Why I Can’t Talk to My Girlfriend About Comics, Part Seven

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For some reason (related to overwhelming work and after-work schedules) this column was reduced to a partial-hype column last week.  I’m going to do that one more time, as  I think this week’s subject is as perfect as Orc Stain was last week.

Not every guy is the same. If we were alike, Justice League #1-6 with it’s use of explosion captions alone would have been my favorite comic of all time. Not every woman is the same. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have heard an eight year girl old tell me recently, “Legally Blonde is the best movie…next to Real Steel!

But still, Garth Ennis’ The Boys, as much as it’s one of the best regular monthly titles, as well as one that reads great in both individual issues and collected trades (a rare feat), I feel I have to keep this away from my girlfriend all women like a vial full of plague.  I always try to introduce people to all kinds of comics, and for a while now, Ennis books have been on the “EXCEPTION” list.

The Boys is Ennis’ biggest opus to date, rivaled only by his Punisher run.  Though it suffers with the loss of its original artist Darick Robertson, it’s still the best home for Ennis’ love of war history, world history, and of course his gross out humor with very few holds barred (and none I can think of to list).  Some of the non-barred topics off the top of my head include prostitution, pedophilia, infanticide, murder, maiming, rape, otherwise coerced sex, c-wordism (I just made that term up), the various killings of members of the Bush family (one on panel–this is an alternative universe), 9-11 (again, alternative universe), and I’ll stop there.  Of course, the worst atrocities are committed by the four-colored heroes themselves, relentlessly satirized by Ennis as the government group The Boys work to stop their excesses.  How many items on my above list do you want to guess were touched on during the first six issues before Wildstorm pulled it and Dynamite Entertainment picked it up?

We’re up to issue 64 this week, and in a healthier economy, I’d tell you to get the umpteen trades so you’re caught up enough to follow the upcoming final arc.

Sadly, this is one I feel like I have to hide from women and other non-comics reading people in general like it’s porn. I was bummed when I heard the movie was nixed recently. But really, the graphic nature of this book would guarantee any movie to be seriously distilled (and good luck selling books or any other movie tie-ins with any faithfulness at Barnes and Noble).  An introductory trade would be difficult, given that the gross-out factor is high in the early issues, and the political intrigue (my favorite part) doesn’t really get started until about three trades later.

Some people have equated certain comics out there as “guy books” for their language, violence and gross out factor.  Ennis might be the quintessential  “guy book” writer of his generation, with the exception of his old runs on Hellblazer, which were comparatively mild and even romantic in some spots. My girlfriend doesn’t like violence in general, so she’d most likely give milder books a pass. She would probably find it funny, however that I like The Boys. Though I’m not stereotypical male, my love for this she would probably find very typically male. A “Boys will be boys” moment, if you will.

Do you agree or disagree? The only person on WGI I know of that has any problems with Ennis is Angela Outlaw.  Then again, that was more for his Crossed mini-series, which I think this series surpasses as far as gore goes.  I won’t even try an online poll at this point, because those are the kiss of death for any blog posts I’ve ever written. But if anyone out there, female or otherwise, wishes to comment, I first direct you to the preview to the latest issue coming out t0day. Spoiler alert: It brings all the dark secrets of the heroes acquired from all the issues past up front in all their graphic glory.

And here are two covers. One past, one upcoming.

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About Chad Parenteau

I'm a poet. I run the Stone Soup Poetry series in Cambridge that runs every Monday night. I review comics in my spare time.
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