Paleolove

Dark Horse Presents 90 (October 1994)

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Mignola looks good in black and white. There are some very effective panels in Hellboy. The writing helps. He knows when to write and when to just let the art do its work. Up until the end of this issue, it’s almost like Hellboy is a passive force in the story. He’s an unknown quantity. Then he starts kicking butt at the end. Oh, and horrifying werewolf transformation sequence. It’s short, but amazing.

As for Paleolove, the only thing Davis is worse at writing than narration is apparently scenes between two men. It’s hard to believe these cavemen could even follow what the other is saying since Davis seems to think dialogue is better the more confusing it gets. I wonder what Paleolove would be like if Davis could write or draw well.

Finally, there’s another Baden. Lots of technobabble. McCallum’s art is still fine, Alexander’s writing is still bad.

CREDITS

Hellboy, The Wolves of Saint August, Part Three; story and art by Mike Mignola; lettering by Pat Brosseau; edited by Barbara Kesel. Paleolove, Part Three; story, art and lettering by Gary Davis. Baden, Part Two; story by Jim Alexander; art by Rob McCallum; lettering by Clem Robins. Edited by Bob Schreck and Edward Martin III.

Dark Horse Presents 89 (September 1994)

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This issue features something I never wanted to see… a Paleolove pin-up from Davis. You can tear it out and put bad art up on your wall.

His artwork is really weak for the first half, maybe his worst ever. It gets a little better for the second half of the boring installment. The writing is absolutely awful (Davis goes on and on about the “manly arts” here—basically hunting). He brings in another old character, but at least gives this one something to do.

The Hellboy story is good. It’s amazing how Mignola can make them spooky but generally mainstream. Hellboy’s barely in this installment, most of it has to do with the mystery, but his sidekick gets more page time it seems.

Alexander and McCallum’s Baden is some stupid sci-fi story about a riot cyborg or something. McCallum’s art isn’t bad but Alexander’s script is atrocious.

CREDITS

Hellboy, The Wolves of Saint August, Part Two; story and art by Mike Mignola; lettering by Pat Brosseau; edited by Barbara Kesel. Paleolove, Part Two; story, art and lettering by Gary Davis. Baden, Part One; story by Jim Alexander; art by Rob McCallum; lettering by Clem Robins. Edited by Bob Schreck and Edward Martin III.

Dark Horse Presents 88 (August 1994)

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Is this issue the first appearance of Hellboy? I think it might be my first full Hellboy (not B.P.R.D.) story. It’s good, but Mignola does something weird with the conclusion. He sets the whole thing up, then has Hellboy come in and reveal it all before the first installment’s done. Makes all the setup a little unnecessary.

Then Lang and Lieber have another of their charming Nanny Katie stories. In this one, she’s revealed to be—at least I assume—an immortal storytelling nanny. It’s a gentle story about an old man waiting for his sons to arrive at his deathbed. Nice art from Lieber—there’s a lot of work on some of these panels, lots of mood.

So after two strong stories, how does it end? Paleolove.

Davis is inexplicably tying together some of his Paleolove storylines here. It’s pointless and trying—even weaker art than usual here too.

CREDITS

Hellboy, The Wolves of Saint August, Part One; story and art by Mike Mignola; lettering by Pat Brosseau; edited by Barbara Kesel. Nanny Katie, Sir John’s Passing; story by Jeffrey Lang; art by Steve Lieber. Paleolove, Part One; story, art and lettering by Gary Davis. Edited by Bob Schreck and Edward Martin III.

Dark Horse Presents 79 (November 1993)

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Ever have a friend who could draw really well? Moeller’s art on Shadow Empires is like a friend who can draw well. He takes time with it, he works at it… but it’s still totally not ready for the big leagues. It’s somehow even rougher than some of the worse art Presents has published. The writing’s pretty lame too (it’s like Dune again).

