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May / June Comics roundup

I only read one comic book/ collection in May, so I’m just doing a two-month summary post.

Acme Novelty Library #20 The Killer, vol 2

The Acme Novelty Library #20: LINT
by Chris Ware
Once again, Ware crafts a paean to melancholy.  Lint follows its eponymous hero from his difficult childhood (abusive, alcoholic father, mother who died early) through behavior problems, a life not lived fully or in the present, and poor or unethical decisions all around.  As usual, sex and shame hold the reader’s hands throughout the book, and the perfectly-crafted architecture of the drawings belies the lament that flows under them.  While I still appreciate this book, it will probably be a while before I read another, as it’s story is just really a bummer.  I’m reminded, here, a bit of the albums produced by “Mitch” of “Mitch and Mickey” from A Mighty Wind.  Viz:

The Killer, Vol 2
by Matz and Luc Jacamon
Volume 1 of The Killer leaves off with the progtagonist retired and happy, ready to enjoy the fruits of his labor.  Alas, his past comes calling and he’s pulled back in.  The second volume of Matz and Jacamon’s series follows the nameless hitman as he trains another man, makes some friends, and tries to find a way out from under the shadow his career has cast over the rest of his life.  Not bad, but not great either.  The comic seems to be moving toward a more nuanced kind of ethic, one that suggests sometimes it might be wrong to kill.

The Black Forest Lord Baltimore: The Plague Ships

The Black Forest
by Todd Livingston, Robert Tinnell, Neil Vokes, and Anthony Schiavino
The Black Forest follows the grim adventures of air ace Jack Shannon, sent on a suicide mission with a mysterious British agent into the Black Forest of Germany during World War 2.  Their mission takes them into the heart of dark magic country, encountering old world monsters and creepy castles, not to mention Nazis galore.  It’s an amusing comic, a straight-up WW2 occult adventure story, similar to the kinds of stories Mike Mignola tells in Hellboy and BPRD.  Vokes’ art reminds me of Mike Oeming, both angular and a little cartoony.  The pages are pretty dark, with menacing workmanlike depictions of the action.  Overall, a solid, enjoyable effort.

Baltimore vol 1: The Plague Ships
by Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden, Ben Stenbeck
Following the great war, a plague drifted across Europe.  Sure, some say it was the Spanish flu that killed all those people.  They’re wrong — it’s a vampire plague that turns people into vampire/zombies who can talk.  Lord Baltimore is a lone warrior fighting the zombie hordes, tracking the vampire who started the whole thing in the Dead Man’s land between the trenches.  And he’s got a peg leg! This first volume lays out the vast, strange reach of the curse, which employs a creepy fungal growth as well as the usual agents for raising the dead.  Fortunately, Baltimore seems immune to the contagion.  A decent first outing.  I look forward to seeing where it goes.

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