Quick comic comments

July 13, 2006

Yesterday’s trip to the comic shop led to coincidental purchases that got me thinking about Reese’s Cups, of all things. I bought the new issue of Hero Squared (written by Keith Giffen) and the The Cryptics (drawn by Ben Roman). I enjoyed both, but it occurred to me that Giffen and Roman might be two great tastes that taste great separately.

You see, I really didn’t like I Luv Halloween (Tokyopop). Both Giffen and Roman are tremendously talented, and I think it depressed me to see their talents serving a story that I found so excessively violent, crude, and mean-spirited. I know there’s an audience for it, as it’s one of the better-selling OGM titles, but wow, that audience did not include me.

So from an entirely selfish perspective, I’m glad to see them working on projects that are more to my liking.

Hero Squared #2 is a lot of fun, and I’m always a sucker for stories that bring psychiatrists into the realm of super-heroes. (My all-time favorite would have to be Doc Samson’s visit to X-Factor in issue #87.) Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis write some of the densest scripts in comics, funny and satirical but still maintaining a reasonable grasp on character and plot. There were a few moments when the script came dangerously close to “Who’s on first” territory, but it never succumbed entirely. I particularly liked the dignified neutrality of the shrink in the face of complete absurdity.

The Cryptics follows the suburban misadventures of a bunch of grade-school-aged monsters. It’s not the most original idea, but Roman and writer Steve Niles execute it with plenty of charm. And Roman is a seriously funny illustrator. His designs are hilarious but not so highly stylized that they keep the cast from being proper characters. He infuses his panel composition and body language with comedy as well, drawing chuckles out of even mundane moments. It’s great stuff.