Cheat Sheet | From ‘Buzzkill’ to ‘Dial E’ to ‘Button Man’
Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. It’s only Monday, but our contributors have their eyes on Wednesday releases, ranging from John Wagner and Arthur Ranson’s Button Man: Get Harry Ex to a new jumping-on point for 2000AD to … well, it’s not exactly a comic book but it does involve two comics creators.
To see what we’re looking forward to this week, just keep reading.
Button Man: Get Harry Ex
One of the most unrepresentative strips in 2000AD‘s history, the three books of John Wagner and Arthur Ranson’s Button Man series were free of sci-fi or fantasy elements, instead telling a hard-nosed thriller more redolent of the novels of Gerald Seymour, or television shows like Callan, or movies like Straw Dogs and Get Carter. There’s a little bit of The Prisoner‘s paranoia in there, too. It could be Wagner’s (the co-creator of Judge Dredd and A History of Violence, remember) best-ever work. A veteran commercial artist even before he began working in comics in the 1970s, Ranson’s art is like nothing else out there. His realism is suitably cinematic, and amplifies the nastiness of the book’s frequent outbreaks of violence. He’s a fantastic storyteller, a master at controlling pace — the series has been optioned by Dreamworks for a big screen adaptation, to be directed by Drive‘s Nicolas Winding Refn, who would do well to take Ranson’s art as all the pre-viz and storyboarding the film would need. – Mark Kardwell
Kiss Me, Satan #1
Victor Gischler and Juan Ferreyra breathe new life into the supernatural crime genre with a great title, gorgeously drawn monsters, a cool New Orleans setting, interesting characters, and lots of big, pulpy action. – Michael May
Fortunately, the Milk
Technically this isn’t quite comics, but it’s a children’s book, which is about as close to being a comic book as you can get. Neil Gaiman attempts to restore his poor depiction of fathers from The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish with this story about a father going through a time-traveling adventure with the milk he bought for his children’s breakfast. It looks delightfully silly, a madcap adventure fantastically enhanced by Skottie Young, whose dynamic style may be the real magic of this book. The U.K. and Australian version adds an ellipsis to the title and is illustrated by Chris Riddell. There’s also an enhanced epub version that includes four videos and an audio recording of Gaiman reading the entire book. This being the Internet age, pretty much anyone can get any version they like. I think I’ll go with the U.S. version because Young’s art is something special to me (if you don’t have one of his Wonderful Wizard of Oz adaptations with Eric Shanower, you need to change that immediately after buying this book). – Corey Blake
While a few mainstream comic books over the years have addressed alcoholism (Iron Man, for instance), Buzzkill goes a different route in having the character’s power stem from his intake of alcohol. Judging by the preview on CBR, there’s the added wrinkle of an alcohol-fueled superhuman who blacks out when he’s in action. I find it interesting that despite his alcohol-rooted power, Buzzkill is still considered a hero. Not sure how long the creators will pursue the lead character’s desire for sobriety, but the basic concept definitely has me curious to see where things go with the larger story. I will also be curious to see if recovering alcoholics are offended or curious to read the story. – Tim O’Shea
Justice League #23.3: Dial E
It’s called Justice League #23.3 (aka Dial E), but it’s really just a last hurrah for Dial H, the New 52 title that walked like a Vertigo book. This feels like someone in Editorial made a bet with someone in Marketing, along the lines of “put Justice League in the name of this low-seller and watch its sales spike.” I hope its sales do spike, and to such an extent that it convinces DC (or at least Vertigo) to bring it back; but until then, here’s one last chance to enjoy — or to experience for the first time — what was quite possibly the New 52’s most inventive title to date. – Tom Bondurant
2000AD, Prog 1850
Every now and then 2000AD has an issue that’s a jumping-on point for new readers, with four new stories all starting at once. Prog 1850, out this week in download-to-own digital from the 2000AD website or via its Newsstand iOS app, is one of these. As always, it leads off with a Judge Dredd story, and the others are an intriguing mix: “Damnation Station,” in which humans discover they are not the actual owners of Earth and are conscripted into space wars to pay their debt; “Flesh,” an action tale about 23rd-century hunters who travel to the Cretacious period to kill dinosaurs for their meat; and “Brass Sun,” Ian Edginton and INJ Culbard’s curious tale of life in a slowly dying clockwork solar system. These are all stories that have been running for a while, so you’re not coming in at Chapter One, but it’s still pretty easy to get into the swing of things and the stories are great. – Brigid Alverson