Marlene (1998)


Marlene is an awesome comic. It’s far from perfect–the story anyway–but it’s definitely awesome.

To get the problems out of the way, it’s Peter Snejbjerg’s protagonist. He’s a brilliant but aging tough guy detective who can take anyone in himself, but can’t bring himself to call his wife. Even though the comic takes place in Denmark, the cop has basically every stereotypical detail.

He even sleeps with the subject of his investigation, Marlene.

And there the comic gets interesting. Sure, there’s the obsessed cop standard, but Snejbjerg brings in a great supernatural element. It only works because of the art, however–especially after Snejbjerg hints at the supernatural from the first or second page.

The pay-off is wonderful.

Snejbjerg shows a great sense of humor too, with a deranged painter who offers a lot of comic relief.

Besides the cop story problems, it’s a masterfully done comic.


Writer, artist and letterer, Peter Snejbjerg; publisher, Slave Labor Graphics.

The Secret History of D.B. Cooper 5 (July 2012)


Well. There are two red herrings, one predictable reveal and one rather lazy tying off. And a convenient death (or two) and a nonsensical reveal. Churilla manages to end well without much originality.

Throughout the series, Churilla has made Cooper sympathetic but not particularly likable. Everyone around him–save the doctor–is more unlikable, so Cooper floats to the top on that one. Those scenes with the cute bear provide all the buoyancy.

There’s also a full mix of the real world and the Glut, which doesn’t come off as well it should. Churilla’s clearly pressed for time–had he halved that filler issue a few back, he’d have room. The action scenes are fast-paced and often confusing; it doesn’t help Churilla usually tries to avoid one of the unfulfilled plot threads.

Cooper does work–Churilla just tries too hard to be clever. He needed to trust his material.


Writer, artist and colorist, Brian Churilla; letterer, Ed Brisson; editor, James Lucas Jones; publisher, Oni Press.

Bloodhound 3 (November 2004)


For lack of a better phrase, one could call this issue the “eureka” issue. Clev and his partner–Agent Bell–do their investigating and realize what they need to realize. Jolley’s able to make it even more dramatic since Clev is a muscle bound grotesque and just having him talk to people makes for a scene.

Jolley doesn’t give the reader too much information on the bad guy and instead makes the issue’s villain the FBI boss. It leads to some funny scenes and some violent ones, but misguided FBI agents aren’t the best villains. Even temporary ones.

Kirk and Riggs’s artwork is, as usual, fantastic. There’s a great mundane scene at a mall, but also more action-oriented one on a freeway. The Southern scenery helps a lot, giving Bloodhound multiple visual personalities.

And Jolley and Kirk end it with a great hard cliffhanger on a one page spread.


Sphere of Influence; writer, Dan Jolley; penciller, Leonard Kirk; inker, Robin Riggs; colorist, Moose Baumann; letterer, Rob Leigh; editor, Ivan Cohen; publisher, DC Comics.

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