Monday, August 24, 2009



DD #100 volume 1 is a set up issue. an origin issue. and even a reflection of period stereotypes. It has virtually nothing in common with DD #500 except the presence of the red costume. In #100, written by Steve Gerber and illustrated by the one and only Gene Colan(the work, inked by Tartaglione, is not Genes best), DD is the wise cracking pre-Frank Miller version. This era of DD gave the hero, and the comic, the ability to stretch out of character, to veer off the dark dirty city streets into flights of fantasy. It allows DD to joke about the world. A virtue virtually gone in current DD characterization. Issue #100 acts as an origin summary, as DD recounts a few bits of his history to a Rolling Stone reporter, until a mass hallucination hits the Rolling Stone office and the streets of San Francisco. This is 1973 Marvel Comics.

The San Fran hippy hallucination theme recently revisited an Uncanny X-men story leading to their issue #500 relocation to San Francisco. Hippy Vision Seizes Reality. Distorted Utopia. The X-Men worked it out quick over a few short issues, destroying the invasive dreamworld. Uncanny has since further devolved into a Dark Avengers/Dark X-men/Norman Osborn showdown on the SF streets(this arc is titled Utopia) with an undercurrent of early 200's X-men anti-mutant hysteria fueling the violence.

Fraction has barely touched the idea of a liberal San Franciscian Utopia for mutants. Readers are told SF is welcoming to mutants, but shown very little in the 14 issues since their arrival. Mutants hanging out in a bar? Utopia! "Utopia" is the tale of the mutant haven of SF falling apart. But where is the garden on the compound tended by Storm? The art classes taught by Colossus? Spiritualism as taught by Nightcrawler? The drunk poetry slams of James Logan(who i refuse to call the uninspired name of James Howlett). What is there to really fall apart? All we get is the overplayed Norman Osborn stomping into the city with his newfound half hero/half villain agenda. The Marvel U. has been held hostage by this guy, who inherited the throne of Shield(now Hammer) and now defends the nation. Do you care? you shouldn't. Anyway, Uncanny needs to slow down and take stock. The art in #514 was dynamic and fist pumping, if not a bit too gooey. Bold and cartoony. kind of gross honestly. Terry Dodson. Surely a fan favorite. He can draw!?

I do commend Fraction on his final page, which hints that the X-club (formerly led by the now incarcerated Beast) has built an undersea headquarters for the X-men just in time for their impending exile from SF. Looks like a cool base. Totally G.I.Joe. Totally Lost. I mean it i am psyched. Maybe the X-men will journey to the center of the earth. all the way.

But back to the San Fran of DD #100. A slow issue if there ever was one, nothing really happens except the grand finale intro of Angar the Screamer.

Badass. Its a subdued anniversary issue, but unlike the fantastical yet "realistic" DD #500, DD #100 is grounded in the 1973 of today/yesturday. Along side of the blind swashbucklers make believe world we get a (small)mirror of society, i should know, i was age 0-1. But damn, to jostle topics, Michael Lark does have some sweet layouts with #500.

I mean that shit is dynamic. But maybe there is something i can fault DD#500 for, its perfect synthesis of DD legacy leaves no space for a portrait of America. No glimpse into the state of the world. Does Brubaker have a dream for Utopia?




ANGAR, THE SCREAMER apologizes for my previous comment.


KP said...

If you dig a more light-hearted, swashbuckling DD, I'm going to back Justin from that other thread up and recommend you checking out the Karl Kesel issues if you don't have them. He and Cary Nord had the start of a real promising run on their hands before a debate with Marvel over making Murdock mayor of New York scuttled the whole thing. So, I guess it's mostly just wasted potential there...but that's better than some of the absolute crap that came out in the years before.

Booksteve said...

Just for the record the "Rolling Stone reporter" is actually Jann Wenner, the founder of Rolling Stone and author of some of the most important rock journalism of the seventies. Apparently no one gave Gene Colan any photo refernce, though, as the guy in the strip is a normal looking blond guy and the real Wenner has always had dark hair and been more than a tad chubby.

shitpak said...

hah! thanks for the info booksteve!!