Howard the Duck 15 (August 1977)

Howard the Duck #15

It’s a strangely gentle issue. So gentle I almost went back to check to see if Gerber wrote the thing. Instead, I waited until I finished the issue.

Howard is chill. This issue has a chill Howard the Duck. Gerber takes all the previous events–like Howard’s mental health issues–into account as he lets the cast relax. Sure, they’re on an ocean liner plagued by strange, gigantic threats, but they’re relaxing while making sure they survive.

But Gerber’s humor is also gentler. For the most part. There’s some incisiveness from Howard, who then calls himself on it (confusing Bev while showing his hand to the reader). But, otherwise, it’s a fun, laid back issue.

The pace is fantastic too. Since so little is happening, even though the cast is on a big set, Gerber is able to get a lot of stuff into the book. It’s strange and great.

CREDITS

The Island of Dr. Bong!; writer and editor, Steve Gerber; penciller, Gene Colan; inker and colorist, Klaus Janson; letterer, Irving Watanabe; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Minimum Wage: So Many Bad Decisions 3 (July 2015)

Minimum Wage: So Many Bad Decisions #3

It’s another awesome issue. So Many Bad Decisions is just a bunch of great ones from Fingerman.

This issue has Rob going through some problems with his new girlfriend. Fingerman follows his familiar plotting–Rob and the girl, Rob and his friends, Rob and the main plot (in this issue it’s “guest star” comedian Marc Maron), Rob and his character development.

Fingerman follows that pattern over and over and is still able to make Wage seem fresh every month. Maybe it’s because of the problems in Rob’s love life (or just the women he meets), but it’s also how the comic acknowledges itself. How it acknowledges the New York setting and the amount of time spent in the city. Fingerman’s panels are full of information, often valueless, always intriguing.

This issue has something of a good conclusion but I’m really hoping Decisions has at least one more issue to it.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Bob Fingerman; publisher, Image Comics.

Howard the Duck Annual 1 (June 1977)

Howard the Duck Annual #1

The Howard the Duck Annual is a fantastic comic. Writers Mary Skrenes and Steve Gerber wisely go for an extended story as opposed to some special, annual-like one. Unless there’s something to Howard being in Arabia. Did Donald Duck ever have an Arabian adventure?

With Howard–especially with Val Mayerik on the art–there’s frequently a strange moment where the panel seems extremely iconic… only Howard’s not the iconic one. Between the visuals and the script, the comic often requires a moment of reflection from the reader. Crazy hijinks are going on, but Gerber handles them all so well, for a moment they don’t seem too crazy.

Gerber gets in quite a few good jokes here too. Some great situational punchlines. The issue also has Winda and Paul tagging along with Bev and Howard. It’s a very strange team comic or something.

I wish Howard was always annual-length.

CREDITS

Thief of Bagmom!; writers, Mary Skrenes and Steve Gerber; artist, Val Mayerik; colorist, Janice Cohen; letterer, Joe Rosen; editor, Gerber; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Satellite Sam 15 (July 2015)

Satellite Sam #15

Satellite Sam comes to a close. A colorful one.

Fraction doesn’t exactly take the story somewhere unexpected or surprising–though there are a couple, post-big revelations last issue surprises (at least one anyway)–and, in many ways, it’s a gentle finish to the series. Chaykin doesn’t get anything lascivious to draw; they are just hints.

The not exactly surprising finish has a lot to do with the television industry. Fraction finishes up all the character plots and still has time for the history lesson. He does a great job with it; Chaykin too. The issue moves beautifully; the series works just as well without all the menace the creators have been imbuing it with.

But that success is the surprise. Fraction and Chaykin quietly created this great cast underneath a sensational story. So when the sensation finished, Sam stands on its own for the characters. It’s rather fantastic work.

CREDITS

Dead Air; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Howard Chaykin; letterer, Ken Bruzenak; editor, Thomas K.; publisher, Image Comics.

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