Two-Headed Meme: The Claws That MEME, The Teeth That MEME…!

Hola, Bloggers.

No, I don’t speak Spanish.  I’m just thinking of that old musical number from Sesame Street with Luis and Maria:

“When you say Hola!  Hola! people are friendly —

People say “Hola”

When you say “Hola”…”

Now every one of my real-life friends is going to know it’s me behind this pseudonym, oh no.  But I can’t help it you see, because I was that white middle-class kid from another country who sat glued glued GLUED to Jim Henson’s educational idea of a program aimed at kids from the ghet-to

And got brought up by it, totally accidentally.

Well, who knew.

Wow, Jim.  The instant I saw Guy Smiley, and heard the “mnah mnah” song, you changed my life.

And so, you Bloggers…!

Who changed your life, as a comics fan?

I’ll give you two categories of this, both fast, as I was converted to Hensonism fast

1. What creator(s), in a single issue, blew your mind so much that you can still quote the dialogue. still see the art, in fact you think about it probably more than makes sense…! In other words what creator(s) made you love a character suddenly and unreasonably, like I loved Cookie Monster suddenly and unreasonably, or Ernie?  Or Grover.

2. What creators(s) went on a title, blew your little mind, and then went almost immediately (and unfairly) off it, just as you were getting revved up?

Okay, I’ll give a couple of mine.

1.  Flash #51: Nobody Dies, by Messner-Loebs and LaRoque.  It’s been too long since we’ve given this issue props, Internet — I mean it’s been like two years, come on.  I was, I confess, already deeply into Messner-Loebs’ Flash by this time, but even if I hadn’t been, Jesus Christ this would’ve been my Kermit The Frog Moment.  I gave this issue to comics-hating punker girls of my acquaintance…and they literally screamed for more.  This comic actually got me into a relationship; this is the one and only superhero comic that generates HUGE FEELINGS just on its way to showing that the Flash is cool.  Forget Watchmen;  if you want a BANG moment, this is it.  And anybody can feel it.  Even highly sexy disillusioned punker girls with green hair and a grudge against their father,, who are past caring about anything. Even they have been heard to say things like “Gee, I hope Wally’s all right!

Go out and buy it.  Read it now.  If you’re unmoved by it, I’ll buy your copy for twice what you paid, and that’s a promise (NOTE:  Plok does not need more than three copies of this comic).

2.  William Messner-Loebs on Green Arrow. Sorry, it’s Messner-Loebs day here at Trout In The Milk...but if you ever wanted some strong circumstantial evidence, in the time when Ed was doing all the buying for our collection, and I had no money, I actually went out and bought a Green Arrow comic, because the previous issue had been written by Messner-Loebs.  Quoth me: “fucker, this Green Arrow — and I hate Green Arrow! — comic wasn’t written by Messner-Loebs at all!

Quoth Ed:  “Yes…I knew that.  That’s why I didn’t buy it.”

Quoth Me:  “But what the fuck, then?”

Ed:  “Yes…yes, I know. I know all about it.  The genius Bill just was given a gig, that’s all.”

Me:  “But then why…”

Ed:  “Why didn’t they just give it to him?  Don’t ask me for answers to your questions;  I don’t know.  Yes, Messner-Loebs on an aging, womanizing Ollie Queen — holy jumpin’ catfish [NOTE: Ed did not say this, I’m only reconstructing from memory — obviously a person with a sense of self-worth like Ed would never utter the words “holy jumpin’ catfish”], that would be SWELL [Uh…ditto], but they DIDN’T give it to him, and yes it DOESN’T make sense, and STOP ASKING, because I’m mad TOO!”

Yes. Well, whatever.  Well, so what if Messner-Loebs believes the most powerful motivator of human action is LOVE?  And so what if Green Arrow’s character arc for the last thirty years has been about LOVE?  And so what if everyone else has written him as if he a) doesn’t understand it, or b) would rather do without it?

