IDW Comics Always Smell Like They Can Strip Paint

Keeping it short this time.

Dinosaurs Attack #2
Art by Flint Henry, Earl Norem, and Herb Trimpe
Writing by Gary Gerani
Published by IDW

The split between paintings and penciled images is not as clear-cut this time. The previous issue cleanly divided the work of Herbe Trimpe (on the space station Prometheus with scientist heroes Helen and Elias) and Earl Norem (on Earth as the dinosaurs invaded), whereas here we get a heavy amount of recreations of Norem’s trading card images mixed with Trimpe bridging small gaps between them and Flint Henry taking over the space station subplot (a slapdash production not dissimilar to the DIY aesthetic of scrapbooks or punk posters). Continuity isn’t a strong suit, here–character’s clothing again changing from panel to panel–only the force with which images can be conveyed, whether it be children devoured by dinosaurs in the most grotesque manner possible or panic amongst scientists, politicians, and news media.

Further, the artist changeup causes appearances to vary noticeably.Trimpe makes the comic’s Vice-President character physically similar to George H.W. Bush. He’s a thin yet doughy man who tries snake-charming the media into not believing eyewitness accounts and photographic evidence (the card series which the comic draws from was released in the late 80s, post-Iran-Contra, where a lot of “plausible deniability” was going on). Gary Gerani’s verbal exchange between the VP and a reporter becomes a power dynamic, Trimpe giving a worm’s eye view to each character’s panel (“Hard evidence, huh?”, countered with “Yep.”) to highlight this struggle, only to take to the skies to set the stage for a swarm of pterodactyls. Norem’s VP, however, bears less resemblance to Bush (a hairline which isn’t receding as much, and a far more angular face). Since Norem came first, I find it interesting Trimpe decided to add a little political caricature. Mainly, Dinosaurs Attack is another “bad taste” anti-establishment piece in the mold of underground comix, but the inclusion of a Bush caricature attempting Reagan folksiness (which served him well during Iran-Contra investigations) places the spoofing in context. Trimpe ends up defining a specific, American type of governance for Gerani’s broad satire and tasteless gore. Far better than having a point, it has bite.


Guardians of the Galaxy #5
Art by Sara Pichelli
Writing by Brian Michael Bendis
Published by Marvel

I’m left with a lot of questions after reading this issue of Guardians of the Galaxy. What’s the purpose of the single page of green alien brute Drax torturing another green alien? Why is Spawn character Angela–introduced in a two-page splash–narrating about cutting some guy’s head off as if she’s talking to him (and he’s not present)? Why does Iron Man make an oblique reference to Star Trek (specifically Kirk sleeping with a green alien) when talking about having sex with Gamora, yet another green alien, with a talking space raccoon? Is there a reason he’s shocked the raccoon doesn’t understand him when a) it’s an alien raccoon not from Earth, b) it can’t be hard for a super-genius to fathom aliens not knowing what Star Trek is, and c) he doesn’t explain the reference? How come Gamora is shown walking out of the room Iron Man and the raccoon are in despite not being there before? And when she walks right back in on the next page (a fact unremarked upon), was it because she forgot she had some plot/exposition-related question to ask them? Why are two of the three female characters in this comic the same “angry action movie woman” stereotype? And how come both are written as sex objects to be casually dismissed or leered at by Bros Iron and Raccoon? How does Sara Pichelli feel about drawing those scenes? Will anyone be surprised if Brian Bendis throws in a line about cat fights next issue when Gamora and Angela tussle some more?


Somehow, I feel the answers to those questions are as elusive as the meaning of life.


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