Topic: Comic Books - New
Tina and I had a Great Time... At the 16th Birthday Party for the independent book store 'Mysterious Galaxy' on Saturday, May 9th 2009 in San Diego, California!
While there we checked out what books would be of interest to Tina, and what graphic novels or comics TPBs would interest Michael.
One item I immediately knew that I wanted to read was the compilation into TPB format of Jeff Mariotte's Desperadoes comic book series, all five series of them! Plus it was an opportunity to have Jeff sign the book as he was a featured author speaker that day!
I had read a couple of issues of his third Desperadoes series, 'Quiet Of The Grave', because it was part of a western collection we had purchased recently. What really grabbed my eyes was that the art was by John Severin, whose work I have admired for years! So this was my introduction to the series that Jeff plus his array of artists had created since 1997 to 2007.
My first thought on holding the TPB, (Trade Paper Back compilation), was that it was awful heavy! And it was a great value too! Cover Priced at only $24.99! With almost 500 pages of story and art! So with all five published series to be read in one volume, I was itching to start reading it after having Jeff sign my copy that day!
'A Moment’s Sunlight' - The first series was printed in 1997 by Image Comics. This series was written by Jeff with pencils and inks drawn by John Cassady who was just making a name for himself at that time. Here is where the series started with a supernatural bent in a western genre. A one line sentence on what the book is about: "the hard-riding heroes first meet while tracking a ritualistic murderer whose crimes gave him supernatural powers". If I had started here, instead of the third series which drew me in because of John Severin's art... I may have stopped here because yeah, I am a little squeamish. This is a weird / eerie yarn that brings the four 'Desperadoes' together as they track down a frontier serial killer. The only problem with this series for me is how the dead children are dealt with graphically in the artwork. This is definitely not a Code approved comic book series. However the storyline is well written and the intro to the main characters and their first adventure made me want to ride along to their next one.
'Epidemic' - Was the second story, and this is when the creator owned comic moved from Image Comics to Homage Comics, a DC Comics imprint. A one line sentence on what this story was about: The Desperadoes "experience quarantine in a haunted town". This tale was also illustrated by John Cassaday, with additional artwork done by John Lucas. Once again the storyline was a good read, with a supernatural bent, and the continuation with the same artist was a good choice.
'The Quiet of the Grave' - Published in 2001. A one line sentence on what this story was about: The Desperadoes meet "a reanimated dead boy with a thirst for revenge". As stated above, this was the first comics I had read of the series, although I didn't have the complete story. John Severin worked at EC Comics years ago, and knew how to present HoRRoR and supernatural 'tastefully' then as well as now. For a storyline that was based on a back-from-the-dead tale of revenge the artwork here fully complemented the script and dialogue. I don't think this tale could have been completed any better than what is shown here. Again, I do have my prejudices toward John Severin's art, but it was a nice change of pace after the first two series.
'Banners of Gold' - Was the fourth of the series. A one line sentence on what this story was about: The Desperadoes come face to face with "a spiritualist's nightmare". Here there was a change in artists again. This series was illustrated by Jeremy Haun who was far different in style from John Severin. Severin's backgrounds were very detailed, wheras Haun's backgrounds were a lot looser. Nothing wrong with Haun's artwork, just that it was more of a episodic storyboard similar to what is drawn for a feature film. Which I actually enjoyed! Just that after Severin's detailed artwork, this was a little bit of a shock. If read separately like it was first published in 2004, it would have stood nicely on its' own. Once again Jeff's storyline was an interesting tale blending The Old West with a supernatural mysticism bent.
'Buffalo Dreams' - Was the 5th and final series compiled into this Omnibus. A one line sentence on what this story was about: The Desperadoes go on a "bizarre quest to the birthplace of the buffalo on behalf of Geronimo himself". It was first published in 2007. Again we have an artist change, this time the series is illustrated by Alberto Dose. I had mentioned that we had gone from detailed backgrounds with Severin, to more of a storyboarding style with Hauns. Now it seemed that the art went back to more detail, and actually a bit too much detail at times. This dramatic change would only be noticed because it was included in an Omnibus format. As a separate series, standing alone, the artwork complemented the strange storyline very well. I enjoyed the adventure, script and dialogue. This series ended the 5 series Omnibus very well.
This Omnibus presents separate adventures compiled into one volume. Due to the change in artwork in the last three series, it would be best to read those separately and stop for a while before reading the next series, IMHO.
There is great reading value in this Omnibus. I am truly surprised at the low cost of obtaining this book at only $24.99, whereas picking up each of the series in their earlier TBP format would have run at least $17.99 each.
Paperback: 492 pages
I must also say that I am a 'Facebook Friend' of Jeff Mariotte, altho he and I had not met in person until the Birthday Celebration at the Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore! I don't believe that being FB Friends with Jeff unduly influenced my personal opinion in the above reviews of the stories compiled into this Omnibus!
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