This comic logically builds on an underserved customer of the comics market: folks who enjoyed really heavy, nastily-tinged, brutishly handsome comics made possible by the direction of the comics market 1988-1995 or so. Works like these often play well with classic outsiders, say by economic circumstance or by race, and in doing so often touch off a number of subliminal triggers in addition to the stridency and appeal of the surface text. Snaked has all of those signs. Here we see figures a constant half-degree over-heated and sexualized, violence much more horrific and damaging than anything in the genre prepares us to face, and government conspiracies which are less whispered over in austere corners of power than boasted about at the company watercooler and bandied about as a subject of concern during pillow talk.
A story about shadowy programs, political maneuverings, revenge and supernatural killer-types can hardly be new no matter how they're combined. What puts Snaked above the vast bulk of similarly-targeted comics is that its creators know that it's one thing to present such a story through an ugly point of view, and it's quite another to present it as if it's a beautiful thing, so that what seeps into the consciousness isn't just the the horror of an event but the sensuality of experiencing it, the exposure to the kind of soul that would make something like that happen, the thought of a world where something so far over the line so as to exist a lifetime's travel from that line can be presented as heroic on some level. Snaked gets the highest recommendation I can give a title exploring this bleak a series of human impulses with barely hidden-glee: I'm not sure I want to see this comic in my house.
Friday, January 4, 2008
Tom Spurgeon Reviews SNAKED
Over at The Comics Reporter, Tom Spurgeon dissects the premiere issue of Snaked.