Biddi-biddi-boo, Or: The Eltingville Prescience

EcThe Eltingville Club; Dark Horse Comics; 2016 (originally published 1994-2015); $19.99; 144 pgs.

Either Evan Dorkin’s got the Eltingville TV rights back or whoever has them is a complete numbskull because the book’s so relevant you could subtitle it “An Incel Fable” and it’d be totally appropriate, narratively speaking.

But it’d be somewhat intellectually dishonest, as Dorkin started The Eltingville Club long before the incels had a self-identity or community. Dorkin’s actually way too optimistic… or maybe anti-pessimistic in his predications for fandom.

This edition collects every Eltingville story, published over twenty-one years from 1994 to 2015. The last two stories are the two-issue closer Dorkin did, which I had read when they were published; I hadn’t read any of the shorter strips. I did watch the TV pilot, which is “included” in the trade in the pilot was an adaptation of one of the stories.

I actually won this book in a giveaway promotion Dorkin ran. It’s one of the few things I’ve won online. Awesome prize.

I had planned on reading through the collection (does anyone else want to call hardcover collections trades but then can’t because they aren’t?), but an Eltingville-read friend told me it might be better with some breaks. And, wow, is he right. Eltingville is exhausting.

Although Dorkin published the book over twenty-one years, besides the final “flash forward,” no one ages. The Club is frighteningly eternal, its four members not growing any older or any wiser over their adventures. Their adventures always involve some major pop culture—or, at least at the time, comic book culture details, which do change to reflect current events. So it’s a comic strip where the characters don’t age but react to current events.

I didn’t realize how long the two final issues ran and I expected to read the book in three sittings; first two sittings the shorter stories, last sitting the two-parter. But it turns out there actually isn’t a lot of shorter stuff, it’s sixty percent of the material sure, but it’s nine strips adding up to sixty percent.

It’s fine—it makes the first issue of the two-parter even more impressive to see how artfully Dorkin is able to scale to a longer narrative—but it did leave me focused on the finale more than the first twenty years of material.

Most of the stories involve the Club getting into either a fight or significant trouble (or illness) because leader Bill is a complete dick. Bill is the comics guy. Josh is the sci-fi guy. Pete is the horror guy. Jerry is the RPG guy. Bill’s the leader and finds himself constantly arguing with Josh, because—as it turns out as the series progresses—they’re alter egos. Sort of. Enough. Pete and Jerry are mostly just there, though Pete gets enough material over the stories it’s too bad when he becomes such a significant creep in the flash forward.

Dorkin doesn’t have any sympathy for the Club and doesn’t ask for any from the reader. They’re assholes. To each other, to their parents, to everyone. It’s incredible. And incredibly funny. Dorkin gets some crying laughing laughs into these stories. Sometimes you don’t even need to get the pop culture reference.

Reading the original, mid-nineties stories, Dorkin’s prescient about where fandom and the Internet is going. Eltingville never feels dated, even when they’re talking about Batman Forever. Dorkin was really good about anticipating burgeoning fandoms too. The older stories are also relevant as a documenting of the evolving fandom awfulness.

Dorkin’s epilogue is somewhat hopeful (realistically hopeful?) for things, though it’s from 2015 and 2015 was a time where measured hopefulness was still a thing.

Would Eltingville be as good if the world weren’t such a shit show? Yes, but there’d be different adjectives to use about Dorkin. The comic is just the right combination of hilarious and terrifying. Excellent art from Dorkin—it’s really cool to see how he’s developed, cartooning-wise, with the last two issues. Eltingville is a must.

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This does not seem like very good Damned news

The Damned #11

The Damned #11 is almost a year late. The previous issue, #10, came out in June 2018. The series got off to a great start (collected in the trade, Ill-Gotten) and it seemed like the series, which had a great concept (film noir demons) and good first series back in 2006, followed by an okay sequel series in 2008. Writer Cullen Bunn and artist Brian Hurtt (who I first noticed thanks to the never-going-to-be-appreciated Hard Time series) took a break to do Sixth Gun, which I still need to finish reading (well, read over again to where I stopped and finish); Gun ran something like fifty issues and had a TV pilot, which didn’t get picked up, meaning less exposure for the creators, which sucks.

Anyway.

Now there’s news of a new comic from Hurtt and Bunn, which seems like it would be awesome news… but it’s Bunn and Hurtt writing together and Tyler Crook (who drew Harrow County with Bunn writing). It’s from Dark Horse, not Oni (who publishes Damned).

