JUST JOSHING: Masterpiece #1

To me, I’ve always been a big fan of Brian Bendis when he does his stuff, especially when he’s working with Alex Maleev. Those two are magic together, and whether Jessica Jones or Scarlet, I enjoy how they jam together. So when I saw that they were working together on a new book for Dark Horse, count me in.


The Book


Masterpiece #1

Written by Brian Michael Bendis

Illustrated by Alex Maleev

Colors by Ian Herring

Letters by Joshua Reed

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

I have to admit the opening in particular was brilliant. Bendis and Maleev put you at ease by introducing Emma at her high school. She goes up to the class and says her name, and other than finding out she has a real fear of public speaking, you don’t learn much about her in that scene. She seems almost ordinary.

Which gets turned on its head immediately when she is arrested by the police and carted away. This scene alone is brilliant. It throws you in for a loop right away and you’re curious as to what happens next. What happens next is the interrogation recruitment scene. You learn Emma is called the Masterpiece by billionaire eccentric/bad guy Zero Preston, whose name feels very much like something you’d read from a very bad action movie or old comic book. Emma’s parents were criminals. They had stolen a ton of money from Preston and he is angry and wants it back. He wants to use Emma to hurt someone like her parents hurt him.

From there, it gets even more convoluted. Emma is angry at her guardian keeping secrets, as well as the fact that her life as she knows it is over. She has a webcomic called Unicorn Pow, which is as audacious as it sounds and has to cancel it, as her life involves her going on the run.

This is a heist comic. Bendis and Maleev are misdirecting and charming the audience at the same time. There is a big game going on here, and we still really don’t know what makes Emma special. We still don’t have much of a clue as to who she is, and even what she wants, other than maybe to know what happened to her parents, which ultimately is what this story is about. It’s intriguing, misleading, and something I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes.

Brian Bendis once upon a time was the best dialogue writer in comics. He still can crack a good one-liner and has a great ear for dialogue. It doesn’t lose the flow of the story, and this whole issue is nothing but fun. Credit to him and Alex Maleev, who still draws pretty women well, and has created an interesting world in which the Masterpiece plays. Ian Herring’s colors give the tone of the story the fun it is.  All in all, this is a great start to what seems to be a fun series. I can’t wait for future issues.

Go check it out. You’ll like it. I promise.


The Business

It’s been a while hasn’t it? I’ve had a crazy few months. 2023 ended on a financially low note. A big contract fell through and I fell just under a living wage as an artist. This year I intend to break into living wage, and dependable travel as I attempt to take my show on the road.

Beyond that, I have a novel currently in the hands of an agent, and I’m working on finishing my podcast course. That’s my 2024 so far. I’m working on the final ascension to myself making a living as a creative. It’s been a wild ride. In the meantime, I’ll still be writing up a storm here and elsewhere.

I wish you all a fantastic year and may your big goals find you. You all deserve the biggest successes in the world. Life is hard, but I hope what you’re looking for finds you. I believe in you, and I hope you believe in you too. You’re not alone out there.

That will do it for another column. Next, I’ll be doing some indy books. Until then, stay inspired out there.

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