Keith Giffen, Alan Grant & Simon Bisley
Lobo: Portrait of a Bastich (1992)
Six hundred pages worth of Aleister Crowley's short stories can be a tough mountain to climb, so I've taken a break about halfway through and am refreshing my palate with something which, it might be argued, could be considered the thematic opposite of Crowley's laboured symbolism. Lobo is an extraterrestrial bounty-hunter and parody of the sort of angry over-the-top violent loner types which began to infest caped comicdom during the nineties. Lobo goes out of its way to offend, shares most of its basic values with Beavis & Butthead, and is probably one of the more stupid things I've read this year; and yet it's great because it's done right and it works. Simon Bisley's artwork is as ludicrous as ever, comically violent and presumably fuelled by death metal and hard liquor, but there's nevertheless something oddly beautiful about it all - a fine balance is struck with fiddly detail in all the right places and heavy, solid figures. It almost carries the authority of classical painting and as such makes every other clown who ever drew a scowling muscleman firing a gun larger than himself entirely redundant. Although the two four-issue miniseries collected here may have set out to rip huge streaks of piss out of the art of Todd McFarlane and Rob Liefeld, the thing works because those involved so obviously loved what they were doing; so despite a superficially similar penchant for those kicking-peoples'-heads-in gags, Portrait of a Bastich feels almost wholesome in comparison to the somewhat cynical and nasty Skrull Kill Krew to which I subjected myself t'other week.
I actually bought these when they came out back in the 1990s, then reluctantly sold them on eBay when raising funds for my move to Texas, and it's great to have them back in the collection. Portrait of a Bastich is, roughly speaking, Motorhead in space written by Douglas Adams but without the smarm, and it's very, very funny.
Better get back to old grumpy bollocks now I suppose...