Tuesday, June 15, 2010

HeroesCon Booty: Thrillkiller

Not to brag, but I walked out of the 2010 HeroesCon in Charlotte, N.C., with in INSANE amount of trade paperbacks. Because of scheduling conflicts I wasn't able to attend the weekend convention until the final day, and found that rumours I'd heard for years were true: dealers slash their prices during the show's final hours. In the end, I stopped shopping when I couldn't carry any more books. When faced with hundreds of TBPs and hardbacks at $3 a pop, I went a little crazy.

I have a lot of reading to do and don't anticipate finishing this stack of books until next year's HeroesCon. In the meantime I plan to write about these books. First up: Thrillkiller, by Howard Chaykin and Dan Brereton.

Despite the presence of some genuine talent on the title page, Thrillkiller is a pretty typical Elseworlds story. This line of books eventually ran out of steam because they became predictable and formulaic: the goal was to put characters as far from their origins as possible (communist Russia, the Civil War, etc.) and quickly work them toward their status quo.

Thrillkiller is no different. Set in the early 1960s, it puts Batman and his cast in a setting highly reminiscent of a James Ellroy novel. Here, Robin and Batgirl are quasi-beatnik vigilantes fighting against crooked cops. Batman comes along later, as do an assortment of sometimes "real life" interpretations of Batman's rogues gallery. Unfortunately, neither the characters nor plot points are defined in anything but the broadest of strokes. Oh, and it has a lesbian Joker. Which really isn't as interesting as it ought to be.

I love Howard Chaykin but can tell when he's not entirely invested in a story. This is a by-the-numbers Elseworlds book that doesn't have much to offer besides some dazzling art from Brereton. Panel-by-panel, this is some great work from Brereton. I just wish Chaykin had provided him better scripts.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, I remember getting mine signed by Brereton back in the day at Heroes Con - a really cool dude. I really liked his art and he wanted to know why people weren't in better artist lines than his - not one big arrogant like some I meet before!
    BTW, the best Else World story I have read was during the year all DC annuals where Else World issues and they did a War of the Worlds homage in Superman and Adventures of Superman annuals. Story and art was split between a bunch of people making it really unique. You may have it, if not, I am sure you can find it. You are a reporter!


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