Sunday, April 19, 2020

[Roll Your Own Life] The Comics That Shaped Me (Part 7)


I mentioned last blog post that a lot of the early 90's comic reading for me was dominated by DC/Vertigo and the range of cool, yet darker, comic series. Hellblazer, Kid Eternity, Doom Patrol, Enigma, etc. But just after Sandman started, another really experimental comic came along that had me even more hooked, and remains my favourite series of all time - Shade: The Changing Man.

With the early covers by Brendan McCarthy (yes, the Brendan McCarthy that brought Mad Max: Fury Road to life), the title really stood out on the shelves as being something a little weird. After all, the "New McCarthyism" as he was credited sometimes was certainly not your average comic cover design. (see left)

The insides were even weirder in places, but the story reflected that. I'd never read any of the first incarnation of Shade from 70's, so this was my first experience of Rac Shade - a poet from another world who leaves his body behind on Meta to inhabit the body of Troy Grenzer - a serial killer about to be executed.

Shade teams up with Kathy, whose parents were killed by Grenzer, and Lenny, and they travel the US in a weird roadtrip to battle the madness that is infecting the land.

It's nuts. Whole sections are within "the Madness" and you could spend days trying to see all the detail within those pages. Not only was Peter Milligan's storylines bonkers and brilliant, but the art...

Oh the art...

One of my favourite artists, Chris Bachalo, who I'd first seen in an issue of Sandman, brought the madness to life in some of the coolest artwork I've seen.

Bachalo's style was simply amazing, and iconic with the cross hatching on the character's noses. I loved it. I still love Bachalo's art, and have followed it through his career into Marvel's Generation X, X-Men and Doctor Strange. It's awesome.

Over the years, Shade died about four times, inhabited different bodies, and different cool coats. It got really weird and surreal, but I loved every minute of it. 

Ultimately, it came to an end, and I was really excited recently when Gerard Way announced his DC imprint (Young Animal) would see a new series called Shade: The Changing Girl. It was good, but compared to Way's awesome revival of Doom Patrol it just wasn't as weird, or gripping as I'd hoped. The new Doom Patrol did it so much better. Oh well...

My dream would be for Noah Hawley, who did the awesome TV series Legion, would decide to make Shade into a TV series, inspired by Peter Milligan's run. Oh, we can hope...

No comments: