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Author Topic: Matt 'the other' Wagner  (Read 13892 times)

Colin YNWA

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Re: Matt 'the other' Wagner
« Reply #45 on: 06 October, 2020, 09:04:03 PM »
Has it really been so long. We are neglecting 'The Other' Wagner (no, not Kurt). Well to be fair Grendel 'Devil's Odyssesy' has dropped off the radar since the pandemic started (don't know if its related), hope all is well with Matt Wagner?

ANYWAY neglect him no nor I've just finished a re-read of his 12 issues 'The Spirit' run with Dan Schkade and by heck its an absolute joy. So often when folks take on The Spirit they seem to succumb to the temptation to fiddle and fidget with the character. To adapt him to the modern audience, make him fit with the times. Always strikes me as a waste of energy he's charming and timeless and works for the ages, like Zorro, Robin Hood and the like.

Matt Wagner gets this and just fills his series with a story that explores the many tones and ideas that Will Eisner reveled in and he does it so well. Its cheeky, its charming and it bloody good craft. Just a fantastic series. Dan Schkade does a solid job on the visuals.

And speaking of visuals on The Spirit I also re-read Francesco Francavilla's 'The Spirit - The Corpse-Makers'. As might be expected woth Francavilla its a visual treat. He really indulges with the storytelling and page design. Its an absolute feast on the eyes. Even if he does choice to soak in the atmosphere of a dark rainy Central City a little to much. It also means the story is a little slight. Fun but so dominated my the visual fun FF has it never has the chance to really go far.

Unlike Wagner - who we are here to celebrate after all - who uses his 12 issues to really explores the scope of the great character and the world he roams. Both are real treats, its just no surprise to learn that Matt Wagner's work is all the more so.

Oh and meant to say that we won't be leaving this thread for very long as a re-read of Mage (all of it!) has hit the top of my pile and will be completed in the next month or so. Bolt01 fancy reading along with me???
« Last Edit: 06 October, 2020, 09:05:55 PM by Colin YNWA »

Bolt-01

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Re: Matt 'the other' Wagner
« Reply #46 on: 07 October, 2020, 08:50:25 AM »
Hey Colin, that's in interesting idea. I've not read the original Mage strips in many a year (I'm lucky to have the lush Graffitti designs books of those) so this might just be the excuse I need to revisit some old friends.

Colin YNWA

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Re: Matt 'the other' Wagner
« Reply #47 on: 07 October, 2020, 08:57:38 AM »
I'm going with the over-sized 'Starblaze' collections (are they the same ones?) for Hero Discovered. They are absolutely objects of beauty.

Bolt-01

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Re: Matt 'the other' Wagner
« Reply #48 on: 07 October, 2020, 09:07:51 AM »
Yes! They are. Stunning books!

My editions of Defined are in the original floppies and Denied are all digital.

Being dead lazy - was the Spirit run collected? I've not picked that up.

Colin YNWA

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Re: Matt 'the other' Wagner
« Reply #49 on: 07 October, 2020, 09:30:42 AM »
Yes! They are. Stunning books!

My editions of Defined are in the original floppies and Denied are all digital.

Yep I'm three oversized trades - Discovered and floppies for the other two. I actually love the fact that you have three different formats for the three different phases of the the story. It seems super fitting!

Being dead lazy - was the Spirit run collected? I've not picked that up.

Its has and speaking of being lazy I've just gone for the Amazon listing. I know you can get this digitally as I've seen it in sales and in a Humble Bundle once.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Will-Eisners-Spirit-Who-Killed/dp/1606908413/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+spirit+matt+wagner&qid=1602059275&sr=8-1

Bolt-01

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Re: Matt 'the other' Wagner
« Reply #50 on: 07 October, 2020, 09:51:31 AM »
Ordered!

skurvy

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Re: Matt 'the other' Wagner
« Reply #51 on: 07 October, 2020, 01:08:02 PM »
I might join in if that's ok. I love Matt Wagner's work and I haven't read those early Mage comics for years.

Link Prime

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Re: Matt 'the other' Wagner
« Reply #52 on: 07 October, 2020, 02:54:39 PM »
Well to be fair Grendel 'Devil's Odyssesy' has dropped off the radar since the pandemic started (don't know if its related), hope all is well with Matt Wagner?

Not the only Dark Horse book to be significantly delayed due to the pandemic - the first issue of Norse Mythology should have shipped months ago, but I only received a notification this week that it's in my pull box.

Slim pickins for decent new comics out there, so a real shame that the superb Devils Odyssey stopped halfway through its run.
Hoping for the remaining issues to be released next year.

Colin YNWA

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Re: Matt 'the other' Wagner
« Reply #53 on: 08 October, 2020, 06:46:19 AM »
I might join in if that's ok. I love Matt Wagner's work and I haven't read those early Mage comics for years.

