Overview

Mister X: Hard Candy

Review

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Mister X: Hard Candy

Credits

  • Words: Dean Motter
  • Art: Dean Motter
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Mar 27, 2013

Canadian comics icon and pioneer Dean Motter revisits his archetypal protagonist in this brilliant collected one-shot from Dark Horse.

I’m really starting to dig Dark Horse’s titular anthology series. Not only has it revived old classics such as The Creep and Concrete but DH Presents has also provided a forum to shore up fan support and a launching pad for new exploratory series revisiting cutting edge independent comics properties.

This time around, it doesn’t hurt that the topic of our conversation happens to be my fellow Canuck, Dean Motter.

For those of you who have been collecting comics for longer than I’m willing to document here, Motter’s name will not seem foreign when parsed in the same sentence as Alan Moore, Frank Miller, and Paul Chadwick. Motter, with the help of artist Paul Rivoche, stamped his inimitable sense of style and expressionistic storytelling on our beloved funny books well before Moore challenged our understanding of the traditional superhero in Watchmen and Miller dared us to envision a Bruce Wayne past his prime in The Dark Knight Returns.

Originally published by Toronto-based Vortex Comics in 1983, Mister X not only reset the benchmark of intellectual underground comics but provided a testing ground for such legendary talents as the aforementioned Rivoche, D’Israeli, the Hernandez Bros. (including Mario!), and Shane Oakley. The property has touched and influenced a surprising variety of artists, such as Tim Burton, Alex Proyas, and Terry Gilliam. Suffice it to say, few books on the shelves today come close to the visionary combination of style and substance that is Mister X.

In this most recent tale, Mister X finds himself enmeshed in a kidnapping plot that reaches to the very top of the stylishly dystopian Radiant City. The plot revolves around the collapse of a once-powerful pharmaceutical conglomerate responsible for many of the social ills afflicting the so-called “city of dreams.” A straight-up, modern love letter to everything that’s ever been considered cutting-edge cool, Hard Candy is a perfect introduction to the unique mechanics of Mister X’s noirish, art deco realm. It’s the type of book that should have fans of Mad Men and hipsters of all stripes salivating for more.

Consistently cited as one of the most influential comic books of the Eighties for its stunning visual tone and masterful storytelling, it should come as no surprise that Mister X has returned to the shelves. A brilliant and cunning fusion of stylish art, social commentary, and rousing action, Motter’s Hard Candy was a sweet read indeed.

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