Becky Cloonan

The Punisher 1 (July 2016)

The Punisher #1What a lousy comic. I mean, I didn’t even care about Steve Dillon’s artwork. His lines get thick during action sequences and lose all fluidity. Dillon’s precise line work always implies movement, entropy, never static. He looks like he’s doing pin-ups this issue. Punisher pin-ups. Is it 1993 or something?

I can’t figure out who Marvel is targeting with this Punisher variation. Let’s go through all the pieces of the pie. First, Steve Dillon’s back. He hasn’t been on the book for a while, right? And he was on the book during multiple good new (or post-Angelic) Punisher titles. So Dillon alone might be a sale. Except now you need a writer–Marvel should’ve just gotten Dillon a ghostwriter for the book, it couldn’t have been any worse and probably would’ve been better–but it’s 2016 and Marvel has a diversity problem. So get Becky Cloonan to write the book. Name female creator. It’s almost an event comic.

Only bad Punisher comics aren’t events, they’re the standard. Cloonan and Dillon turn in a lame issue. Cloonan writes Frank with less personality than a slasher movie villain, only Dillon draws him very superhero, very compensation Frank. Cloonan’s got these moron DEA agents who would have been lousy cop characters in the early eighties, much less now. Her dialogue’s thoughtfully written but it meanders in exposition land. Or she just has terrible editors.

Finally, this Punisher is the first series since regular people started caring about the Punisher, thanks to the “Daredevil” TV show. Shock of shocks, a “Punisher” show got announced just a few days before this issue came out. It’s buzzy. It’s Disney (and if Disney just means nostalgia-based brand synergy, so be it). Anyway, buzzy says it needs to be accessible as well as notable. Cloonan’s there for her buzz cred, not because she has some great Punisher story to tell.

Or maybe she does and it really is just another Lethal Weapon riff with war buddies selling dope and one of them having to stop it. But I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt.

Marvel apparently thinks they need it to have mass appeal, which is admirable but impossible. The Punisher is pulp, it’s exploitation. For it to succeed, it’s got to have an edge–it can’t be bland. And this book couldn’t be blander.


TITLE; writer, Becky Cloonan; artist, Steve Dillon; colorist, Frank Martin; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Kathleen Wisneski and Jake Thomas; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Demeter (June 2013)

Comics demeterI can’t tell if Becky Cloonan drew Demeter digitally, but there’s definite some digital post-production on it. There are these panels where she’s showing what’s going on inside a house and has adjusted the transparency. It looks awful. Something about a black and white comic with overdone digital effects just grates.

Otherwise, Demeter is an okay little thing. It’s got a female protagonist, which is cool; it takes place on some seashore where the people live off the ocean. The woman has a dude suffering from amnesia–this detail’s unclear at the beginning and it reads like he’s a dope not an amnesiac. I get the dramatic purpose of delaying that revelation but it makes the first few pages awkward.

The ending’s ominous. Cloonan does a good job not fixating on the questions she’s raising.

But it’s too long for Cloonan’s ambitions; there aren’t any rewards for the reader.


Writer and artist, Becky Cloonan; publisher, ComiXology.

Strange Tales 3 (January 2010)

And this indie rendition of Strange Tales goes whimpering into the night.

Even Bertozzi’s Watcher intros have run out of steam and Bagge’s Hulk hits its greatest potential then falters.

Sakai’s samurai Hulk story is filler and contrived to be Marvel related. Lewis’s Longshot story is lame and a little misogynistic. Oddly, Longshot looks like a girl.

Brown’s two page FF gag story is good. Stephens’s Beast vs. Morbius story’s lame, but somewhat inoffensively. Chua’s graffiti as narrative thing is unintelligible. Cannon’s Spider-Man origin retell is lame. Lee’s Punisher story suggests he needs a male role model.

Hornschemeier’s story is depressing, Cloonan’s goes for a quic joke and gets it….

Marvel should have required humor in all the stories; they’re not getting “real” stories out of these creators anyway so funny would be better.

They duped me into getting excited for this series with the first issue’s Pope cover.


Cool Hand Uatu; writer, artist and letterer, Nick Bertozzi; colorist, Chris Sinderson. Oni; writer, artist and letterer, Stan Sakai; colorist, Tom Luth. The Fortune Full X-Man – Longshot!; writer, artist and letterer, Corey Lewis; colorist, Dylan McCrae. Fantastic Fool’s Day; writer, artist and letterer, Jeffrey Brown; colorist, Bill Crabtree. La Querelle Des Monstres, featuring The Beast; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Jay Stephens. Cupcake; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Chris Chua. The Abominable Peter Pepper!; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Max Cannon. The Punisher; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Jonathan Lee. The Incorrigible Hulk; writer, artist and letterer, Peter Bagge; colorist, Joanne Bagge. Let’s Fight; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Michael Kupperman. Nightcrawler Meets Molecule Man; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Paul Hornschemeier. Editors, Jody LeHeup, Aubrey Sitterson, John Barber, Axel Alonso and Damien Lucchese; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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