Saturday, January 09, 2010

Out of the Vault- Destroy!!

Sometimes, a publisher will put out comics that are extra-large, like folio size or whatever. I used to have a whole ton of them from Marvel and DC, including Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-man, Batman vs. the Incredible Hulk, The Mighty Thor (reprinting his battle with Mangog), Dick Tracy vs. Flattop, and reprints of Action #1 and Batman #1. The Big Guy and Rusty, the Boy Robot was another one. And in 1986, Eclipse Comics put out DESTROY!!

This one was so big, it barely fit in my scanner sideways. So if the cover scan at right looks a little goofy, it's because I had to paste it together from two scans and had trouble getting the colors to match properly.

DESTROY!! was written and drawn by Scott McCloud, who was riding high at the time on the success of Zot! Billed on the cover as "The Loudest Comic Book in the Universe," Destroy!! depicts a no-holds-barred battle between two absurdly powerful superheroes.

Red Basher is busting up Manhattan while shouting "DESTROY!!" at the top of his lungs when Captain Maximum arrives to put a stop to the violence. Turns out, the Captain and the Basher are friends, erstwhile teammates. Captain Maximum offers the hand of peace and friendship to Red Basher, and well...

So the fight is on.

That is, once Captain Maximum finally comes to rest a couple of pages later. The battle escalates in insane proportions, as Captain Maximum first tries to calm down, then beat down, the Red Basher. Finally, he just wants to shut him up.

Here you can get a sense of McCloud's excellent sense of timing, the ebbs and flows and quiet beats he manages to achieve even in the Loudest Comic Book in the Universe. On the one hand, five bucks for a 32-page black-and-white comic book story seems awfully steep. But then again, it was not only a fun story, but the book was the size of a place mat, so there was value for your money.

In an editorial on the inside back cover, McCloud talked about the genesis of the story, about the way that folks like Alan Moore and Frank Miller and Rick Vietch in The One had been raising the stakes like crazy.

It's like all of us--even the supposedly progressive ones--are still playing "King o' the Hill" with Jack Kirby. Just trying to do that one big explosion, that one powerhouse punch, that one bitchin' close-up that'll just be bigger an' badder than anything...HE ever drew.

And the funny thing is that, even though on first reading, you're like, "Wow, that was way, WAAAAY over the top," on second reading you're thinking, "Yeah, that was big, but imagine what would have happened if... (insert bigger thing here)." It's human nature.

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