“Fundamental Comics,” a monthly editorial series that introduces readers to comics, graphic novels, and manga that have been impactful to the sequential art medium and the comic book industry on a foundational level. Each month, a new essay will examine a familiar or less-known title through an in-depth analysis, exploring the history of the title, significant themes, and context for the title’s popularity since it was first released.
The Weatherman is wonderfully bonkers. Sometimes, it’s a gonzo satire right out of Philip K. Dick’s mind, and, other times, it’s an action-packed free-for-all.
Even though I missed Issue #3, here I am reading Issue #4 of Punk Mambo, and Cullen Bunn is such a great writer that I don’t feel lost. What happened in the last issue? Punk Mambo got her ass whooped. Mambo is all punk, from outfit to attitude. She also practices voodoo magic, and a not-so-nice enemy is attempting to collect all of the LOA for himself. The LOA are the sort of spirits that give Mambo a large element of her magic capabilities.
I spent the last hour catching up on Brian Wood’s Aliens saga, reading from Aliens: Defiance Volume 2 through Aliens: Resistance and now the first issue of Aliens: Rescue.
After spending the last story arc hopping through time and multiple universes and being introduced to some pretty esoteric and abstract world building, we jump back to the present, following Father Wilfred and Dr. Xu as they meet for the first time.
Between this issue and the last, the world of Joe Golem has somersaulted and ended upside down for good. There’s no going back. These issues were like the bullet to the head of Joe. In a way, it’s heroic - the re-birth of something greater to fight evil - but, at the same time, it’s deeply sad and almost tragic. I think anyone who has been reading the series knew this was eventually going to happen, but, as it was finally happening, my emotions were greatly conflicted.
I have to admit that every time I see Cullen Bunn’s name on a series, I get excited. Here, he’s writing with Kyle Strahm who, up until this point, has been more of an artist working on series like Hack/Slash and Spread. Bunn is one of the best horror writers in comics right now, writing for almost every major publisher and going where the stories or collaborations take him. He’s such a freaking nerd about world building and lore that every one of his stories feels like they extend far beyond the reaches of the characters. He’s prolific and consistently wonderful.
Jeff Lemire has been spinning the meta storylines of Black Hammer for a couple of years now. They spin this way and that, presenting alternate histories (Black Hammer ’45), science fiction tales (Doctor Star and The Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows and The Quantum Age), horror (Cthu-Louise), and tales of villains (Sherlock Frankenstein). All of these stories revolve around the central story of a group of Golden Age superheroes who mysteriously transported to a barn where they are forced to hide their super-powered selves to fit in. Along came a new Black Hammer, Black Hammer’s daughter, and those heroes were taken on a spin around a sort of storytelling multi-verse. (That paragraph was for all of the DC readers that may have popped over for the Justice League element. For everyone else, if you don’t know who the Justice League is, then what are you doing?)
I first came across Jason Aaron’s name from his run on Thor, and, oh my, what a run it has been. He really knows how to spin a yarn, so when I saw his name on a science fiction series, a small portion of me shrieked for joy. Here, he’s writing with Dennis Hallum who has been working with Marvel for just shy of ten years. I don’t know his work as well, but so far so good.
We’re back in outer space. I’ve been watching every month (even every week) for a new issue of The Weatherman. It is one of the juiciest series being published. It might be because I’m an enormous fan of this kind of science fiction - the kind that’s completely gonzo and embraces it. The kind that Philip K. Dick wrote, or the kind Hunter S. Thompson might write if he wrote science fiction.