Dark Horse Presents 115 (November 1996)

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Wow, what a downer.

Arcudi’s The Creep returns (with O’Connell on art this time). It’s a very depressing story about him hanging out with a prostitute. It’s utterly fantastic. It still shocks me Arcudi can be so subtly devastating.

Trypto has a happy installment though; the dog rescues his owner from a drug cartel. Again, Leialoha’s art doesn’t convey the story well. Mumy and Ferrer’s emphasis has changed… it’ll be interesting to see where they go now.

Rennie and Langridge’s Dr. Spin is a bunch of fun too—it’s an anti-superhero comic superhero comic. It’s a lot of fun, with Rennie getting in a lot of jabs at the industry in general. Langridge is a little more restrained than usual, but excellent.

Then there’s Lowlife. It’s Brubaker writing from a girl’s perspective about her unhappy romances and perpetuating them. Some hiccups in the perspective, but it’s an effective downer.

CREDITS

The Creep; story by John Arcudi; art by Brian O’Connell; lettering by Sean Konot. Trypto the Acid Dog, Wheel of the Broken Voice, Part Three, L.A. Proved Too Much for the Man; story by Bill Mumy and Miguel Ferrer; art by Steve Leialoha. Dr. Spin, Part One, Trapped in the Dimension of Pretension; story by Gordon Rennie; art by Roger Langridge. Lowlife, Part Three, When I Started Saying “We”; story, art and lettering by Ed Brubaker. Edited by Bob Schreck and Jamie S. Rich.

Dark Horse Presents 64 (July 1992)

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Seriously, they thought this issue was good enough?

The opening is a terrible bit of corporate synergy–a prologue to the Dr. Giggles movie from screenwriter Coto, who’s just as awful writing comics as he is writing movies. It’s a mean, gory eight pages of crap. Though Burrows’s art isn’t bad.

Then there’s a Boris the Bear, which is funny if you like Richardson making fun of Dark Horse. It’s weak, except for Smith’s artwork, which brings a certain amount of charm.

The Creep ends on a very depressing note. It’s one of the finest things Dark Horse Presents has published in the last twenty or so issues… just amazing work from Arcudi and Eaglesham.

The closing story is this writing workshop collaboration. Though Rubio’s art looks like a Disney movie, it’s all an obnoxious blind guy who’s mean to his dog. Definitely problematic, but it has a great finish.

CREDITS

Dr. Giggles, Part One; story by Manny Coto; art by Alan J. Burrows; lettering by Bill Spicer. Boris the Bear; story by Mike Richardson; art and lettering by James Dean Smith. The Creep; story by John Arcudi; art by Dale Eaglesham; lettering by Pat Brosseau. Scraps; story by William C. Herrel, Douglas Miers, Eric Dinehart, LaDonne Lynn, Matt Hammond, Doselle Young, Jeff Camp, John Clapp, Jason A. Turner, Steve Kaiser, Mike Kerr and Janine Goldfarb; pencils by Bobby Rubio; inks by Jorge Pacheco; lettering by Karen Casey-Smith. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 63 (June 1992)

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Well, the Moebius story is pretty but I’m not sure it’s got much in the way of narrative. It’s a fine little diversion–I think it’s my first Moebius short story–but it’s got zero heft. No idea why they opened the issue with it.

The Creep gets near its finish with more great art and a rather big surprise in the narrative. Arcudi doesn’t just deserve credit for the concept, but the execution as well. While Eaglesham makes the series look perfect, Arcudi really does do excellent work here. It’s not just well-written in scene, he really does come up with some great plot developments.

Wheeler and Hoffman’s story about a boy being emotionally abused by his mother and grandmother brings the issue to a depressing close. Wheeler’s writing–specifically the boy talking to himself throughout–is somewhat problematic. Hoffman’s artwork is fantastic. The story is quietly devastating.

CREDITS

Marie Dakar; story and art by Moebius; lettering by Karen Casey-Smith; translated by Randy Lofficier and Jean-Marc Lofficier. The Creep; story by John Arcudi; art by Dale Eaglesham; lettering by Pat Brosseau. Abandonment Games; story by Doug Wheeler; art and lettering by Mike Hoffman. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 61 (April 1992)

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Sin City has gotten useless to the point I’m not even sure I should talk about it. It’s sort of interesting in regards to Miller’s terrible plotting. One might think he’d adapt Chandler or even Hammett, just amping it up, but he doesn’t. He figures out his own “hard boiled” structure and it’s awful. I guess he draws a little bit more this entry than usual. Not much though.

It’s the longest Earth Boys story so far and the extra pages don’t help the writing. But Story’s back inking Johnson, so it definitely looks a lot better.

The Creep is a continued delight. Eaglesham gets in some more street scenes, which look great, and Arcudi has a few surprise developments. It’s just a fantastic series.

Not fantastic is O’Barr’s Frame. He seems to think making his subject as horrendously awful means I should read it. Actual writing doesn’t matter. Boo.

CREDITS

Sin City, Episode Twelve; story, art and lettering by Frank Miller. Earth Boys, Homeward Bound; story by Cliff Biggers and Brett Brooks; pencils by Dave Johnson; inks by Karl Story; lettering by Mike Heisler. The Creep; story by John Arcudi; art by Dale Eaglesham; lettering by Pat Brosseau. Frame 137; story, art and lettering by James O’Barr. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 60 (March 1992)

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Oh, lucky me, Sin City isn’t over yet. Instead, Miller spends most of his pages with one image, a lot of white space and even more terrible narration. I think I hate this entry the most. Not sure if it’s because I’m subjected to more of Miller’s writing or if it’s because I thought I was actually done with Sin City for now.

