Brendan McCarthy

Judge Dredd 29 (March 1986)

Judge Dredd #29It’s a fairly strong issue, with only one weak story–a retelling of Frankenstein, only in Mega-City One; the other three stories are good.

The first couple, with art from John Cooper, shows a kinder, gentler Dredd. The first deals with animal experimentation, the second with the plastic substance they use in the future dissolving. Writer Wagner goes for a final twist in the latter, which doesn’t do it much good (he’s thrown Dredd into a story not needing Dredd), but it’s still a good story. Cooper handles the humor of the situations and the action well.

The last story, with Brendan McCarthy art, opens with a New Year’s Eve thing, then reveals the actual story. It’s still kinder Dredd, but ruthless too.

As for the Frankenstein story–Brett Ewins does okay with the art, but it’s still weak. Wagner’s details are better than the plot.

Still, nice overall.

CREDITS

Writer, John Wagner; artists, John Cooper, Brett Ewins and Brendan McCarthy; colorist, John Burns; letterer, Tom Frame; editor, Nick Landau; publisher, Eagle Comics.

Judge Dredd 9 (July 1984)

Judge Dredd #9It’s something of a lackluster issue.

The opening resolves the Cursed Earth storyline, but it’s the final chapter and probably should’ve somehow been fit in with the rest of the Cursed Earth issues. Especially since it’s extremely anticlimactic, though Mills does attend the character relationships he’s developed.

Then Wagner takes over with Dredd on trial, followed by Dredd as a fugitive, followed by Dredd redeemed, followed by Dredd versus a conspiracy. The compiled nature of the series comes through way too much–every few pages it stops and starts, sometimes going in a wildly different direction.

And Wagner’s characterization of Dredd, who’s shouting off one-liners, seems too forced. Wagner’s characterizations of the rest of the cast is similar–he’s rushing. There are some occasional high points, like Dredd’s showdown with a robot duplicate, but otherwise it’s a problematic outing. The constant Dredd in danger cliffhangers get tiresome really fast.

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CREDITS

Writers, Pat Mills and John Wagner; pencillers, Brian Bolland, Brendan McCarthy and Mike McMahon; inkers, Bolland, Dave Gibbons, Brett Ewins and McMahon; colorist, John Burns; letterer, Tom Frame; editor, Nick Landau; publisher, Eagle Comics.

Rocketeer Adventures 4 (August 2011)

838320Even with some of the art, this issue’s a complete stinker. None of the writers actually exhibit any love (or respect) for the characters.

Hampton does a nice mix of bright pulp and his static painting; as a result, the first story is very pretty. But Dave Gibbons’s script gives Cliff a dumb adventure, makes him slightly unlikable and Betty a strumpet.

But those characterizations are nothing compared to Joe Pruett and Tony Harris’s second story. Pruett and Harris re-imagine Cliff as half-weasel, half-dweeb and Betty as the shallowest person in America. They’re repugnant characters.

The third story, from John Arcudi and Brendan McCarthy, is better than the second and probably the first. McCarthy’s art is sort of boring, given his usual style. It’s the Rocketeer versus the female Nazi Rocketeer. It could be a lot worse, but it’s nothing special.

This issue’s actually unpleasant to read.

CREDITS

A Day at the Beach; writer, Dave Gibbons; artist and colorist, Scott Hampton. Waterlogged; writer, Joe Pruett; artist, Tony Harris; colorist, JD Mettler. The Flight of the Aeronaut; writer, John Arcudi; artist, Brendan McCarthy; colorist, Jamie Grant. Letterer, Shawn Lee; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Spider-Man: Fever 3 (August 2010)

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What a nice finish. I’m not sure if Spider-Man and Dr. Strange have any real comics history between them–besides being New York heroes who traditionally weren’t members of the Avengers–but McCarthy makes it seem like they ought to.

Even with the discrepancies in the colloquialisms–one panel Spidey’s using seventies slang, then sixties in the next (or vice versa), it’s a very nice finish.

When I say nice, I don’t just mean well-executed. For all the sinister magic and the soul-devouring, the story’s upbeat and friendly.

The series finishes well for Spidey and Dr. Strange, but McCarthy also introduces a solid supporting cast (who help the two). The setting is hard to define–it’s sort of like the insect realm, but it’s also magical–so a spinoff might be difficult.

It’s so nice to see Marvel publishing an interesting comic.

Too bad it didn’t sell.

CREDITS

The Dead Web; writer and artist, Brendan McCarthy; colorists and letterers, Steve Cook and McCarthy; editors, Tom Brennan, Joe Quesada and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Spider-Man: Fever 2 (July 2010)

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Well, the first issue was certainly no fluke. Here, set entirely in some magic dimension, McCarthy lets loose with both the art and the storytelling… almost immediately finding the humanity in it all.

He sets Spider-Man on a quest to kill a fly. Kind of a human fly (its soul is human). The story itself might even be set in the Ditko period McCarthy is homaging, given the lack of further complications (girlfriends, marriage) in Peter’s life. But it’s stunningly modern in its storytelling; McCarthy could be an example of why psychedelic should never be used as a pejorative.

The way he wraps it all in at the end–the idea Spider-Man only exists because of these magical, evil spider demons… it’s really nest. Maybe because it’s just a story and not some attempt to retcon the character.

And the Dr. Strange stuff is great. Funny and good.

McCarthy does well.

CREDITS

Strange Spiders; writer and artist, Brendan McCarthy; colorists and letterers, Steve Cook and McCarthy; editors, Tom Brennan, Joe Quesada and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Spider-Man: Fever 1 (June 2010)

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Maybe I don’t give Marvel enough credit. I mean, really… Spider-Man: Fever is a wacky book. It’s a good comic–but there are some pacing issues and maybe McCarthy could use a co-writer, but it’s also a really wacky comic.

McCarthy’s art is a little mixed media, but it’s mostly sixties influenced figures over some very intricate psychedelic, hyper-real stuff (the realm of the spider-demons is psychedelic, Manhattan is hyper-real–the inverse might have been more interesting, but who’s complaining). It’s a joy to look at, definitely, but McCarthy gets some great stuff going in the writing.

There’s a funny little reference to The Fly, but then there’s also Spider-Man assuming someone’s a concerned citizen who’s not. Then McCarthy leaves the scene with the citizen becoming concerned… at the Vulture’s expense.

McCarthy intentionally goes overboard–look at Dr. Strange’s expository dialogue–but it works.

CREDITS

Insecticide; writer and artist, Brendan McCarthy; colorist, Steve Cook and McCarthy; letterer, Cook; editors, Tom Brennan, Joe Quesada and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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