Tag Archives: DMZ

Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli’s DMZ inspires people

My copy of M.I.A., the ninth volume to the DMZ trade paperback series arrived recently amongst a box of books ordered online. I’ve very excited to crack it open, but I have a pile of comics to read through first.

People love DMZ the way fans love their Buffy and Smallville. And why not? It’s a gritty story for a comic that is an example of the best of the medium in writing and illustration, about a subject matter that speaks to non-comic book readers. I’ve probably shared copies of DMZ with more people than any other comic I’ve ever owned.

[Read: Why you should read DMZ]

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to find sites like Live from the DMZ popping up. This ambitious project by blogger and comic creator Justin Giampaoli aims to provide a chronicle of the series book-by-book as the series comes to a close in 2011.

You’ll also find clips like this fan-made opening credits video created by C Rhodes.


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War comic reviews: DMZ (Vertigo)

DMZ is easily one of my favourite comics. It recently passed the watershed 50 issue mark, which is quite a remarkable feat for a Vertigo book.

Description (via Wikipedia):

The series is set in New York City, sometime in the near future and in the midst of a civil war that has turned the island of Manhattan into a demilitarized zone.

Stick with this one until at least volume 4 of the trade paperbacks, you won’t regret it. “Friendly Fire” is an incredible story that chronicles a military investigation into the events that led to a massacre of civilians on the infamous Day 204 of the new U.S. civil war. The ending is a bit predictable when you consider the main themes explored throughout the series, but it’s a riveting story all the same.

Below are a handful of reviews of the series from various sources. It was difficult to dig up negative comments, but I’ve posted what I could find for the sake of balance.

DMZ takes what could have been a trite notion — the idea of “bringing the war home” literally, by turning America into a war zone similar to those in Iraq or Afghanistan– and on the strength of a complex imagination, turns it into a comic book that needs no superheroics, because the heroism is performed by ordinary people you come to care about quickly.
Read more (via EW)

Vertigo’s DMZ is more than just a strangely clairvoyant series about our political times; it’s an odyssey away from a black and white world.  It’s an ongoing re-definition of what it means to have shades of gray – where nobody has your interest at heart and everyone is out to manipulate everyone else.
Read more (via Michael Stewart)

One of my favorite things about DMZ is the almost disgustingly dead-on realism of the series.  The humanist message that weaves its way through what seems at first like a straight-up political story really makes you sit back and think about your stance on just about everything.  It’s an entrancing story I’ve been hooked on since the beginning.
(via Fistfight at the Arthouse)

One of the wittiest installments of DMZ so far also plays with the way the Iraq war’s images have been packaged. “New York Times,” drawn by Wood himself, is a set of war-journalism vignettes laid out with the aesthetic of an urban listings and lifestyle magazine like Time Out. A guide to music venues offers tips on how to avoid snipers while standing in line; a “photo” spread lists its subjects’ names, ages, and militia affiliations.
Read more (Douglas Wolk, author of  Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean, via Print)

Volume #1: On the Ground

[The] episodic, wandering observer story works up to a point in DMZ. It never completely got me, but it at least kept me reading what is obviously a well written and excellently drawn book. Unfortunately for me after 5 issues I felt it was really going somewhere and I was getting into the story and wanted to know where the story was heading next. Which was when the book ended.

. . . I finished DMZ with a feeling that I’d barely started. The five issues were enough to get me interested but not enough to get me hooked. At some point I may pick up the second volume, but it would have been a lot nicer to have had a thicker, more satisfying first volume.
Read more (via Forbidden Planet, 2007)

Volume #6: Blood in the Game

A story about the limits of democracy and the power of populism, about the role of the press and the bravery of the voter, “Blood in the Game” furthers the fantastic work that Wood has done thus far on his story set in an utterly plausible America at war with itself. This is the kind of storytelling I read comics for.
(Cory Doctorow, via Boing Boing)

Brian Wood has crafted a complex and unique tapestry with DMZ. The different characters and their relationship he has created are very interesting in themselves but the real focus in this comic book is the city itself and it’s political situation.

If you like politics, actions and drama, DMZ is definitely for you.
Read more (via Comic Book Bin, 2009)

Volume #7: War Powers

The latest installment of Brian Wood’s DMZ series continues to impress. The series as a whole deals with the personal side of war, focusing on those stuck in the demilitarized zone in between a speculatively fictional civil war in the united states in the near future. Wood excels at telling exceptionally human stories under exceptionally inhuman circumstances, and this volume is no exception to the high standards set by the previous six.
(Joshum Harpy on Good Reads)

Volume #8: Hearts and Minds

The majority of readers on Good Reads rated this volume a 4 or 5 out of 5. However a few weren’t so keen on it.

I don’t really like what he did with Matty’s character…at all. It feels forced and I’m not interested. I can appreciate making him less sympathetic (especially since everyone in DMZ is some shade of gray) but in my opinion it’s not done well at all. I’m not convinced that pissing everyone who has been friends with him off and going on regular murdering sprees just because he thinks Delgado is a really good guy is a realistic progression of the Matty we started with. A+ up until this point though.
(Smalworld on Good Reads)

DMZ, issue #51

DMZ #51

One of the many things that I appreciate about Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli’s DMZ is that it never seems to stay complacent, or even in one place for very long.

