Sunday, April 15, 2007

Hermes vs. the Eyeball Kid #1

Hermes vs. the Eyeball Kid #1, December 1994, Dark Horse Comics
writer: Eddie Campbell
artists: Eddie Campbell & Peter Mullins
art assistance: April Post
writing assistance: Wes Kublick

Comic books are often classified in one of two categories: modern mythologies or absurd, juvenile funnybooks. With two clashing characters named Hermes and the Eyeball Kid, this issue may be the first to accept both distinctions. Hermes is indeed the speedy god with the winged sandals, and the Eyeball Kid is . . . well, a guy with a bunch of eyeballs, so as a reader discovering this series for the first time (this incarnation is a reprint, although I don't know where the story originally appeared), I'm not sure if Campbell is attempting to establish legitimate lore, or just silly satire. Just a few pages into the read, ultimately, I didn't care anymore, because the thing was just too much fun to classify either way.

You know, I remember learning about Greek mythology for the first time in the eighth grade, and I was initially bored with those old soothsayers' lofty storytelling styles. Even modern interpretations of those ancient verses retained such stoicism that make my eyes droop at the very thought; however, since then, I've developed an appreciation for those myths' complexities. They are truly the comic book adventures of the past, and I can only assume that their original audiences were just as compelled with the next chapter of Odysseus' journey then as we are with what will happen in this week's 52 now. All that is to say, I sense that writer/artist Eddie Campbell sought to infuse this dichotomy in Hermes vs. the Eyeball Kid. This issue's plot, the culminated first three parts of this multi-round bout, establishes all of the important characters succinctly, yet each supporting character retains some semblance of complexity that both distracts yet contributes to the main event. While I read through these backstories eagerly in anticipation for those title characters, I was also intrigued by the origins of that head in the hat box, or the wagerers of the fight's outcome. Yeah, you should really check it out. It's a trip.

Perhaps one of the most lasting impressions of this issue is the realization that, for all of the comics I've read before and during this challenge (easily thousands by now), I still have many supposed "classics" to read. Not that Hermes vs. the Eyeball Kid is on anyone's top ten lists, but Eddie Campbell is a sensational artist, and although I'm familiar with his resume, this is the first of his works I've read thoroughly. Believe it or not, I just began the first The Invisibles graphic novel. I know, I know. Apparently, you could never have enough eyeballs to read all of the incredible comics out there.

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