A tomb of great Peter Milligan stories to digest
I cannot believe it took 16 years for this to reprinted. Shame on you Vertigo for not keeping more of Peter Milligan's work in print.
Eaters (Ormston art)The Eaters from Peter Milligan is not an easy read. It will challenge your sanity and belief system if you allow it. Society tells us that eating human flesh is wrong. But in movies like Alive (1993), eating human flesh is acceptable to survive. I don't know if Peter Milligan was inspired by the movie Alive and it is not the idea of eating human flesh to maintain nutrition because of a plane clash that freaks me out, it is the relationship to religion.
What Would Jesus Do? Let you eat him? Christians are a very strong and powerful organized religion in the world and like all religions, rituals are like Magick. Consuming the Eucharist is symbolically consuming Jesus and Peter Milligan exploits that idea and "suggests" early Christians/Catholics were "eaters" (Cannibals). Some of the "facts" presented by Peter Milligan could very well be fabled, I am not sure where he would of gotten all that information, but by actually listening to what he is suggesting is quite scary.
Dean Ormston is hit or miss with me. When he does paint, such as the art on the cover, I like it a lot because of the sense of shading he has. His interiors are not always to my liking because a lot of the time I think the art looks flat and 2D. It does go with the story, so the ugly nature of his art could be seen as symbolic as the ugly truths to the eaters.
One more thing I have to comment is on the visual jokes and verbal puns are really clever in this book.
This comic was part of the Vertigo Voice stories and Peter Milligan's voice is strong in this book. The message he is preaching may not be pleasant so reader beware. I enjoyed this read because I respect Peter Milligan's writing.
The Death of a Romantic (Risso art)The word " Romantic" taken form dictionary dot com it means (click on the spoiler link below for all 5 answers:
love or by the idealizing of love or one's beloved."
Poetically this is what Peter Milligan does in this comic. He creates a Romantic in the main character and then brings a symbolic "Death" to the Romantic in her. Nicely done and very poetic. The story itself is not the praise, the praise is in the art done by Eduardo Risso (100 Bullets).
I just had to post the sex scene because it is just beautifully done. I'll first comment on the red circles I added. Notice all the panels but one have a Candle and wine glass, which symbolize the phallic male and he welcoming female. Each time we see the candle it is lit, except the last panel where it is "Spent". Let me elaborate, The main character is symbolically "making love" when she is masturbating and in the classic woman romantic idea, flowers, chocolates, candles, etc can be broken down to male and female symbols. It is in our psychological nature to see ourselves extended with things around and that is why the candle and cup are important, those are her symbols for intercourse. The only panel in which no candle and cup is seen, we see her hand in a position which we can only assume is orgasm and a shadow of her enjoyment. Even the way she digs into the poem is like a lover digging into her mates skin in ecstasy.
The only circle I had to make is the green one. Could Milligan and Risso be exploring Cubism? I know Milligan explored Cubism with Hewligan's Haircut. The Cubist shadow play of breasts could be her symbolic presentation to her lover and that is why the next panel is the shadow love making.
This is a story for the true classical Romantic. This is a great example of what true Vertigo is.
War + Peas (Fegrego art)War + Peas is an interesting tale, it is a great example of Peter Milligan's ability for puns, which I will not say the meaning since it ruins the story. I do appreciate that Peter Milligan takes the road of a Nihilist in a a story about war and its long after math. In a War anthology many would write a war story, but Peter Milligan digs into the root of its influence in society. Milligan is also great with symbols and this story is full of them, from the shed used as a symbolic birthplace and tomb to Peas being more then just a vegetable. This is another deeply psychological read from Peter Milligan.
What A Man's Gotta Do (Fegrego art)Western's and why they are so American is a question many ask. Part of the reason Westerns are American is because of the conflict of roles in society in American's upbringing. Peter Milligan explores the Western, is it more then just cowboys and natives? Milligan suggests it is a conflict of gender roles of male and female and the story is driven by it. The only problem I had with it was the ending. It makes sense, but I think it leans to much to the Deus Ex Machina urge Milligan has.
Partners (Savoia art)Now this is a weird tale indeed. It is a tale about perception and reality. The concept, two people who are alone and have to be alone since they don't know who is the imaginary friend or if either one is imaginary. The story works best as a short story and I am glad Peter Milligan wrote it, since he is one of the few writers who could really pull something link this off. What really makes the story is how it is bookended. We question the relationship either way and it is best never to answer it or the story fails.
Final comments:I loved this reprint. I actually own all the stories in past versions, but I respect Peter Milligan so much that I wanted a more comprehensive collection, so I would have to open up the older anthologies for example if I wanted to read The Death of a Romantic or Partners for example. The only thing I would change is the feature. I believe from the two Vertigo Voice books, Face was the better story and it would of had Vertigo pay Duncan more money since he did Face as well.
I can understand the need to have Eaters and The Death of a Romantic since it is possible Cassandra Quill is the lead in The Death of a Romantic as well. Red hair, same first name and eating lifestyle is similar. If Cassy is the reason Eaters was reprinted then it does work since I wouldn't of noticed Cassy being in two books, if it was not for this close proxy.
I do recommend this reprint. It is Peter Milligan and Milligan and Vertigo means comics at its finest. If you love sequential art then this is a must, even with its sensitive subject matters.