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Anyone read 'Casanova' yet?

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  • Anyone read 'Casanova' yet?

    The Press Packet-
    It's a new comic in the 'Fell' format (pioneered by Warren Ellis), written by Matt Fraction and drawn with horrifying clarity & glamour by Gabriel Bل (an intimidatingly talented Brazilian artist). General info is here.

    My HO-
    I grabbed the book out of existential there's-nothing-worth-reading comic store angst and wandered off to sulk in the park. Glossing through, I was surprised to find nods to Michael Moorcock and Jerry Cornelius on the inside back page. The story itself is, to be archaic, a gas. One reference after another, dense as all hell (esp. for being only 16 pps.), and genuinely entertaining. Fraction manages a solid yet continually shifting narrative, and Gabriel overclocks the self-aware action-film plot with a hundred points of interest per panel.

    It's not a review unless you compare apples with other apples, so imagine this: Imagine David Fincher post-Fight Club recognizing his own innate brilliance and refusing to slouch back into mediocrity. Imagine David Fincher determined to put Ian Fleming in his shadow, churning out postmodern spy thrillers. Imagine David Fincher being so ashamed of his hideous past as a mainstream genre hack that he changed his name to Matt Fraction and started doing comics. At ONE ISSUE, this book is worth reading & re-reading until the binding rots.

    I'm not sure how long it'll be around, given the pro-tights nature of American comics readership, but I will follow it with fervor for as long as the industry allows.

  • #2
    I'd seen this in Previews, and the cover alone was enough to alert me to some possible Cornelius 'allusions':



    Meet Casanova Quinn: scoundrel, thief and international man of leisure. The death of his twin sister ignites a cosmic blackmail scheme that forces Cass into the mind-bending life of a super-secret agent. Realities smash together, setting father against son, Us vs. Them and launching this slipstream sci-fi espionage epic!
    I was toying with possibly picking it up, but I'm wary of supporting anything that's (yet again) 'riffing' off Mike's novels without due acknowledgement.
    _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
    _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
    _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
    _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

    Comment


    • #3
      Well, so crude, I'm sort of hoping I didn't influence it. This kind of stuff has been coming out for years and probably owes more to James Bond than to anything else. Fills me with ennui. Sends my nose to sleep.

      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
      The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
      Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
      The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
      Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

      Comment


      • #4
        Ah well. I'm a sucker for pulpy nonsense, sometimes.

        Comment


        • #6
          Something I forgot to mention in the above:

          I picked up 'The Complete Alan Moore Future Shocks' at the same time as 'Casanova', and one of the things I dug most about Fraction's little romp is its storytelling similarity to old-school 2000AD: the density and lack of high seriousness. I'll be the first to admit 2000AD was crude, but it wasn't dumb-- at least, not at the time of its inception. In the right hands, it was vulgar, but only in the sense that it used commoner's language in lieu of lowest common denominator. (A good example of L.C.D. would be 'Heavy Metal' from 1980 to present.)

          This is the primary reason I don't think 'Casanova' is going to succeed. It's got too much in common with a comics vernacular largely forgotten in the U.S.-- that of the pastiche.

          Of course, I could be crediting Fraction with more than he deserves. He did put out a 'League of Extraordinary Gentleman' also-ran called 'Five Fists of Science', for god's sake...

          Comment


          • #7
            Originally posted by David Mosley
            I was toying with possibly picking it up, but I'm wary of supporting anything that's (yet again) 'riffing' off Mike's novels without due acknowledgement.
            Fraction's either polite or canny enough to recognize he'd get in serious trouble for not tipping the hat. From the inside back cover:

            "....I think comics are perfect little epiphanies of trash culture, of pop decadence and confection. And I think if you're doing a superspy book of ambiguous timeframe and deliberate homage, then you're inviting conversation about these things. All the bits of Casanova's DNA, from Diabolik and Jerry Cornelius, to David Bailey and Paco Rabanne, Bob Peak and Jim Steranko-- all of them play a part in this..."

