Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Clint #2 Review

As continuation of UK Week, I decided to check out another British magazine, although one not as established as the 2000 AD, as it just started this month. Clint is the recently debuted comics magazine spearheaded by Mark Millar, and it’s a anthology that features both comics and articles. The first issue caused quite a stir, particularly because some of the sophomoric humor and alienating articles. How will this second entrance into their library measure up? Hit the jump to find out.

CLiNT #2

Written by Various
Art by Various

Much like in yesterday’s review, I’ll divide the article into sections, although this time into the articles and comics that appear in this magazine. The comics themselves are made up by reprints and brand new material, while the articles range from interviews to short one page gags. Mark Millar acts as the editor in chief of this publication, but he also contributes three stories to it, as well as a short intro.

The Comics

The lead feature of Clint magazine is the second volume of Kick-Ass, written by Mark Millar and with art by John Romita Jr., Tom Palmer and Dean White. Even though I missed the first part of the story, it was incredibly easy to jump into what was going on with just the knowledge that I had from reading the first volume. The art is still pretty damn good, and the writing remains the same. Your enjoyment will vary depending of how much you enjoyed previous installments of Kick-Ass.

It feels like a literal continuation, with the same laughs and punch lines as before, so if you liked it before, this will feel like it never really went away. It even uses some of the same writing techniques that Millar used in the first eight issues, with the “flash forwards” being the most notable example.

Coming up next after that is Turf by Jonathan Ross and Tommy Lee Edwards. I’ve heard pretty good things about this, but at the same time I’ve heard people complain about how dense it is ( a preview I saw showed a wall of text in one of the pages). After reading the second chapter, I found out it IS pretty dense, but never does it feel boring or that it meanders. There is a lot going on, but there is a certain economy in the way the story is told, and the information that I may have missed from the first chapter, I learned it organically from just reading the comic. That’s a win in my book, and the art by Edwards is just plain astonishing.

About the story itself, I found myself really enjoying it with one exception: there’s vampires on it. Now don’t get me wrong, I can ignore all the Twilight non-sense pretty easily, but there is a certain overabundance of these particular creatures of the night just about everywhere else as well. Thematically, it’s very similar to American Vampire. I would have enjoyed this story even if it didn’t have any vampires in it, and it felt that Ross could have turned this into an interesting tale without taking from the supernatural well.

Turf is a pretty tough act to follow, and it doesn’t help that what is immediately after it is Rex Royd written by Frankie Boyle and art by Mike Downling and Jamie Grant. What is the story about? I’m not quite sure to be honest. The titular Rex Royd is some kind of business mercenary genius who provides all kinds of services. Along the way we meet analogues for Dr. Doom and Reed Richards, and Rex Royd proves how much cooler and smarter he is than both of them. This comic also features a scene where the Christian God is raping a black woman, only for Rex to come in and kill him. Jesus shows up along the way and claims that God raped him too.

Now, I’m not an easily offended person (remember that time I spotlighted a comic about Jesus as an action hero?), but this was incredibly offensive both on content and technical level. There is nothing lamer than someone trying to establish a new character by showing off how much better they are that other established characters (double if they are not even your companies’ characters). Add in the fact that there’s God raping a woman, and the writing in this comic is just all around bad, trying to be too edgy and cool at the same time. The only saving grace is the art, which I have nothing to complain about.

Something I complained about in my review of 2000 AD was that all the stories were part four of their respective arcs, but luckily Clint does give me a first chapter for me to sink my teeth on, and it happens to be the best one of the group. American Jesus by Mark Millar and art by Peter Gross and Jeanne McGee is a nice and quite tale that hints at bigger things to come. It’s about a boy that finds himself miraculously saved from a terrific accident, and from the name of the tale you can guess where it’s going. There’s none of the trademark Millar spectacle, just lots of nice dialogue, and I wish he would do more work like this in the future. Gross’ artwork is gorgeous, and even the most banal moments look alive and powerful.

