Friday, September 30, 2016

Weird Science Romance Bukkake

Young Romance 2: The Early Simon & Kirby Romance Comics (1947-49/ Collected 2014): edited and restored by Michel Gagne; written and illustrated by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby: A second beautiful job of restoration here by Michel Gagne and friends, rescuing Joe Simon and Jack Kirby's tremendous, tremendously popular romance comics of the 1940's and early 1950's from obscurity.

It's a whole different side of Simon and Kirby (co-creators of Captain America, among many other things), one filled with domestic melodrama and solid depictions of the mostly normal. Entertaining as all Hell -- one can see how these comics rapidly became best-sellers. If it weren't for the Comics Code Authority's implementation in the 1950's, comics like these would have helped the American comics industry mature faster by about four decades. Highly recommended.


Crooked Little Vein (2007) by Warren Ellis: Or, Michael McGill and Trix Search for the Secret Constitution. Seriously. Burned-out PI McGill gets himself hired by the President's heroin-addicted Chief of Staff to find the missing Secret Constitution. It's not just a document. Read aloud, it causes people to obey it -- but only when heard in person, not reproduced electronically. And the Chief of Staff wants to make America great again by hypnotizing people back into a 1950's mindset.

OK! The Chief selects McGill because McGill is a self-described "shit magnet." Weird things happen to him, constantly, a fact the Chief believes will lead him inevitably to the Secret Constitution. So off McGill goes, soon to be accompanied by avant-garde grad student Trix, whom McGill meets at a Godzilla Bukkake Night he's stumbled into.

Yes, Godzilla Bukkake: people who are sexually aroused by giant, filmed Japanese monsters to the point of simultaneous release. Hoo ha! And that's not the weirdest thing in the novel.

Warren Ellis, crackerjack comic-book writer and futurist, has a lot of fun in this novel with strange incidents and people and a book-length parody of the standard hard-boiled-detective novel. His narrator is hapless and generally more acted-upon than acting, with sidekick Trix getting him going at various points in the text. 

It's all provided within a narrative that satirizes Bush 2-era America and the Republican obsession with "family values." The Secret Constitution could conceivably cause gay people to 'turn straight,' all part of 'making America great again.' There's even a reclusive, insane billionaire who made a failed presidential run -- think Ross Perot by way of an X-rated Monty Python skit.

Sure, the novel's not deep. But it's fun and diverting and pointedly satiric. The events recall Hunter S. Thompson; the prose style recalls the hard-boiled school of Chandler and Hammett. It's 21st-century picaresque. Recommended.

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