Thursday, December 04, 2008

Vertigo Comics has had its hits over the years, like Sandman, Preacher, or Transmetropolitan; and also some successes imported from the DC Universe proper, like Swamp Thing, Animal Man, or the Doom Patrol. But for every import that thrives, or even does respectably (like, say, Unknown Soldier or the Losers) Vertigo's had a ton of DC transplants that are forgettable at best. Tomahawk, Prez, Black Orchid, Congo Bill, Deadman...a lot of characters and titles that didn't break it any bigger in Vertigo than in DC.
Good advice for a Thursday, I'd say.
Which brings us to another revival: Angel and the Ape. Written by the American Century team of Howard Chaykin and David Tischman...look, I don't care if Chaykin's done a ton of other books, I liked that one...and art by Philip Bond of the perennial classic Kill Your Boyfriend; this revival had a strong pedigree. Actually, it was Angel and the Ape's second revival, Phil Foglio had previously done a 1991 miniseries. The thing is, I didn't read that one...or the original series. And I've read a lot of comics, but apparently they're hard to come by, and I can only recall one comic with the duo.

I can see why it would be tempting to try and bring it back, though, since it seems to have that high concept hook: she's a hot young blond! He's a gorilla that wants to draw comics! Together, they fight crime! In some versions, Angel's a ditz--at best--and Sam Simeon, the titular Ape, can talk; in the Vertigo series, Angel's a party girl, no rocket scientist, but not dumb; Sam can't talk but no one seems to have a problem with him being a gorilla.

This was a four-issue limited, which probably would've led to more if it had taken off; which I guess it did not. Maybe it's just I've liked other Chaykin books better (I liked the all-but-forgotten Power and Glory, for pete's sake...) but it seems like they were trying to walk a fine line between smutty and funny and didn't quite nail either, but both have their moments. Bond's art is great though, so good I'm not quite sure how it didn't carry the whole project through. Maybe it wasn't promoted enough, maybe it was promoted as a nostalgia book when it totally wasn't, and don't you have to remember something to be nostalgic for it? And the four issues were one mystery; second-guessing, maybe two shorter stories or single-issues might've been the way to go. Yeah, like I know.

Currently, Vertigo's got new versions of the Haunted Tank and another shot at Unknown Soldier (Garth Ennis did a limited with him, that I really need to finish a writeup for here...) so they haven't run out of DC characters looking for a new limelight. Probably won't for a while, either. It might not be tops of anyone else's list, but I'd love to see a revival/relaunch of The Barren Earth myself.

Cheer up: if they ever do a Vertigo Sugar and Spike, maybe then you'll get that Showcase collection. Some readers might remember a few years back Kevin Smith took an almost Vertigo-style look at Stanley and His Monster in Green Arrow, of all places...I think I'd prefer Sam's version. Or Philip Bond's.


Sea_of_Green said...

I'm still holding out for a new Inferior Five title. :-)

SallyP said...

Hey, I liked Power & Glory!

googum said...

See? I thought Bravura was the friggin' bomb, back in the day, back in the hood. Star Slammers, Dreadstar, Strikeback!

And a Vertigo Inferior Five...brrrr.