No, really, we like this creator now, honest.

§ April 21st, 2016 § Filed under pal plugging, question time, self-promotion § 4 Comments

First off, let me point you in the direction of pal Andrew’s latest endeavor, a personal retelling of his frontline battles that could only be called “Me and the Terrible ’90s.” That link will take you to Parts One and Two of the series, and will also show you the immediate precursors looking at awful merch ads from Wizard (as opposed to all those great merch ads). Anyway, it’s more great writing from Andrew, and that’s always worth celebrating.

Now, if I may plug myself (“…In public!? GASP”), here is the most recent Question Time over at Trouble with Comics, in which we discuss those creator(s) that we did not like at first blush, but gained an appreciation for as time went by. Please note my use of the parenthetical pluralization on “creator(s)” is mostly theoretical, as each and every one of us somehow managed to pick the same person. And it’s the worst person we could have picked for this. We are all horrible people. At least I can manage to lightly salve my soul with the knowledge that I once got to shake this person’s hand and thank him for all his great work. I don’t know what all those other guys at TWC are gonna do. (Also, the last link in my answer is supposed to go to this…not sure how that other link got published, since the correct link is in my final draft of the response, but we’ll get it fixed!)

Now let me address a couple of questions from my latest “ask me stuff” post:

Thom H. ashks:

“Any thoughts on the Ellis/Shalvie/Bellaire book Injection? I think it’s the best book on the stands right now — not to mention the best thing Ellis has written in years — and I don’t see much written about it on the Internet. How does is sell for you? Have you read it? How does it compare to other Ellis work in your opinion? etc. etc.”

I haven’t had a chance to read it…the dread irony of owning a comic shop is less time to read comics, I’m sure I’ve said before. But, it’s selling reasonably well for an Image book…not Walking Dead heights, no, but certainly better than some of their D.O.A. titles. It has a consistent following, and the occasional latecomers who catch up on the back issues. It’s also one of the few comics that customers regularly point out to me as one of their favorites, so…you know, that’s encouraging. As far as how it compares to other Ellis titles…well, like I said, I haven’t read it, but that customers are regularly talking about it makes it probably one of his most well-received books since Moon Knight.

• • •

Jay from Tennessee graces my land with

“Of course in your opinion, what is the best series of Shadow comics in the past 40 years and why?”

Well, that would be the Andrew Helfer/Kyle Baker run during the late 1980s…actually, the whole 19-issue run was good, with Bill Sienkiewicz on the first story arc, and the four-issue mini-series that kicked this iteration of the Shadow off, by Howard Chaykin, is a hoot as well. But Helfer/Baker’s particular brand of irreverence and black humor really did it for me, and you were never quite sure just what horrible thing was going to happen next. That they managed to (um, SPOILER ALERT, I guess) kill the Shadow and keep him dead for several issues was a remarkably entertaining feat, and the cover to the final issue is a thing of beauty.

I’ve read and liked other Shadow comics since, but they all seem so staid and mannered compared to the freewheeling craziness of Helfer/Baker’s run. I did write a bit about this series over a decade ago, so some of the links in that old post are going to be broken. Sorry about that! But this was a fine series, and now it’s been 27 years since I started waiting for that one-shot to wrap it all up!

4 Responses to “No, really, we like this creator now, honest.”

  • DavidG says:

    ah, the Helfer/Baker Shadow. So, so great. I read it totally out of order at first (while I hunted down the back issues – I started buying it with #14 I think) and it was still awesome. Also still waiting on that last issue. Maybe we could do a Kickstarter to bribe them to finish it, copyright be damned! Who’s with me?

  • Thom H. says:

    Wow – thanks for the link to your old post about the Helfer/Baker Shadow. That’s more information about the old series than I’ve ever seen collected anywhere. I wasn’t as connected to comics journalism back when I was 15, so it’s interesting to see what folks were saying about the series at that time.

    I would definitely contribute to a Kickstarter to get the final issue published. I would also pay some money to read about what *really* happened to make the series end. It was my very favorite comic on the stands for a while.

    And thanks for answering my question about Injection. It’s good to know that other folks are enjoying it as much as I am. Hopefully, it has enough of a fan base to let the creators finish what they started.

  • DanielT says:

    None of you should feel bad about not liking Kirby. I think that’s a common thing among comics-reading kids who didn’t grow up with his 60s work. I didn’t like Kirby as a kid and neither did my friends.

    But there were three I liked even less than Kirby: Don Heck, George Tuska and Steve Ditko. Ditko especially. He was the kiss of death as far as I was concerned. Now he’s probably my favorite old school creator who worked in genre comics. I appreciate Heck now, but I can’t say I love his superhero work. But I still don’t care for Tuska’s superhero stuff.

    If I had to pick one comic I wish had never ended when it did, it would be either the Helfer/Baker Shadow or Zot!.

    And of course Flaming Carrot should never have ended, but that’s a Known Fact about Reality.

  • Dan says:

    I’m glad to see I’m not the only person who didn’t take an immediate liking to Jack Kirby. The guy had an amazing imagination and there are little… I dunno… just Kirby flourishes that have become eternal comic art tropes which I love(Kirby-crackle, Kirby’s starscapes, etc). He was like Lou Reed — you don’t like him when you first hear him but then you realize all the musicians you love are influenced by him and you start to see the aspects of him they borrowed(and, in many cases, improved upon — John Romita Jr. does a great Kirby-crackle), and that eventually opens you up to his music. I still don’t care for his use of photo-collage, though.