Messner-Loebs, people.  I want him to write Fantastic Four.  I want him to write Spider-Man.  Can you believe they never even asked him?  I want him to write a Speedball mini.  The thing is, they say these characters don’t work.  But they never ask freakin’ professionals to write them.  Just guys who need a lot of excuses.

Bendis on Powers?

Or on Alias?

Or just about every single issue of the first twenty of USM?

Yes, good God.  That’s a 1. The brilliance of Bendis.

Just in case anyone thought I was beating up on Bendis with my Messner-Loebs remarks.  Although truthfully they are two different galaxies of talent and craft, and I kind of was.  Bendis is really (let’s be honest) very good at some things, but not so good at others.  He’s precocious!  But he’s not fucking Mozart.  But who said he had to be?  Christ, you criticize someone for a minute, and all of a sudden it’s all “Mozart-hating-scum, you must DIE!! for criticizing Bendis!!!” But I like Bendis.  He’s not all that good, though.  But I like him.  He does some things excellently well…even so…I mean I’m not trying to be a bad guy, here…

Oh and oh shit, fine, you douchebags, why don’t I just give another 1BENDIS! (The one where Jessica turns down Ka-Zar!!!!), so I guess that means I have to give another 2.

So check it, scaredy-cats:  2. Doug Moench and Bill Sienkiewicz on Fantastic Four. Yeah, that’s right:  I wish they’d been given a thirty-issue run.  Woulda tripped you out.  Woulda been like Kirby’s final Cap run:  all science fiction slash horror, all the time.  And does anyone seriously imagine, can anyone seriously imagine who’s read Moon Knight, that FF would’ve been just some boring book with Moench and Sienkiewicz at the helm?

Cowards.

These guys were always super-pros, and never needed any excuses.  But, they only got four issues.  So whatever.  I liked Byrne’s run a lot.  But at the time, I remember thinking he’d make a freaking mess of it when he got there (thankfully that wasn’t the case), and I was a bit pissed that the always-progressive, always super-creative Moench/Sienkiewicz team didn’t get a chance to fly.

Later, I learned they weren’t really asking for that chance.

But even so.

I mean, come on.  It stands.

No?  Disagree?

GOOD!

So to recap, my #1 picks are Flash #51 and Alias #whateverthatnumberwaswhereJessicatriestogetitonwiththeMormonSheriff…

And my #2 picks are:  Messner-Loebs Green Arrow, and Moench/Sienkiewicz FF.

Let’s go to war, Bloggers!

It’ll be fun.

#1: Rock Your Mind Issue!

#2The Great Creator Didn’t Stay Long Enough!

Begin, please.

And pardon my ramble.

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24 responses to “Two-Headed Meme: The Claws That MEME, The Teeth That MEME…!

  1. Pfft! These are easy:

    1. American Flagg! #1. I actually came to Flagg! late, after seeing Chaykin’s first issue of The Shadow for DC, but thank goodness back issues were cheap and plentiful. AF! #1 not only blew my mind and made me an instant fan, it opened my mind to the possibilities of the medium itself.

    2. Steve Englehart, Marshall Rogers, and Terry Austin, Detective Comics #s 471-76. That’s right, just six issues for what may be the best all-around take on Batman between O’Neil/Adams and Miller/Mazzucchellli. Englehart started two issues earlier, and Rogers stayed for two issues more. Both returned to the character separately, and then reunited for a pretty good Dark Detective miniseries, but nothing can top those seminal six issues. Hugo Strange, the Penguin, Deadshot, and the Joker, plus Rupert Thorne and the unforgettable Silver St. Cloud — and, lest we forget, all under the guiding hand of Julie Schwartz! Over far, far too soon (and, of course, I could say the same about the late Marshall Rogers).

  2. Good Lord, was it really only six issues? Seems longer than that, somehow.

    Oh, and American Flagg #1 — wow, no arguments.

    Jeez, now I’m hoping I’m gonna hear more of these. Always need another good reason to dive into the longboxes!