            Comment


            • #8
              And this "Casanova" is really similar to a famous italian comic called "Diabolik". The same black suit...
              Hieronymus

              - Dalmatius -

              "I'm forbidden to reign, but I'll never yield before the facts: I am the Cat"

              Comment


              • #9
                There's that fine little grace-note of self-praise I always admire where David Bailey is mentioned, intended to shoe-horn it into mainstream culture... Like saying your main influence is Joseph Conrad (almost all of them do...) when really it's Miami Vice... As it were.

                Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                Comment


                • #10
                  I think calling Five Fist of Science a "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen also-ran" rather misses it's point. LOEG featured famous literary characters teaming up to fight evil. FFOS was a highly fictionalized account of a true story. Nikola Tesla and Mark Twain actually were friends and actually did develop a plan to try and end war as they knew it. If someone was unaware of the story I can see them thinking Fraction was riffing on Moore, but the reality is, he was retelling a true story with liberal amounts of hyperbole.

                  Casanova was excellent. Great fun.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Re: "The Five Fists of Science"...

                    I admit to an unfair, dismissive characterization.

                    Having picked it up earlier today, I'm willing to retroactively classify it as a surprisingly funny shaggy-dog story, minus the dog. Historical accuracy is irrelevant as far as I'm concerned-- it's a caper movie, a fun one, starring Samuel Clemens as a delightfully cranky cuss & con man. It should be a sham-- it was obviously conceived as a joke between friends --but I find it very readable, in spite of the art, which looks covered in computer gyzm. (Not unprofessional or bad, by any means, I'd simply rather see the plain pencils, minus the glossy obfuscation the CG coloring provides.)

                    In addition, I admire the fortitude of the creators' testicles. Having a one-armed sidekick JUST so a book can be called 'The Five Fists of Science'? Pure class, Messrs. Fraction & Sanders. I will never judge you out-of-hand again.
                    Last edited by echolocator; 06-23-2006, 01:56 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      If you liked 'Five Fists of Science' you might also enjoy Necronauts by Gordon Rennie and Frazer Irving, which was originally serialised in 2000AD. This graphic novel gathers Harry Houdini, H.P. Lovecraft, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Fort as paranormal investigators in 1926.



                      When famous escapologist Harry Houdini slips into a near-death state while practising his act, something horrible from the boundaries of consciousness follows him back. Now Houdini must join forces with the era's most famous aficionados of the uncanny — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Fort and H.P. Lovecraft — and attempt to defeat an evil force which wants to enslave the human race. However, this intrepid group must not only face the enemy's terrifying agents on Earth, but also a traitor in their midst. Not to mention the dire, eldritch horrors which lurk just beyond the veil of sanity…
                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Necronauts
                      Amazon UK

                      Nikola Telsa also makes an appearence in Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy's 1987 comic The Light and Darkness War, alongside Leonardo Da Vinci, although the main character was fictional Vietnam vet', Lazarus Jones.

                      http://www.camkennedy.com/lad.html
                      Last edited by David Mosley; 06-23-2006, 03:47 PM.
                      _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                      _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                      _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                      _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        At a reduced scale, that cover looks like an astonishing mashup of the styles of Michael William Kaluta and Berni Wrightson. Mostly Kaluta in composition and anatomy, but very much Wrightson in the dramatic lighting department.

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          I'm actually going to look into this book since hearing it was fashioned a bit after Jerry C. I'm just looking for a new comic book, and this sounds interesting to me. And just heard Icon is picking it up. Seems it does have a following.

                          das

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Just got a copy of Stickleback from the Library, which has a nod to LOEG, but I feel it is more in vein with having a main villain as the star e.g. Doctor Doom (yes, I remember, Super Villain Team Up or the second Tales to Astonish with Kazar, as well as Doom 2099). Hints of the Blue Dwarf, which I have seen in reproduction of covers.

                            I also remember, Gideon Stargrave from Near Myths, which was more fan fiction than originality. Currently, reading Bram Stoker's The Jewel of Seven Stars, which has a timeless quality apart from the servants at the begins.

                            I didn't enjoy the Neronauts as much as I thought, but that was some time ago now that I read it.
                            Papa was a Rolling Stone......

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