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Any Ennis fans in here? My top five comic series' include his works Preacher and The Boys. Just wondering if there's anybody else out there...
I'm a cautious Ennis fan. I like him for some works, I hate others he's done, and man times, his work drips with a seriously smug condescension.
Well, I absolutely loved "Welcome Back, Frank". It's pretty much the quintessential Punisher story.
He can get... pretty weird at times. Crossed is probably the most viable example, as it is exponentially darker than his other works. And most of the gruesome content is done solely because he can.
I mean, I do like Crossed, just not that much as far as the story is concerned.
edited 3rd Apr '14 9:44:56 AM by Fizban
Well, it can be prevalent in other works. Now, I love Punisher MAX, but there are unsavory elements at times. For instance in the arc Up Is Down, Black Is White, when Rawlins and Cavella, both established villains are having their Villain Team-Up...what happens, but Rawlins starts giving him a blowjob. Ennis usually has a mild scent of homophobia throughout his works and this was pretty tasteless-not to mention pointless. Never mind his Hellblazer followup in Son Of Man where Ennis uses John and a lesbian character to whine about the 'evul feminists and lesbians', and then has John screw her to show how awesome he is. And the only gay gangster is killed by being raped by a demon called a 'Fuckpig' until he explodes.
The Boys has gems of good writing, but it's so mean spirited, sexist, homophobic and trashy it undermines anything Ennis is trying to do. Punisher MAX is one of his most mature works, and consequently one of his best. Hitman is likewise pretty excellent most times, but in the opposite scale- and his The Demon is quite underrated.
I thought The Boys was a pretty good story, but needed to be about 30% shorter. Seemed like there was rather a lot of padding, though I adored "Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker".
I happened to read a bunch of his 2000 AD work a while back, and it's amazing how restrained he was back in the 90s compared to today. Perhaps it's because he was just starting off and didn't want to push too hard, or maybe he just went nuts after moving to Marvel, but it's definitely noticeable.
The best story of this era is "Emerald Isle", where Judge Dredd goes to Ireland to track down terrorists. The entire story is basically one long send-up of every stereotype the British have about the Irish, and it's hilarious.
I recently finished The Boys, and I'm slowly working my way through his Punisher MAX series (scheduling issues in my life and such).
I LOVED "Welcome Back, Frank". The polar bear scene still cracks me up when I read it.
I've read a couple of his Battlefields stories. "The Tankies" was pretty cool (although Corporal Stiles' Funetik Accent got on my nerves).
As great as the polar bear bit is, my favorite is the follow up in the hospital:
"I am putting ten million dollars on the head of the animal that did this to me."
"You—you want us to put a hit on the bear?"
"On the Punisher."
The exasperated look on her face really sells it, I think.
I've only read, like, the first two issues of Preacher, but I love his work on The Punisher.
Oh yeah, and The Authority: Kev. Those were fun.
I rank Hitman among my favorite comics of all time. Still haven't read the last couple of volumes though.
I love his work on Punisher, both "Welcome Back, Frank" and his run on MAX. I wish the rest of his Marvel Knights Punisher run was more readily available, though.
I absolutely adore Preacher. While I don't necessarily agree on his views on religion and related subjects, it's never presented in an overly serious or mean spirited manner. It's all a big piss take, and entertaining as hell. The emotional beats also work, very, very well.
I've also read his entire run on Hellblazer. I found it to be far more of a mixed bag, since it was some of his earlier work and he hadn't quite found his voice yet. And I really, really didn't care about the stories set in Kit Ryan's hometown. They just felt incredibly superfluous.
Read all of his Punisher, and am gradually working my way through the rest of his Marvel work, which includes Nick Fury, Thor, Spider-Man, Hulk, and Ghost Rider.