Campbell and company turn in another fine episode of Hermes here. While the Eyeball Kid is in hiding, Campbell concentrates on the supporting cast. It’s awesome how little the fight has to do with what Campbell does with the story installments. This issue a trio decides to become supervillains in a rather hilarious conversation (I only hope Campbell shows them in the costumes they discuss).

Davis’s writing hits a new low on Paleolove. Every time I think I’m through reading him, Presents publishes yet another dumb story.

CREDITS

Shadow Empires, The Passage, Part One; story and art by Chris Moeller; lettering by Vickie Williams. Hermes versus the Eyeball Kid, Part Four; story by Eddie Campbell and Wes Kublick; art by Campbell, Peter Mullins and April Post; lettering by Campbell. Paleolove, Part Three; story, art and lettering by Gary Davis. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 78 (October 1993)

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Yolen and Vess have an absolutely fantastic fairy tale story here. It’s not technically a fairy tale (it’s layered, a nursemaid tells the story to a child, who it directly concerns) but it’s just wonderful. Vess’s art here is superior–he’s able to convey action, antiquity and fear. There’s one moment where it confuses, then it all becomes quite clear. Yolen comes up with a great narrative though. Her writing is the real boon.

Paleolove continues. Davis is on the second of a third part story and there’s no reason for a third part if this one is any indication. Not because it’s bad (it’s not good, but like most Davis, not exactly awful), but because the narrative is already stretched then as this entry closes.

Campbell reveals another character’s backstory in Hermes this installment. It’s so good. The details are indescribable due to imagination and complexity. It’s outstanding work.

CREDITS

King Henry; story by Jane Yolen; art and lettering by Charles Vess. Paleolove, Part Two; story, art and lettering by Gary Davis. Hermes versus the Eyeball Kid, Part Three; story by Eddie Campbell and Wes Kublick; art by Campbell, Peter Mullins and April Post; lettering by Campbell. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 77 (August 1993)

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Oh, I finally get it. Paleolove means love in the Paleolithic era. To pay Davis a complement (my first?), he’s never tried so deliberately to tug on the heartstrings until now so I never really gave the title a thought. What amazes me is the artwork. He hasn’t gotten any better with figures since his first Paleolove story, sixty or so issues ago in Presents. At least he’s not getting worse.

Campbell and company don’t explain everything this installment of Hermes and Eyeball. I fact, I don’t think they explain anything other than the Eyeball Kid and the false oracle are in cahoots together. Again, it’s excellent work, very self-aware and very charming–which isn’t easy given the Eyeball Kid. He’s kind of gross looking.

Lang and Lieber’s Nanny Katie story is a lovely little story about an English nanny who can commune with nature. Delicate writing, great art.

CREDITS

Paleolove, Part One; story, art and lettering by Gary Davis. Hermes versus the Eyeball Kid, Part Two; story by Eddie Campbell and Wes Kublick; art by Campbell, Peter Mullins and April Post; lettering by Campbell. Nanny Katie, An Edwardian Nursery; story by Jeffrey Lang; art by Steve Lieber. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 70 (February 1993)

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I didn’t know it was possible for me to care about Paleolove and I’m not entirely sure I really do. But I am mad at Davis for the way he ends this story. It seems like the last Paleolove (yay!) but he kills off a side character in the exposition and it’s a really weak move. He’s doing it for effect, to make the story seem poignant… while it would have been poignant if he’d just left it alone.

The story from Jordorowsky and Moebius is all right, nothing more. It’s an academic comedy, with a popular philosophy professor being cuckolded in front of his students. It’s not particularly funny–until the last page, all Jordorowsky’s jokes are fairly common–but I guess it’s painless.

Campbell contributes a number of Alec one pager strips. A couple are successful, the rest are not. It’s the first time I’ve seen Campbell stumble.

