Sunday, December 15, 2013


It was one of my more productive weeks outside of Comics Matter. I published two reviews on read/RANT: Kings Watch #3 and Mighty Avengers #4. The former was another excellent installment in a reliable series, and the latter was the dullest issue of its title yet, but still had some comedic merit and a few spots of nice characterization. Also, my new "1987 And All That" piece went up on The Chemical Box, the first of two planned posts about Uncanny X-Men from that year. This initial column is all about Storm, without her powers, having some interesting solo adventures. Finally, I wrote about Six Gun-Gorilla for PopMatters, focusing on its message the importance of people looking for and valuing good stories.

Something I Failed to Mention
Because I didn't really need to address it to make my point, and it's sort of a complicated place to explain, I never went into the details of the setting of Six-Gun Gorilla, referred to in the story as "The Blister." Right in the first issue we learn some of the more sci-fi-oriented facts about it, like that combustion and electricity don't work there for some unknown reason. This means no traditional bombs or explosives but, instead, clockwork and pneumatic weapons. That alone feels like enough to make the environment of the narrative interesting and distinct, but it's really just the tip of the iceberg. Every day at high noon, the sun gets so intense that it literally disintegrates any living thing exposed to its rays. There are strange, semi-intelligent plant creatures called tumblesquids living underground all across The Blister, and they sometimes pop up like sand-krakens to attack people and pull them under. All of these things are revealed pretty early on, but none of them are properly explained, because the human characters in the comic don't fully understand The Blister. They use it as a resource and a war ground, but haven't entirely grasped what it is or why it behaves the way it does. However, toward the end of the series, main character Blue finally cracks the code with a little help from his gorilla partner, though even then the answers are fairly vague. The Blister is some kind of blend of the real and the imagined, a place where people's thoughts or fantasies can be given physical form and interact with reality. Whenever new people arrive to continue the war effort, The Blister reacts, which is how things like tumblesquid attacks happen. Even the gorilla, a major player in this story and the book's title character, is just a creation of Blue's, at least to some extent. He's a character Blue read about in an old pulp comic and then inadvertently brought to life when he needed help and guidance. So The Blister was a really imaginative and cool location, and it added to the general sense of mystery that pervaded this series, as well as being an important part of the conclusion. Si Spurrier and Jeff Stokely both put a ton of creative energy into this comic, as the complexity of the setting evidences.

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