08/07/2017

Caleb Orecchio here with thoughts on the painfully under appreciated DK2 by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, and other news.

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The Question by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley from DK2

“I’m much more able to approach it like I’m 7 years old than I used to be able to,” was Miller’s response to why he did The Dark Knight Strikes Again (aka DK2) in this AV Club interview from 2001.

All 3 issues. In a way, it’s good nobody likes these comic because I got the whole run for three bucks.

Recently, I’ve taken to thinking that superhero comics are the best comics. Okay, obviously I don’t REALLY think that, but I think there is a lot left untapped in superheroes than most comics intellectuals would care to admit. Many of us have our pantheon of great superhero comics usually including Watchmen, New Gods, The Dark Knight Returns; but it’s Frank Miller and Lynn Varley’s return to The Dark Knight that really makes me wet for superheroes as a genre lately.

Superman storms the Batcave by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley in DK2

DK2, to me, reads like a Bizarro World of Paper Rad, B.J. & da Dogs fan art on cocaine. Surely, DK2 would have received more love from PictureBox readers rather than the impossible-to-please nerds who masturbate to their DC Comics. Miller’s cartooning and Varley’s colors simultaneously marry and divorce each other in a chaotic fever dream of 21st Century Digital Age fury. It’s a shock to the senses and was, for many, Miller’s last straw that broke the camel’s back. He had gone too far.

I hope Miller and Varley got their royalty checks for Batman vs Superman for BOTH DK titles

Those of us who “get it,” are often smitten with this book and I personally love to argue with any hardcore superhero devotee on the merits of DK2. Though I know I’m throwing my pearls to swine, the lack of understanding from the average DC reader gives me so much confidence that my debate skills elevate to the likes of John Stewart in comparison.

no nerd can deny the ingenuity of Miller’s Plastic Man

Anyway, if it’s not clear, I love this book. To me, DK2 as a sequel to The Dark Knight Returns is a total and absolute failure. However! DK2 as a stream of consciousness art comic/love letter to the superhero genre is an unsurpassed gold medal achievement.

Superman by Miller and Varley

On another note, I’ve been doing my own subtextual “research” into how superheroes relate to spirituality. Maybe more than a few of you made a connection with Superman and the story of Moses? A baby wrapped in cloth sent away by his parents to avoid peril and eventually adopted? Others of you Kirby-connoisseurs have made many many connections with Jack’s creations and religion—most famously, Galactus. So when I came across the image below from DK2, I could not help but think of The Book of Revelation.

Lex Luther and Brainiac by Miller and Varley–to my mind, 21st Century “beasts”

Particularly, the above image made me think of these videos that breaks down Revelation (a letter from John to 7 churches in Asia Minor about his apocalyptic visions). Now, this is not some sort of effort to preach or draw any sort of conclusions about the Bible, it is merely something I noticed–a Jungian, passing down of archetypes that I can only guess Miller was consciously unaware of. Feel free to peruse the videos I linked to for more context, but to keep it short here, compare the below screenshot from thebibleproject.com with the Lex Luther/Brainiac image above.

Two “beasts” as depicted by thebibleproject.com–from Revelation Chapter 13–to my mind, a mirror image of Lex Luther and Brainiac

That’s all for today. Maybe it’s the coming of Kirby’s 100th birthday, but I’ve been channeling a lot of energy through these superhero comics and I feel like I can see the architecture of the universe. Of course, it’s all probably in my head–but does that make it not real??

Lara–Supergirl–the daughter of Wonder Woman and Superman–by Miller and Varley

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 if you don’t know, now you know

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Suzy and Cecil – 8-7-2017 – by Sally Ingraham

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Joanie and Jordie – 8-7-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio

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Caleb Orecchio

Caleb Orecchio

Caleb Orecchio is a cartoonist living in Dayton, OH. His strip, 'Joanie and Jordie', appears every weekday on the Comics Workbook Daily News. He hosts the weekly Dayton Comics Club with fellow cartoonist/designer, Jason Hart.
Caleb Orecchio

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