Of course thought I need to make clear this is nothing more than Mage reaching the top of my re-read pile and I'll be reading ti and commenting here over the next month or two. The more folks who decide to do the same the better as I love a bit of Matt 'The Other' Wagner chat.

Rately

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Re: Matt 'the other' Wagner
« Reply #54 on: 08 October, 2020, 10:13:41 AM »
Off to purchase Mage i go!

skurvy

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Re: Matt 'the other' Wagner
« Reply #55 on: 08 October, 2020, 12:54:33 PM »
I might join in if that's ok. I love Matt Wagner's work and I haven't read those early Mage comics for years.

Of course thought I need to make clear this is nothing more than Mage reaching the top of my re-read pile and I'll be reading ti and commenting here over the next month or two. The more folks who decide to do the same the better as I love a bit of Matt 'The Other' Wagner chat.

Sure, and it also requires me going into the loft and digging through my long boxes - I'm sure it will be worth it though. I think I have a Terminator one-shot he did up there too.

Bolt-01

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Re: Matt 'the other' Wagner
« Reply #56 on: 08 October, 2020, 06:17:25 PM »
That has a fantastic 'pop-up' gimmick, too.

Colin YNWA

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Re: Matt 'the other' Wagner
« Reply #57 on: 24 October, 2020, 09:17:50 PM »
Well I've only read the first part, so what would have been Mage issue 1 - of Hero Discovered and somethings struck me already. That being what a confident start Matt Wagner has with this series. I belive up to this point (happy to be corrected here) he's done some bits and bobs with Grendel and one would assume piece around and about, but nothing significent.

Its incredible then just how clear, precise and well constructed this first issue of Mage is. The storytelling so precise, the craft, if not artist technic, fully realised. Man its probably the cockyness of youth (he'd be early 20s when this came out) but its just prefectly times story and just has no fear.

Wow this is already better than I remembered and I remember it getting better as it goes on...

Colin YNWA

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Re: Matt 'the other' Wagner
« Reply #58 on: 28 October, 2020, 10:27:01 PM »
Well I've finished book one and an overriding sense of confidence in the form and storytelling is the thing that stays with me as I read this story. In a way that defies Matt Wagner's experience (I assume) at the time it just feels like a tale that the writer knows he can tell, knows he has to tell. From beginning to end it feels solid, perfectly mapped and paced and complete in its intent. Across the 15 parts, as Kevin Matchstick ironically finds his place, his responsibilities, his place in the world and his potential, Matt Wagner shows he has no doubts of any of that for himself.

Given the autobiographical nature of this work its very possible this makes perfect sense. This is the journey Wagner has gone through, to to get to this point. This is his struggle and as at the end of the story Kevin Matchstick has his ability, has confidence in his power, so as this tale reflects on Matchstick's journey to this point, Wagner starts to tell it from the point he has come to that realisation in his talent and abilities.

The other fascinating thing is the way it used typical superhero tropes and images, yet is so clearly a work of myth and legend. It takes the idea that superheroes are the modern heroes of ancient myth and plays it very literally. Giving it just enough of the trapping of the (comics) mainstream genre to pull readers eyes in, but then unleashing the modern re-telling of legend on his unsuspecting audience.

Its not perfect. While the page design and storytelling is immaculate, the actual rendering of the art isn't as strong as it will become. No surprise. His experimenting with colouring for me isn't entirely successful, or possibly has just dated quite badly... oh but that's it. That's all there is to worry about.

What's even more astonishing is not just Matt Wagner's age on writing this in his early 20s, but the time when he was creating it. There was a host new independent titles starting to bubble to the fore, to change what comics would be. Nexus has just started, Zot is about to, Cerebus has just finished its first trimuphant 'phonebook' arc in High Society etc etc. The indie scene is exploding off the back of the mainstream. All well before Watchmen. And Mage catchs that wave at the start, or at least its early days, but does it so much better than most of his contemporaries. Whether he caught the wave, or started it... or at least helped to is probably open to debate. What I think is fair to say is its not had long to shape and influence him directly. I do wonder what it would have been like to read these at the time and how much more astonishing this would have made them?

'Mage - Hero Discovered' is an absolute triumph and if you've not read it do.

On another note I read this in three beautiful oversized volumes from Starblazer. While they lack the back material, design sketchs or even covers that we get used to these days in such collections, the fact that the volumes are stripped down to the pure story is a benefit to the tale - if I'd have loved that back matter personally - and leaves it exposed, clean and wonderfully reproduced. The story having nothing but a simple introduction to hide behind.

And of course it has the confidence to need nothing else.

Jim_Campbell

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Re: Matt 'the other' Wagner
« Reply #59 on: 28 October, 2020, 10:50:28 PM »
'Mage - Hero Discovered' is an absolute triumph and if you've not read it do.

It absolutely is. Startlingly good at a time when comics were really just starting to be startlingly good.
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