The Auteur 5 (July 2014)

The Auteur #5

I don’t know why Spears can get away with the end of The Auteur. I don’t want to think about it too hard either, just because the last issue of this arc (or the series, it’s unclear) is so entertaining and sincerely presented.

Some of the success is because Callahan’s art is so good. He doesn’t even have particularly fantastic subjects to illustrate; the biggest set piece is a gross out scene with a drug’s side effects being harmless bleeding from the skin. It’s a really funny scene. Not laugh out loud, but funny.

Spears’s sincerity in the issue is the craziest part. Not the gross out stuff, not the one liners. At first, his mention of the protagonist’s love of film seemed like a last minute addition, but Spears really just goes with it. Every chance he can to commit to insane earnestness, he does.

It’s a great finish.

CREDITS

Presidents Day, Part 5 of 5: Show Don’t Tell; writer and letterer, Rick Spears; artist, James Callahan; colorist, Luigi Anderson; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

The Auteur 4 (June 2014)

The Auteur #4

What do you do when your last issue goes off the rails? Well, if you're Rick Spears and you're writing The Auteur you do something really odd.

You pretend it never happened. Oh, there's some fallout–the producer protagonist, Rex, feels bad about the events in the previous issue, but Spears quickly moves him into a new activity. He's romancing his new leading lady–as part of the guilt, he's making romantic comedies now–only she's rejecting him so there's this hint of danger given Rex does know some serial killers.

Well, one. Who used to be a main character in the comic, but Spears has apparently dismissed.

There's a lot of irreverent humor and Spears moves the comic at a breakneck pace. Callahan is doing these tiny panels to try to get in all the information.

Is it a successful issue? Definitely. Does it mean Spears has fixed the series? No idea.

CREDITS

Presidents Day, Part 4 of 5: The Martini; writer and letterer, Rick Spears; artist, James Callahan; colorist, Luigi Anderson; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

The Auteur 3 (May 2014)

The Auteur #3

What just happened here? It’s like Spears put together two weak ideas–the very Hollywood one of how does his lunatic producer deal with an actress who won’t take off her top and then what happens if the producer’s serial killer sidekick actually kills someone. The result is a pointless, personality-free issue of The Auteur.

Maybe Spears just hit the mid-arc plateau and doesn’t know what to do. A five issue story sometimes needs to be four. Or six. This issue suggests four.

Not even the jokes are funny. Way too much time is spent on puke jokes. Even the hallucinogenic sequence is weak. Callahan doesn’t have anything to do with it, just some ghosts and a giant bunny. But they aren’t even around long enough to leave an impression.

The issue’s problems are worrisome, like maybe the comic has run out of steam.

I really hope not.

CREDITS

Presidents Day, Part 3 of 5: Unprecedented Realism!; writer and letterer, Rick Spears; artist, James Callahan; colorist, Luigi Anderson; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

The Auteur 2 (April 2014)

The Auteur #2

I'm hesitant, but I'm pretty sure The Auteur is reprehensible. Gloriously so, of course, but just completely reprehensible. Spears sends his Hollywood producer to court to defend a serial killer–so the serial killer can consult on a horror movie, natch–and comes up with this great argument about how a serial killer represents a natural predator in the human ecosystem.

Then there's this hilarious blaming of the victim and it's terrible, of course, since the victim was brutally murdered. But Spears has some great details. And he's not just making jokes at the expense of the squares, he's also got some great ones at the expense of his protagonist. The protagonist's a hilarious, awful human being, so it's fun to laugh at him too.

This issue might be the series's peak and it's a peak Spears and Callahan should be proud of surmounting.

It has a great pace too. Just great.

CREDITS

Presidents Day, Part 2 of 5: Survival of the Fittest; writer and letterer, Rick Spears; artist, James Callahan; colorist, Luigi Anderson; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

The Auteur 1 (March 2014)

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After finishing the first issue, I haven’t got a clue where writer Rick Spears is going to take The Auteur, which is a good thing. It’s an absurdly violent story set in Hollywood, full of awful studio heads, drugged up producers, obnoxious directors and gurus doling out snake venom as cure-alls.

It’s not original in that regard.

The violence is gross out but not realistic. James Callahan’s art is imaginative both with the violence and the non-violent scenes and he’s dedicated to getting the page right. But there’s something almost juvenile about it, like a kid trying to gross out his friends.

So it isn’t original in terms of the art either.

Putting the two things together? Again, not enough to make it original. And, based on the editor’s letter to the reader, The Auteur desperately wants to be original. It’s good, it’s imaginative. Those qualities are enough.

CREDITS

Presidents Day, Part 1 of 5: Persistence of Vision; writer and letterer, Rick Spears; artist, James Callahan; colorist, Luigi Anderson; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

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