This is actually probably some of my favorite art from Burchielli, because the deserted streets and buildings of Washington Heights give him and colorist Jeromy Cox the chance to bring out their stark beauty and desolation.

Read more (via Read About Comics)

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This week’s haul

Just back from my local comic book shop. More superhero books than I normally buy for some reason:

Chew #5 – John Layman and Rob Guillory (Image): The final issue of this fun little read about an FDA agent who gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats (including severed fingers and deceased pets). Doesn’t take itself seriously, which I like in a comic.

Ignition City #5 – Warren Ellis, Gianluca Pagliarnai (Avatar): About time this one comes out.  I love this series, but Avatar’s publishing schedule is giving me a headache. I guess these smaller press outfits (Boom! and IDW included) operate like the golden age of comics publishing – you get it when you get it. My series review is posted here.

Fantastic Four #572 – Jonathan Hickman, Dale Eaglesham (Marvel): The first arc by the new creative team. It’s really a Reed Richards solo story. The jury is out for me until the story is complete. I gave the Millar/Hitch a try, but abandoned that one two issues in because it wasn’t really doing much for me. I like my FF cosmic adventures and domestic strife.

Guardians of the Galaxy #19 – Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Wesley Craig (Marvel): Kang the Conqueror’s still around? I grabbed this one totally on a whim. I loved what Keith Giffen did with the team in Annihilation Conquest. There’s no Rocket Raccoon (presumable he’s dead?) but I was sold on Cosmo the dog. I’ll be curious to see if it’s still as much fun as Giffen’s run.

Die Hard Year One #2 – Howard Chaykin and Stephen Thompson (Boom! Studios): I don’t usually go for licensed books, but this one intrigued me based on the write-up on the Living Between Wednesdays blog. Definitely a slow build with the introduction of far too many characters. I’ll be interested to see how issue #2 unfolds.  But I definitely prefer Brubaker and Phillips’ Criminal for a good crime/heist story.

Astro City Special: Astra #2 – Kurt Busiek, Brent E. Anderson (Wildstorm): The latest entry in the Astro City family. The book goes monthly starting with the next issue that comes out. I’m debating whether to keep picking this one up. It’s not at the top of my list, but it’s definitely not at the bottom (unlike the latest New Mutants series, sorry).

Madame Xanadu #16, cover

And finally Madame Xanadu #16 – Matt Wagner and Amy Reeder Hadley (Vertigo): New arc. The original creative team is back. Sexy magic – the best kind? Includes a preview of Luna Park, which look wicked.

Unfortunately, Northlanders #21 was sold out. I really enjoy Brian Wood’s DMZ, but haven’t tried this series yet. Based on some pencilled pages posted on the Vertigo blog recently, I thought I’d pick up this new arc.


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Comic sale tales and spoils

I love a good comic book sale. The retailer up the street was celebrating his 22nd year in business and offering some good deals, including a 22-cent bin on the sidewalk in front of his store that was attracting all sorts of people walking past. I had just arrived when an old Italian woman walks by the bin, sees the kid next to me walk away with 50 comics and says to nobody in particular: “You buy all that cheap?” She then proceeds to flip through the boxes and pull out books because she wants to get in on this great deal – she knows a bargain when she sees one. “They lose money when they do this, you know,” she says.

So she’s building a stack of books, making her selection based on criteria only she can possibly understand – the colors or picture on the covers and who knows what else. She nearly yanked a book I was holding out of my hands, but I guess common sense kicked in at that moment and she pulled her hand away. Who might she be buying these books for, you ask? She claimed to have two grandsons, who may or may not be aged 9 and 14, and may or may not be comic readers. She asks if the books have all the same jokes in them, and many other random questions. I nearly bust a gut laughing so I had to walk away.

Business was brisk. People were buying, some walking out of the doors carrying two full bags of books. The gentleman in front of me at the cash slapped down nearly $140.

I picked up a bunch of trades – 100 Bullets, DMZ, Wasteland, and Exterminators – and the following from the 22-cent bin:

– a beat up copy of “Secrets of Haunted House” from 1981 (cover art by Joe Kubert and a plug for the Superman II movie on the cover) that includes one story drawn Steve Ditko – easily the best art of the entire pack

– four issues of a ’90s era Image series titled Man Against Time – I fell for the covers by Walt Simonson and John Paul Leon (I adore his work on The Winter Men)

– the final issue of the 1989 Epic Comics mini-series Powerline that was part of a three-series event called “A Shadowline Saga.” I found the other issues some time ago on eBay.

– and a copy of Marvel’s The Nam. I’ve been reading some war books recently – The Other Side; Army@Love, Shooting War – and I wanted to compare the current era with its predecessor. I’m eager to read the new Unknown Soldier and Haunted Tank once those collections are made available. Ideally, one big omnibus-style book with a selection of recent war titles.

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