Where Were We?: The Exclusive Preview of "Grifter #11"

What was the '90s ethic of comics creativity and why was it truly revolutionary? Rob Liefeld, one of the leading lights of '90s comics, answers that question in this exclusive preview of Grifter #11.

What was '90s comics really about? The star of the show was certainly the revolution that Image initiated. At a time when the commonly-held belief was that authorial independence would come at a great price in readership, the seven Image founders proved this absolutely untrue with sales figures in the millions per issue.

But a deeper and more profound change came at the level of storytelling itself. What we saw was an entirely new kind of comics--bulked-up heroes, heroes who were more superpowered humans, hyper-detailed drawing styles and of course, the kind of action-oriented storytelling that read like an evolution of Jack Kirby.

When you read Grifter, one of the mainstay heroes to come of of Image cofounder Jim Lee's Wildstorm Studios, the joy should lie in the wonder of seeing the character paired with Rob Liefeld, another Image cofounder. But this time it's not.

This time the real joy lies in measuring the evolution of the artist, and the enormous scope of Cole Cash as a character. Rob Liefeld when he entered into popular recognition, entered as an artist. To see him write The Grifter, is to witness a kineticism take precedence in the character. This is not at all unlike the revolution in writing that was ushered in by Marvel at the dawn of the Silver Age of Comics. But to read the kinetic storytelling of Liefeld in Grifter is also to read an evolution of the character. Who would have thought that Cole Cash could be subject to such enduring reinterpretations.

23 years ago, and earlier, the fears were always around longevity. Could artists who broke away from the then-stifling corporate model ensure a large enough audience to sustain themselves? Would the characters and settings and stories they create continue to last as the characters from the explosion of superheroes during the Golden Age did? Decades after the founding of Image, the answer to both questions is still a resounding yes.

And reading Grifter as part of the New 52, is reading this story of unmitigated success, play out over and over again.

Please enjoy your exclusive preview of Grifter #11, which releases this Wednesday 7/11.


Page One

Pages Two and Three

Page Four

Page Five

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less

The World of Captain Beefheart: An Interview with Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx

Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx (photo © Michael DelSol courtesy of Howlin' Wuelf Media)

Guitarist and band leader Gary Lucas and veteran vocalist Nona Hendryx pay tribute to one of rock's originals in this interview with PopMatters.

From the opening bars of "Suction Prints", we knew we had entered The World of Captain Beefheart and that was exactly where we wanted to be. There it was, that unmistakable fast 'n bulbous sound, the sudden shifts of meter and tempo, the slithery and stinging slide guitar in tandem with propulsive bass, the polyrhythmic drumming giving the music a swing unlike any other rock band.

Keep reading... Show less

From Haircut 100 to his own modern pop stylings, Nick Heyward is loving this new phase of his career, experimenting with genre with the giddy glee of a true pop music nerd.

In 1982, Nick Heyward was a major star in the UK.

As the leader of pop sensations Haircut 100, he found himself loved by every teenage girl in the land. It's easy to see why, as Haircut 100 were a group of chaps so wholesome, they could have stepped from the pages of Lisa Simpson's "Non-Threatening Boys" magazine. They resembled a Benetton knitwear advert and played a type of quirky, pop-funk that propelled them into every transistor radio in Great Britain.

Keep reading... Show less

This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Keep reading... Show less

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow shines on her impressive interpretation of Fontella Bass' classic track "Rescue Me".

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow pays tribute to the classic Chicago label Chess Records on her new album Playing Chess, which was produced by Steve Greenberg, Mike Mangini, and the legendary Betty Wright. Unlike many covers records, LeGrow and her team of musicians aimed to make new artistic statements with these songs as they stripped down the arrangements to feature leaner and modern interpretations. The clean and unfussy sound allows LeGrow's superb voice to have more room to roam. Meanwhile, these classic tunes take on new life when shown through LeGrow's lens.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.