strange Aliens story takes a turn for the worse again, mostly due to Kieth's rushed-looking art.  Bo Hampton's Riven continues to feel like a big part of the story is missing, and Nate Cosby and Evan Shaner's Buddy Cops continues to be amusing, but not my cup of tea.  David Chelsea's 'The Girl With the Keyhole Eyes' is a cool idea that is being done to death; I think if this free-form thought poem of a comic were shorter, it would be much less exasperating.

The new serial, 'Crime Does Not Pay', by Phil Stanford and Patric Reynolds was pretty underwhelming.  The trick with crime comics is to not make them be something everyone has read multiple times before.  This is not that.

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