Geary has two different strips this issue. One’s two pages, the other is one. Neither is particularly good, but the second one is pretty bad, actually. Nice art, weak sentimental nonsense.

The Creep starts its second story arc and Eaglesham is even better than he was on the first. It’s nice to see Arcudi able to write something well, considering he’s always got a decent plotting sensibility.

Earth Boys closes the issue. Johnson’s art (probably the Story inks) is better. Maybe Biggers and Brooks’s writing is too.

CREDITS

Sin City, Episode Eleven; story, art and lettering by Frank Miller. Murder Tour, Beautiful Homes; story, art and lettering by Rick Geary. The Creep; story by John Arcudi; art by Dale Eaglesham; lettering by Pat Brosseau. Earth Boys, Invasion of Privacy; story by Cliff Biggers and Brett Brooks; pencils by Dave Johnson; inks by Karl Story; lettering by Mike Heisler. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 58 (January 1992)

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Well, the first installment of Alien Fire might have been good but this one is not. It’s apparently some sci-fi thing about a car and Native Americans and homophobes. Or something along those lines. It’s got a lot of quirky details, which Vincent draws well enough, but it’s useless.

The Creep finishes (hopefully not for good). Arcudi has a nice close, but the real sell in this installment is Eaglesham. He does this lengthy dialogue-free sequence and it’s beautiful. A very pleasant surprise.

Duffy’s Fancies continues. It’s cute (I think Fancies is a play on fantasy), though I’m wondering what I’m supposed to be reading into all Chacon’s boys wanting to be beautiful.

Sin City closes the issue. I guess it might have Miller’s best design work (the decapitated heads on the wall) of the series, but it’s still pretty lame. Lots and lots of bad narration here.

CREDITS

Alien Fire, Pass in Thunder, Part Two; story by Anthony Smith; art and lettering by Eric Vincent. The Creep; story by John Arcudi; art by Dale Eaglesham; lettering by Pat Brosseau. Fancies 2, Mikiö O; story by Jo Duffy; art by Joven Chacon; lettering by Gaspar Saladino. Sin City, Episode Nine; story, art and lettering by Frank Miller. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 57 (December 1991)

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Not much to recommend Next Men this time. Byrne handles his violent action sequence well, but he’s also selling a U.S. senator killing a federal agent. Who knows, maybe it’s all a Tea Party thing. Regardless, no longer interested in the series.

The Creep is, again, excellent. I can’t believe Arcudi’s writing it. And Eaglesham’s artwork is great. He’s doing this unfinished finished look, hard to explain.

Geary does one page. It’s fine. His longer work’s better.

Alien Fire is this excellent sixties piece about a Vietnam vet. It’s very quiet, lovely writing from Smith. Vincent’s artwork is good, with some caveats.

Campbell’s Alec story–about traveling the globe for a couple comic conventions–is astounding. It’s the best thing in Dark Horse Presents to date. He puts autobiography into this narrative device (numbered stills) but also scrapbook-like design work.

Sin City is awful. I hope Marv dies soon.

CREDITS

The Next Men, Nativity; story, art and lettering by John Byrne. The Creep; story by John Arcudi; art by Dale Eaglesham; lettering by Pat Brosseau. Grampa Speaks; story, art and lettering by Rick Geary. Alien Fire, Pass in Thunder, Part One; story by Anthony Smith; art and lettering by Eric Vincent. Alec, Around the World in Eighty Frames; story, art and lettering by Eddie Campbell. Sin City, Episode Eight; story, art and lettering by Frank Miller. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 56 (November 1991)

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This oversized issue opens and closes with an Aliens two-parter. Loose art from Guinan and Akins doesn’t help Arcudi’s script. It’s absolutely incomprehensible if you don’t read the Aliens series.

Byrne finally produces a Next Men I’m not interested in. It’s two government guys revealing all. The art’s really, really mediocre. It’s like even Byrne doesn’t have any interest in this part of the story, which really makes one wonder why he’s bothering tell it.

Duffy and Geary both have nice stories. Duffy (with Chacon art) has an amusing fantasy story, Fancies about a tavern fight, while Geary does the history of Eldgytha. She was British royalty who had a lot of husbands. It’s fantastically concise and engaging work from Geary.

Sin City is crap, but not as mean-spirited as Earth Boys.

Arcudi and Eaglesham’s The Creep is good. It’s maybe the best thing I’ve read from Arcudi.

CREDITS

Aliens, The Alien; story by John Arcudi; pencils by Tony Akins; layouts and inks by Paul Guinan; lettering by Willie Schubert. The Next Men, Prelude; story, art and lettering by John Byrne. Fancies; story by Jo Duffy; art by Joven Chacon; lettering by Gaspar Saladino. The True Chronicle of Eldgytha; story, art and lettering by Rick Geary. Sin City, Episode Seven; story, art and lettering by Frank Miller. The Creep; story by John Arcudi; art by Dale Eaglesham; lettering by Pat Brosseau. Earth Boys, The Trouble with Kiib’Bllz; story by Cliff Biggers and Brett Brooks; art by Dave Johnson; lettering by Pat Brosseau. Edited by Randy Stradley.

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