Deadshirt Is Reading… is a weekly feature in which Deadshirt’s staff, contributing writers, and friends-of-the-site offer their thoughts on Big Two cape titles, creator-owned books, webcomics and more.
Max Robinson is reading…
Paper Girls #11
Written by Brian K. Vaughn
Art by Cliff Chiang
Colored by Matt Wilson
“Stop staring…and coldcock this bitch!”
Paper Girls kicks off their third arc this week, throwing its crew of foulmouthed, time-displaced newspaper delivery girls all the way into the distant prehistoric past (or is it??). Storywise, Paper Girls has always been a slow but steady ride that reads better collected in a trade paperback, but what’s here is decent enough. BKV’s dialogue for his teen protagonists remains occasionally interchangeable, but the individual girls are starting to develop interesting new wrinkles and drives. The patented “monster shows up, shit gets crazy, here’s another time traveler” plot structure the book’s been following might feel repetitive at this point, but it’s the same reason Lost (which BKV also worked on) remained hyper-addictive even in later seasons.
The real draw of this issue is Chiang’s artwork, with this issue giving him plenty of cool character designs and prehistoric locales to trot out. Matt Wilson’s hot 80s-evocative colors continue to give Paper Girls a very distinct look and feel, especially now that he’s tasked with applying that palette to new time periods. Paper Girls #11 is an efficient and intriguing table setter for a new arc, if not a wholly remarkable single issue in its own right.
Robby Karol is reading…
Haunted Horror #26
Written by Unknown
Art by Various, including Tony Mortellaro, Doug Wildey, Joe Kubert, Vic Martin, Harry Lazarus & Unknown
Colored by Unknown
“Mr. Governor—unless you agree to give me five million dollars, I’ll cover Chicago with—boiling lead! You have until noon tomorrow…”
“Who are you?– You must be mad!”
One of the joys of the recent boom in horror comic reprints has been the move beyond the (admittedly masterful) archives of EC into the insanity, gruesomeness and bad taste of more obscure publishers. IDW’s Haunted Horror is now on issue 26, and while the stories inside vary in terms of originality and talent, they all have some redeeming quality. This particular issue—one of three edited by horror comics blogger Steven Banes under the identity “Mr. Karswell”—gives a good idea of the variety of work that the genre boom included, broken up with some horror-themed gag strips reminiscent of John Stanley.
The highlight has to be Joe Kubert’s “Map of Doom,” which has the insane premise of a couple discovering an atlas that allows them to destroy cities, which revels in a level of destruction that even modern movies would be hard-pressed to replicate. Kubert’s evocative linework and expressive faces are put to good use here in a story that could have come from the mind of Fletcher Hanks.
Some of the other highlights include a crime/horror hybrid penciled by Western specialist Doug Wildey about a pair of robbers trapped in the desert that gets a lot of mileage out of the stark, almost expressionist landscapes, and an anonymous story about alcoholism that portrays a bleak depiction of addiction while also providing the necessary gore. The anonymous artist’s depiction of the ravages of worry, age and alcohol abuse is convincing and relatively subtle.
Pick up a copy today, so IDW can keep publishing Haunted Horror. An end to this series is the most terrifying thing I can imagine!
Thanks for reading about what we’re reading! We’ll be back next week with a slew of suggestions from across the comics spectrum. In the meantime, what are you reading? Tell us in the comments section, on Twitter or on our Facebook Page!