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?


Saturday, August 22, 2009



Matt Murdock was the second most important character in this mega-issue. Master Izo has shown us his legacy and we are happy he invited us in. finally, why not a drunken kung fu master to brighten the day with mixed up morality. Marvel should have introduced this off-kilter warrior 35 years ago. Frank Miller(in his saner years) gave us Stick, Murdock's mentor, and now Stick has a mentor of his own and we are all the wiser. Izo, the many-hundred year old ex-leader of the Hand. It seems that writers since Miller have been unconfident to push FM's additions to the DD mythos till now(other than Electra). Even Turk gave us a glimpse of humanity in this issue. Tis a sad day that Brubaker has given us his best story and packed his bags all in one. Like Immortal Iron Fist, the subtle grasp of character and history may plummet with his departure. Michael Lark, i fear what follows, your solid composure illustrated a sordid dark gritty New York. A textured city. A balanced graceful Daredevil. I have i think 450 of these 500 issues in my possession. small treasure. Daredevil, Man without Fear, must I fearlessly collect the last 50 or so floppy format comics, from that ugly section of history known as issues 300-380. those cheap days better be over. DD 500 is a prize.