Thursday, January 12, 2012

Lobster of Darkness

     Back in the 1930s, the mysterious vigilante Lobster Johnson was the scourge of the underworld, blasting crime with his flying fists, his blazing .45 and his burning lobster's claw.  His obsessive mission did not stop with crime, however.  He was also the world's safeguard against the predations of evil super-scientists and incursions by the forces of the supernatural. 
     Never heard of this great pulp character?  Probably because he was created in 1999 by Mike Mignola as a backup feature in his Hellboy comic.  Since then, the Lobster has popped up in a few more short features, as a supporting character, in a miniseries and even in his own novel.  An homage to actual pulp characters like the Shadow, the Spider and the Avenger, with their merciless methods and dark natures, the Lobster's past is shrouded in mystery and his adventures (originally depicted by Mignola but later taken over by other artists) were drenched in a rough-hewn shadow that made the comic pages seem to bleed an inky darkness.
     If you missed his previous adventures, or even if you caught them, the Lobster begins a new miniseries this week, Lobster Johnson: The Burning Hand (by Mignola, Arcudi and Zonjic).  With all the comics and graphic novels I read -- between my personal reading, my research, my committee work, my reviewing and the class I teach -- it takes a lot to get me genuinely excited about something new coming out.  But Lobster Johnson is always something special.  Have a look . . . if you can take the darkness.

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