Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Book-A-Day 2010 # 132 (6/15) -- GrimJack: The Manx Cat by Ostrander & Truman

I've been reading GrimJack comics for longer than I'll admit to, and this newest story in the series is co-published by my sometimes employers, ComicMix, so it would be difficult to be anything like objective here.

GrimJack has lept from the another-issue-every-damn-month school of comics -- where he was born, in the first big wave of independent adventure comics, in the late '80s, via the late, lamented First Comics -- into the modern we'll-put-out-a-miniseries-when-we're-ready era, first with Killer Instinct (which I reviewed the last time I did a Book-A-Day run; perhaps if I did them more often, we'd all get more GrimJack?) and now with this series, which appeared in nearly all of the possible formats: first online, then as single issues, and now as a trade paperback. (It hasn't yet been holo-beamed into anyone's skull, but I wouldn't bet against that coming up next.)

The Manx Cat is a loose retelling of The Maltese Falcon, starring John Gaunt (aka GrimJack, the guy on the cover -- a bar-owning tough guy who makes his living in Cynosure, the city at the center of everything, by kicking ass and taking names). Like Killer Instinct, it's set before the beginning of the original series, and answers a question no one really cared all that much about: how did John get his watchlizard, Bob?

There's also rather a lot of angst, as John and those around him reflect on his bad luck with dead girlfriends and the like -- this may be slightly overdone, perhaps -- in between all of the fighting. Ostrander is a strong writer, but he does have a tropism (like so many comics writers) for the maudlin, and he indulges that a bit here. Of course, that's part of the whole GrimJack package -- and it's not as if the brooding, damaged violence expert is utterly alien to other media, either -- so I may be quibbling to mention it.
Book-A-Day 2010: The Epic Index
Listening to: Richard McGraw - My Life
via FoxyTunes

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