Simon Dark: What Simon Does - Steve Niles, Scott Hampton
What is this I don't even

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I'll be real with you - aside from every dumb, dumb, dumb problem that occurs in this book like an outbreak of bacne, that reaction is my review of this book, in short. Done.

Beyond that reaction, I have a story to tell you - of me leaving the copy of [b:Proud Americans|102953|Proud Americans (Preacher, #3)|Garth Ennis|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1309915653s/102953.jpg|1185977] at home by accident and me left with the options of re-reading [b:Until the End of the World|95406|Until the End of the World (Preacher, #2)|Garth Ennis|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1309914965s/95406.jpg|1433216] - or reading this nonsense that my S.O had gotten from the library and had left in the car for my breaks at work. Guess which option I picked?

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Why would they set it in Gotham? To expressly piss me right the fuck off?

Alright, let's get serious - too serious - here for a bit.

This book is an unholy creation - a Frankenstein's monster - of four other comics that I could identify.

Most obviously:

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And, a little obviously, from the character model of Simon Dark -

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But, in my opinion, another rip-off comes in the way of

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And

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It's not a pretty pastiche, let me tell you that. The aforementioned S.O of mine brought up that Simon Dark looks a little like The Crow, but I was quick to point out that The Crow came back because of revenge. Simon's supposed immortality reminds me more of Deadpool, or Cassidy the vampire from "Preacher", where it doesn't have any sort of real rhyme or reason outside of plot convenience - and, sorry, but black magic/Reanimator science doesn't make any sense when you mumble out the logic of it underneath a lot of REALLY FUCKING LOUD AND DISTRACTING SECONDARY CHARACTERS AND BLAH BLAH BLAH SECRET CULTS.

Simon has a little nursery rhyme that kids sing about him for absolutely no known reason - which seems to tie in with the nonsensical fact that everyone in the city seems to have the emotional capacity of someone on Ambien and Nyquil - which reminds me way way way too much of Freddy Kruegar's nursery rhyme. There seems to be little reason behind anything that happens in this book - style, if you can call it that, thoroughly beats down substance all over the place in this story.

And what else could possibly be wrong in a work of graphic literature?

Children, your answers, please.

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The art. The art is a poor man's [b:30 Days of Night, Vol. 1|831829|30 Days of Night, Vol. 1|Steve Niles|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1348704398s/831829.jpg|280664] in a book that needed a far better art style - at least, one that did not look this strangely dark. No, what this needed was more akin to [b:The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes|23754|The Sandman, Vol. 1 Preludes and Nocturnes|Neil Gaiman|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1358923255s/23754.jpg|1228437], NOT [b:MirrorMask: The Illustrated Film Script|47718|MirrorMask The Illustrated Film Script|Neil Gaiman|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1266458979s/47718.jpg|584290]. Jesus, the way that the people look in this comic is damn grotesque, and not in a compelling or beautiful way. Just fuckin' ugly. Words and signs in this art style seem to "pop" out of its world in a distracting way. My S.O remarked that the ONLY thing that this art style made in the least bit appealing was Simon Dark's fuckin' John Carpenter looking mask.

Oh wait - is that another thing that this comic seems to rip off?

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Fuck, wrong gif - ah, fuck it. This is about the same level of effort and care that Niles took with this character, so it seems fitting.

The characters seem uniformly bad, with the notable exception of Simon Dark himself. Oh my god, Simon.

Simon is a teenage boy who has the ability to keep coming back from the dead to roam a version of "Gotham" that has none of the charm or intrigue that that retardedly half-assed and underutilized character Batman brought to the city. Gotham is Batman's city - if you're not going to include that entire mythology, why even bother setting this story in Gotham, if it wasn't a dirty dirty rip-off made by washed-out hacks who wish that they could write like they're a part of Vertigo while still cashing in on a sure fire universe.

Cheap, unimaginative bastards.

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Wait, that isn't the gif that I picked out, what does that even mean - you know what, nevermind. Nevermind - why should I make more of an effort to understand what I am trying to do than Niles did, with this fucking book?

I have not even touched on the cluster of mental disease that makes up Simon's "personality", which includes being chronically depressed, certain that for some unknown reason he is the city's savior, having an intense desire to collect all of the copies of [b:Moby-Dick; or, The Whale|153747|Moby-Dick; or, The Whale|Herman Melville|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1327940656s/153747.jpg|2409320] like they're Pokemon and the desire to freak out for absolutely no reason at the drop of a hat. And then underreact to things that a normal person might have screamed and clawed their own faces over.

And then there's the realization that murder kills people.

By connecting the dots, he discovers that he has not been roughly putting people to sleep, but has been brutally murdering people for however long he has moped around the ruins of the park/church ruins(?).

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This is the EXACT realization that the parody version of Batman - Badman - has in the College Humor skit series, "Badman", in the episode in which Badman goes up against the Penguin. Here's a link to the thing, if you think I am shitting you.

It was obvious, while reading this, that Niles was grasping for some sembalance of what it meant to write an "adult" work, thinking that writing about cults and having an abundance of violence is the same thing. It is not.

Simon Dark stands as a rather dastardly example of people trying too damn hard to prove something, either ot themselves or their audience. I almost cannot believe that the writer of 30 Days of Night made something like this, but here it is, in physical form and with his name on the cover and on Goodreads. I think I understand now that unless I want to read the abundance of really good Batman comic books, I will stick with DC's imprint, Vertigo, from now on.

I would say that I would not recommend that any comic book writer does what Niles did in this - taking his audience as a brain-dead, inanimate object - but fuck it, I had to glance through the top reviews that were about this book before I added this one.

If I need to be the one to point out that the emperor is naked, then Niles, you need to at least put a thong on and show some humility for what you created. This whole thing looks as though it was jury-rigged together with Elmer's and toothpicks.

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