    Tell you what, Tom, I wouldn’t’ve complained if I’d seen more of Steve Leialoha’s art on Coyote, that’s for sure…

  3. That issue of The Flash was excellent, wasn’t it? That title was freakin’ great for an awful long time.

    As far as your meme…the first one is easy. Captain America #284, the August ’83 issue, written by J.M. DeMattis and art by Sal Buscema. In retrospect, not a great issue. Nine year old me freaked out over it.

    The issue begins with Captain America rushing to the hospital to visit a dying friend. Along the way he stumbles across a standoff between the police and a rooftop shooter who has hostages. Cap, naturally, lends a hand.

    Reaching the roof, he finds that the shooter is a drunken man and that his hostages are his own wife and children. The man, driven to despair by losing his job and his savings, is taking out his rage on anyone he can.

    Rather than beat the hell out of the guy, Cap talks to him. He talked about his childhood during the depression and the need to fight despair. As Cap speaks, he notices a police sniper taking aim at the gunman. Cap pushes the drunken man out of the way, only to have the police bullet crease Our Hero’s skull, rendering him unconscious. (Which used to happen an awful lot, I must say.)

    The shooter, enraged by the action, levels his gun at the unconscious Captain and shouts he’ll kill the guy for all the treachery. The man’s wife stops him by saying that if life is so awful, he should kill her and the kids instead to spare them the horrors of everything. As expected, the shooter breaks down in sobs. Cap wakes up and takes the man into custody.

    Yeah, it’s not great. But a superhero comic with no costumed villain? A comic that showed the difficulty of defining justice, done in a manner that a ten-year old boy could understand? My mind, she was blown. Cap 284 gave me an idea of what comics could be. It’s my “ah-ha!” comic. There are others, I’m sure, but this is my go-to answer.

    For the second…it’s also a run on Green Arrow. Kelley Puckett and Jim Aparo had a run of just two issues (#91-92) just after “Zero Hour,” introducing Connor Hawke. It was sweet. The Aparo art was good, as usual. Puckett’s writing…oh my. He staged intricate fights and stressed the zen aspect of archery.

    For example, Queen shoots an arrow at a guy firing a gun. The arrow amazingly hits the bullet dead-on, just as the slug leaves the gun’s muzzle. The bullet shatters the arrow’s shaft. Slivers of the wooden arrow keep their momentum and embed in the shooter’s face. Okay, that’s silly. But it was done in total silence, over the span of many panels on one page, and the effect was wicked cool.

    The last fight of the second issue had Queen and Hawke taking out a room full of thugs again in total silence, with cool-o arrow shots and assorted badassery, and man, it was something. The next issue, Puckett was replaced by Chuck Dixon. I like Dixon okay, and the comic wasn’t awful, but man. Green Arrow went from gripping and unique and hypnotic to a standard action comic.

  4. I’ll bite.

    1. Joe Casey and Jose Ladronn on Cable.

    The resason their run blew my mind was that … well, I was actually buying a Cable comic.

    For most of the character’s existence, I wanted nothing to do with the gun-toting oaf. But suddenly, under Casey’s guidance the mutant had thrown away his guns and was battling great old-school villains like Rama-Tut and Zzax instead of some action-verb masquerading as a character. It was like a dry run for Gødland, and Ladronn’s art was nothing less than Kirby on acid.

    Of course, the run was polarizing. Non-Cable fans like myself generally liked it, while dedicated X-Fans were less than thrilled. (I believe the X-Axis panned some issues.)

    After Casey and Ladronn, it was back to business as usual for Cable until somebody had the bright idea to team him up for Deadpool. I liked that comic as well, but now Marvel has set him up on a Lone Wolf & Cub style quest, and who cares.

    2. Karl Kesel and Cary Nord on Daredevil. They were the only team, post-Miller, to remember that Matt Murdock had once been a swashbuckling, wise-cracking hero. The team brought that element back to the book, and was promptly run out of town by fans who would not condone the presence of any levity whatsoever in the House that Miller built. Too bad, those issues were genuinely entertaining.

