Marvel’s update of its 1950s – ‘60s sci-fi series Strange Tales, relaunched under Marvel’s oft-macabre Max label, enters its second season with an impressive new lineup of indie imports. Strange Tales II #1 includes returning successes Dash Shaw and Jhonen Vasquez, as well as art commix standbys Jillian Tamaki, Frank Santoro, and Kevin Huizenga, among others. These names, big and small, MIGHT be sufficient to draw art nerds out of the lit comics lounges and into the weird world of Wednesday warriors. The question remains: what will convince the diehard fanboys to pick up a pamphlet full of avant-garde Avengers interpretations?
Answer: the same thing that convinces them to do most everything – Wolverine. This season’s opener “Dear Logan” reminds us that Wolverine is the best there is at what he does, and speculates that what he does is pretty gross. Within the confines of Logan’s own gym, containing a bare-knuckle boxing ring where superheroes and villains with healing factors can fight to the un-death, the proprietor reads a “Dear John” letter the likes of which even alienate an Al Goldstein. One might wonder why it is that, in the realm of high fantasy, a 5’3” hirsute centenarian hooks up more than any idealized Adonis in the Marvel universe. Or perhaps one does not. In any case, Mesmo Delivery Service’s Rafael Grampa produces some theories as to what goes on between Patch’s heavily populated sheets that creates such an incredibly high turnover rate. Um, at least the author of the “Dear Logan” letter isn’t Jubilee, right…?
The faint of heart and weak of stomach need not worry, however; Jhonen Vasquez, of Johnny the Homicidal Maniac fame, provides a chaser of much-needed levity by the issues-end. A wiener-addicted Wolverine disappoints a pair of starstruck second graders when he reveals (between mouthfuls of street meat) that his healing factor doesn’t work on heartbreak – oh yeah, and also he needs a couch to stay on for a little bit. Hijinx ensue.
The verdict, unsurprisingly, is that Strange Tales continues to be a terrific read for all stripes of geek and nerd on either side of the fine art fence. Another timelessly appealing subject – hot ladies, rendered by an art comics living legend – is promised to be on deck for the next issue, so stay tuned…
Tagged: Jaime Hernandez · Jhonen Vasquez · Marvel Max · Rafael Grampa · Strange Tales
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