Monday, May 25, 2015

31 Days of Comics: Day 24 – A Comic That Makes You Laugh

ROB'S NOTE: May has become the go-to month of the Comic’s Industry (even though National Superhero Day is late April, but whatever… Congress… pshaw).  It is when Marvel drops their big movie of the year.  May also sees the annual Free Comic Book Day celebration take place on the first Saturday of the Month, so I hope you all got to check that out.  May also has 31 days of the month so what better way to celebrate the wonderful world of sequential art with the 31 Days of Comics?

Seth Hahne, who runs the blog GoodOkBad, has put together the 31 Days of Comics challenge.  A daily challenge in which you are given a category and you have to fill it with a comic that you think fits it the best.  You’re all on the internet, I shouldn’t have to explain it to you.  For the rest of the month I will be taking this challenge.  It is my hope it encourages others to make and share their own lists either in the comments here or on their own websites.  The sharing not only might turn comic fans on to works they have yet to sample but maybe catch the eye of a few non-comic fans and highlight the diversity of the form. 

Our prompt for Day 24 is “A Comic That Makes You Laugh.”

Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E.

Written by Warren Ellis
Pencils by Stuart Immonen
Inks by Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors by Dave McCraig and Paul Mounts

This was easy.  When a comic book, released by Marvel during the publication of their Civil War event, has a cover that looks like a Civil War tie-in has a character holding a sign that says “Mark Millar lick goats” you are going to win.

Nextwave is by far the funniest comic I have ever read.  That hard part wasn’t selecting this one.  That hard part was trying to figure out what examples to put.  If I could basically reprint all twelve issues here I would.  It’s that good and that laugh out loud hilarious.

As a primer Nextwave was a 12 issue series written by Warren Ellis and drawn beautifully by Stuart Immonen (right before he took over on Ultimate Spider-Man with Brian Bendis).  The team consisted of mostly cast off characters from various parts of the Marvel Universe.  There was Monica Rambeau (formally Captain Marvel and Photon from the Avengers) as the leader of the group, Tabitha Smith (aka Boom-Boom from New Mutants and X-Force), Aaron Stack (aka Machine Man aka X-51), Elsa Bloodstone (daughter of the great monster hunter Ulysses Bloodstone), and the Captain (an Ellis creation).  They were working for a group called H.A.T.E. (The Highest Anti-Terrorist Effort) until they found out it was being funded by the Beyond Corporation (which is a terrorist group) so they steal a jet and take off to try and stop them.  Sounds serious right?

It’s not.  And we found that out right away because the H.A.T.E. agent send to capture them is named Dirk Anger.

The tone of the book is best described by Warren Ellis when he said, “I took The Authority and I stripped out all the plots, logic, character and sanity… It’s an absolute distillation of the superhero genre. No plot lines, characters, emotions, nothing whatsoever. It’s people posing in the street for no good reason. It is people getting kicked, and then exploding. It is a pure comic book, and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. And afterwards, they will explode.”  And then he does a page like this.


I’m going to try to give a few examples of the humor that don’t require much set up.  Suffice to say that this is not just the tip of the iceberg.  This is the small drop of water running down the tip of the iceberg because global warming is causing the iceberg to melt and you should hurry up and go read this comic because we are all going to die soon because of global warming.

You like parodies of ridiculous moments in comic book history?  Elsa got something for that

You wonder what a macho super solider who has frozen in the 1940s would think of women fighting in combat?

You want to combine the mystical lackeys known as the Mindless Ones with West Side Story?

You want the big bad to be revealed to be an obscure Marvel character that is a talking red dinosaur that wearing a smoking jacket?


You want the best origin story in the history of comics?


You want a little dark humor?


You wonder what type of slurs prejudiced robots have for humans?

As I said this is just a small sample of panels, out of context that should make you laugh.  The whole series is just as hilarious and ramps up to the last two issues where Nextwave has to fight their way through Beyond’s headquarters and all of their “Unusual Weapons of Mass Destruction.”  This is capped off by 6 double page spreads in issue #11 where Ellis and Immonen take every insane idea they have ever had and throw it up against the team.

And of course it includes M.O.D.O.K. Elvises that are shooting burgers at Nextwave.  Because…. Comics.

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