Artists: Kevin Mellon (American Muscle), Phil Noto (Trigger Girl 6)
Just to review: Creator Owned Heroes is an attempt to combine an interview magazine with two or three creator owned comics in a single book. So far, the results have been pretty good.
Of the two fictional comic stories that are featured — the assassin’s tale “Triggergirl6″ and zombie like apocalypse of “American Muscle” — I’m more impressed with the blond assassin of “TriggerGirl6″. It’s just stunningly drawn and told. The lead is also really pretty if that helps and apparently it does.
Here’s a two page sequence that shows you just how good this is.
The science fiction is very good as well. People with wingsuits are actually attempting to do what that assassin has just done. Namely: Jump out of a plane and land safely without using a parachute. I suppose it helps that this woman is genetically modified but its still within the bounds of human accomplishment. Look at the judicious use of the blurring effect. I also liked where the story is going but there are questions: when does this take place and when did that white president get elected? Who has the resources to clone killers from the president’s mother and why? Can she or it be reprogrammed? How many others? I definitely wanted to find out.
The second story, “American Muscle” isn’t bad either. Of course, how does it compare to “Walking Dead” or the Shakespeare of zombies rule movies? It feels familiar. These people are clearly a family of types. They’re killers and you get the distinct feeling that if they weren’t they would all be dead. They’re also lovers and family of a sorts. I really like the writing that describes how it all went wrong. Or here’s a sample: “We don’t have much to go on. Word of mouth, rumors, legend, hope and outright lies are all we have. Nobody knows what’s safe or where to go. All we know for sure is that everything between Nevada and Pennsylvania, Texas and North Dakota is a wasteland of living nightmares.” The art in American Muscle isn’t as world class as in Triggergirl6 but its pretty good, a little sketchy.
Both of these stories are well worth expanding into their own full length books.
The interview portion features the legendary Paul Pope, who I think takes a lot of drugs but I’m not really sure. Its not quite as good as the Comics Journal but frankly nothing is as good as the Comics Journal when it comes to interviewing comic book creators but this is professional and intelligent. Here’s an excerpt:
Cluttered studio or clean? And how does it affect your work?
Totally a mess, but I know where almost everything is. My studio looks like that scene in Buckaroo Banzai with Emile Lizzardo in his workshop: stacks of books and scribbles on paper taped to the wall; a guy in a wife beater with a pencil nib, alone in a room, talking to himself. I find order a bit disconcerting. Also, you get too busy or involved to bother to clean up. Eventually your place is a mess.
Bottom line: Yet another fairly satisfying issue. It might be better as a digital only product because you could expand the interviews and the creator owned stories. I think people would get it. 4 out of 5 stars.