Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Classics - The Badger #1

From the long-lost days of 1983, we present a classic comic that features the kind of wild, creative force of nature that we rarely see in comics these days.

The Badger starts out with a basic concept: that you'd have to be crazy to dress up in a costume and go out to fight crime. So it stars Norbert Sykes, a Vietnam veteran who had lost touch with reality, but vows to fight crime as The Badger.

Most comics would run with that concept, but writer Mike Baron had several additional twists to add. While in a mental institution, the Badger encounters a 1500 year-old weather wizard named Ham, who had been captured and imprisoned by his enemies (who, to be fair, had good reason to hate him) and transported to - of all places - Wisconsin.

Ham decides to team up with the Badger, and they (sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally) cut a swath across the criminal element of Madison.

The story was just crazy enough to work, and future stories would run the gamut from tidy little Zen-like fables to carnivals of violence. It was a wildly clever, brutal and thoroughly entertaining comic.

The art was by Jeffrey Butler, and while the early issues showed a few rough edges, there was no denying his talent for creating distinctive characters, realistic-looking fight sequences and dynamic layouts.

While not a book for children, the Badger was a sharp mix of street-level heroics and mystical adventures, and was a comic that made the wait for the next issue unbearable.

It's amazing to me that this comic and its older "brother," Nexus, aren't being published right now. Surely there's a company out there with the sense to bring some new life to these classic characters (preferably with the original creators on board, of course).

Come on!

Grade: A


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