I'm down to my last few hours in Vancouver, and I haven't stopped smiling since I got here. Well, except when I got that parking ticket on Saturday; that wiped the grin off my face for a bit. As I've said many times before, when the revolution comes the meter maids are going to be the first ones up against the wall.
One of the reasons I've been so relaxed on this trip is that the day before I left Ontario I finished drawing the story that me and Des
are doing for the Vicious Circle Project
. Two and a half months to pencil and ink six pages officially makes me a slow ass bastard. To be fair (to myself), I almost finished in late August, when I thought the deadline was the beginning of September. When I found out that the pages needed to be in by the end of October, I started drawing and redrawing. Even now, I could have gone on reworking stuff for a few more weeks. But I remembered the words Mike Huddleston said to me at a convention: "Indiana... let it go." Well, really he said something along the lines of: you do the best you can with the time you have; don't blow your deadlines trying to draw the perfect page, just improve on the next issue. I like my first version better, though.
A quick review before I go. I read Brian Azzarello and Joe Kubert's Sgt. Rock story, Between Hell and a Hard Place
, on the flight here. Before we go on, though, let's examine the last part of that sentence: "on the flight here." I looked out the window on the airplane and was struck, as I always am, by what a ridiculously amazing thing human flight is. I do plenty of things in my daily life that are completely unnatural, like travelling down highways at 120kph and resisting polio, but I've gotten fairly used to that stuff. I don't imagine that I'll ever get by my awe and underlying terror over flying. Cutting through clouds, seeing entire mountain ranges from above, and travelling so fast that in five hours I cover the distance I drove in five days, and that would take five months for me to walk. What an incredible time to live in where such technology exists, and what luck to be born into a place where I can use it so casually.
Back to the comic. Azzarello writes a story that could easily have appeared in a Sgt. Rock comic of old. I was surprised given Azzarello's penchant for hard edged, gritty violence elsewhere. Some of the dialogue is clearly his, marked by the familiar Azzarello cadences and wordplays, but overall he writes a story that respects the Sgt. Rock canon instead of jarring it. However, Kubert's art is the real draw in this book. His style is a little more loose than I'm used to, but it looks good. The colouring is appropriately muted, and looks almost like watercolours, and while I like it, I almost wish the story could have been in black and white to more fully appreciate Kubert's linework.
While the book shines artwise, the plot leaves something to be desired. The story raises an interesting question- whether killing a defenseless enemy in war is murder- but never really does anything with it. The setup had great potential for exploring the justifications behind war, and how they relate to wider ideas of murder, but in the end Azzarello cops out. This story is a good read, but could have been much more.