Saturday, February 18, 2006

potted review

Just wanted to say that I read the collection of the first six issues of GODLAND by Joe Casey and Tom Scioli, "Hello Cosmic!", and loved it. I'm a bit of a sucker for what has come to be known as "Kirby as genre", and these two are past masters in the field: Casey wrote CABLE for Jose Ladronn during his Kirby-kribbing phase, and Scioli's entire past career is based on the blatent worship of The King's work. Despite being a sucker for it, I'm frequently let down by the "Kirby as genre" scene - it's usually the promise of Kirbyesque kicks with none of the follow-through, all the surface spectacle and artistic tics with none of the invention or wit. The true heir of Jack's style is probably the writer Grant Morrison, rather than any artist.

That said, this project isn't hampered by the flaw that usually kneecaps these type of projects: nostalgia. The characterisation, the dialogue (especially the solopistic villain, Basil Chronus, a floating skull in a jar who bores everyone who'll listen with tales of his drugs intake), even the wardrobe and familial dynamics of the series' protagonists, all clearly place the series firmly in the contemporary world. Even when the "secret origin" story at the series heart references Kirby directly (specifically, his under-rated work adapting 2001 for Marvel in the seventies), it does so in such a winningly cynical way that it elicits laughs rather than groans. Like Morrison, Casey knows that the way to truly capture a sense of Kirby-ness is to pile on the mind-blowing concepts and wacky new characters at least every few pages, and throws himself into the task with gusto. Scioli, while never my favourite Kirby ape-ist (that dubious honour still goes to Keith Giffen for his work on THE DEFENDERS in the seventies), has a great sense of design, and Casey wisely plays up to that strength.

All in, a groovy little comic I look forward to reading more of, and probably the best new series from Image since the debut of POWERS.

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