We also get a full reprint of the second issue of Nemesis, by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven. I read the first issue of this by itself, so I knew what I was getting before going on. Not much has changed, with the story bordering between turn-off-your-brain awesome and facepalm worthy moments. People have mentioned that this is supposed to be a parody of itself, but honestly I’m not seeing it. If I have a hard time figuring out whether a story is supposed to be serious or not, I don’t think it’s doing a proper job, you know?

To round things up we get the first story to be submitted by new talent (Millar put out a call to people on his forum some time ago). The Space Oddities story by Mateus Santolouco is a three panel gag stretched out to three pages. It’s a pretty obvious joke that reveals it’s own punchline way too early. On the art side of things, the Santolouco’s pretty damn talented, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see other companies use this magazine as a poaching tool for new talent.

The Articles

As varied as the comics contained within Clint, the articles are perhaps even more scatter shot. The highlight of them is Accidental Heroes, in which reporter Josh Woodfin goes undercover with a set of real life costumed heroes. I’ve read about these people years ago, and it’s a truly fascinating subject to me, both on a psychological front and as a comic book nerd. It’s truly a good investigative article, and I wish it would have gone on longer. The author’s self deprecating style adds a whole layer of humor to it as well.

The interview to Nick Frost and Simon Pegg is also pretty interesting, and it feels less like a promotional item and more of a conversation between a group of friends. If you are a fan of the duo, be it because of Shawn of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, it’s a funny and informative article about their early years and their “secret origin”. There is also an interview with someone called Charlie Brooker, who I’m not quite sure who he is.

While some articles are quite good, the shorter ones are either mediocre filler or painfully unfunny. “When Stunts Go Bad” had potential, but it devolves into a trivia list of accident in movie sets, and we really didn’t need a whole page about midgets fun facts (I wish I was kidding). There’s also the “Make your Own iPad” gag which I’m pretty sure was from the rejected pile from MAD magazine. The less said about the “Sexy Chavs” girls pin up page, the better. The final page is dedicated to Chloe Moretz' diary (I’m not sure if it was there in the previous issue), but it’s cute and completely different from everything else in the book, even if she pushes the Kick-Ass DVD. This magazine needs all the female perspective it can get if they don’t want to keep alienating women readers.

Verdict - Check It. I absolutely enjoyed about half of this magazine, and really didn’t care for the other half. Turf and American Jesus were the best on the comic front, while the two lead articles were the better text pieces. All around though, the comics in Clint Magazine are gorgeous, even if the writing is questionable sometimes.

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Anonymous said...

and commence the whiny millar haters (rolls eyes)

JonesHawkeye said...

Has this been released in US comic shops yet? I don't recall seeing it on Midtown's shipping lists, and none of my LCS have gotten it despite ordering it.

Ryan Schrodt said...

@Jones - The first issue of Clint should be arriving in American stores very soon. I wouldn't be surprised if it drops as early as next week.

And everyone keep a look out! My first published story will appear in an upcoming issue of Clint! As soon as I know the issue #, expect a formal announcement here (and on my Twitter!)!

Daniel Woburn said...

Charlie Brooker is quite the genius, if you don't know who he is, look him up - he's written a couple of books that are well worth your time. He's basically a TV pundit/journalist who used to write for The Guardian, one of the UK's biggest newspapers.

brandon said...

Clint ships in the US next week.

Ryan! awesome!!!

Matt Duarte said...

I was kind of hoping that I would have gotten the issue with Ryan's story, just because it would have been a cool thing to own, but it didn't happen.

Angry Tim said...

Charlie Brooker is really ownly known in the Uk, he's a tv crtic he writes for the guardian ( national newspaper) and also has had to the best of my memory two tv shows, he is a very very funny man who tends to tear stuff apart stuff he dislikes. Also I just want to say loving Uk week so far as a Brit :D

Matt Duarte said...

Tim: Glad to hear you've been enjoying it!

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