[identity profile] houbanaut.insanejournal.com posting in [community profile] scans_daily


This story won the Eisner award for "Best U.S. Edition of International Material" at this year's Comic-Con, so you should check it out!

Seven pages from a 46-page book under the cut.

Were I to pick two words to describe most of Jason's stories, "understated" and "melancholy" would come to mind. That also describes The Last Musketeer, but only in part. It's probably the straight-up funniest and most exciting book he has done in years.

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

These laser blasts (or as a scientist explains, "balls of laser energy") turn out to be the first wave of a martian invasion. Athos sees it as his duty to protect France against the invaders, but no one takes him seriously. Patrolling that night, however, he soon runs into them:

Page 7

From here on, Athos gets wrapped up in a good old-fashioned swashbuckling adventure on Mars, complete with killer robots, a martian princess and her secret lover, an old adversary, and this guy:

Page 17

In Jason's world, iconic pop-culture characters usually live lives of emptiness and quiet desperation, or just petty frustration. His series of one-pagers about Darth Vader dealing with everyday life is both funny and relatable (and predates the YouTube fad by a number of years).

Finally, another page that I just think captures a lot of what this book is about. Athos, the princess and her lover (a meekly rebellious lieutenant) have fled the Emperor's forces, but crash-landed in the desert:

Page 32

Being a hero doesn't make life any easier to deal with.

Given the almost complete lack of interest the last time I posted a bit of Jason's work, I wasn't going to bother scanning more of his stuff (they're hard to scan too, without cracking the spine too badly). But it looks like I'm not the only one who likes it after all...

So good work, Eisner voters, and
Congratulations, Jason!

Date: 2009-08-03 01:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lonewolf23k.insanejournal.com
Honestly? It's not as if mainstream comics like Countdown and Ultimatum give stuff like this much competition.

Still, looks amusing.

Date: 2009-08-03 06:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thehefner.insanejournal.com
Well, that's kind of the problem, isn't it? Just because it doesn't feature superheroes doesn't make it any better.

I don't dislike Jason's work, but rampant mediocrity is just as much a problem in indie comics as it is in the mainstream, much as the indie crowd doesn't seem to want to admit it.

Date: 2009-08-03 07:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arilou_skiff.insanejournal.com
Totally.

This though? is not mediocre. This is awesome.

Date: 2009-08-03 03:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thehefner.insanejournal.com
See below. I messed up my wording and did not intend to call this specifically mediocre, but was just trying to make a general point to the poster specifically.

Date: 2009-08-03 08:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] geoffsebesta.insanejournal.com
This seems more like a brilliant inversion of heroic paradigms to me than "mediocre."

We're sorta in a postmodern phase right now when it comes to fiction. We don't really believe in it the same way we used to. Quiet, understated, thoughtful stuff is all the rage.

Give it a while and it'll swing back to sturm and drang.

Date: 2009-08-03 03:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thehefner.insanejournal.com
My mistake. I wasn't referring to this specifically as mediocre, but just trying to make a general point to the poster above.

That said, I'm not quite feeling the brilliance of the above. I wouldn't ever call it mediocre but any stretch (and I'm at least digging it more than I KILLED ADOLF HITLER) but it's not for my tastes.

Well heck, that opens up a WHOLE messy discussion right there. I mean, shit, weren't we in a postmodern age twenty years ago at least? Thirty, even? I recall a noted screenwriting guru raging against the fact that there's no such thing as avant garde film, because the so-called arthouse films are just recycling the same tropes of avant garde films over the past fifty years rather than actually doing anything avant garde themselves!

The guy who said that is a grumpy old man prone to cynical overgeneralizations, but his words certainly strike me as having the ring of truth, especially in the indie comics world. I've often wondering just how much of comics in general are just mired in stagnancy, and no amount of going back and forth between understated and overstated will change that.

Date: 2009-08-04 03:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] geoffsebesta.insanejournal.com
I'm sure somebody with a degree will have better words for this than I do, but it seems to me that culture goes in alternating modern/postmodern cycles.

Obviously those are terrible terms for the phenomenon but it's quite effective. "Modern" eras create works that exult in the formulas, "postmodern" eras deconstruct and question them.

This is a heroic myth stripped to the bare minimum. The fighting (here, at least) is minimized and often offscreen. The hero is ridiculous and not particulary puissant. The "drama" is dry and bare, and the real focus is on the characters and their interactions, the way they deal with this artificial situation.

"Modern" eras seem to produce a few really good things and a lot of credulous, imitative crap. "Postmodern" eras seem to produce a lot of different, really good, slightly boring work. It's hard to get excited about postmodern stuff, especially if you're kid.

We're definitely in a postmodern cycle with comics right now, pretty much have been since Jimmy Corrigan ten years ago. It's about to swing the other way but first someone has to come up with a heroic fantasy that people can actually believe in.

I would say that Sandman was a product of a "modern" cycle, like Image was. I think Watchmen and JLI would be the result of "postmodern" cycles.


Everything is always mired in stagnancy. The most experimental work is sometimes the most traditional -- notice the extremely classic and understated art of Watchmen, reaching back to before Kirby.

Date: 2009-08-03 07:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arilou_skiff.insanejournal.com
It very much reminds me of Don Quijote. The gently patethic hero whose silliniess inspires us to compassion (even though that's probably not what Cervantes would have wanted :p)

Date: 2009-08-04 03:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] geoffsebesta.insanejournal.com
I'm gonna finish that book one of these days. It's so damn long!

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