Daytrip to the Moon and Bá


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The pantheon of artists turned writers grows by two this week as a pair of twin Brazilian brothers join together to bring us Daytripper.

In the early days of comics, it was accepted that no creators were listed on the stories. With a few exceptions, fans didn’t know who wrote the comic and who drew the comics. But they did know that there was a writer and there was an artist and that the latter worked from scripts from the former.

Even back in the Golden Age, this wasn’t necessarily the case. Will Eisner wrote and drew The Spirit. Bob Kane claimed to write and draw Batman, but it is now an accepted fact that he did little of either. But nonetheless, the writer/artist is as old as comics themselves.

When the 60s came in and Marvel came to prominence, the lines between writer and artist were blurred. Marvel books had credits telling you exactly who wrote it (Usually “Smilin’” Stan Lee) and who drew it (Jack “King” Kirby, “Dashing” Don Heck amongst others). But it wasn’t that cut and dried.

The “Marvel style” of writing was different than how many fans thought comic books worked. It all started with a plot, which, depending on what artist Stan was working with, could either be several written paragraphs or one sentence delivered verbally. The artist would then go and deliver the story as he saw fit. As long as the point was made in the allotted number of pages, the artist had full control of how the story was told.

Of course, the writer and artist as a one man show didn’t go away either. It especially flourished in the underground and independent comic scene, as exemplified by R.Crumb’s body of work and Dave Sim’s Cerebus. But it also made in-roads in the mainstream. When Jack Kirby left Marvel for DC, he created the Fourth World line all by himself.

But the trend toward writer/artists caught fire during the 80s. Frank Miller went solo on Daredevil, John Byrne took over Fantastic Four by himself, and Walt Simonson was given the reins to Thor. Each creator excelled at their tasks, and their runs on said titles defined the characters and continue to be discussed even today.

The success of those creators in the 80s paved the way for the Image crew in the 1990s. Many of the original Image seven had writing experience at Marvel and other companies before they made their break from Marvel. And the writing assignments, for the most part, came less from any talent or skill but rather from the power they gained from their rampant popularity.

The pantheon of writer/artists contains many legendary names in the industry that span its many styles and genres. In addition to the ones listed above, you have creators such as Terry Moore, Howard Chaykin, Colleen Doran, Mike Grell, Jeff Smith, Peter Bagge, Matt Wagner, Mike Allred, Paul Pope, David Mazzuchelli, Mike Mignola and many, many more who have created characters and concepts that have withstood the test of time. Now, two more artists join this elite group—Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon.

The Brazilian twin brothers do not have as big a résumé in the U.S. as some of the others listed above had before they wrote their first book. But you cannot deny their artistry and unique style.  Most known for their work on Casanova and The Umbrella Academy series', the brothers’ eye towards exciting storytelling made those projects as great as they were.

Now, the pair is collaborating behind a typewriter as well as the drawing table, as they bring us Daytripper this week. The story revolves around a young, obituary writer who is the son of a famous writer. He tries to make is own name for himself as a real writer, but is constantly under his father’s shadow. But an upheaval in his life makes him reassess things and changes his viewpoint on everything he has ever known.

Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon’s artistic talent cannot be denied. But is their writing good enough to enter their names on the tableau of legendary writer/artists? The answer to that question begins tomorrow.

Also out this week:

Tank Girl: Dark Nuggets:

Next to Judge Dredd, the most famous British comic book import to American shores has to be Tank Girl. The tale of a female tank driver living in a post-apocalyptic Australia gained a global audience with its stream of consciousness writing from Alan Martin and innovative art from Jamie Hewlett. It had a unique style that was hard to describe and even harder to capture on film, as the 1995 critical and commercial failure can attest.

Tank Girl has made a comeback to comics of sorts over the last few years. Hewlett is off doing bigger and better things with the rock group Gorillaz, but the other co-creator Martin is back at the helm. A series of miniseries is being published by IDW, but since the character is too big for just one company, it will appear in a series of one-shots from Image. This is the first in that series.

Alan Martin (W), Rufus Dayglo (A), Image Comics, $3.99. One-Shot.

Nation X #1:

There is a lot of talk these days about event fatigue. Well, there certainly isn’t any at Marvel. They always seem to have two or three running at the same time. However, unlike the other major comic company, their events are intricately planned, flow naturally from past events, and are usually not all–inclusive so you don’t have to buy every event to enjoy your comics.

