A Quantum Leap From Silly to Serious
(This Stripped column originally appeared in the February 5-11, 1998, Long Island Voice. Click on the artwork for a larger image.)
by Beth Hannan Rimmels
Not only has Vincent Van Goat, immortalized on the cover of Acclaim's Quantum &Woody #3, caught on so well that he's part of the permanent Quantum &Woody cast, but he's gotten his own one-shot special. Pretty good for a garbage-munching pet who can't talk and doesn't do tricks.
The special, coming in April, is called The Goat: H.A.E.D.U.S. (Heavily Armored Espionage Deadly Uber-Sheep). Don't ask me what writer Christopher Priest and artist M.D. Bright were doing when they concocted that name (H.A.E.D.U.S. debuted in Quantum &Woody). I don't want to know.
Anyway, Priest is doing the writing chores but the pencils will be by the quirky-for-life Keith Giffen (Legion of Superheroes, the funny version of Justice League of America). I only hope Giffen won't be doing his square-face style of art for this project. I used to love his art until he started doing that on Legion and made everyone look alike. The Goat isn't described as a crossover but rather a story that runs roughshod through Quantum &Woody and features as many Valiant Heroes cameos as they can cram in because, "after all, the goat does nothing." If that's not enough, also for sale that month is The Goat "Inaction" Figure — fully inarticulate and non-poseable. OK, so $5.99 isn't cheap, but I've seen more expensive action figures that look worse and aren't nearly as much fun.
In news from the serious side of Acclaim, a new series by Priest called Concrete Jungle: The Legend of the Black Lion also debuts in April. Rudy Giuliani notwithstanding, the series portrays a dangerous landscape of NYC guys bad and worse. The story's roots go back to a 1971 police raid on the Black Panthers that forced all concerned to concoct a story designed to protect the image of both the Panthers and the cops. From that night came Wayne Smalls' legend; Bob Schwartz, who in 1997, is Mayor Bob; Elijah Book, a police sergeant blackmailing Bob; and Terry Smalls, Wayne's son and the head of the political action group REACH. Terry will also accept a gift from an African cleric and become the heir to a tribal legend.
If you like Frank Miller's Sin City, Concrete Jungle should be gritty enough (though it's not noir). A slim thread connects Jungle to Quantum &Woody in that the death of friend Woody's Tammy Fischer starts the proverbial ball rolling. But the tone is drastically different. Even Priest's introduction is kickass: "If you've never had a .45 automatic aimed at you in anger, you're really missing something. It looks like the biggest, meanest piece of metal ever created by man, and you suddenly move somewhere to the right of yourself and become a casual observer; a lowly extra in the film of your own life's story. You want Tom Cruise, but you get Jon Lovitz. You become Jon Lovitz as frame after boring frame of your life clicks by while the guy holding the gun plays keep-away with your dignity." Retailers should have a preview copy, so ask nicely if you can see it and be prepared to order.
THE NEXT BIG APPLE CON will be held Feb. 14, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. at St. Paul's Church, 59th Street and Ninth Avenue in NYC. Guests are to include Joseph Michael Linsner (Dawn), Amanda Conner (Vampirella), Dave Cockrum (Martha Washington Saves the World, Soulsearchers and Company), Jill Thompson (Scary Godmother), Billy Tucci (Shi) and Jimmy Palmiotti (Ashe). Admission $5. Call 718-275-1567.
Column © 1998 Long Island Voice. Artwork © 1998 Acclaim.