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Sunday, August 29, 2004

JB's Sleeper Analysis -- Pretty apt analysis at the Johnny Bacardi Show of why Sleeper isn't the huge hit that it, as the very best monthly comic being published today, deserves to be:

Sleeper is simply too smart for the room, and we all know that nobody wants to hang with the kid that's obviously smarter than his other classmates. Sleeper is an utter failure as a superhero book because Brubaker doesn't want to write this like one and Sean Phillips doesn't want to draw it like one. All the Powers trappings are merely window dressing for the character study and espionage thriller that is at its heart- like a kaleidoscope, everything keeps shifting and changing, with Holden Carver at its center, and each shift becomes as interesting as the last. Carver obviously doesn't know who to trust or which way to turn, so he trusts no one and is determined to remain true to himself, as much as possible anyway, and the hell of it is that neither he nor the reader can escape the realization that more than likely there is no happy ending in store for him...

That last part is key. Holden is among the most vividly imagined characters ever to be created for a corporate comics company, but because he demonstrates genuine, complex human emotions, much of the audience is too confused or overwhelmed to understand either him or his plight.

Well, the buzz seems to be that "Season Two" of Sleeper is not a big hit. That's no surprise, given that the very best corporate comics often are not sales successes -- but it is depressing to think that such a passionate, quality comic book might not be around much longer. I'm delighted to hear Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips plan to work on additional projects together even if Sleeper is discontinued, as theirs is one of the most vital and exciting creative partnerships in corporate comics since Stan and Jack, Roy and Barry, or Frank and Klaus. It's just a shame that not enough readers have looked at Sleeper and realized what a gift it is. I'm grateful for what we've gotten, and for whatever there is to come in the future from Brubaker and Phillips.


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