Cartoonist (and Non-Superhero Reader) Carolyn Main Hilariously Reviews the DC Comics New 52
We're halfway into the release of the 52 new comics relaunched at #1 by DC Comics, a move designed not only to refresh the books but to invite new readers into the superhero comics audience. But are the books really accessible to new readers?
If you're a long-time reader of superhero comics, it can be difficult to look at the books without the baggage -- and knowledge -- you've acquired over the years, which is why ComicsAlliance reached out to Carolyn Main, a cartoonist and the creator of the extremely NSFW comic Sex Wizards, for her impressions. As someone who works within the world of comics, is largely unfamiliar with superhero titles, and almost impossible to faze with racy content, we were curious about what Main would take away from some of the new 52. What she sent us back was both insightful and totally hilarious, complete with original cartoons that expressed her feelings about the debut issues of Animal Man, Batwing, and yes, Hawk and Dove.As Main explained:
I am mostly a cartoonist for a living, and yet, I am rather terribly read in my field. I've read the emotional graphic novels, all the classic Sunday Funnies, and stared deeply into many an "Art." But I've read very few mainstream super-hero comics, and never a new one that had just hit the shelves.
In order to read the new DC reboots, I headed over to my favorite local comic shop, Cosmic Monkey Comics, and then sat down on the couch with three #1 issues in one hand, and beer glistening in the other. The results were, chronologically, bad, good, and mediocre.
First up was my comic proprietor's vote for The Most Terrible of the Re-Births: Hawk and Dove #1:
So, it turns out, there's this guy named Hawk, and he's a superhero having a bad time because the idiots in the superhero government gave him a bad bird partner, and, it's a WOMAN! And, damn those women, because they make terrible Super Doves. They are too busy all flying in the sky and steering the plane's wing, while she should be helping to beat up a zombie assassin terrorist clone. Hawk wanted help beating up all the guys, but the stupid Lady Dove driver can't drive, and so they chipped the phallic of monuments, the Washington monument, and America cried a stoic tear that day.
That comic was really no fun to read. I'm saying, like only 3 percent fun. Hawk is a weird dick, and even though this was issue number one of an assuredly new universe, page 17 was as incomprehensible as that one terrible soap opera with the living dolls and witches (Passions) but not quite as hilarious. With the art, and I can fully see where Rob Liefeld gets his whole reputation, but the art at least does justice to the story. The story in which, if I've gotten this right: Bird People are kind of air marshals sometimes, and have many emotional problems concerning their brothers and or lady birds.
Also of note about the artwork/storyline? Everybody in this new DC universe has a left eye that is placed, in the skull, just about one inch higher than the right.
Verdict: I would not choose buy this book again with my three dollars in real life or online.
Next up, was my shopkeep's recommendation for the best-received new DC book, Animal Man #1.
So this supposed "Animal Man," he is kinda like Mickey Rourke, if Mickey had mad shamanic skills. Travel Forman's spare and emotive art provided a comic and lush landscape for Tarzan of the Hipsters. Animal Man is often way pretty to look at. However, I find it odd that the Man of Animals has to fully dunk himself into an awkward suit that seems to give him access to the collective unconscious. While I hated how his suit had a built in head band (ugh), I really appreciated seeing Dark Horse Editor Scott Allie posing as a doctor on on page 13. The book's dream sequence is beautiful, as if if Hayao Miyazaki and David Lynch made a 'zine together in art school.
This comic made sense to the new reader, had style, magic, and an awareness that accurately references the last ten years of pop culture on the West Coast.
Verdict: I will continue reading it, and would pay three real or online dollars for it.
Finally, I read Batwing #1:
DC says this is the African Batman, so, you know, Africa. Apparently in Africa, the police get to wear berets, which are cool. And since American Batman is a millionaire with a plane, he hops on by to check how the franchise is going, and help Batwing do some CSI on the systematic massacres that have been happening lately in Batwing's Bat Zone. And the bat people, they stare at computer screens together, and have feelings about crime.
Batman has the strength of being the name brand DC character that any old dope, me included, is intimately familiar with. Batwing, with the power of "bats" and also sleuthing, has his work cut out for him, because there are massacres happening all the time around him.
The art was serviceable, if always kind of blurry. The writing seems like, best case scenario, it could be going somewhere fun. As a brand-new issue to a brand-new reader, it always made sense.
Verdict: I might keep reading it, but I would not buy it for three dollars. Probably I would pay one and a half online dollars for it, or I would read it if my friend had it in the bathroom.