Marvel’s Cancelling All Of The Books, Dangit — CASUAL WEDNESDAYS WITH DOOMROCKET
By Molly Jane Kremer and Jarrod Jones. Happy New Comic Book Day! This is Casual Wednesdays With DoomRocket, a podcast series where each week we discuss our feelings concerning the comics that mean the most to us, and the industry news that affects us all. This week, MJ & Jarrod discuss the untimely cancellation of Marvel Comics ‘Nighthawk’, and the perceived problem with comic book marketing. Then they’ll list their Top 5 Most Anticipated Issues of the week, and read reviews for ‘Tokyo Ghost’ #10 and ‘The Killer Inside Me’ #1.
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MJ’s Top 5 Most Anticipated Issues:
Future Quest #4 — DC Comics/$3.99
Saga #37 — Image Comics/$2.99
Tomboy #7 — Action Lab/$3.99
Spider-Gwen #11 — Marvel Comics/$3.99
Mae #4 — Dark Horse Comics/$3.99
Jarrod’s Top 5 Most Anticipated Issues:
The Fourth Planet #2 — Chapterhouse Comics/$3.99
Howard the Duck #10 — Marvel Comics/$3.99
Afterlife With Archie #10 — Archie Comics/$4.99
Justice League of America #9 — DC Comics/$3.99
The Killer Inside Me #1 — IDW Publishing/$3.99
REVIEWS FOR AUGUST 31, 2016
Tokyo Ghost #10
Written by Rick Remender.
Art by Sean Murphy.
Colors by Matt Hollingsworth.
Letters by Rus Wooton.
MJ: It’s funny, there were a couple points that I almost stopped reading Tokyo Ghost. The first issue didn’t initially grab me, mainly because I found a specific character’s incessant dialogue (Davey Trauma, if you’re curious) to be sophomoric and moronic, like listening to a couple of actual sophomores playing Call of Duty on X-Box Live. Which certainly was the point, but didn’t endear me to reading more of it. I stuck with it though (mostly based on the perennial beauty of Sean Murphy’s inks) and ended up very much enjoying it. Until Debbie’s apparent death at the end of issue #5, which again made me feel as though I had no need to read the series further. But in the hopes that her death had been one of those comical book cliff hanger fakeouts, I read the next issue and lo and behold; she was back. And, so was I. (And all in all, I’m glad I stuck around.)
Sean Murphy’s aforementioned art, with Matt Hollingsworth’s brushy, textured colors, are honestly a reason to read anything (no, that’s a lie, I still couldn’t bring myself to read more than a few pages of Chrononauts despite Mr. Murphy’s prodigious talents, because honestly, Millar is a hard sell for me nowadays–especially Millar writing about Science Bros!). Murphy’s storytelling is fluid, amazingly detailed and emotionally expressive; he lends an almost ethereal quality to the pages–in both the lurid cityscapes and in the lush Japanese wilds–while still retaining the dark, real-world grittiness this story is grounded in. Hollingsworth does a lot of that heavy lifting as well; they coalesce into a formidable team.
The climactic confrontation between Debbie and Davey feels rushed, since the issue starts after the showdown began; but reading the series collected will most likely alleviate this problem. I do find it aggravating that Debbie (though she has been shown to be emotionally a mess) flips from being gung-ho about-to-kill-Davey to totally unwarranted indecisiveness, mid-conversation.
The entire series has been a meditation on addiction, technology, violence, and co-dependence, though its never exactly subtle about any of those things (in fact, some characters scream those specific things at and about others, repeatedly). Its view of our future is both pessimistic and sadly believable, like the tech-addicted humans of WALL-E with additional (and generous) applications of Trump and pornography in equal measure. Though Image Comics is rife with dystopian-future series’ (a couple of them also written by Mr. Remender, funny enough), this one makes for a spectacularly gorgeous read, and is a series not to miss.
8.5 out of 10
The Killer Inside Me #1
Written by Devin Faraci.
Art by Vic Malhotra.
Colors by Jason Millet.
Letters by Christa Miesner.
JJ: Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me has been making people squirm in their armchairs since it was published as a Fawcett paperback in 1952. A dusty rural noir with plenty of hate in its pulp, Thompson’s lurid novel has been passed along from reader to reader for generations. It’s what our mythmakers rely on when they want to sit back, relax, and go somewhere else in their off hours. Lauded by scribes both professional and otherwise, the story of the psychologically fractured Lou Ford is a book that most would consider a “writer’s kind of novel,” or, as novelist Stephen King puts it (with more than a bit of whimsy), “an amazing piece of workmanship.”
King’s words of breathless acclaim can be found in the final pages of The Killer Inside Me #1, the first issue to IDW Publishing’s adaptation of Thompson’s work by film critic Devin Faraci and artist Vic Malhotra. (King’s words are from an introduction to a reprint of the novel published a few years back.) And if you’ve rightfully familiarized yourself with the original novel or enjoyed either of the two film adaptations out there — the 1976 film starring Stacy Keach or the 2010 version starring Casey Affleck — you likely share Mr. King’s enthusiasm about the tome. And if that’s the case, you’re definitely going to take in Mr. Faraci and Mr. Malhotra’s interpretation with big, deep lungfuls of fresh air. IDW has put their faith in this creative team to bring this much-ballyhooed story to the four-colored page, and it shows.
This debut issue fares much more ably than the first 20 minutes of either film, because Faraci understands that pace and mood are what suck people into the black hole that is noir. He’s been saying as much for years (his thoughtful essays on film noir standards, found in the back of every issue to Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ The Fade Out, punctuate that sentiment), and his script — for this issue, at least — uses all the space in the world to explore Thompson’s themes of emotional isolation and existential dread, all in service to the story at hand.
Vic Malhotra’s artwork compliments Faraci’s ambitions; he makes this a better book by relying on the simmering menace you’d find behind the cracks of the almost quaint environments found in films such as No Country For Old Men, Blood Simple, or Badlands. Mr. Malhotra leaves the backgrounds of his panels wide open in the issue’s more violent moments, so colorist Jason Millet can saturate them with angry reds. They’re not being subtle in these moments, but then, neither is the story’s main character, Lou Ford.
It’s impossible to talk about the graphic version of The Killer Inside Me without bringing up the professional career of Devin Faraci, the critic who has famously garnered more raised eyebrows than a penguin moonwalking down Michigan Ave. during rush hour. Faraci’s been very vocal about other people’s work for well over a dozen years — he once called Kevin Smith’s Red State an “excruciating failure,” and he even accused Michael Winterbottom’s 2010 adaptation of Killer Inside Me of being hamstrung by the director’s “faithfulness to the source [material].”
It would be a brave thing indeed, then, to kick off a burgeoning comic book writing career by adapting a story Faraci has openly professed to love, and has criticized other people’s interpretations, or even attitudes, towards it. (A more damning line from his Chud.com review of The Killer Inside Me reads, “‘The Killer Inside Me’ hasn’t just been adapted in the past, it’s been essentially picked clean by pop culture.”) Tempting fate further is the description Faraci gives himself on the bio page at the end of the issue, which reads, “a film critic, podcaster and now comic-book writer.” Well. If the next couple of issues pan out as well as his first just did, it would be just fine to welcome him to this perilous new format. Welcome to comics, Devin Faraci — hope you survive the experience.
8.5 out of 10
Check back next week for more from Casual Wednesdays!
Before: “Where We Pour One Out For The Fantastic Four,” here.