  5. 1. Detective Comics #574: …My Beginning… and My Probable End, by Barr and Davis. A nuanced retelling of Batman’s origin, framed within a story where (*SCHOCK*) Leslie Thompkins cares for a Robin in critical condition. What I love about this issue (beyond Davis’s beautiful art) is that this is (to my admittedly limited knowledge) the only retelling of Batman’s origin where Bruce is allowed to be reflective. There’s a bit of melancholy to this issue, and yet by the end Batman seems more resolute in his calling than ever.

    2. I’ll go back to the well and say Barr and Davis on Detective. I know, I know! Barr and Davis had just come off an extended run on The Outsiders the year prior, and their departure from Detective eventually yielded to the more-solid-than-most-give-credit-for Grant and Breyfogle. Barr and Davis short run held so much promise. Almost too much. And to think, in the scant 7 issues in their run they barely got to crack open the toy box. One wonders if the uneven Year Two might’ve been more satisfactory under Davis’s care.

  6. 1. Incredible Hulk 372: the return of the green Hulk (or, the “real Hulk,” as I thought of him), a cover that stood out from everything else on the spinner rack, good art, and a story with heart. This issue changed me from comic book reader to comic book fan. I ended up buying every other Peter David issue (and even ended up liking the “fake” grey Hulk). I even ended up buying Pitt (for several issues!), hoping it would come close to Hulk in quality. Oops.

    2. Warren Ellis & Mark Buckingham on Dr. Strange. One friggin’ issue. It was funny, intriguing, nasty, and beautiful. I couldn’t wait to see where they would go after setting up the new status quo. Nowhere, as it turned out. Ian Edgington scripted the next couple issues over Ellis’ plot, and Buckingham was gone soon after.

  7. For 1., I don’t know. There’s been any amount of stuff I’ve liked or really liked over the years, but I don’t recall having my mind blown.

    2., I’d have to say Sienkiewicz on New Mutants. Apparently he was only there for a few issues! Or, for an alternate, Todd McFarlane on Infinity, Inc.

  8. 1) Howard the Duck #15. I know, I’m predictable.

    2) Matthew’s just beaten me to it. Sienkiewicz on New Mutants. From unspeakably dull to fantastic and then back to dullness again.

  9. Oh, I do have one for #1! That All-Star Squadron annual featuring the JSA story ‘that the world wasn’t ready for’. The one with Ian Karkull. Boy, did that comic get me thinking… Roy Thomas, man. I dunno.

  10. I was about 4 at the time. It was breakfast, in the big dark loungeroom with the sun coming through the window. Either Mum or Dad had the newspaper open – Melbourne’s Argus, gone these many years, and I seem to remember scrambling up on my chair onto the table. And there were comics.

    And in particular there was this one comic with a Tyrannosaurus being attacked by a flamethrower from The Pygmies’ Machine!!!, which was sort of a globular tank. Obviously this must have been explained to me, because I must have been on my first reader.

    It was my downfall; possibly the crucial event in directing my imagination. My parents probably fed me with what stimulated me, because they gave me a very good book on dinosaurs, and pretty soon some serious kids’ books on space rockets. I think my reaction to that comic strip was something like “They have stories about this? Really?”

    Now I’d have to go to my collection to find out who did it, but they knew their business, and sustained plots for months at a stretch. It was Twin Earths, a really nice balance between early ‘50s Space-Age drama with espionage and test piloting, and a streamlined flying saucers concept which was optimistic rather than paranoid. They come from Terra, in the Counter-Earth position, and are just a bit more advanced than we; enough that they have flying saucers, submarine fleets, Perspex patios and becoming miniskirted tunics for the women, who are in the majority and seem to rule the leading nations. There were some quite decent real space explanations of things. But all this I only found out a few years ago when I stumbled on a collection. At the time it was totally sufficient that somebody was actually making a comic with Space Pygmies with flamethrowers who fought with dinosaurs. And from that my whole life followed.

    I really must hunt down the series.

  11. Damn.

    This is driving me insane.
    I’ve been ruminating on this “meme” since the day it was posted and can’t really make up my mind.

