Saturday, May 12, 2018

Escape the Cape Part 4 - The Beauties

Hard Boiled
Written by Frank Miller and illustrated by Geof Darrow
Have you ever heard the expression: "Read until your eyes bleed"? Well this book will pretty much redefine its meaning, as every page is an explosion of details that will take you hours to admire.

There's just so much stuff!

Here, have look for yourself:

Written and illustrated by brothers Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá
If Hard Boiled is full of details, then Daytripper is the polar opposite. Each panel tells exactly what it needs to do, while focusing on the beauty of its simple lines.

As the title suggest, the series is a trip. Or more precisely, it's a whole series of trips, as each of the 10 issues explores on a new story. All dreamy and engaging and wonderfully weird, with often tragic endings which fits perfectly with the beautiful artwork.

And if you want more, you should check out the rather similar book called De: Tales from the same guys.

Last Days of American Crime
Written by Rick Remender and illustrated by Greg Tocchini
Reading this 3-issue series is like walking through a magnificent art gallery. Greg Tocchini really puts the art in artwork, as each of his paintings is simply mind-blowing.

The story is quite pulpy and made me think of the fantastic sci-fi flicks of Paul Verhoeven. It also creates a fun contrast to the stylistic high-art.

And if you want more, then check out Tocchini's single issue Sequence Shot. Additionally, he does some fantastic work on the underwater-series titled simply Low.

Aladdin Legacy Of The Lost
Written by Ian Edginton and illustrated by Stjepan Šejić & Patrick Reilly
Anyone who's read Arabian Nights knows that Disney really raped Aladdin.

Luckily Radical Comics lived up to their name, and created a fresh adaptation of the story which is filled with monsters. There's rabid dogs, giant snakes and humongous sea monsters, in addition to the murderous genie.

The series is dark and violent and even sexy at times, creating a perfect fairytale for adults. And the artists obviously enjoyed themselves, as they must have spent ages laboring over each glorious panel.

Oink - Heaven's Butcher (Remastered 2015 Edition)
Written and illustrated by John Mueller
This little piggy went to the comics shop. And what he found there was pure splendor.

Oink is like a mix between Animal Farm and The Matrix, drawn in the style of Vincent van Gogh. And while the original publication was truly something else when it came out in the 90s, the creator kept getting so much feedback about it over the years, that he went back and redid the whole thing in even more spectacular style.

This remastered edition is so pleasing to the eye that it creates the perfect conversation piece whenever people asks about this particular book on your shelf.

Written by Brandon Graham and illustrated by Simon Roy
This series is perfectly described as "style over substance", and to be honest, I really don't understand much of what it's supposed to be about. Some heroic characters fly through space and do... stuff.

To add to the confusion, the story starts up at issue 21, with the preceding 20 issues seemingly about an entirely different character all-together.

However, the creative ingenuity of the artist just has to be seen to be believed, as he draws up alien worlds which feels truly alien. With so many movies and comics just portraying other planets very similar to earth, it's truly rare to find something filled with concepts which just boggles your mind.

So I guess it's only fitting that it's not entirely coherent.

Tokyo Ghost
Written by Rick Remender and illustrated by Sean Murphy
I cam hardly remember the story in this book. Something in the future... bla, bla, bla.

That doesn't matter though, 'cause the illustrations are what it's all about. It mixes machinery with samurais, sci-fi cities and gorgeous jungles into a whole new sexy genre of its own.

I mean, just look at this stuff:

Muse (2012)
Written by Denis-Piere Filippi and illustrated by Terry Dodson
Speaking of sexy: let's go all in (pun intended) with this fun steampunk erotica.

Muse tells the story of a woman who travels through famous fairytales, meeting midgets and monsters, cyborgs and sultans.

All that's beside the point though, as this book is just one big excuse to draw women in skimpy outfits. Luckily, that also happens to be one of my favorite things.

Because oooooh, do they look good!

The Wrenchies
Written and illustrated by Farel Dalrymple
Like an illustrated version of William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch, this drug infused fable is utterly stuffed with beauty to the point of running over with minute details of wonder.

Sadly, the hallucinogenic symbolism doesn't stop there, as it’s just as incomprehensible. The story drowns in different realities and characters which continuously speak their minds before wondering if they just spoke out loud, or if it was all a dream.

However, the visual presentation is still some of the best artwork in comic book history, and you can pick any page at random and have an amazing experience getting lost in the scenery, if you just stop trying to make sense of it all.

Freaks of the Heartland
Written by Steve Niles and illustrated by Greg Ruth
Be sure to keep a handkerchief close by when reading this one. It's about a boy and his freak of a brother with superhuman strength. 

This superhuman is no hero though, as his mutated shape has his parents keeping him locked up in a barn. Of course it's only a matter of time before he breaks free, sending him off on a violent escape through prejudice.

You can read all sorts of political symbolism into it if you want, but personally, I just loved to get lost in the artwork.

The Arrival
Written and illustrated by Shaun Tan
I've saved the best for last, and this is somewhat of a hidden gem. A passion project of a single man, it took Shaun Tan four years to complete this surrealist story. And once you open the book, you'll quickly understand why it too so long.

The plot revolves around some unnamed character who comes to a new place where everything is alien. There's no text and you could easily run through the whole thing in a few minutes, but you will not want to. Because this book will dazzle you with some of the most brilliant drawings you have ever seen.

It's by far the most beautiful book I have read, so instead of saying anything more about it, I'll simply let this image speak for itself:

There's still more comics to talk about and the next article will focus on the ones which made me laugh.

This is the fourth article about comic books without superheroes. The other parts can be found here:
Part 4 - The Beauties

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