Bacchus

Dark Horse Presents 71 (March 1993)

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The Bacchus makes up for any other possible deficiencies this issue. Campbell (and Bacchus) retell the story of the Minotaur and it’s simply wonderful. I’m not sure it’s historically accurate, though I don’t know. I’ve never read such an in-depth Minotaur story.

The other two stories aren’t bad, but they really don’t even come close to Bacchus.

The Dominique story is pretty dumb. I didn’t even realize it was Jim Balent and I don’t think I’ve ever read a story he’s drawn before. The art’s fine. It’s better than the writing. The Moores have an ex-CIA agent called back in to deal with a Japanese diplomat. It’s derivative and xenophobic. But whatever.

Jordorowsky and Moebius do better with the Madwoman this time–some great art from Moebius. The awkward humor is gone, but Jordorowsky is at least pacing the narrative a little more creatively. Still, it’s nothing special.

CREDITS

Dominique, The Hardest Part, Part One; story by Charles Moore and Lisa Moore; script by Charles Moore; art and lettering by Jim Balent. Bacchus, Bullshit; story, art and lettering by Eddie Campbell. The Madwoman of the Sacred Heart, Part Two; script by Alexandro Jordorowsky; art by Moebius; lettering by Dave Cooper. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 52 (July 1991)

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The Bacchus story is a really upsetting story of Simpson, Bacchus’s sidekick, and his journey through hell. I’m not up on my Dante, but it seems like it follows Inferno a little bit. It’s a good story, but it’s a real downer and very different from the other Bacchus entries so far.

The Heartbreakers story features some really dumb plot developments. But Bennett may have gotten the narrative to a good starting point. Finally.

Then there’s Sin City—two installments in and I’m really sick of it. Half the story looks like Miller’s drew Batman then replaced him with Marv (trench coat as cape) and the other half is filled with the crappy dialogue. Without Mickey Rourke saying it, it doesn’t work. It’s just too stupid. Rourke being able to sell this dialogue is the testament to his ability (though it’s over a dozen years before he would speak it).

CREDITS

Bacchus, Afterdeath; story and art by Eddie Campbell and Wes Kublick. Heartbreakers, That Uncertain Feeling; story by Anina Bennett and Paul Guinan; art by Guinan; lettering by Willie Schubert. Sin City, Episode Three; story and art by Frank Miller. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 46 (November 1990)

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You know, the Aliens stories in Dark Horse Presents, for whatever reason, never bugged me. However, this Predator standalone… it’s really out of place. Maybe it’s because Arcudi’s writing is so lame (he does have a good twist, but Walton’s art makes it hard to appreciate as everyone looks the same). It’s not so much bad, just really lame.

Harris’s Crash Ryan is just getting better. He does a bunch of action (and gets two story slots in this issue) and then has a fantastic reveal. He mixes the awkward politics–it’s pro-worker, but anti-Soviet and anti-Nazi. Awesome conclusion has American big business getting in bed (albeit unknowingly) with Hitler….

The Bacchus story is the origin story. Dark Horse really owes Campbell–Bacchus has added a legitimacy to Dark Horse Presents. The retelling’s great, mixing periods and tones. It’s an essential history lesson (of an inessential subject).

CREDITS

Predator; story by John Arcudi; pencils and lettering by Rob Walton; inks by Armando Gil. Crash Ryan; story and art by Ron Harris. Bacchus, Defining the Divine; story and art by Eddie Campbell and Wes Kublick. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 44 (September 1990)

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Harris’s Crash Ryan takes place in some kind of alternate 1930s, where America is under attack from some homegrown sky pirate organization called Doom. It’d competently done, but sort of too soon to tell how it’s going to work out. It’s not, you know, guys in tights, but it’s traditional mainstream fare.

Then it’s Geary’s nice little story about some guy’s family and their ailments. Geary has a nice way of doing little stories; this type of story is often attempted in Dark Horse Presents and they usually fail. Geary doesn’t.

The Bacchus entry is about an unknown Greek god. It’s the first time Campbell’s Bacchus art has really impressed me, maybe because this story’s set mostly during the day. It’s amazing how he sets out retelling of a myth and makes it dynamic reading experience.

Sheldon contributes a series of well-illustrated pages and text contrived to bond them.

