Thursday, November 02, 2006

Comics: A new mini-series to die for.

Okay. Look. Man can't live on bread alone, so I'm going to start this entry by talking about a new comic book that isn't strictly horror . . .

WAIT! Hold on! Don't go! There will be killing and blood and trust me on this. I'm your blog buddy – would I steer you wrong?

Thanks for indulging me. So there's this new mini-series out called Nightly News. The first issue hit stands yesterday and the comic does not take its time getting to the thick of things. When the story begins, a methodical and calculating sniper takes out an anti-globalization protestor at a march in New York's financial district. However, all is not as it seems and, when the press arrives, it turns out to be an ambush. The sniper, working with two other shooters, starts taking out journalists left and right.

The rest of the comic is dedicated to giving us back story. The snipers are part of a quasi-religious terror group composed of people whose lives were, they believe, destroyed by the media. Cops who were tried in the court of public opinion, people who were the media fall guys for crooks too high up to bust, you get the idea. This whole Network meets Fight Club tale is sprinkled with data on media consolidation and the ugly underbelly of globalization, making it something like the brutally angry agitprop Brian Wood used to crank out (see Channel Zero). Personally, I didn't find the politics overwhelmed the plot, which is compelling enough without the added sloganeering.

Visually, the comic is an odd combination of stylized comic art and abstract visual design. This gives the book a strikingly unique look, but the fusion is sometimes distracting and brings up questions about whether or not some visuals are inherently antithetical to developing a critical stance. Can you criticize the media while employing the techniques of a fun and wacky Target ad? That said, the flaws in Nightly News are the product of experimentation and over-reaching. They seem less annoying because they feel like the cost of innovative work.

All and all, it's worth checking out the first issue. I should also point out that Nightly's cover is created from the same paper stock as the pages and is published advertisement free. Cutting costs and commercials to bring us innovative work. I like it.

Okay, now here's the part I thought would be fun for horror fans (thanks for waiting):

The comic's creator, writer-artist Jonathan Hickman, is looking for people to kill. If you want to see yourself offed by a terror cell that is half Situationist and half Taliban, here's your chance. From the Hickman interview at Comic Book Resources:

You have a fun little contest at the back of the book, where people can win the opportunity to be written into the book to “die.” Can you tell me more about this and how people can enter?

Ideally, I'm looking for one Democrat and one Republican. Both of these fine individuals will be written into the series where they will tragically meet their end. In the hopes of not hurting any feelings, I will allow them to choose their manner of demise from a pre-approved list.

The winners get two complete signed sets of the series, a signed limited edition promotional poster, and an original drawing by me of them in character. The submission rules and instructions are in the back of the first issue out in November. So…have at it.

See, I told you there'd be some killing. Good luck. And if you, dear reader, are the one who gets shot, blown-up, poisoned, or whatever, let me know.


spacejack said...

Oh dear, and here's me just about to take off early from work so I can hit the comic shoppe on the way home.

CRwM said...

I dug this one. If only because it feels like genuinely fresh stuff to me. I'm not sure if it can keep cracking along at this pace for long, but I recommend taking a chance on it.

Anonymous said...

I am such a pathetic, impressionable dope! So yesterday, I go to one of my local comic book shops, where the owner has some insane discount on new comics-- 40% off!-- to grab me some of THE DAMNED and THE NIGHTLY NEWS, egged on by your posts.
Well, he didn't have THE DAMNED. And I couldn't remember the stinking title of the other book!
Now, this particular location doesn't really have as deep a selection of independent titles like my favorite comic haunt does. But, still, 40% off is-- 40% PER CENT OFF!
But the titles I want, he doesn't have, so of course-- I still drop 40 bucks! Without the discount it would have been $61. (And I had a couple TPBs in there, too, which aren't covered by the discount, in case you're trying to do the math and the discount doesn't seem to be working).
Just thought I'd whine in your general direction.
Meanwhile, still gotta track down those issues...