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  1. #1
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    Talking Chiaroscuro: Anyone read it?

    I've been looking for old Vertigo stuff that I haven't read yet and saw Chiaroscuro: The private lives of Leonardo Da Vinci and was wondering if anyone has read it, and if it was any good. Da Vinci has always intrigued me, however there didn't look like much of the art or academia was mentioned.

    Also, wondering about stuff like Goddess, Egypt, Outlaw Nation, Black Orchid, Army @ War, Uncle Sam...

    Anyone know much about these?

    Thanks heaps

  2. #2
    Crusader of Justice dancj's Avatar
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    I never read Chiaruscuro because it looked like exactly the sort of stuff I hate.

    The Goddess is a lot of fun. It's a fairly typical ultraviolent Garth Ennis comic and it has Phil Winslade on art who I don't normally like, but this was back when he was a Glen Fabry clone so it was quite agreeable.

    Egypt was fantastic for a couple of issues (and had excellent Glynn Dillon art), but then a lesser (though not bad) artist took over for the rest and somewhere along the way I completely lost track of what was going on. I really should try it again sometime.

    Outlaw Nation was good. It was one of Jamie Delano's more light-hearted stories and benefits a lot. It also has good art by an artist whose name escapes me. There is a TPB by another publisher that prints the whole lot in black and white.

    Black Orchid - The Neil Gaiman + Dave McKean mini is good, but I think the ongoing that followed is generally considered to not be.

    Army@War - Fantastic. Rick Veitch firing on all cylinders with the army trying to sell fighting in wars as "peak life experience". Really blackly comic.

    Uncle Sam - Maybe it would resonate more with me if I was American, but I though it was drivel.

  3. #3
    Say WHAT?!?!?!? FanboyStranger's Avatar
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    Outlaw Nation was great. It suffered a bit from the slowburn syndrome that all Vertigo books launched in that era had, but found it's feet pretty early. I highly recommend it. Goran Sudzuka is the artist that Dan is thinking about.

    Army@Love is great, too, depending on your patience for satire. A lot of people were horrified by the concept of the book, but I don't think many of them actually read it. Don't skip the A@L:Art of War mini, either: it gets absolutely crazy.

    The Black Orchid mini by Gaiman and McKean is quite good, but the ongoing that follows on from it is pretty much worthwhile only for the art. Not terrible, but not really worth tracking down.

    I didn't like Goddess, despite some great art from the always underrated Phil Winslade. I felt that story was a bit too shallow for the theme it was approaching, and I find it to be the weakest Ennis story from Vertigo. (And yes, I'm including Adventures in the Rifle Brigade, which was supposed to be a gonzo romp.)

    Egypt is the weakest of Milligan's three "E"s (Enigma, Egypt, and The Extremist), but it's still worth a look. It would have been much, much better if Glyn Dillon had finished the book. (Also, if you like Glyn Dillon, I'd recommed checking out his recent OGN The Nao of Brown. Great book.)

    Never got the fuss over Uncle Sam myself. I'd rate it as Alex Ross' best book, but I'm not a particular fan of Ross', so take that as you will.

    Never read Chiaruscuro.

  4. #4
    government's watching you matt levin's Avatar
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    I really enjoyed Chiaruscuro, but I'm a fan of Da Vinci, and found this entertaining, if not especially enlightening (and, in my ignorance, possibly stretches the truth); I liked the art work, the dialogue was speakable (sounds natural, read aloud), and so on. Would've preferred, frankly, a comic more about Da Vinci's work, and working at it, but hey--

    as to the others: I really liked the Black Orchid mini, and mostly tried-to-like the series (which does _look_ really nice, but reads only rather pedestrian). Uncle Sam was 'interesting' but not engaging for me. Egypt, Outlaw Nation, and Goddess never attracted my attention; so, no opinion other than at the time I found them to be not for me. Army@War was too over the top for me by the third or fourth issue, and I never went back, gave away what I'd bought. Hope this's helpful!
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  5. #5
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    I really enjoyed Chiaruscuro. It actually tried to do something different, and it did it well. Egypt, Army @ War and Uncle Sam I thought were all pretty good too, but I must admit I never much liked the Vertigo version of Black Orchid.

  6. #6
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    Thanks everyone.

    It sounds like Chiaruscuro is worth having a look at and Army@War will be worth tracking down. The other's I'll probably just keep an eye out to see if they pop up cheap sometime.

  7. #7
    Crusader of Justice dancj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FanboyStranger View Post
    Don't skip the A@L:Art of War mini, either: it gets absolutely crazy.
    What?? I've never heard of this!

  8. #8
    Say WHAT?!?!?!? FanboyStranger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dancj View Post
    What?? I've never heard of this!
    It was a six issue mini that ties up the original 12 issue series. It sold, like, 4 copies, so you're not alone in missing out on it. It's also never been collected, which is a shame. I would recommend tracking it down, though-- it's as good as the first series, and goes off in some very strange directions.

    Also, the covers are all appropriations of classic works of art used in an advertising context. It's like Veitch's covers for The One, but a bit more high brow.

  9. #9
    Crusader of Justice dancj's Avatar
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    Cheers - I've added to my (very long) wants list.

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