CREDITS

Crash Ryan; story and art by Ron Harris. Lower Broadway; story, art and letters by Rick Geary. Bacchus, The Unknown God; story and art by Eddie Campbell. First Love; story and art by Monty Sheldon. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 40 (May 1990)

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You know, I think Matt Wagner’s Aerialist is homophobic. Every man is forced to be gay. Anyway, it’s not at all impressive, a Rollerball knockoff. When his characters aren’t in costume, Wagner’s art is rather weak. I guess the hot air balloons look good.

Bob the Alien is absolutely amazing as a) Bob moves to a black neighborhood in Brooklyn and b) discovers God. It might be the funniest installment so far. I can’t believe this comic isn’t more appreciated.

The Argosy is a really wordy retelling of Jason and the Argonauts. It’s fantasy, introduces about forty character names in eight pages. It’s a waste of time.

Randall continues his good art on this Trekker installment. Still bad writing–some really silly developments here.

The Wacky Squirrel story’s a waste of pages, but I guess Bradrick’s art is good.

Campbell’s Bacchus features the (presumably true) store of Dom Pérignon. Fantastic.

CREDITS

Trekker; story and art by Ron Randall; lettering by David Jackson. The Aerialist, Part One; story and art by Matt Wagner; lettering by Kevin Cunningham. Bob the Alien, Bob, the alien, Learns About God; story, art and lettering by Rich Rice. The Argosy; story and art by Bruce Zick; lettering by Karen Casey-Smith. Wacky Squirrel, Diet Riot; story by Mike Richardson and Jim Bradrick; art by Bradrick; lettering by Jack Pollock. Bacchus, Gods, Monks, & Corkscrews; story and art by Eddie Campbell. Edited by Randy Stradley and Diana Schutz.

Dark Horse Presents 37 (March 1990)

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Thank goodness there’s a Bacchus in here because otherwise it’d be a complete loss.

Guinan’s art continues to be acceptable on Heartbreakers, while he and Bennett’s writing just gets worse and worse. Some of the issue is with them trying to do too much in such a short amount of pages… But mostly they just can’t write it. They can’t make their characters matter, so they try to make their ideas matter. Except it’s a bunch of theoretical ideas, so… as usual… who cares?

Speaking of bad, Davis is now changing the hairstyles for the protagonists between panels on Celia & Delia. This installment has a lot of exposition and very little action or even implied action. It’s a complete bore.

The Bacchus story is dark and confusing, but absolutely wonderful. Campbell and Bissette confound with purpose. Reading it–they’re adapting a poem–can be time consuming, but very worth it.

CREDITS

Heartbreakers, The Crowd Roars; story by Anina Bennett and Paul Guinan; art by Guinan; lettering by Willie Schubert. Delia & Celia, Gratitude; story, art and lettering by Gary Davis. Bacchus, Tam O’Shanter; story and art by Eddie Campbell and Stephen R. Bissette. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 32 (August 1989)

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Ugh, another “annual.” Sixty-four pages of Dark Horse Presents tends to be a little much.

The American is a little long here–it’s very passive and not at all dramatic. On the other hand, Peterson shows he used to be a lot more interesting of an artist.

The Wacky Squirrel strip from publisher Richardson is dumb.

Davis’s Delia & Celia is a complete bore, big shock. He manages to make a pterodactyl boring.

The longer than usual Bob the Alien just shows with more space Rice does an even better story. It’s funny and touching

The Concrete story is better than usual–Concrete’s jealous over girls–and Chadwick puts in three unanswered questions. Two are crime related, one personal. It works.

Bacchus is great. Campbell gets more into his eight pages than anyone ever has in one of these issues.

As usual, Zone is passable, Race of Scorpions is lame.

CREDITS

The American, My Dinner with the American; story by Mark Verheiden; pencils by Brandon Peterson; inks by Randy Emberlin; lettering by David Jackson. Wacky Squirrel; story by Mike Richardson; art by Jim Bradrick; lettering by David Jackson. Delia & Celia, Down, Down and Down; story, art and lettering by Gary Davis. Bob the Alien, Bob, the alien, Steppin’ Out; story, art and lettering by Rich Rice. Concrete, Visible Breath; story and art by Paul Chadwick; lettering by Bill Spicer. Bacchus, A God and His Dog; story, art and lettering by Eddie Campbell. Zone; story, art and lettering by Michael Kraiger. Race of Scorpions, The Rusty Soldier; story and art by Leopoldo Durañona; lettering by Laura Davis. Edited by Randy Stradley.

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