I started into the Crossed franchise not too long ago, and have been thinking about reading Stitched and The Boys.
i read like two stories he wrote for ghost rider.
they were some of the most cynical, nihilistic, edgy stories i've ever seen in a superhero book. kind of felt like i was reading a stephen king story but not as optimistic.
the first one was pretty memorable though, especially that one line by Hoss where he says "the apocalypse is junk, stuff for fundamentalists and retards. hell likes things just the way they are".
like damn son
Oh, and I'm also reading Where Monsters Dwell.
Surprising that they weren't MAX.
I approach Ennis from the opposite end as Lightysnake—I generally can't stand the man, but will admit he has his good moments. I find he's at his best when somebody has a leash on him, and at his absolute worst when allowed to write whatever he wants. When it comes to his Punisher stuff, I'll actually take "Welcome Back Frank", and anything else from the 616 verse over his MAX work.
I think my favorites of his are Just A Pilgrim and mid-sections of Preacher.
It's still surprising how normal (you could even say boring) Ennis comes across as in real life.
Yeah, I am in the same sort of boat. He REALLY benefits from a strong editor who will rein him in a bit - far, far too much of his work goes into Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy at a breakneck pace for my liking.
BUT at his best and with an artist who plays to his strengths he comes out with some truly outstanding material. His Punisher Max run, Hitman (especially the one-shot story starring Superman)... some of the best stuff I have read, ever. But things like The Boys, Crossed and so on... it's just gratuitous, look-at-me edgy bulls**t as far as I'm concerned.
People rag on Mark Millar all the time but he and Ennis are pretty much on the same level for the same reasons for me... for better or for worse.
edited 21st Aug '15 4:08:44 AM by jakobitis
Ennis can get bad when he goes overboard with the soapboxing and juvenile gross out humor, but even at his worst I still regard him as being miles above the depths that Millar can reach, since Ennis at least has enough tact to not create intentionally awful comics that literally call anyone who bothers reading them stupid/pathetic/sociopathic children.
edited 22nd Aug '15 8:31:51 PM by CL
See I don't think even Punisher MAX was that great. It's a very good portrayal of the Punisher himself, sure, but there's still a lot of ugly ideas floating around below the surface. Lightysnake touched on the homophobia that tinges a few of the villains, and there's more than a dose of racism in the portrayal of Barracuda, who is essentially every negative stereotype about black people played painfully, painfully straight.
Yeah, though in spite of all that he still ended up being immensely popular, to the point that I think he's the only character originating from the MAX line to appear in other comics (no 616, though). Not sure what that implies...
Of course, it's not like Barracuda was the only villain who was an OTT caricature.
Hopefully all it implies is that people missed the racism, rather than that they embraced it.
I like David Brothers but have disagreed with him on some of his opinions and Baracuda is one of them. It's possible to have a black villain that doesn't embody the worst of stereotypes. Even Brothers himself admits Baracuda "being the best black villain in years" was damning with faint praise.
And as a black guy myself, I feel really uncomfortable about Brothers mocking Luke Cage for being a faithful family man.
edited 26th Aug '15 12:35:05 AM by windleopard
Yeah the "what part of the game is that" line was really WTF or seemed so to me.
And you can definitely have non-white villains who don't embody stereotypes. Alex from the original Runaways arc is a good example, being both a traitor and unrepentant supporter of his parents' end-the-world plot, without a single "gangster" trope in sight. His father's another good one—while flashbacks show that Geoffrey was a jive-talking street thug as a kid, as an adult he's a staid and respectable member of society who just happens to be trying to trigger the apocalypse. Say what you will about the film, but Michael Clarke Duncan's Kingpin in the original Daredevil movie's another great one, which given that he's a gang boss is fairly impressive.
Barracuda though...sure he's highly entertaining and his fights with Castle are among the highlights of the MAX run, but that doesn't make him any less problematic. Not to mention that all the things that article praises him for being? He could easily have been without the gold teeth, the gangster-talk, and the willingness to switch sides when offered sex from a white woman.
They just can't resist.
In other news, carnage still abounds and everyone remains delightfully over-the-top jackasses in Where Monsters Dwell.
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