“Nation X” is one of two events in the X-books (“Necrosha” is the other one) and plays into themes started way back in the House of M miniseries. A bunch of mutants have formed their own nation off the shores of California. This, of course, does not still well with some people. But how does it sit with the X-Men? 

Various (W), Various (A), Marvel Comics, $3.99. Four-Issue Miniseries.

God Complex #1:

Classical Mythology is great, isn’t it? All these great, over the top characters with back stories most everyone already knows just sitting out their in the public domain? No wonder these gods and goddesses have been fodder for comic books from a large number of publishers.

These characters might provide a good starting point for comic book creators, but those successful concepts rely on what the creators bring to them. Michael Avon Oeming and Daniel Berman have applied a unique twist on the classic myth. They follow Apollo, now know as Paul, who wants to live a normal life amongst the modern-day mortals. His father, Zeus, would rather see him dead than live in such a way. Conflict ensues.

Michael Avon Oeming & Daniel Berman (W), John Broglia (A), Image Comics, $2.99. Ongoing Series.

Anywhere #1:

Comics about slackers with superpowers who don’t use them to the best of their abilities have become a popular sub-genre since the 1990s. Creators have mined the concept for every little bit of humor since the days of grunge and the Clinton administration.

But if you think that all that could be said about sub-genre has already been said, well, you might be right. But that doesn’t stop the creators of this series from going once again to that same well.

Of course, this has something that the others don’t have. It is written by Comedy Central producer Tom Akel. It is also recommended for mature readers, so take that into consideration if this style of comic appeals to you. And as a special enticement, the first issue will cost you one paltry dollar.

Tom Akel & Eric Mahoney (W), Alan Quah (A), Arcana Studio, $1.00. Six-Issue Miniseries.

What if...World War Hulk:

Examinations of alternate realities are one of my favorite subjects in fiction. Whether it is alternate takes on history like Ex Machina or Zero Killer or different looks at comic book continuity like DC’s Elsewhere line of titles, I can’t get enough of asking “what if?”

Speaking of that particular question, What If…? is the elder statement of this genre. Marvel’s reimagining of its historic stories has been running off and on for over 30 years, and there doesn’t seem to be any sign of it going away soon.

The series currently exists as an annual month of one-shots covering Marvel’s recent crossover events. It is a bigger hit to the wallet than the previous series were, but it is worth it if you love the concept. This issue marks the second week of this year’s installment, and provides another look at the “World War Hulk” event.  

Mike Raicht & Michael Gallagher (W), Lucio Parrillo & Patrick “Spaz” Spaziante (A), Marvel Comics, $3.99. One-Shot.

Pilot Season: Murderer:

Top Cow’s “Pilot Season” line of books started as a trial system for more established Top Cow characters to try and get their own series. It soon morphed into a way to introduce completely brand new characters to audiences. The latest “season” features Image partner Robert Kirkman creating a number of new heroes and villains. First up is a unique twist on the urban vigilante.

Like the Punisher or his ilk, Jason Sparks kills evil people. But unlike Mr. Castle, he doesn’t find his victims through surveillance and passed along information. He knows who his prey is going to be from the voices in his head, who tell him who the bad guys are and what they did. The only way to get the voices to stop is to kill the voices’ target.

Robert Kirkman (W), Nelson Blake (A), Top Cow/Image Comics, $2.99. One-Shot.

Spider-Man and Secret Wars #1:

Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars was one of the first major crossover events in comic book history. The biggest names in Marvel were absconded to an alien planet to fight each other. The 12-issue series was a defining one in many a young child’s formative years of comic book reading (myself included).

That original series was created to correspond with a toy line from Mattel, and I’m sure this rehashing of the story has a lot to do with the line of “Secret Wars” action figures currently being sold by Hasbro. This new, kid-friendly series gives new readers a four-issue abridged version of the classic tale. It picks up with the fourth issue of the first series, and set about to flesh out the story a little better.

Paul Tobin (W), Patrick Scherberger (A), Marvel Comics, $2.99. Four-Issue Miniseries.


William Gatevackes is a professional writer living in Mamaroneck, NY with his wife Jennifer and daughter Vanessa. He also is a comic reviewer for PopMatters, has written for Comic Foundry magazine and is the comic book movie editor for Film Buff Online. Links to his writing can be found at his website, www.williamgatevackes.com

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