    Y’see… I’ve read WAAAaaaaay too many comics, and more than a few of them were mindblowing, yet all-too short runs.
    When I first began to read comics I had a few “OH! THIS is MUCH better than the “Superman Family” crap I’ve been seeing.”
    More then a few single issues reached out and grabbed me – hard.
    SO, it’s not an easy thing to select ONE.

    And, to be even MORE convoluted, the comics that made me exclaim “eureka!” as a kid and the one’s that made me see even greater potential, as an ADULT, are two separate things.

    However, I think you’re looking for “first” as in “as a kid” for this exercise, so that’s how I’ll go into it.

    Probably my FIRST such instance was:
    Uncanny X-MEN # 116.
    Claremont & Byrne with the X-men in the Savage land.

    A new comic shop had opened in the local mall (Roosevelt Field on Long Island) and they were giving away free comics as a “hook”.
    My younger brother was there with our mom, and they brought the issue home for me.

    I had only sporadically read comics before then (the ubiquitous 3-packs from J.C. Penny’s – or was it Woolworths) and the occasional 25cent bin curiosity.
    However, once I saw THAT crisp artwork and slightly adult situations, I knew that comics could be MORE than just kid’s pap.

    I went and hunted down every X-MEN issue that I could find.
    (Have every issue except the Giant Size intro – up until the 90’s when I just couldn’t STAND the X-teams anymore.)
    A few issues in that early run gripped my shit:
    # 113 with the “Death” of half of the team was awesome.
    # 102 a rare Cockrum issue that I absolutely LOVED (still one of my all-time favorite covers – EVER. It has that “old timey comic” feel to it.)

    But back in 1978, # 116 got me to pull out my own pens and paper and began to make my OWN comics (my first team was a loose rip-off of the X-Men that I saw in that issue, with a “Nightcrawler” type guy and an eye beam blaster named “X-Factor”).

    That whole Savage Land arc was my baptism into really GOOD comics, and even though I can’t STAND the X-teams today, I look quite fondly on those early issues and the themes and scenes that continue to take up residence in my brain;
    Cyclops shaving by the waters’ edge of a pond and wondering why his bearded face reminds him of Corsair, Wolverine being polite and “big brother”-like to Colossus, “Nanny”, Phoenix & Beast lost in the snow.
    All of it. Gripped. My. Young. Shit.

    —-

    As for all-to short a run, too many man… too many.
    Comic’s are RIPE with all-too short runs by talented and inspired creators.

    Mike Ploog on MAN-THING was the first time I can recall wanting to draw like someone else, but he wasn’t on the title for as long as he should have been (a scant 7 issues; # 5 – # 11).

    DC’s THRILLER was too cool for words.
    But, all too soon it was gone.

    Trevor Von Eden’s GREEN ARROW mini-series, was INTENDED to be a mini, but I still wanted more.

    ENCHANTER, from Eclipse comics.
    Don Chin, writer ; Mike Dringenberg, artist made a HUGE fan out of me in ONE issue.
    The series was supposed to be an 8-issue mini, but only made it to 3.
    I bought the first issue. Drooled at the art and was intrigued by the story. Then, I couldn’t find another issue for YEARS.
    I stumbled across the later 2 issues many years later -because I was STILL hunting for them (all pre-internet era).

    Many years after that, they released follow-up one-shots and such, but the look and feel were gone.

    However, I’m going to HAVE to say:

    MICHAEL GOLDEN on DOCTOR STRANGE.
    He drew some FABULOUS covers for awhile (# 42* – 44), and then designed new art for the corner-box, and I desperately wanted to see what he would do with an actual STORY.
    Then, he drew a back-up 6-pager in # 46 that was AWESOME.
    Just when I thought that that might be it… the now-famous # 55 hit the stands.

    OMG!!!

    I devoured every detail. Scoured the panels for hidden details and goodies. Absolutely LOVED the intricacies and expressiveness within his storytelling.
    Would have killed to have him do more.

    But, it was not meant to be.
    And only recently did I find that he did it all on an insanely tight deadline of a few weeks.

