Shannon Wheeler

Dark Horse Presents 111 (July 1996)

194821.jpgI was expecting The Ninth Gland to be creepier this issue, but I guess French has to save something for the finish. While it’s disturbing, it’s just disturbing imagery. The story itself is rather tame—though I imagine the payoff next issue will be something awful.

Speaking of awful… Egg, Lovece and Schenck after-school special about a father beating his son and the son bringing home a giant monster. This issue is from the father’s perspective and Lovece writes him even worse than he wrote the son. It’s interesting how, in both installments, the whole world is actually out to get the father and son.

Pope’s penultimate One Trick Rip-Off is gorgeous—lots of great panels this time, fantastic movement between them. It’s an action story; a great looking action story.

Too Much Coffee Man is incredibly bland this issue. Wheeler’s observations are straight out of “Dear Abby.”

CREDITS

The Ninth Gland, Part Six; story and art by Renée French. Egg, Part Two; story by Frank Lovece; art by Christopher Schenck; lettering by Sean Konot. The One Trick Rip-Off, Part Eleven; story and art by Paul Pope; lettering by Michael Neno. Too Much Coffee Man; story and art by Shannon Wheeler. Edited by Bob Schreck and Jamie S. Rich.

Dark Horse Presents 110 (June 1996)

35926.jpgThe issue opens with Egg, which is a well-intentioned look at child abuse. The narrator’s father is beating him and the school officials aren’t doing anything to help, even though some are well-intentioned. Lovece’s writing is better in dialogue. Dealing with the narrator’s Stockholm Syndrome, he fails. Also, introducing a giant creature into the situation seems a little cheap. Schenck’s art is fine.

Pope’s One Trick is an action installment. He seems to be ramping up for the conclusion. The art’s great but it’s gone on too long, especially if Pope’s going to load up the ending with action versus story.

The Ninth Gland is getting even freakier—one of the girls is now hallucinating some very disturbing things. Let’s not forget these two girls are hanging around in a hospital basement with the janitor either….

Then Wheeler’s got a page of Coffee Man, who I didn’t miss.

CREDITS

Egg, Part One; story by Frank Lovece; art by Christopher Schenck; lettering by Sean Konot. The One Trick Rip-Off, Part Ten; story and art by Paul Pope; lettering by Michael Neno. The Ninth Gland, Part Five; story and art by Renée French. Too Much Coffee Man; story and art by Shannon Wheeler. Edited by Bob Schreck and Jamie S. Rich.

Dark Horse Presents 95 (March 1995)

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LaBan finishes Eno and Plum better than he started but not as good as the second installment. I think this one is the first I laughed out loud reading, but the story’s predictable and LaBan still doesn’t do anything to turn Plum into a character. Worse, he gives her these moronic thoughts. I’d say it’s him giving her character, but they’re so bland, it’s clear he’s just trying to fill blank space.

Campbell’s Picture of Doreen Grey continues–this time concentrating on a big battle scene and Joe Theseus and Ginny (an Amazon goddess, I think, much better character than Wonder Woman too) trying to be spontaneously romantic when he can read the future and they’re both immortal. Campbell again concentrates on the humor to good success.

I’m really hoping this issue is the last Too Much Coffee Man. Wheeler apparently thinks regurgitating “Seinfeld” as a comic makes him creative.

CREDITS

The Eyeball Kid, The Picture of Doreen Gray, Part Two; story, art and lettering by Eddie Campbell. Too Much Coffee Man, Too Much Coffee Man Meets His Coffee Maker, Part Four; story and art by Shannon Wheeler. Eno and Plum, Part Three; story and art by Terry LaBan. Edited by Bob Schreck and Scott Allie.

Dark Horse Presents 94 (February 1995)

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Okay, so the issue opens with Eddie Campbell doing an action story. It’s not all action, but there’s a bunch of action. It’s crazy—there’s a big fight scene. Campbell keeps all the humor and a lot of the thoughtfulness (he tones down the thoughtfulness a little) and adds a regular fight scene. It’s crazy and great.

Too Much Coffee Man also has a fight scene this issue, between the hero and an invader from Mars. Someone must have told Wheeler he’s funny and that someone was wrong. The installment even opens with Wheeler talking about his story being boring and pointless. Some nice art at least (except the fight scene, which is awful).

Surprisingly, as LaBan turns it into a workplace comedy, Eno and Plum gets good. It’s still a little broad—Plum, the girl, isn’t much of a character, though Eno gets actually depth here. An unexpected surprise.

CREDITS

The Eyeball Kid, The Picture of Doreen Gray, Part One; story, art and lettering by Eddie Campbell. Too Much Coffee Man, Too Much Coffee Man Meets His Coffee Maker, Part Three; story and art by Shannon Wheeler. Eno and Plum, Part Two; story and art by Terry LaBan. Edited by Bob Schreck and Scott Allie.

Dark Horse Presents 93 (January 1995)

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This issue’s content implies the Presents editors didn’t care about the script, as long as the art was good. It’s a real improvement, actually, since there are some issues whether neither are any good.

I’ll start with Blackheart to get it out of the way. Morrison uses demonic possession as his deus ex machina here. Real creative. However, he does go and say FDR’s government during the New Deal supported racist paramilitary organizations. I don’t think Morrison’s doing it for effect, I think he’s just an idiot. Great Quitely art though.

LaBan’s Eno and Plum has some excellent, carefully done cartooning. Too bad the script is inane slacker with rich girl stuff. I do like the bad guy has a butt for a chin. But the script’s awful.

As for Wheeler’s Too Much Coffee Man… he tries to inject narrative. It fails. Again, some nice design, but a terrible script.

CREDITS

Eno and Plum, Part One; story and art by Terry LaBan. Blackheart, Part Three; story by Robbie Morrison; art by Frank Quitely; lettering by Clem Robbins. Too Much Coffee Man, Too Much Coffee Man Meets His Coffee Maker, Part Two; story and art by Shannon Wheeler. Edited by Bob Schreck and Edward Martin III.

Dark Horse Presents 92 (December 1994)

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The issue opens with Wheeler’s Too Much Coffee Man, which is a cute enough story about a disaffected guy with a coffee pot for his head. Wheeler uses the character to generally rail against modern capitalist society. Wheeler’s got a good sense of design and some of the observations are funny (none are profound). It’s fine enough… but it gets old before this first installment is even done.

Blackheart continues… revealing the villains to be costumed Tea Party members. Oh, wait, it’s a little early since Blackheart‘s set in the thirties. Maybe they’re just the well-to-do wing of the Klan. So, you know, proto-Tea Party. Quitely’s art is fantastic and Morrison’s scripting is okay. He sort of jogs around the race thing, which seems silly, since it’s right there.

Geary’s got a very long piece this issue. Some very detailed artwork and nothing resembling a good narrative.

CREDITS

Too Much Coffee Man, Too Much Coffee Man Meets His Coffee Maker, Part One; story and art by Shannon Wheeler. Blackheart, Part Two; story by Robbie Morrison; art by Frank Quitely; lettering by Clem Robbins. Night-Drive; story, art and lettering by Rick Geary. Edited by Bob Schreck and Edward Martin III.

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