Tag: The End

Comics for Grownups Episode 29: Best of 2013

by on Jan.01, 2014, under Comics

Comics for Grownups Episode 29

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Comics for Grownups Episode 29 with Joshua Malbin and Alex Rothman is now out on iTunes. Direct RSS link for Android users here.

In this last episode of 2013 we count down our favorite comics of the year. On a methodological note, we limited ourselves to book-length works that felt like complete statements.

We also discussed the Sequential Artists Workshop’s end-of-year fundraiser. There are still 28 days left—consider pitching in to help fund this awesome school!

Josh’s Top Five:

5. Ambedkar: The Fight for Justice by Srividya NatarajanS. AnandDurgabai Vyam, and Subhash Vyam

4. Sammy the Mouse Vol. 2 by Zak Sally

3. My Dirty Dumb Eyes by Lisa Hanawalt 

2. Red Handed: The Fine Art of Strange Crimes by Matt Kindt

1. The End by Anders Nilsen

Alex’s Top Five:

5. In Pieces by Marion Fayolle

4. New School by Dash Shaw

3. Out of Hollow Water by Anna Bongiovanni

2. Pompeii by Frank Santoro

1. B+F by Gregory Benton

We said we’d post links to a bunch of our favorite minis and floppies here, but man, that’s hard to sort through. Hopefully we’ll do that soon.

Thanks for listening, everyone. 2013 was a great year in comics—see you early in 2014!

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Comics for Grownups Episode 17

by on Jun.14, 2013, under Comics

Comics for Grownups Episode 17 with Alex Rothman is now available on iTunes. Direct RSS link for Android users here. Andrea Tsurumi joins us once again, and we discuss a ton of books:

The End by Anders Nilsen

Grand Gestures by Simon Moreton

Pictorial Anatomy of the Cute and The Inspiration of Marin Marais by Kriota Willberg

Occupy Comics by Various

Henry & Glenn Forever and Ever by Various

Pink Lemonade and Find My Light by Jen Tong

Genus #1, 2, and 3 by Anuj Shrestha

Pulpo by Alexandra Beguez

Robot Vs. Ghost by Drew Alderfer (Email author through site to inquire about sales)

Clive Barker’s Next Testament by Cliver Barker, Mark Miller, and Haemi Jang

The Hollows THC by Chris Ryall and Sam Kieth

Dee’s Dream: The Cosmic Wombat House by Dre Grigoropol

Feeeeeeeeeeeelings by Jess Worby

The Hic & Hoc Illustrated Journal of Humor by Various

Misty Circus by Victoria Francés

…As well as the recent Grand Comics Festival and the serious issue of trypophobia.

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Jack of Fables vol. 9: The End

by on Jul.14, 2011, under Comics

Once upon a time there was a successful and critically-beloved comic book called Fables that spun off one of its central characters into his own title, Jack of Fables. It took a while for it to find its footing, but when it did it was fun and smart in a way distinct from its parent title. (Sort of the way the best seasons of Angel stood on their own as something distinct from Buffy.)

See, the original Fables had laid claim to all the fictional and mythical characters there have ever been, so for Jack of Fables author Bill Willingham had to find a new angle. Jack of Fables became the story of old, discarded myths, ones from American folklore that no one remembered or cared about anymore. It was the story of those forgotten fables and their conflict with a newly invented race of supernatural beings called the Literals: embodiments of literary concepts like the Pathetic Fallacy, Deus Ex Machina, and various genres.

All this was great fun through issue 35, when in a major crossover with the original Fables Willingham wrapped up the Jack of Fables tale beautifully, bringing everything to a satisfying climax. Jack of Fables finished its funny, engaging side journey there.

Except it didn’t. Jack of Fables kept plugging along for another fifteen issues, coming to an actual end only with the run collected in this final trade paperback The End.

Willingham can be forgiven for trying to extend the title past its epic climax, I suppose. He’d already done it once, successfully, with the mothership Fables itself. That book had its major showdown with its primary villain in issue #75, and Willingham invented a new villain and kept plugging, currently at issue #107 and counting.

But it became clear pretty quickly that Jack of Fables was going nowhere. Willingham even sidelined the namesake Jack completely for issues at a time and tried to tell stories about his heroic son Jack Frost. I don’t think his heart was in it.

So in The End he brings the whole title crashing down, and the way he does it, that I have a harder time forgiving. He engineers a final battle among all these characters he’s invited us to like over the years, and every single one of them dies.

“Those sick bastards went for the Shakespearean ending,” comments narrator-Jack.

But the Shakespearean ending (of Hamlet, say) is set in motion by characters’ inner drives, and when it’s over it feels as inevitable as a geometry proof. The ending of Jack of Fables happens because of really unconvincing meddling by outside forces, and, according to Willingham himself, was deliberately sprung on readers as a surprise they shouldn’t have seen coming.

A messenger robot comes to entreat Jack Frost to fight original-flavor-Jack, who’s been a dragon for several issues. Who sent the messenger? We never learn. A bird spirit visits trickster Raven to draw him into the conflict, along with all the other Jack of Fables fable menagerie.

“Great bird spirit!” Raven cries on the point of death. “Why? Why did you lead us into this death trap?”

“No particular reason,” says the bird spirit. “I thought it’d be funny.”

If it were funny I wouldn’t have so much of a problem with it. Funny covers a lot of flaws. Except it isn’t funny.

Willingham says Jack of Fables wasn’t canceled because of poor sales numbers. He says this is the ending he wanted. But writing “and then everybody died” just seems lazy, and unfair to fans you’ve asked to invest their interest and care inthis world and characters.

This was a series that gave us a deus ex machina as the resolution to its big conflict back in issue #35, and sold the hell out of it. I not only accepted it, I loved it. Jack of Fables, and Willingham, were capable of much better than this.

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