The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has been working to insure the First Amendment rights of comic creators and retailers all over the country since 1986. This month,we see the release of their second comic book, Liberty Comics #2, and if you read careful you might just see a message in the stories that are contained herein.
Debuting at the Baltimore Comic-Con, Liberty Comics #2 is the latest offering from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Lately, I have been adding a list of creators to the beginning of my reviews, but this one has so many that there is no way that it can be done without taking up have the reviews space!Â It is truly a star studded title, featuring nearly thirty different creators. All the proceeds from this book go to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund to support their work and help creators and retailers in need.
There are 12 different stories in this book. To actually tell you about all twelve of them would take up more time than I have here, so I am going to pick out my 4 favorite ones and tell you about them. Keep in mind, this title is for mature readers, and there is some graphic content in it.
Big Bad City, Big Bad World
Written by Ben McCool
Art by Ben Templesmith
In a prequel tale leading into a new mini-series from Image Comics called Choker, a rough and tough private investigator and his squeamish assistant stakeout the Mayor’s sexual tryst that ends up badly. A very short tale about getting what you deserve with some great art by 30 Days of night’s Ben Templesmith.Â Ben McCool catches a feeling here that feels like the dark detective noir movies of the 50’s mixed with a shot of modern Sin City. Great little story that gives you a glimpse at the upcoming mini-series.
Painkiller Jane in Explosive!
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by Jim Rugs
When Painkiller Jane elects to deliver ransom money to armed men holding a local elementary school hostage, things get rather loud and violent, and an opinionatedÂ newscaster is there to give her two cents on the whole thing. From eating hot dogs, to taking out terrorist, to taking a bullet in the ass, nothing Jane does seems to satisfy the newscaster. She is determined to give her opinion of Jane, which is not good. Jane lets her know she supports her right to free speech in a most interesting way, and it is sure to get a laugh. I’ve not had a lot of exposure to this character, but it was not anything like what I had seen in the past, and a great ending page! Jimmy Palmiotti proves once again that he has a sense of humor and great timing, and Jim Rugs brings it all to life. Probably my second favorite story in the book.
Jack Staff in Speechless
Story and Art by Paul Grist
Jack Staff fights to stop the bad guy from getting the Tablet of Kush! Again, I have had no exposure to Paul Grist until this story, but his ability to tell a full story without using words (except forÂ a few introductory ones) was great. Even without knowing who the heck everyone was, I was able to enjoy the whole story. This may make me pick up more of his work.
Written by Neil Gaiman
Art by Jim Lee
This one piece is, in my humble opinion, worth the price of admission. You get a beautiful poem by Neil Gaiman about death (notice the little D) and the last breaths you may take. The poem is great, but the art my Jim Lee is spectacular. Using grey art board, and a combination of what I guess is a black and a white pencil, Jim Lee creates a series of images that are beautiful while having undertones of the dead. One of the best short pieces I have seen in a while.
This is just a sampling of the stories in Liberty Comics #2. There are 7 more stories and 3 pin-ups; those pin-ups include the cover images reprinted in the book. No matter which cover you get, the Free Speech image by Tim Sale or the Kick-Ass image from John Romita, Jr., you still get to have an example of them in the book itself. All this and there is also information about how to join the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund as well. The two covers available are something also. Tim Sale fans will love the image of Free Speech, Liberty and Justice chained and Romita fans will enjoy the Kick-ass image.
This is a very nice anthology and will be place proudly beside my first issue reprint of Liberty Comics #1. Did I like all the stories, no. But I liked more of them than I disliked them. That is the danger with any anthology, you get a lot of product, and not all of it will stick with you. There are several stories and creators in here I would not have been exposed to otherwise, and I think that is a good thing. A title like this is very hard to rate and with your indulgence, I won’t try. It is a good book, a good cause, and a good exposure to new artist.