    Oh, what might have been.

    Still, just prior to that issue was the goodness of Marshal Rogers, and we soon thereafter got the likes of Paul Smith, (a sadly all-too brief ONE issue of) Kevin Nowlan, and Dan Green.
    Good gravy I love that period of the title.

    But to see Golden’s work on that issue (not too long after I was dumbstuck by his AMAZING work on AVENGERS ANNUAL # 10) was a highlight of the title.
    I can honestly say that I’m not alone because I STILL find swipes from that issue whenever Doc appears in a comic.
    Artists are still using that as “THE” issue for reference.

    Well… they might not be my “adult” selections, but those are probably what count for THIS meme.

    *The cover to # 42 was one that I re-created (in Golden’s style) and STILL have that weathered old drawing, as an example of my earliest attempts at comic artwork, in a file, this very day.

    ~P~
    P-TOR

  12. Not the first issue to blow my mind, but my trade of Adam Warren’s Dirty Pair: Fatal But Not Serious has stuck with me. For the longest time it was the only Adam Warren comic I ever read, and it’s just so good. Funny, satirical, far smarter than anyone gives it credit for, etc. Oh and it’s Dirty Pair, so it’s borderline pornographic and incredibly violent. It’s also pretty damn comic-book-y for an OEL manga. Evil clones, star systems getting blowed up, weapons named “Mjolnir”, all kinds of good stuff.

    As for a run that should have gone on forever – well nothing comes directly to mind…
    Mike Allred’s one issue of Sandman made me really wish he had drawn the whole thing. And having Phillip Bond only draw three issue of The Invisibles was always a massive disappointment. I’d go with that, I guess. More Philip Bond!

  13. oog.

    I hate making “stoopid” typos.

    This line:

    “Comic’s are RIPE with all-too short runs by talented and inspired creators.”

    SHOULD have read:

    “Comics are RIFE with all-too short runs by talented and inspired creators.”

    Rife. Not Ripe.
    Although, juicy comics ARE a good thing.

    :-)

    ~P~
    P-TOR

  14. Sorry I’ve been absent — I find this just fascinating, though. P-Tor, when you mention Cyclops shaving…that was a big one for me, too, and so weird! Such a little thing! But it was the type of “realism” that the Claremont/Byrne team excelled at, and yet another callback to Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four — strengthening my theory about how their X-Men were intended to recreate the original FF vibe, only in a new, multicultural, highly 80s way. I should go into that further, one of these days…also, interesting tidbit about the “swipes” from Golden on Doc, I hadn’t noticed that.

    More Philip Bond sounds good, too.

    On the others, I can only say that, broadly speaking…wow, interesting choices! Some of these I’m familiar with, and some I’m not, but it’s interesting to see just how many runs there are, that fell under the radar.

    Oh, and also I’ve just noticed that Entertainment Weekly did basically this same kind of questionnaire just a while ago! Damn. The ignominy, to look like you’re copying EW. Gross.

  15. Plok,
    Just in case I made it confusing;
    Golden didn’t do the swipes.
    Too many OTHER artists swipe from HIM (from that one issue) all the time.

    I see them everywhere. Even up to today.

    ~P~
    P-TOR

  16. OK, this has been nagging at the back of my head for many a day since I cast my votes.

    I might have to retract my previous votes in lieu of one comic (well, b/w magazine sized comic) that fits BOTH criteria:

    The first issue of which was enough to awe anyone that I have even encountered who has read it (it still fills my mind with words and images to this day, long after my purchase back in 1982)…

    D’ARC TANGENT

    by Phil Foglio, Connor “Freff” Cochran & Lucie Chin.
    Story consultant was Chris Claremont.
    Published in 1982 by Ffantasy Ffactory.

    It was a “series” that was supposed to be 16 issues but only had the first issue released.

