Pow! To the People 08.01.08

cap-header.jpgArt Brut frontman Eddie Argos returns to chat comics once again, this week covering a comic he’s embarrassed to buy (the TV spin-off Angel: After the Fall) and a pleasant surprise (Ed Brubaker’s Captain America).



I’ve been a bit of a closet comic fan for a long time, so it was very nice getting so many emails this week from other grown men and women that like comics and have decided to "come out" too. There were a lot of people who love Booster Gold, and even more people that hate Wanted. That was a relief, as I was afraid that people who like Wanted are the same sort of people who would be able to trace my IP address, come ’round my house and murder me. Although of course, the only people that like Wanted are people that can’t read and just admire the artwork.

I’m in Los Angeles at the moment, staying with my girlfriend and finishing off the album of a side project of ours called "Everybody Was In the French Resistance…NOW." I’m in LA a lot, so I have a comic shop near her work in Pasadena that I regularly go to. It is completely different from the comic book shop I use when I’m home in Camden.

Mega City Comics in Camden is brim-full with back issues, collectors’ editions and graphic novels. It’s a truly brilliant shop; and although the staff are very friendly and nice, it can occasionally be a bit intimidating for a closet comic book fan who mainly reads DC superhero comics. In fact, buying a comic there often feels a bit like the days before the internet, when you had to go into a record shop to buy whatever your guilty pleasure was whilst being sized up and discussed by the staff. Of course this has never actually happened to me there, and I’m just being a paranoid weirdo. If you’re ever in Camden, go to Mega City Comics, they’re lovely.

Comic Odyssey in Pasadena, on the other hand, has grown men playing with action figures as you walk in.

Now I can be quite embarrassed about what comics I buy. I still haven’t worked up the courage to buy the Angel: After The Fall comic from my cool comic shop in Camden, as I have some sort of hang up about it being a comic from a TV show and not a comic in its own right. (Although, of course, they wouldn’t stock it if they didn’t want me to buy it.) I have no problem whatsoever, though, buying the Angel comic off of grown men who are role-playing whilst they work in Pasadena; so consequently, whenever I’m in LA I read a lot of Angel comics.

Angel: After The Fall picks up from where the (canceled) TV show left off, and would be quite a hard read for anybody who didn’t watch the show. A year and a half ago, I went mad and was obsessed with Angel. I told anyone who would listen that it was the best show ever written (I think touring had broken my brain) and even I had trouble remembering who all the characters were in the comic. It doesn’t help that the drawings don’t always fully resemble who they’re supposed to be, either. I have been enjoying Angel: After The Fall, though. Angel’s creator Joss Whedon hand-picked the writers and (I think) the artists and is "executive producing" it, so it’s staying pretty close to how he intended Season 6 of the show to be. Obviously, with it being a comic there is no limit to special effects, so Angel can fly around on a big dragon saving the citizens of a Los Angeles that has been sent to Hell, which I imagine would have suffered from budget restraints if it had been made for the television. There is a lot of personal development too, which is made all the better by the writers really getting the voices of the original characters. But, I don’t want to talk about what happens in the book too much as it will spoil it for you.

I’d recommend Angel: After The Fall to anybody who enjoyed the TV show (and has been too scared so far to go into a cool comic shop to buy it). It looks like it’s going to be a very satisfying end to the series. Although as it’s IDW Publishing’s best selling title, they’re really milking it with different covers and even a "Directors Cut" version—so I’d probably hold tight and wait until there is some sort of special edition collected hardback. [Actually there is a special edition collected hardback! Click here for more details — JG]

I’m a massive fan of DC Comics, so when I found out I was writing this column, I thought I’d better read up on some Marvel to get a more balanced view. I chose Captain America, starting from when Ed Brubaker started writing it.

I wasn’t really looking forward to reading Captain America. I was only reading it for you the reader, I’m selfless like that. I intended to tell you that it was boring and ask you to be grateful that I read it for you. As far as I was concerned, Captain America was an archaic patriotic book about fighting Nazis in the Second World War and Russians in the Cold War, and I had no interest in reading a book about soldiers or war.

Captain America is a lot better than I thought it would be, although I was pretty impressed that despite the Second World War ending more than fifty years ago, Captain America is STILL fighting Nazis and even Russians on behalf of his country. I really enjoyed the over-arching storyline of Bucky (Captain America’s long-thought-dead sidekick) coming back—first as a brainwashed soldier for the Russians, and then as a vigilante seeking vengeance. I genuinely nearly cried when the Young Avengers saluted him and told him what an honor it was to fight beside him, even though I knew nothing about any of them before this book.

The book I was reading led up to—and a bit beyond—Captain America being assassinated, it got loads better after he was killed. Much in the same way as Roger Daltrey is the least interesting person in the band he fronts (The Who), Captain America is by far the least interesting character in the book that carries his name. All through the books, I was infinitely more interested in Bucky/The Winter Soldier, Sharon Carter, Nick Fury, and even The Red Skull than I was with Captain America. And after he was gone, the stories were freed up to revolve around him without him actually being in the comic. The book left out most of the story of his part in Marvel’s Civil War—which I’m going to have to catch up on, so I guess I’m being unfair to Captain America. Although I’m definitely going to buy more of his comics now that he’s dead. 

When reading Captain America, the hardest thing to overcome to enable enjoyment of the book is his RIDICULOUS stupid looking flying Porsche. It makes him look like an idiot, especially with those funny wings on the side of his head.

I would definitely be able to buy an Angel spin-off comic from Captain America. | Eddie Argos

In this edition:

Angel: After the Fall (IDW Publishing; 2007-present)

Published monthly, 32 pgs. ea. full color; $3.99 ea.

Collected edition: 192 pgs. full color; $24.99 hardcover

(W: Brian Lynch; A: Franco Urru, Nick Runge, and others)

More info: http://www.idwpublishing.com/

Captain America (Marvel Comics; 2005-present)

Published monthly, 32 pgs. ea. full color; $2.99 ea.

Hardcover edition: 744 pgs. full color; $74.99

Softcover edition: 104-160 pgs. ea. full color; $10.99-$19.99 ea.

(W: Ed Brubaker; A: Steve Epting, Mike Perkins, and others)

More info: http://www.marvel.com/

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