Tuesday means that Thwip! goes “retro” and talks about collections/storylines that we think were awesome (and still are) – today we talk about the 72 issue Vertigo series, DMZ by Brian Wood and Ricardo Burchielli and John Paul Leon.
DMZ is a remarkably different book from the others we have been talking about here on our Retro Tuesday. It is a cerebral, detailed, nuanced look at a fantastic situation…America undergoing a second civil war and all of a sudden Manhattan Island is a DMZ (demilitarized zone).
The story is about photojournalist Matty Roth getting trapped in the DMZ and so we see his life as he learns the lay of the land. The story is a mixture of journalistic narratives and political plays as he tries to figure out how to survive his time there. He makes questionable connections and deals with people, does something tremendously stupid (which I still think was just badly written, it still annoys me to this day, but I can live with), and in the end there is a decently satisfying payoff to the whole endeavor. Wood’s writing is a meditation on the nature of man and it is nothing ground-breaking. Instead, it is a story that is just really, really well-crafted (except for that moment which I mentioned) and you get sucked into the whole drama and setting unfolding as you follow Matty around.
Ricardo Burchielli’s art (as far as I know, this is his debut work in America) is different from anything you would have seen in mainstream comic book art in the States during that time (now there are a few more Italian artists on the scene, so it is a bit less jarring). He has a nice earthy style to his work that well suited the series and I can not imagine the stories being told without his style to back it all up.
Talking about it makes me want to read it again, so will wrap up here. Go on and read it and tell me if I was right or wrong to recommend this, go on, I dare you.