We’ve been ranting and raving about quality and so on for the last week or two, and while each reader must make his or her own decision, the role of the critic/trusted source is an important one for some. Noah Berlatsky is a critic/blogger we’ve quoted here many times, and while we don’t always agree with him, at least he argues his opinions well. And then he comes up with something that is just… well, enough to shatter your assumptions, like this review of the first volume of 100 BULLETS by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso:
I was pretty disappointed, though. In the first place, Eduardo Risso’s art is lousy. The figures are stiff, the anatomy is shaky, the layouts are cluttered and confusing, and the coloring (by Grant Goleash) is more muddy than moody. If you’re going for stylish noir, it’s really important that the art be…well, stylish. You want Alex Toth or Howard Chaykin; bold blacks and whites, dramatic page design — the art should scream sex and danger and class. Risso just doesn’t have the chops. I mean, look at that page below. [Update: Johnny B in comments notes that the cover below is not by Risso (who I still don’t like), but rather by Dave Johnson (who,apparently, I like even less.)]
Well, first off, we can understand not liking Risso’s work, but…lousy? Shaky figure work? Really?
9The above page is not from 100 BULLETS, BTW, it’s from Eduardo Risso’s TALES OF TERROR, a reprint of his Argentinian comics. Maybe he got a lot better later on.
Okay, I can understand not LIKING Risso’s art, but saying his art isn’t moody? Debatable. However, not knowing the difference between Eduardo Risso and Dave Johnson? That’s enough to shatter one’s illusions. Berlatsky, you need to spend some time in the woodshed. (We would agree that that’s not Johnson’s best cover ever, however.)
§ Speaking of Azzarello, Jog reviews the new Azzarello/Bermejo JOKER graphic novel:
I liked this book good enough. It’s a sturdy piece of trans-genre craftsmanship, getting the job done with a minimum of fuss and a few worthwhile dabs of inspiration. I suspect it’ll go over really well with a lot of superhero readers, and maybe attract a few curious bookstore browsers. It’s ‘serious’ in a comic-book-superhero-characters-are-serious-business way, ‘realistic’ via the ‘less funny costumes, more pulpy drama’ tradition, and ‘grim’ in a manner that nonetheless accommodates underworld lifers who never use the really dirty cuss words and slimy strip joints in which no nipples are visible at any time. Hey: the movie was PG-13 too.
UPDATE: Vulture now has a preview of JOKER up; we may be ignorant bloggers, but it sure looks sharp.