Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Comics I Came Into Too Late

Are there comics that you started reading long after they finished their run? Maybe you didn’t like the writer/artist. Maybe you were too young and didn’t understand them or maybe, like me, you were too broke to afford them. For whatever reason, you’ve only recently discovered their awesomeness and you’re now kicking yourself for not being a rabid fan earlier. 

This is what’s been happening to me. I was an avid collector for several years, amassing a fairly respectable collection in a relatively short amount of time but then money became tight and instead of getting at least twelve titles a month, I was lucky to get one and eventually I had to give up my precious comics. Then something happened that helped bring me back to the medium. Trade paperbacks. They’ve been around for forever but as comics became more mainstream, they became more prominently featured in bookstores and popped up more frequently in libraries. Not to sound too mushy but getting my hands on the TPBs felt almost like coming home. What can I say? Comics make me ridiculously happy.

That brings me to the point of this post – I’m playing catch up and the first series I discovered was 100 Bullets by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso. I’m only up to the third TPB but so far I’m loving it.


100 Bullets starts off asking if you were given a gun and 100 untraceable bullets to right a horrible wrong that’s been committed against you, could you use it? What would the cost be to you? Would there be any cost? Deep, right?

Then the underlying thread starts to appear and even more questions are asked? Who is Agent Graves, the man who has provided the guns to these people? Why is he giving it to them? Who are the Minutemen and the Trust? What’s the bigger picture?

The writing itself is slick. Brian Azzarello has created characters I’d believe exist in our world. They’re real. These are people, for good or bad, who you’ve seen or know (hopefully not intimately, some of these people are twisted). For every arc, Azzarello captures the place and the individuals that live there while maintaining a noir-like feel to everything.

As for the art, my initial impression was unimpressed. I felt like something was lacking. I just wasn’t connecting with it, but as I kept reading, I found myself drawn more and more into the story, and suddenly a light bulb turned on and I got it. The art made sense to me. It worked with the writing. It offers a heightened sense of reality that brings the story to life. Do I think it’s perfect? No. Right now, my main pet peeve is the water droplets on the people without color. I can’t stand it. It makes them look like they’ve suddenly become riddled with insta-acne or the plague. But then again, what’s a few random pustules when he’s able to portray someone’s heart being ripped out so brilliantly?

I love the character study aspect of the story. Who will pull the trigger? What will happen when they do? Will they be able to live with themselves? These are the questions that really have me coming back for more. For those of you who have already read the series, you know the answers, but for those of you who haven’t, go to your local comic book store or go online and pick up 100 Bullets.

I’ll post again about this once I’ve finished the series. I can’t wait to see how I feel after I’ve finished it and I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.