David Hines (hradzka) wrote,
David Hines

Single issues meme

thete1 asked about single issues that stuck with people, and it really got me thinking. This deserves to be a meme. So I'm making it one.

Name six individual comic issues that have stuck with you, and explain why.

Amazing Spider-Man #33, "The Final Chapter." Steve Ditko's depiction of Spider-Man's struggle for his life is one of the most awesome and inspiring pieces of sequential art ever committed to paper. Stan Lee's dialogue works with it magnificently, but it's Ditko's plotting and drawing of the sequence that make it an all-time classic, and I would kill for wordless posters of the art.

Daredevil #208, "The Deadliest Night of My Life," by Harlan Ellison and Arthur Byron Cover. Mainly for the freaked-out nightmare sequence, in which Daredevil hallucinates his own fears; the most horrifying is a panel in which DD imagines himself as a double amputee, trying to crawl forward on the stumps of his legs.

G.I. Joe #155, "A Letter From Snake-Eyes," by Larry Hama. You're laughing. Don't. G.I. Joe (the original run) was a great comic book, and its final issue was unforgettable. It's a letter written by Snake-Eyes, probably the most popular Joe -- his popularity is especially impressive given the fact that he's mute -- to a young boy who's the adopted son of a former brother in arms. The letter is about what it means to be a soldier. (#55, "Unmaskings," which sees Cobra Commander confronted with his personal failings when he's unexpectedly reunited with his comatose, crippled son, is also a terrific story with the kind of human moment you don't expect to see between two characters named Destro and Cobra Commander).

Uncanny X-Men Annual 11. An atmospheric "trapped in a funhouse" story, focusing on the X-Men's deepest desires. Has some Yukio/Storm stuff that I think made it to scans_daily at one point, but there's a helluva lot more to it than that. The temptations of the X-Men are impressively atmospheric, from Havok's desperate, screaming hatred of always being in control of his powers to Rogue's wish to join the ball to Wolverine's re-imagining of his beloved Mariko as a biker babe.

Spirit #1 (from Harvey Comics, September 11, 1949) contained the short story "Ten Minutes," an unforgettable story of ten minutes in the life of a young man who gambles -- and loses -- everything when he decides to turn to crime. The story is told real-time, complete with ticking clock. You can buy the original art, if you have a spare fifteen grand. If I had it, I'd part with the green in a heartbeat.

Two-Fisted Tales was one of EC Comics's great war comics line, and issue #25 features a Harvey Kurtzman story (to be posted shortly at scans_daily) that is short but packs a wallop. An American soldier faces down a desperate enemy, and, as Samuel Fuller once put it, his war is reduced to simply a struggle to survive. That's true of both men in this story. There's an equivalence drawn between the two combatants, but I don't think it's so much a moral equivalence (as is unfortunately so often done when writers tell war stories these days) as a mortal equivalence. John McCutcheon sang, famously, that "on each end of the rifle, we're the same." He was wrong; we're not. But under the ground, or floating face-down in the Imjin, it's a different matter.

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