Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Good comic series from the past, and others to look for

Jim Starlin Writer
Mike Mignola Pencils
DC Comics

This is a very short entry to point readers to what I think is an exceptionally great comic mini series.   Cosmic Odyssey was written by Jim Starlin, famous for writing and drawing great space and cosmic tales for Marvel and DC, but here his words are illustrated by the magnificent pencils of Mike Mignola, and the pairing is sublime.  The story takes the heroes of earth, Superman, Batman, John Stewart -- Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Starfire, Demon and Dr Fate, and brings them to the worlds of the New Gods and that of Darkseid.  Anti-Life has taken form, and threatens the universe, and even Darkseid needs help of the heroes or his dark world along with the worlds of the heroes and good will be lost to black emptiness, gruesome horror.

There was a great amount of emotionally powerful content in the series.  And, for the time (early 90s) I think it was especially done well and not shoehorned into the story.  Racism was one harsh aspect of the story, but while you'd expect that in Darkseid's world, or even earth, you wouldn't in the place it was found.  There are deaths in this story, massive killings, and war.  It was literally a story that had permanent consequences for the characters, worlds, and peoples it involved.  Search for this, the single chapters can be found for cheap, and I found the TPB of it for under 5 dollars.  It is truly worth the search.

The New Gods were Jack Kirby's great creation.  He had the notion of how superheroes would be seen in the world they lived in.  They would not be considered with a mundane, oh look dear, the there goes a flying man, but rather, and in Kirby's perspective obviously, OH MY GOD LOOK!!!!!.  Thus, he considered a new mythos, and how humans would interact with these "gods".  Kirby was perhaps not a genius in a IQ fashion, perhaps he was, but he was absolutely a genius in transferring ideas from thought in his head to the page.  I was spellbound by his work.   In February of 1994 Jack Kirby died.  The world lost a great artist and creative genius with Jack Kirby.

He created many characters, worlds, stories and more, and I loved his work.  There have been many who also cared for his creations, but, many simply liked them, while others absorbed and understood what he did and created in the manner of the king.  I realize this could be a number of columns worth of debate.  I have my choices, other people have their own.  And some even think they know better.  But for sake of brevity let us suggest I am correct in saying, the three best bearers of the mantle of Jack Kirby's pen are Walter Simonson, Erik Larson, and Steve Rude.  Simonson for his story-telling style, Larson for that and his style of drawing, and Rude for the clarity of the work.  I realize there are others who have their preferences and desires to be listed.  They are free to list them elsewhere.

Walter Simonson was given the title Orion to explore.  The son of Darkseid and angry man child, held in check by the lessons of his foster father on New Genesis, but burning with anger inside from the DNA inside, Orion was a man of action, and one of my very favorite characters at DC.  Walter Simonson was perfect for the character, and when the comic was announced I nearly crapped myself in excitement.  I was not disappointed.  DC has released a single TPB of the series, of the beginning of the series, but released the entire series collection in a magnificent omnibus edition.  I will be selling my liver to afford it.

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