Heroes and Villains – Murder Falcon, Dave McKean: Short Films

This week in Heroes and Villains, I’ve got a virtual cornucopia of fever dream induced comics for you! Seriously, I was under the weather last weekend and I’m pretty sure I saw most of this stuff when I was at my sweatiest. Luckily, my fever broke before I reached the Grant Morrison level of non-lucidity that occurs right before brain death. But I did come away from it with a great pitch for a relaunch of DC’s Bloodlines group of characters. Dan DiDio get at me!

Murder FalconMurder Falcon #1
Daniel Warren Johnson (W/A)
Mike Spicer (C)
Image Comics/Skybound Entertainment

This was exactly the book I needed to read this week. 

Picking it up, I thought to myself that I’d be really pissed off if the titular Murder Falcon ended up being a metaphor or something. Like, that the real Murder Falcon was the friends we made along the way or something equally trite.

Mercifully, I was wrong and the book prominently features an anthropomorphized falcon with a cybernetic arm who is summoned by the power of Metal to murder monsters. I should probably pack it in now because I will never write a greater sentence than that.

What’s that? Keep going?

A reoccurring theme of this column is my never-ending search for comics that are new and fun. I’m currently snoozing my way through any number of super hero books from the Big Two publishers  that fill a base level need for escapism in me but not much else. Well, thank Metal for Murder Falcon, a book that’s probably more Metal than Dark Nights: Metal. And that’s no mean feat because DN:M had a chromium cover!

Anyways, aside from Murder Falcon (Murf to his friends) the book tells the story of Jake. A rocker who was in a well-liked band that he walked away from after his life was marred by yet-to-be revealed tragedy. Jake has the power to play the sweet guitar licks that can summon Murder Falcon to fight monsters.

If ever a book was deserving of a soundtrack it has to be this one.

In Case You Missed It:

Dave McKean: Short Films
Dark Horse Comics

There are only a handful of artists working today than I can recall exactly where I was when I first saw their work and Dave McKean is one of them.

To overuse a narrative device…the year was 1989 and Batmania gripped the nation. There was no escaped and that was perfectly okay. Batman was cool and the 80’s were nearly over. Things were great! I had ambled into a local comic shop and I picked up a copy of Amazing Heroes #171 (a pre-Wizard comics news magazine) that had kick ass Rick Veitch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles illustration on the cover. Turtlemania had yet to reach a fever-pitch but I was a young man of various interests. I liked Marvel, DC, and more!

Anyways, on the back of that magazine was an ad for a Batman book. Well, it was less of an ad and more of an illustration of all of my nightmares from the previous decade. Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth.  It was an image that stuck with me for several years until I worked up the courage to actually read the book.

In the years that followed I became more and more familiar with McKean’s work, in high school I had a small cut out of the cover for The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch hung in my locker for all to see. It was art that was just so…different from what was dominating the industry at the time. Had I been a few years older I may have taken up smoking clove cigarettes and forcing all my friends (both of them) to read Sandman.

Jumping another decade forward, I sat in a (very) sparsely attended arthouse theatre anxiously awaiting a screening of MirrorMask. The film was produced by The Jim Henson Company (no relation) and written and directed by McKean. It was amazing.

That brings us to Dave McKean: Short Films which was recently published by Dark Horse. The book and Blu-Ray collection is (ahem) A MUST FOR FANS OF MCKEAN’S WORK. It’s really got it all: a ton of his short films that I had never seen before along with the companion book sharing valuable insights into his work.

It’s a great read if you’re a fan of Mckean from his better known comics work and it’s a wonderful compilation of his film work. How can ONE MAN have mastered so many forms of art?


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