World Comic Book Review

A Deep Six’d Publication

16th January 2022

Burn the Oracle

“Thriller” 1-8
Writer: Robert Loren Fleming
DC Comics, 1983

Review by DG Stewart, 16 March 2016.

thriller-sevenseconds

The early 1980s is an interesting time to revisit in respect of prophetic visions. Science fiction writers like William Gibson, Robert Heinlein and others predicted the internet. Gibson also anticipated the rise of the importance of biotechnology. Politics and culture were more difficult to predict – Heinlein in his novel “Friday” mapped out the Balkanisation of the United States, and Gibson in “Neuromancer” followed the flock in respect of the inevitability of nuclear war, albeit one tactically confined to a German theatre. Samuel Huntington in his book “The Clash of Civilisations and the Remaking of World Order” (1996) noted that the antipathy between Christian-based civilisations and Muslim civilisation dates back centuries and vastly overshadows the ideological fight which had occurred (and by that stage concluded) between the West and the Communist bloc. But no writer in the 1980s, peering into the future, seriously considered the perils of xenophobic Islamism as a potential flashpoint. Except one.

In 1983 a talented writer named Robert Loren Fleming had an innovative concept about an extended family of highly usual people, set in the near future. It was entitled “Thriller” (and pre-dated American pop singer Michael Jackson’s music album of the same name by a month).

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A tale most clearly from long ago

“Dejah Thoris” # 1 (review)
Dynamite Entertainment, December 2015
Writer: Frank J Barbiere
Review by DG Stewart, 24 February 2016

US comic book publisher Dynamite Entertainment have sensed the change in the demographics of comic book readership, and tried to refresh some of its licensed female character concepts by:

a. employing female writers, who are likely to write female characters as women rather than as objects of desire (and in turn, lending an air of respectability to the title – female writers are more likely to be identified by their full names in promotional copy so as to make it plain that a woman is writing the script); and

b. covering the bare skin and ample breasts of characters best known for titillation of a male readership. “Red Sonja” (Dynamite Comics), “Vampirilla ” (Dynamite Comics), “Wonder Woman” (DC Comics) and “Tomb Raider” (Dark Horse Comics) are titles each best known for displaying a manifest abundance of cleavage on their respective comic book covers. But in 2016 these characters feature a new modesty. DC Comics’ flagship character Wonder Woman now wears very modern-looking full body armour. Red Sonja’s small chainmail bikini top is gone and replaced by a chainmail shirt. Vampirilla’s notoriously skimpy red swimsuit is now replaced by a red Steampunk riding suit. Lara Croft, the character featured in “Tomb Raider”, now wears practical attire for exploring, instead of a low cut singlet.

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The Autumnlands Volume 1: Tooth and Claw (review)

The Autumnlands Volume 1: Tooth and Claw (review)
Writer: Kurt Busiek
(Image Comics, July 2015)

Talking animals as the protagonists for adventures for children have a long tradition. In the twentieth century, this manifested sometimes as the printed extension of cartoons (Disney’s Mickey Mouse, and the Looney Tunes characters of Warner Bros), or as serialized comic strips (Snoopy, Calvin and Hobbes) which have usually been read as collected works. Talking animals are an absurdity and accordingly the adventures of such characters tend to be comedic (thus, “comic” books).

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Alone Against the Rebellion

Star Wars: Vader Down #1 [review]
Marvel Comics, November 2015
Writer: Jason Aaron
Review by Neil Raymundo, 23 November 2015

With “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” premiere, it is not surprising that tie-ins are sprouting like mushrooms on just about any medium available to its license holder. And while Star Wars comic books were being churned out regularly these past few years, the six-issue mini-series “Vader Down” is notable for a couple of reasons.

First is that the story is set after the events of “Star Wars: A New Hope” (the first movie) and before “The Empire Strikes Back” (the second movie), which means “Vader Down” does not have much leeway with regard to the direction of the story. The timeskip between the two movies should provide ample room for a new story in terms of chronology, but the existence of both movies restricts what “Vader Down” could do in terms of character progression and continuity.

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