Sean Maher's Quality Control

Friday, March 10, 2006

Hysteria: One Man Gang #1

I was really, really nervous about Hysteria: One Man Gang #1. It's a project long in the making for creator Mike Hawthorne, whose work I've been pimping out left and right since he caught my eye in Queen & Country. I love the guy's style, and it's been clear to me in Mike's e-mails that this is that project that comes right out of the artist's guts, a baby to be loved unconditionally and fought for at every turn.

So, that all sounds pretty fucking rad, eh? Then I saw a cover image with what looked like a guy with parody Wolverine claws that were dinner forks instead of blades, and for some stupid reason, I kinda freaked.

Good thing I got over that, though, because this is awesome. It's basically an extended fight scene, very slight on dialogue, characterization, or explanation, but large on fun and inventiveness. The whole thing bleeds excitement, and a love for the comics form that's completely charming and engaging.

The style is kinetic and visceral, and Molly asked me last night why I'm always on about that in comics art. Well, what I like about it is the ability to immerse myself in the world of the story - I like being able to easily follow a sequence of action, using Scott McCloud's much exhorted "gutters" to join the artist in creating the story.

Remember when Frank Miller started drawing Daredevil fights such that you could actually see the choreography? This is a logical progression from that. Look at the page above (click for a larger image) - you can feel each twist and punch, all the momentum, the balance of each figure on the page.

Then there's stuff that's just plain funny, like this shit right here:

I wasn't totally sure about this one going in, but I had a blast reading this and the next three issues are on my pull list. If you're at all into Warren Ellis' "fight comics" concept, or Jackie Chan movies, you really should pick this up.

P.S. - Oh, and the Wolverine-parody-thing? I'm an idiot. It's a parody of the ninja weapon from which Wolverine's look was ripped off, long ago. Nothing to do with Wolverine at all.

P.P.S. - Sounds like Hawthorne's got a short story coming up in The Goon as well, which should be a nice kick in the ass for everyone.


Ah, from the announcement of the new Skyscrapers of the Midwest to the first eight page preview - this book is clearly close to James' heart.

Go and look, if you haven't sampled Josh Cotter's style yet. What's there seems to be eight random pages from the book, rather than an extended sequence, but that may actually give you a better idea of what the books read like...


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