    There’s Waaaay too much to it to summarize, but I’ll give it a quick synopsis:

    I’ll give JUST a brief synopsis that is visible (with no spoilers – in case anyone wants to track it down – it is WORTH doing so).
    And then I’ll TRY to post a SPOILER-FULL summary (more in depth) for anyone who won’t be hunting it down.
    BUT, I’m going to TRY to make the text HIDDEN (white text that you should have to highlight to read) without screwing up Plok’s site.
    (PLOK: I’m typing this all out REALLY quickly as my laptop battery is about to die. So…If I screw this up, please fix whatever bad code I enter. ThanX.)

    Briefly, it was a sprawling space opera epic, a tragic romance, the story of a lovelorn, swashbuckling 17th century French Duke, a fated robot from the other end of the galaxy and an enigmatic “space wall”.

    Yeah, not much to go on there.
    It was just SO complex a work.

    If you want to get MORE info, highlight the area below this line:

    [EDIT: Whoops, P-Tor couldn’t make this work, and I don’t know how! So if you care about these spoilers, scroll down to where there’s another bolded EDIT above a dotted line before continuing to read.]

    ———————————————

    A “husband/wife” team of aliens are sent on a mission to a “primitive” planet. The husband is killed in a massacre and the wife “feels” his death thru the bond that they share.
    She goes slightly mad from the loss.

    The mission is planned anew but with her going down to transmit the data to her contact on Earth (circa French Revolution era).
    Her contact is a robot who has been posing as a crazed hermit in a lonely house in the woods.

    – There is a side-plot of a group of multi-dimensional aliens who have encountered “the wall”; some sort of mystery/anomaly at the heart of the universe and there’s some skullduggery involved and some other plot with a mysterious menace –

    Back on Earth, the mission is discovered by the shenanigans of two layabout losers in the French countryside, and the female alien has a freak-out and stands up to the amassed forces that have come to fight off the “demons & devils” that the provincial and superstitious humans perceive them to be.

    Taken captive by the French armed forces, they are about to be burned at the stake when the arrival of the ship’s robot servant “ARC TANGENT” comes to the rescue.

    He fights off the head “Musketeer”-type leader and in the course of the battle, their minds merge.

    Now, the robot has a Frenchman’s memories and thoughts (thus becoming “D’Arc Tangent”) and he, his female master (mistress) and the now-cover-blown “old man” robot make their escape.

    [EDIT: The spoiler-wary among you may now resume reading.]

    —————————————

    It’s much better than I am making it out to be.

    A twist “ending” and some AWESOME bits and pieces along the way (with drop dead GORGEOUS artwork throughout) makes this one magazine-sized black/white comic that has consistently awed, inspired and enthralled me for over 2 decades.

    Many comics and graphic novels have come and gone from my collection, but that is one that I find that I’ll never part with.

    So, it might have to take the place of my previous vote(s).

    Sadly, it was JUST the one issue released before “creative differences” made the continuation of the project impossible.

    It’s just as well.
    There’s no way they could have maintained that level of awesome quality of art and storytelling.

    ~P~
    P-TOR

  17. Since I don’t know how to make hidden text (and am much too sleepy to learn at the moment), I’ll just toss in a spoiler warning, P-Tor…

  18. Hmm, that’s strange, I guess WordPress “upgraded” me…although my understanding was that they wouldn’t…and now I don’t seem to be able to edit any comments, including my own!

    Must test this…!

  19. Okay, it’s as fixed as I can make it.

    My God, the counterintuitiveness of that new “Edit Comment” thing is really incredible. But, at least it didn’t disappear.

    Heh, and I was all ready to start questioning the unspoken assumptions behind that “upgrade”…but thank goodness there aren’t any, anyway.

  20. D’Arc Tangent – oh, yes!!! As P’tor says, it’s almost impossible to do justice to that single majestic issue. Around page 3 it has a line that goes, “The first of the Million-Year Plans begins.” (which is how seriously the myriad species of Galactic civilization were taking the mere suspicion that a single member of their ancient Enemy might have survived) and a character called Alphonse Mouton. Don’t know if I’ve ever seen a widow in comics who grieved so utterly, either.

    I find Girl Genius sufficient compensation for the loss, though. Same intricate, same funny.

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