Saturday, October 16, 2021

Brendan McGinley:

QUISQUE COMOEDUM EST

Follow Brendan McGinley off the beaten path with a few title selections that might not be what you usually pick up, but are definitely worth checking out.

Styx Taxi

A few souls, upon dying, get picked up by spiritual drivers for a stay of sentencing. They have a couple of hours to go wherever they want to settle their affairs before moving on.

This isn’t always the great deal it seems to be, as one fare scares his wife who already heard of his death, and we learn that one of the drivers was originally a fare who abused his time to commit a damning act.

Styx Taxi is a neat concept that should probably be picked up someday by network TV. The FWD publication falls into that same, nameless genre of supernatural powers ferrying humanity through its troubles as Touched by an Angel, Early Edition and Quantum Leap, though it’s not nearly so airy, since the fares are already dead when they snag a ride.

Some sequences aren’t very clear, such as when one of the characters, Charon, crashes his ride, killing or injuring his hapless vessel. (Apparently the drivers, themselves dead, must possess a living taxi driver to conduct business.)

There’s a lot of potential here, with an endless parade of dead folks to sort varying business, so it’s interesting and personally challenging of writer Steven Goldman to pit three drivers against each other in a “soul drive” competition than track a single soul’s journey.

David Chelsea in Love

How can anyone dislike David Chelsea?

Besides bringing an understanding of perspective and proportion almost unparalleled in comics, he’s a spot–on caricaturist with facial expressions and body language most folks study two lifetimes to achieve. It’s impossible to inspect Chelsea’s art without comparing him to Winsor McCay… but the old master never snapped his static camera in and out of the scene to lay shots with Chelsea’s economy and effect, nor did he employ textures and techniques that switch up the book’s style into something with a Richard Corben feel, though less exaggerated (and subsequently, not at all as grotesque).

The book itself is about an on–again, off–again romance between its author and… well, just about everybody (ah, to be young and Bohemian in the ‘80s) but by way of focus, a flighty blonde named Minnie.

There are some heart–stabbing moments as the characters mistreat each other, but it’s also pretty dang funny. Your one quibble will be trying to ignore the repetitious use of names in each panel, as though the characters keep re–entering the same room every moment.

 

Brendan McGinley is a long-time writer for ComicBase. His comic favorites include anything featuring Grim Jack, Punisher, Guy Gardner, Green Lantern, or written buy Evan Dorkin, Grant Morrison, Alan Moore, Deadpool… and the list goes on. But he insists he is of discriminating tastes.

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