Saturday, May 12, 2007


"Now That's What I Call Hard-Boiled"

First of all, apologies to those few of you who had come to expect weekly commentaries on "American Idol." Now that all the truly horrible people are gone, there's just not a lot to say. It's gotten a bit boring, actually, with Blake being the only person in the final four offering anything in the way of style variation - and he was probably the worst of them all last week. But in the end, so long, Lakisha. I could have Idolized you ... once.

Anyway, back to the point of today's entry. So I'm thumbing through the latest edition of "Love and Rockets" - the long-running, hilarious, disturbing, occasionally surreal comic created by Los. Bros. Hernandez - and I come upon ... well, just about the most bad-ass single-page comics illustration I've seen in ages:
I immediately scanned it and made it my computer wallpaper. Stacked black words next to stacked, black-clad woman = sensational. This one-page panel captures the spirit of hard-boiled fiction (of the Hammett / Chandler variety) better than almost any contemporary purveyors of so-called "neo-noir," who tend to force the issue and confuse overt profanity and sex and violence with hard-boiled style. Now "Love and Rockets" is quite different in spirit from classic hardboiled fiction, but I'm legitimately impressed with Xaime Hernandez's ability to evoke the essence of hard-boiled in so deceptively simple a picture. Great example, also, of how the division between words and pictures in analyses of comics is so often a false one. The way those words look is at least as important as what they say. Words and woman form parallel texts, telling parallel stories ... can you tell how much I love this picture? It's not often that something I read makes me stop dead in my tracks, and then compels me to try to write about it. Oh, and the pin-up on the back cover of this issue is not bad either:

fun, gorgeous, simple but elegant, retro but original. I really gotta read back issues of this comic...