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Saturday, August 08, 2009

Casanova, Fraction, Moon and Ba -- Warning, this is a ramble, not a review, no matter what the tag says.

Almost done reading through the 14 issues of Casanova now. Two complete storylines, #1-7 exquisitely drawn by Gabriel Ba, #8-14 well-drawn but not exquisite, by Ba's twin brother Fabio Moon. The first arc reads like a cross between Steranko and Ellis's Nextwave: Agents of HATE. The second arc is dirtier, the art kind of Eisner/TenNapel-like; the comparison is Ba is Jaime to Moon's Mario.

The narrative is packed; they're 16-page issues like Fell, and like Fell feel longer. Reading the back matter (what we used to call "text pages," which actually I think there are far too few of these days) Fraction is a little too full of himself, but not quite to the Brian Wood degree. His website, on the other hand, is worse than fucking useless. Better to have none at all than the one he has.

Anyway, the comics are better than good, less than great. The first arc is the keeper. Gabriel Ba is pretty much The Shit. Casanova #1-7 and all of The Umbrella Academy's two minis are some of the most gorgeously drawn genre comics I've seen in some time.

All my exploration of the Moon/Ba axis came out of reading their pretty great Comics Journal interview in the most recent issue. I love it when an interview is so well-done that it convinces me to sample writers and artists whose work I haven't read before.

Fraction seems to have been co-opted by Marvel for the time being, so who knows if there'll be more Casanova in the near future. I'm sure they'll say there's more in the works, but lucrative trademark maintenance always trumps groovy creator-owned comics, right?



Blogger Dave James O'Neill said...

Jesus, would it kill you to review a fucking comic book, without using it as a forum to continue your sad little campaign against Marvel...sorry "corporate" comics. Has it occured to you that maybe, JUST MAYBE, Matt Fraction likes working on Iron Man and Uncanny X-Men enough that he doesn't need to write a comic that makes him no money whatsoever.

08 August, 2009 10:35  
Blogger Alan David Doane said...

If Iron Man and Uncanny X-men were even 1/10th as good as the first seven issues of Casanova, I might not feel the way I do. Sorry, my concern is with whether the comics are any good, not with how much money they make.

08 August, 2009 11:00  
Blogger Dave James O'Neill said...

Maybe Iron Man and Uncanny X-Men sell more because they're comprehensible. And, no disrespect to Gabriel Ba - but a colour palette would have helped.

I'm sure its fun for you to assail "corporate comics" and to ignore them in your local comic book store - but for those of us working in comic book shops - I don't see "Random Indy Book 1" selling the numbers that Uncanny X-Men does. It's a double edged sword - I'd love to see a book like Chew sell more (even if its published by Image, a company I loathe), but selling more would probably drag it out of the "cult" label it's got. When only five of us are talking about a book, its a fun club to be in. It's the "corporate" comics - a term I despise, and think you should be ashamed of using - your fandom didn't start with books like Cssanova, it started with books like Amazing Spider-Man - that are keeping us in business.

08 August, 2009 11:16  
Blogger Alan David Doane said...

Your eating started with mother's milk and baby food, Dave; you still sucking that shit down or have you moved on to something a little more suited to your age?

08 August, 2009 11:41  
Blogger Dave James O'Neill said...

Why can't you both? I both both Hulk 13 and Pixu: Mark Of Evil (funnily enough, by Ba and Moon, and Becky Cloonan). Does that make me more, or less of a fan. There's times I like high end, intelligent work (speaking as someone who finally finished The Invisibles on the third attempt this year), and there's times I love Ed McGuiness drawing The Hulk SMASHING. To say I'm not grown up because I prefer Marvel over some smary indie publisher who thinks they're publishing literature is just wrong - and its a mark against you as a journalist to attack people who have stated a preference for Marvel.

08 August, 2009 12:40  
Blogger Alan David Doane said...

"Does that make me more, or less of a fan."

Dude, I don't even know what that means. But I do know that Casanova, however "incomprehensible," you might personally have found it, is a more daring and satisfying narrative than anything Marvel has put out in years, and those first seven issues look better than anything they've done in longer than that.

It's a small tragedy to the artform of comics -- yes, I can be proportional about the subject -- that something like Casanova gets stalled and run off the rails so that its writer can pump out a few dozen more X-Men comics to sit briefly on top of the pile before the next ambitious writer is co-opted and distracted from work he obviously loves in order to service Marvel (or DC, or whoever's) trademarks with work that he almost certainly doesn't and that, being honest, pretty much no one else does either.

08 August, 2009 14:11  
Blogger Dave James O'Neill said...

Where the hell do you get off saying Matt Fraction doesn't love Marvel characters? Please post a link to the interview where he says "I hate Tony Stark, I'm just writing him for the money". For that matter, please do the same for Jon Hickman, who abandoned his Image work to write the longest running Marvel book, and Secret Warriors, given more creative control over the direction of the book than any writer I can think of.. You're no better than that scumbag Kirkman saying "every Marvel writer should abandon their books and go write indy books for peanuts". You know something, I'm currently in the middle of writing the second issue of my own work, and I'd abanson it in a second if Marvel or DC came knocking

I bought 20 comics this week 1 indy, and 19 Marvel. Maybe if Image produced their books to the same quality that Marvel do.

And, by the way, just reading your other posts, I can't WAIT for Jeph Loeb writing MarvelMan vs. The Sentry. Pencilled by Ian Churchill

08 August, 2009 14:51  
Blogger Alan David Doane said...

"Where the hell do you get off saying Matt Fraction doesn't love Marvel characters?"

Oh, he very well might. But you always love your own children best.

08 August, 2009 14:53  
Blogger Jason Marcy said...

I just LOVE how Dave thinks that Image is "Indie". Easily the best part of this argument...

10 August, 2009 07:11  
Blogger Alan David Doane said...

There's a whole wacky subset of uninformed superhero fans who think Dark Horse, Image, Dynamite, etc. are the very cutting edge of the independent comics movement. "I've read The Darkness, so I'm supporting alternative comics, wahoo!"

10 August, 2009 07:22  
Blogger Jason Marcy said...

I wonder if Dave knows it's only in North America that superhero comics are the bread and butter of the industry? That if Marvel and DC went tits up the European/Asian markets would barely bat an eyelash? That even here, stores like The Beguiling would continue to thrive since mainstream superhero books are NOT what keeps them in business?
That you, yes YOU Alan David Doane have been known to enjoy the occasional superhero romp? That I have?
Is Dave aware that the mainstream is a snake eating it's own tail as it's audience dwindles? As a fellow who works in a comic shop doesn't he see the aging demographic of buyer picking up those Marvel and DC books? That as they die off so does the market for said books?
Questions, questions, yet Dave would rather not answer them in a rational fashion. He wants to see Ed McGuinness draw "Hulk SMASH!" to Jeph Loeb's rather feeble writings.
One wonders what brought him to this blog in the first place...

10 August, 2009 07:57  

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