While it’s always nice to see good creators getting work–I need to read Harrow County too–it doesn’t seem to be boding well for Damned, which is a creator-owned series… I sort of assume they don’t get the money upfront from Oni, whereas Dark Horse seems big enough to pay first? No?

Hopefully there will be some more Damned comics if only so I can keep making Damned puns but also because it seemed like Bunn and Hurtt were ready to take the series to at least twenty or thirty issues this time.

Robocop LOL (List of Links)

This list contains links to all the Robocop posts I’ve written over the years, as well as a podcast.

Just to get it out of the way early… the only Robocop movie I’d recommended is the original and the only Robocop comic I’d recommend is Robocop: Last Stand. Everything else is pretty bad.

Movies

Original series, Orion Pictures, 1987-93

Remake, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 2014

Spoof, Channel 101, 2014

  • Our RoboCop Remake (2014); posted 26 October 2014
  • Comic books

    Marvel Comics, 1987-92

    Robocop, March 1990 – January 1992

    posted January – March 2010

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23

    Dark Horse Comics, 1992-94

    Robocop vs. the Terminator, September – December 1992

    posted February 2010

    1, 2, 3, 4

    Robocop: Prime Suspect, October 1992 – January 1993

    posted February 2010

    1, 2, 3, 4

    Robocop 3, July – November 1993

    posted January 2010

    1, 2, 3

    Robocop: Mortal Coils, September – December 1993

    posted February – March 2010

    1, 2, 3, 4

    Robocop: Roulette, December 1993 – March 1994

    posted March 2010

    1, 2, 3, 4

    Avatar Press, 2003-06

    Frank Miller’s Robocop, July 2003 – January 2006

    posted January 2010

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

    Robocop: Killing Machine, August 2004

    1

    Robocop: Wild Child, January 2005

    1

    Dynamite Entertainment, 2010-12

    Robocop, January – August 2006

    posted September 2010

    1

    Boom! Studios, 2013-18

    Robocop: Last Stand, August 2013 – February 2014

    posted August 2013 – February 2014

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

    posted March 2019

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

    Robocop, 2014 remake tie-in one-shots, February 2014

    posted February 2014

    Hominem Ex Machina , To Live and Die in Detroit, Memento Mori, Beta

    Robocop, July 2014 – June 2015

    posted July 2014 – February 2015

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

The covers alone

I could say a lot about DC doing a Black Hammer crossover, but I won’t bother. Instead, just look at the cool covers for it.

The five-issue miniseries is written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Michael Walsh.

 

In Threes and Fours: Christmas Alien

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Alien 3: The Unproduced Screenplay;Dark Horse Comics; issues 1-4 (of 5); 2018-19; $3.99, 32 pgs ea.

I’m really impressed with Johnnie Christmas’s Alien 3 from Dark Horse. No doubt they'll lose their Fox licenses to Marvel, who should just have Disney buy Dark Horse at this point, since it would simplify reprints and give Marvel a better back catalogue.

Because someday Disney and AT&T having a big back catalogue of mainstream but indie genre comics will be important.

Anyway, Christmas is doing an adaptation of the William Gibson A3 script, which has probably been floating around the Internet since Usenet. I know I've downloaded it a couple times and never read it, separated by large swathes of time, getting it the second time because I was nostalgic for being a teenager who thought he'd someday have time to read unproduced screenplays, like it would be important.

Crying emoji.

But it's not a bad story. Elements have come through in the subsequent sequels, though Christmas also appears to be doing some knowing homage, which is cool. Christmas never gets lost in the homage, just the occasional nod. It's well-executed.

Unfortunately I read the first four issues without realizing it was a five issue series. I would have just waited. But depending on how it wraps up, I'm considering doing a focus on it. I watched about half of that “Alien: Isolation” digital series and so maybe I'm just more aware of how easy it is to do this kind of thing poorly—this kind of thing meaning to insert breaks into a narrative to serialize it—Christmas’s adaptation is more impressive.

I imagine it'll all hinge on how it wraps up, but so far it's all very character-focused. Christmas isn't doing an Aliens comic so he can do a lot of Alien drawings. He always works with the characters, making it far more like Aliens than one would assume. Depending on that last issue, who knows… maybe I'll finally read that Gibson script. Though I would need to download it again.

If this adaptation ends up being one of Dark Horse’s best Aliens comics… well, the best Robocop comic is the BOOM! Robocop 3 so….

CROSSPOSTED FROM COMICS FONDLE