Howard the Duck 16 (September 1977)

Howard the Duck #16

I don’t want to call this comic book strange. Instead of a regular, strange issue of Howard the Duck, it turns out Gerber was just too busy to break out an actual plot for Gene Colan so instead he did an issue in prose.

Howard the Duck #16. It’s Gerber making fun of himself well, which makes one think about how the comic is the same thing. It’s Gerber making fun of a comic book called Howard the Duck well. And how does one accomplish that task well? By being sincere. By going through the artifice of the series to the point of sincerity.

“Howard” even co-narrates, Gerber telling the reader’s Howard’s a voice in his head. True or not, it’s a direct communication between Gerber and the reader without illusion. Gerber still spins a good yarn to go with it. Because it’s how Howard works. Through narrative disruption.

CREDITS

Zen and the Art of Comic Book Writing: A Communique from Colorado; writer and editor, Steve Gerber; pencillers, Gene Colan, Alan Weiss, Ed Hannigan, Marie Severin, Dave Cockrum, Tom Palmer, Al Milgrom, John Buscema, Dick Giordano and Michael Netzer; inkers, Klaus Janson, Weiss, Hannigan, Severin, Cockrum, Palmer, Milgrom, Buscema, Giordano and Terry Austin; colorists, Janson and Doc Martin; letterers, Austin and Irving Watanabe; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Nailbiter 14 (July 2015)

Nailbiter #14

Nailbiter is such a strange book. Not so much in its actual content, but in what a wide net Williamson throws over the various genres. In some ways, it feels like a “Twin Peaks” imitator. But here Williamson introduces a bit of an “X-Files” vibe.

This issue has the heroes teaming up–so you have serial killer, serial killer’s ex-girlfriend now sheriff and super-violent FBI guy–to discover the secret of the serial killers. Not so much the titular Nailbiter, but all the other serial killers. Williamson’s explanation, which he hints at having without hinting at the solution, seems more appropriate for an M. Night Shyamalan movie. Or maybe some kind of realistic superhero movie.

Like I said, it’s a strange book. And it doesn’t quite gel. The series has too many characters Williamson forgets about and then brings back.

Confusing, messy, it’s still a compelling read.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Mike Henderson; colorist, Adam Guzowski; letterer, John J. Hill; editor, Rob Levin; publisher, Image Comics.

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