CREDITS

The Madwoman of the Sacred Heart, Part One; script by Alexandro Jordorowsky; art by Moebius; lettering by Dave Cooper. Alec, This is Your Lunch, William Tell, The Great Booby Outrage, Remorse and Position Vacant; pencils, inks and lettering by Eddie Campbell. Paleolove, Part Three; story, art and lettering by Gary Davis. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 69 (February 1993)

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The Predator story keeps getting worse (it turns out it’s just a prologue to some limited series, I love it when Dark Horse uses Presents to advertise their licensed properties). Given Raskin’s worsening artwork and Stradley’s bad writing–he uses a government report as the narrative exposition, he’s used similar devices in the past successfully… here he fails. It’s an awful story; very happy it’s the last installment.

Duffy and Sakamoto have another Nestrobber installment. It’s mean-spirited and lacking in charm. I think it’s supposed to be funny, but I’m completely perplexed with Duffy’s intent. It’s supposed to be manga, but I can’t figure out why anyone would want to read it.

Davis and Paleolove annoy a little. There’s some really pointless writing here. Art’s weak too.

Campbell’s got an amusing slash horrifying anecdote installment of Alec. Only a page, but enough to clear the palate after the rest.

CREDITS

Predator, Race War, Part Three; story by Andrew Vachss; adapted by Randy Stradley; pencils by Jordan Raskin; inks by Bob Wiacek; lettering by Clem Robins. Nestrobber, Survival Skills; story by Jo Duffy; art and lettering by Maya Sakamoto. Paleolove, Part Two; story, art and lettering by Gary Davis. Alec, An Old Australian Yarn; pencils, inks and lettering by Eddie Campbell. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 68 (December 1992)

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The Predator story continues and its problems become real clear. Stradley’s trying to take a “real” approach to certain elements–gang members, serial killers–and it just comes off as silly with the Predator running around. Raskin’s art suggests he’s unprepared for such a big assignment (and Wiacek seems to have been brought in to correct things via the inks). Then there’s the inexplicable cliffhanger. So far, very unimpressive.

Campbell’s got two Alec strips. One is really cute, the other is just a nice example of a one page narrative.

Davis is back with Paleolove. The story is longwinded and the art is still primarily concentrated on the scenery. Davis objectifies his female protagonists in the last panel, which sums up all of Davis’s work.

Duffy and Sakamoto have a story with a bunch of kids and their guardian angel, a hit man. It’s well intentioned, but not any good.

CREDITS

Predator, Race War, Part Two; story by Andrew Vachss; adapted by Randy Stradley; pencils by Jordan Raskin; inks by Bob Wiacek; lettering by Clem Robins. Alec, The Remarkable History of the Nullarbor Nymph and Ah Kids, Don’t Ya Just Love ‘Em; pencils, inks and lettering by Eddie Campbell. Paleolove, Part One; story, art and lettering by Gary Davis. Nestrobber, Swimming Lessons; story by Jo Duffy; art and lettering by Maya Sakamoto. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 16 (March 1988)

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Wow, what an issue.

Chadwick uses Concrete to bookend a short story. Or he uses double bookends to frame a story. It’s kind of pointless, so it fits with the other Concrete stories… At least the story’s mostly about people, so Chadwick’s art is strong. Strong enough. It really feels like something he had in the drawer and threw Concrete in to get it printed.

Captain Crusader limps to the finish. There are some art issues, but Martin’s idiotic writing is the problem. I think he wanted people to talk about how the story ends. I can’t imagine anyone talking about anything but his bad writing.

Then there’s Paleolove, which I’d been looking forward to reading for some reason. Silly me. Davis’s art is very precious and very problematic. His figures lack any consistent realistic proportions and his faces are weak. Not to mention Davis’s writing being way too descriptive.

CREDITS

Concrete’s Sky of Heads, With a Whimper; story and art by Paul Chadwick; lettering by Bill Spicer. Captain Crusader; story by Gary Martin; art by Martin, Ernie Colon, Howard Simpson and Paul Gulacy. Paleolove, When the Old World Was New; story, art and lettering by Gary Davis. Edited by Randy Stradley.

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