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Monday, April 14, 2008

What Do You Mean They're Not Superheroes?: The One and Only Hippo Private Eye

Elephantmen: Wounded Animals Hardcover
Published by: Image
Written by: Richard Starkings
Art by: Moritat and others
Price: $24.99

NOTHING says fun like noir and anthropomorphism ... No, really. Elephantmen is the evolution of Starking and Ladronn's HipFlask and here we get to see the larger
world with many more characters. Between Hieronymous "Hip" Flask, Ebenezer "Ebony" Hide, Tusk, Obidiah Horn, Elijah Delany, Miki, Savannah, Kazushi Nikken, Sahara, Serehghetti ... All of the characters are interesting and the whole series (including the mini-series that come before that are also available in very handsome hardcover collections) is really compelling.
The premise of the series is at once simple and complex. Kazushi Nikken set about the creation of these animal human hybrids in Africa under the flag of the Mappo Corporation. Nikken committed unspeakable atrocity after unspeakable atrocity to
create his Elephantmen, his own personal army so he could attempt to take over the world ... And he damn near did it. During the dismantling of his army the creatures that he created were recognized as citizens of the world and they are now living among us. Some more successfully so than others. Here we are talking about characters who work as agents of the Information Agency, who are entrepreneurs, who are criminals, who are the unfortunate products of an insane scientist, as well as human characters who love, fear, respect, hate ... Who feel the full gamut of emotions about these characters ... Just like you will if you give them sufficient time.
Richard Starkings is more than just a genius when it comes to lettering he is also a fantastic writer who manages to make men who are half hippopotamus feel incredibly human (Joe Kelly also contributes a really heart warming short story called Captain Stoneheart and The Truth Fairy). Moritat is a phenomenal artist who creates an awesome feel to every issue doing pencils, inks, and colors on the main story of each issue, the rest of the stories are drawn by a group of diverse and equally amazing artists like Chris Bachalo, Brian Bolland, J. Scott Campbell, Ian Churchill, Nick Filardi, Henry Flint, David Hine, Aron Lusen, Joe Madureira, Tom Scioli, Dave Stewart, & Chris Weston. And trust me when I say that for $24.99 (and in hardcover) not only are you not likely to find a better bang for your buck but rarely are you going to find a better quality collection.

For more information check out: www.hipflask.com, or listen to interviews with Richard Starkings over at Wordballoon or over at Comixology!

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