There might be writers more talented than Garth Ennis, but none are as bafflingly talented as Garth Ennis. Nobody else has such an immense capacity for complex human drama hidden beneath a surface so utterly drenched with puke jokes.
An unabashed lover of scatological humor, extreme violence, and vicious satire, the Northern Ireland-born writer, born 46 years ago tomorrow on January 16 1970, is something of an acquired taste. One might even go so far as to call him polarizing. For everyone who dismisses Ennis as juvenile, vulgar, and vile, you'll find at least one more who will tell you that Garth Ennis is a special kind of brilliant.
Anyone can make fun of DC comics. Don't believe me? Go ahead and look around the Internet. I'll wait. The publisher's long life, huge catalog of characters and hundreds of thousands of pages of material have certainly provided a target-rich environment.
But it takes a very special mindset and skill set to make fun of DC comics within the pages of a DC comic – and I'm not just talking gentle ribbing or affectionate teasing, but fairly scathing satire. That Garth Ennis and John McCrea were able to do so on such a regular basis for so long in the pages of their 1997-2001 Hitman is pretty remarkable; almost as remarkable as the fact that DC invited them back for All Star Section Eight, a series that necessarily focuses on and amps up the superhero parody of the pair's Hitman series.
This week's DC Comixology sale features one of the best lineups of dollar books that the publisher has ever done, with great comics like JM DeMatteis, Keith Giffen and Shawn McManus's highly underrated Dr. Fate, Mark Waid and Bryan Hitch's all-too-brief run on JLA, and Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham's Batman Incorporated — including the issue Burnham wrote about Batman Japan fighting Lady Tigerfist, a lady with tigers for fists — but really, those books are all tied for second. If you don't already own Garth Ennis and John McCrea's Hitman and you take this as anything other than an opportunity to get as much of it as you can, then you're doing something wrong.
DC rocked the comics Internet pretty hard today with a massive announcement of 24 new comics spinning out of their Convergence event, and I can assure you that no one is more excited about this than I am. But the one thing that's most impressive about it is just how weird the publisher is getting. And folks, DC is getting weird.
Not only is the publisher reviving some of the deepest cuts in DC history, but it's also putting the spotlight on some truly weird characters -- including a few that I didn't think would ever make a comeback. So for the benefit of those of you who haven't been obsessing over DC Comics for the last three decades, here's a quick breakdown of the three weirdest comics coming up in DC's new lineup!
Q: I'm interested in Hitman as a character in the larger DCU, and "the area of Gotham so bad that Batman doesn't go there," because Batman is a dude that has paid multiple visits to a planet literally called Apokolips. -- @kingimpulse
A: For those of you who haven't been following the War Rocket Ajax podcast, Matt and I have been spending the entirety of 2014 ranking every single comic book story ever on a master list from the best (Amazing Spider-Man #33) to the worst (Identity Crisis). Last week, we finally got around to Hitman, and while it eventually fell between The Dark Knight Returns and Impulse #3, the conversation that we had about it involved me mentioning that Tommy Monaghan lived in a section of Gotham called "the Cauldron," which was so thoroughly lawless that they didn't even really notice when No Man's Land swept through.
There's a pretty obvious reason why it went down that way, of course, but the more I thought about your question, the more I realized that it's the core of Hitman's complicated relationship with the universe where it's set, which is one of the best things about that comic.
Q: What's your favorite final issue of a comic series or run? -- @supergeekmike
A: Back when I was working at the comic book store, my friend Scott once told me that if I really wanted to know what a series was all about, all I had to do was read the first issue and the last issue. Admittedly, this is the same friend who told me that I really ought to start reading Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose, but he had a good point. On those rare occasions in comics where someone can actually build to a last issue, that's where everything about the series can come together. And the results can be pretty great.
More than a few of your favorite Marvel and DC Comics creators have projects that you may not have heard of, depending on how closely you follow their careers. In creator-owned comics, they get to go wild and create a story that springs entirely from their own brow, and I love seeing the results of that...
^ % UNTERZAKHN
The wonderful Leela Corman's long-in-the-works graphic novel, which was appropriately enough serialized in the Forward, concerns two sisters growing up in the Jewish community on the Lower East Side in the early 1900s, and how incidents from their childhood echo in their adult life...
Around this time of year, I like to get into the Halloween spirit by reading through a few spoooooky comics, and one of the stories that always makes it into the stack is a two-part story from DC's Hitman called "Dead Man's Land...
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