I recently bought a used copy of the Classics Illustrated Moby Dick drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz, and I was not disappointed. This is the same Bill Sienkiewicz of Elektra and Daredevil fame, the same Sienkiewicz I thought was the greatest comic book artist of all time when I was a teen.
Sienkiewicz brings his unique brand of surrealism and expressionism to the great American novel about dark obsession and madness. Sienkiewicz’s art captures Ahab’s madness perfectly. As Ahab’s obsession grows, Sienkiewicz uses a recurring image of a scratchy black and white demonic face that appears in its own box. This, of course, captures the book’s theme perfectly. Sienkiewicz’s feverish depictions of the crew show how Ahab’s madness spreads to even the most reluctant sailors, and his depictions of the monsterish white whale draw the reader into the fear and mystery that have twisted Ahab’s mind.
If you’ve never read the orignial Moby Dick, Herman Melville intertwined chapters of action and theme-driven plot with scientific chapters on whales and the industry of whaling. It is a long and strange, but rewarding read. This graphic novel focuses on the action-driven plot and theme to capture the essence of the original story. All of the famous images and scenes from the original are here: the opening scenes with Ishmael and the tattooed savage, Queequeg; the appearance of Ahab on deck; the making of the coffin and Ahab’s special harpoon; the tri-works, etc.
You can find all of these samples and much more on Sienkiewicz’s site: http://www.billsienkiewiczart.com/
I guess I’m feeling nostalgic again for those innocent middle-school days. I saw some X-Men: Mutant Massacre comics on sale on Ebay and was reminded how much I loved that series. I had a subscription to X-Factor at the time, which was a spin-off featuring the five original X-Men. My cousin got the X-Men comics. Once the Mutant Massacre series started we had to borrow each others books to keep up, since it was a crossover series between the two teams. Thor, Daredevil, and some lesser known comics were also involved in a minor way.
The series had a certain mystery noir to it, and it was released around the same time as Elektra: Assassin. A lot of the action takes place in the underground tunnels of New York with a band of assassins killing the mutant community that lives in the tunnels. The continuing storyline over eight issues or so, and the, what seemed at the time, more mature action and theme grabbed me. Characters were getting killed and some favorites were gravely injured. That’s serious stuff for an eighth-grader in the 1980s. Remember, there was no internet and no violent video games.
Wikipedia-Mutant Massacre, Marvel Gallery
I was eight years old when Raiders of the Lost Ark came out. My mom, my aunt, and I went to a Chinese buffett before the movie. I think I ate like seven egg rolls, which were my favorite at the time.
I remember sitting near the front in the theater and grabbing their legs when the boulder was chasing Indy. When the Nazis opened the Ark, I slid to the floor. The face melting scene was too much. Images from that film and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom are forever etched in my cultural consciousness. Sad, I know.
With the fourth movie coming out soon, they’ve made Topps trading cards with some classic characters. Check them out.