Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Requiem for the 90s

I found a copy of Artemis Requiem #2 at my local second-hand bookstore a few days ago. Upon filing it, I realized something:

I seem to be at the mid-point of a deranged quest to acquire all of the title's extant issues, with the goal being to pay no more than 75c for any single one. Presently, issues 2,3, and 4 are in my possession.

Artemis Requiem (scripted by Willaim Messner-Loebs; pencilled by Ed Benes) was published in 1996. In the second issue ("Tribes"), Artemis (just emerged from Hell, with Wonder Woman's assistance) confronts a band of graveyard-lurking white supremacists; meets up with Henrietta (Hank) Sojourner Jessup, her side-kick; joins the Hellenders; and kills a rampaging demon in the final pages.

For your enjoyment, here's the comic's indescribable splash page:

Though it looks like Artemis has just kicked Wonder Woman's ass (and torn up her bodice), that's a trick of the perspective. Artemis is actually protecting Diana, who is really, really tired.

All I can say is: What the hell happened in the 90s?

I've read the issue twice, and I still don't know why it's titled "Tribes." (Given the history between Artemis and Diana, I can figure it out, but there's no reason internal to the story to explain it.)

Offering some useful exposition later in the story, the writer actually has Artemis say this:
Six months ago I was the Wonder Woman. Three days ago I was the mistress of one of the Archdukes of Hell. Today I am a tourist in Pennsylvania. I'm amused by the weaving of the fates, but hardly excited by them anymore. And you, Hank Jessup. How came you by that name?
Now, I was in graduate school during those years, and couldn't spare the time or money to read comics. So really, what's was up with all of this, then?

What was up was simply that they sucked.

I've read lots of explanations about the comic bust of the 90's and lots of blame is placed on speculation by collectors. But why did I leave and what's the reason I keep hearing from people who left at the same time?

The comics sucked.
Dawn: I hear you. I hear you, loud and clear.
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