Thursday, October 12, 2006

Book-A-Day #86 (10/11): Grimjack: Killer Instinct by John Ostrander and Tim Truman

Last night I read the collected edition of this grand reunion limited series from last year sometime, the sixth issue of which is probably on my stack of comics to be read, wherever that is. (Stupid single issues. I hate single issues.)

Grimjack gets a bit too Dr. Phil in the middle of this one for my tastes -- talking about emotions in an adventure comic is rarely a good idea, and doing it for several pages is like nails on a chalkboard -- but this is otherwise quite good. I don't know if anyone is going to jump in here, but they could, easily -- this is set chronologically before the beginning of the original Grimjack series, and it stands very well as its own story.

What's it about? John Gaunt, aka Grimjack, is a cop/secret agent/PI in an aggressively multi-dimensional (and arbitrarily immense) city, and he walks down those mean streets, yadda yadda yadda. It's hard-boiled fantasy adventure, in a setting where anything can pop up and probably will. Everybody betrays everybody (especially the dames), and everybody but our hero is corrupt as all hell. Ostrander is generally a skillful writer, though (as I said above) sometimes the Weltschmerz just runs away with him. And Truman's art is gorgeously pointy.

This is the kind of comic that the comics world thinks of as being vastly different from superheroes, even though John Gaunt:
  • wears the same clothes all the time, which instantly identify him
  • saves people (and the world) regularly
  • has what amounts to a codename
  • has a couple of similarly-burdened friends who he "teams up" with on occasion
  • appears in 4-color pamphlet form
  • is a freaking cop/secret agent/PI!
Clearly, the comics world is deeply weird. Grimjack, to my eye, is probably too much like a superhero to attract many people outside the comics ghetto, but he probably also is too far away from a superhero (his clothes aren't skin-tight, you see, and he has been known to kill people) for the comics nerds. But it's good Chandleresque fun for those few of us in the middle.

1 comment:

John Klima said...

How did I miss this post? Grimjack is my favorite comic of all time. I was so excited to hear that John and Tim had wrestled the character away from First Comics and were making new comics. I feel behind on reading the new ones, but I enjoyed the new storylines.


Post a Comment