Monday, February 20, 2006

This Comic Was Good - Jeremiah Harm #1

Different creators have different track records when reunited together for projects that evoke past works the creators have done together, so it is often a crap shoot. Therefore, Kieth Giffen and Alan Grant teaming up for a new series involving both an alien prison break (their L.E.G.I.O.N. series) and a hardass mercenary (their Lobo series) could go either way. Luckily for us, Jeremiah Harm falls in the camp of "good comic book."

While the real stars of this comic are Keith Giffen and Alan Grant, artist Rael Lyra and digital artist Joe Prado do a good job, as well. One of the hard things when drawing "alien" comics is to depict the aliens as looking, well, like ALIENS, while still having the scenes make sense to us. Lyra achieves this feat quite nicely. You can understand what is going on in the alien prison, but it is about as "out there" as you can stand.

The basis plot of the story is VERY straightforward. A group of aliens escape from an intergalactic prison. The warden frees the mercenary who brought in the toughest one of the bad aliens (and was arrested with the bad alien when the merc brought him in for the bounty) to go bring back the bad guys. It is about one of the most cliched-sounding plots one can imagine, so for the comic to succeed under such terms, the HANDLING of the plot has to be top-notch, and I think it was in this issue.

The personalities of the villains are handled well by Giffen and Grant, especially the one alien who managed to pull out the device that neutralized her powers, even though the device was attached to her entire central nervous system. As one of the guards says, when the warden is stunned that they actually have cameras recording her doing so, because the computer warning systems did not register such actions as a threat, as no one could actually DO what she was trying to do. Clever stuff.

Meanwhile, Jeremiah Harm, the "protagonist" of the story, is very much in the mold of Lobo, except he seems not as insane. Giffen and Grant create a certain mood, and Harm inhabits said mood perfectly. For instance, Harm goes to an alien who betrayed him and requests information. In exchange for said info, Harm promises to kill him quickly and painlessly. The alien, at the end, is thankful to Harm for keeping his promise. It's so out there that it works.

Anyhow, Giffen and Grant have given us some fun comics in the past, and it looks like they're doing it again with Boom Studios's Jeremiah Harm. Worth giving a look see.

Read More


Blogger Michael Bailey said...

Totally agreed with you on this. I even wrote a review of it over at Silver Bullet Comic Books.

Hey, quick question from a soon-to-be fellow blogger. How do you do the whole "read more" thing at the bottom of your post. Just curious how the cut off thing works on Blogger.

2/20/2006 10:24:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

I learned how to do the "Read More" after a lot of trial and error last summer, and I honestly am crap at explaining how I did it (ask any one who has asked me, like T or Greg...hehe).

So all I can do is point you to Blogger's explanation.

2/20/2006 11:45:00 PM  
Blogger markus said...

- Giffen only did the plot, which you correctly describe as "It is about one of the most cliched-[sounding] plots one can imagine" and isn't credited with any of the writing.
- I disagree on the art. To me, everything looks like feces due to the very limited colour palette and the indistinctive use of thin linework.

full review here:

2/21/2006 05:49:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Well, that's presuming by "plot," that one believes a plotter just describes the plot and lets the scripter fill in everything else.

I do not believe that it works that way.

I think Giffen is much more involved than a simple description of the plot.

2/21/2006 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger markus said...

Belief based on what?
Your review makes it sound as if Giffen and Grant wrote the thing together, and that is at odds with the credits as they appear in the book. Or do you suggest Giffen got credited for the plot and not as (co-) writer just for the fun of it?
FWIW, I believe Giffen has nothing to do with the book and merely lends his name to it, but I wouldn't dream of pretending this is anything other than my idle speculation.

2/21/2006 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

In the past, Giffen would take just a "plot" credit when he would draw thumbnails for the artist to work from, and then the scripter would script the pencilled pages.

In this sense, he had a great deal of involvement.

This is how he is doing 52, I believe.

Currently, though, Giffen is working on a number of projects, so rather than do thumbnails, he conferences with the scripter, at which point the scripter then puts together a script (this is how he and John Rogers are working together on Blue Beetle).

In this example, Giffen does not have the same control as when he does thumbnails, but he still is a good deal more involved than just describing a plot idea.

As to why he doesn't take a co-writer credit, I dunno. I guess he's just used to doing the plotter/scripter thing.

2/22/2006 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Oh, and I just read an article today about Harm where it refers to Giffen as the co-writer of the book.

2/23/2006 03:14:00 AM  
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