Monday, February 26, 2007

Danger! Haney at work!

There are some comics that really need to come with a warning label. Labels like "Remove brain before reading" or "Attempting to understand this comic could seriously damage your sanity".

Some of Grant Morrison's more surreal works can give you a headache if you try to make sense of them, but Morrison at his most peculiar rarely comes close to the distilled nuttiness of Roberts Kannigher and Haney. I've just started reading the Showcase Brave and the Bold collection and I'm not even to the end of the first story and I'm looking for some asprin.

The first comic in the collection is a time travel story written as stream of consciousness. Cause and effect are not only reversed and sent sideways, but retconned three pages later to be a flock of hammers. Important story elements are added as required without any effort to integrate them earlier in the story. People use ill defined powers to do unnecessary and bizarre things. And it is absolutely stuffed to the gills with sense of wonder.

It's difficult to get yourself in the right frame of mind for this kind of comic. It doesn't have the clever, sophisticated stuff we look for in the medium nowadays. It doesn't have complex motivation or political subtext. It has no repurcussions beyond the final page of the story, and nobody's world is changed forever. But if you can read it without adult preconceptions of what makes a good story, or even makes sense, you could have a really fun time.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the book.


Anonymous said...

The idea that sending an enemy one day in the past somehow keeps you safe in the present had me wondering for days if there was some logic I was completely missing.

You're right, though, most of the stories are fun if you're not worrying about such things.

Bully said...

Discovering Haney is only a recent thing for me, and oh-by-gosh-golly, what a fabulous way-out world he created. You're right, a heckuva lotta fun.

The new Brave and the Bold series has a nice flavor of those stories without being too over the top: a good modern updating of what made Haney's stories a roller-coaster.

Cole Moore Odell said...

Bob addictive. I absolutely love the Haney/Aparo run on Brave and Bold in particular--Aparo's gritty art makes for such a weird combination with Haney's insane scripts. There are certainly scads of better comics out there, but there aren't any I have more affection for than Haney's.

Bully said...

Where'd ya go, Mari? You're missed.