November 20th, 2010
Marineman #1 by Ian Churchill (Image)
It’s called Marine Man, you can tell that from the cover, and so it owes, or seems to want you to think it owes, a lot to Aquaman, like it’s the 90s and Image-esque pastiches of the DC/Marvel roster are like so hip right now? Aquaman then, and hence the Sub Mariner (Roy Roman! Stop it Alan, think of my sides!) too of course, but far more importantly and as a very pleasant surprise, Jacques Cousteau (and son), and the legendary Steves of the Sea, i.e Irwin (RIP), Zissou and ‘Bitesize’ Backshall
So it’s about a guy called Steve STEVE who’s got some silly, spotty involvement with Black Ops, Navy SEALS and stuff, which will in later issues no doubt provide plenty of scope for some badass evil sub action, but mainly this really very nicely balanced and presented issue is about something far more terrifying and awesome: Having a job! and friends and Family!? Strewth! Put your armbands on or something. Despite the wonderfully ludicrous contortions and distortions of human anatomy that Churchill depicts (and the equally restrained, referenced and realistic depiction of undesea life), the superheroesque action that you were afraid of is just not to be found in this issue. Instead what we have is a set of cast and character relations deftly established (Churchill evincing an ear for dialogue as natural as his bright and bouncy art is knowing), workaday life as an epic of normal life (in bulging wetsuits), and predictably fascinating and well-incorporated infodumps on life beneath the waves.
It’s cheesy and a bit daft, I suppose, hipsterish cynicism hat on, but Irwin was both of those things, and was fucking great into the bargain (You didn’t love Stevo-O? Don’t read this blog!) Is this what an all-ages independent comic with designs firmly on the mainstream is going to be like from now on? Crikey! Dive in.