Thursday, August 16, 2012

Animal Man Meets His Maker

"Animal Man Meets His Maker" from Animal Man vol.1 #25 (DC, 1990) by Grant Morrison, Chas Truog and Mark Farmer

I still follow Grant Morrison's work, but I doubt he'll charm me as much as he did in the late 80s and early 90s with Animal Man and Doom Patrol, favorites both. Animal Man was especially good, acting both as intellectual meta-text about the comics form AND a tender-hearted family drama. Morrison portrayed Buddy Baker's powers the best, finding strange animals for him to take abilities from without resorting to strange transformations (which the current series has fallen prey to). Mind-blowing AND touching, that's not an easy effect to achieve. And of course, after the Coyote Gospel, and breaking the fourth wall, and Crisis II, and Character Limbo, it all culminated into a historic meeting between Buddy and Grant, a stylish descendant of those 60s and 70s stories that would feature writers and editors in the DCU or Earth-Prime or whatever. Just brilliant.

The short Milligan run that followed had lots of quirky Morrison-esque characters, but took place somewhere outside canon. Tom Veitch and Steve Dillon played with totemic aspects of his powers and returned him to his job as a stuntman. Not too memorable I'm afraid. Then Jamie Delano and Steve Pugh came on and turned it into a Vertigo series, turning Buddy into a chimera and then a kind of Messiah. Jeff Lemire's new series (splashed tomorrow) seems to respect Morrison's run, but void everything that followed. Of course, the Maxine subplot seems pretty close to things Delano was doing, so history may repeat itself.

1 comment:

  1. I've been avoiding the new Animal Man because of the emphasis on Buddy's family and my memories of the Morrison run, which was great but still traumatizing. I just don't want to see Ellen, Cliff, and Maxine suffer anymore for my entertainment....
    The Milligan issues were fantastic. Bring back The Front Page!