Pow! To the People 07.18.08

boostergold-header.jpg Not a hoax! Not an imaginary story! Eddie Argos, frontman for the British band Art Brut, joins the PLAYBACK:stl staff to talk comics in this new regular column. His first time out, Argos takes aim at Wanted and discusses one of his current favourites, DC’s Booster Gold.



Hello I’m Eddie Argos. I’m the "singer" in a band called Art Brut and I’m delighted to have been asked to write about comic books. I’m not quite sure how it happened, I was just pestering people on the internet about their favourite comics. I’m glad I did, though, as for a long time I’ve been looking for an outlet to vent my hatred for the comic book Wanted, and if it hadn’t turned up soon I would have started filling a sock with coins and heading down to the offices of Top Cow Publishing.

The cover to the new I hate Wanted. I only read it because after watching the trailer for the film, my friend Keith TOTP said to me, "I’m not sure how they’ll make a film out of that," and I was intrigued. I felt grubby after reading it. It didn’t feel like reading a comic, but more like reading the fantasies of an angry, bullied fifteen-year-old boy. An angry, bullied, unimaginative fifteen-year-old boy. An angry, bullied, unimaginative fifteen-year-old boy that had just seen The Matrix and Fight Club and had squashed them together into a predictable revenge fantasy in his stupid, adolescent, sex-obsessed head. "I’ll show them all when it turns out my dad is a supervillain and I get a hot girlfriend mwha mwha mwha!" Utter shit.

I understand what Wanted is trying to do, I just don’t think it does it very well. I’d love to read a decadent book about being a villain if it was well-written, but Wanted relies too heavily on its premise of supervillains having long taken over the world, and on its originality of being a book about villains. It lets the story slip into boring, predictable hack writing so that when you get to the "clever" knocking-down-the-fourth-wall ending—in which Wesley turns to you (the person reading the comic) and tells you that your life is terrible and he’s fucking you in the ass—instead of being the clever riposte it thinks it is, it just feels like you’re being patronised by an idiot.

It’s just an abnormal lapse for Mark Millar though; his other comics have been amazing. I love Superman: Red Son—Superman if he’d landed in Russia, not America, and been brought up as a Communist—a brilliant idea perfectly executed. I wish he’d been in charge of writing the Superman film. I also had a peek at Marvel 1985 in the shop yesterday and am going to definitely buy it tomorrow. I’m just glad I didn’t read Wanted first, as I’d have never picked up another book by him again.

Booster Gold returns in this cover from Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund. Click for a larger image.Now to something I love. I’ve loved Booster Gold since I was twelve, when I discovered a near-complete collection of back issues whilst on holiday with my family in Cornwall. I took them with me everywhere I went on that holiday—to the beach, museums, picnics — everywhere. Since then, he’s felt a bit like a family friend. I’ve always taken an interest in what he’s been up to, if not by buying his books, then by looking him up on Wikipedia. I was proud of my friend when he saved the entire multiverse and delighted when he got his own title again, especially as he was traveling through time in Rip Hunter’s time machine fixing wormholes.

I’m infatuated with DC Super Hero comics. In fact, I adore them so much I’ve written a song about how fantastic they are for the next Art Brut album. So bearing that in mind, I’ve really enjoyed every issue of Booster Gold with him weaving in and out of DC history. He’s tried to save Barbara Gordon from the Joker, managed to (briefly) resurrect Ted Kord, got the J.L.I. back together, and there was even a Zero Hour issue—all fulfilling my lust for geeky brilliance.

The most recent issue I enjoyed so much, I’ve been carrying it around with me since I read it, just like when I was twelve. Booster travels so far into the future, the issue is numbered 1,000,000. When there, he meets Peter Platinum, a fraudulent superhero who has based his career on Booster. When Booster eventually gets home, this makes him decide to pack it all in and give up, as he’d rather give up than have Peter Platinum be his sole legacy. He changes his mind after speaking to Batman; it’s the proudest I’ve been of my family friend yet. A lot more happens, but I’m keeping "schtum" as everybody should read this series from beginning to end and I don’t want to spoil it for those that haven’t.

If anybody has anything to recommend that I read, they can contact me at eddie.argos.resource@gmail.com.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably admit that I was once a bullied, sex-obsessed fifteen-year-old that maintained revenge fantasies too. | Eddie Argos


In this edition:

Wanted (Image Comics/Top Cow Productions, 2003 – 2004)

208 pgs. full color; $29.99 hardcover, $19.99 softcover

(W: Mark Millar; A: JG Jones)

Booster Gold (DC Comics, 2007 – present)

32 pgs. ea. full color’ $2.99

(W: Geoff Johns and Jeff Katz; P: Dan Jurgens; I: Norm Rapmund)

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