CINDER AND ASHE (DC, First Printing, 2014; Softcover)
Collects Cinder And Ashe #1-4 (cover dates May- August, 1988)
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artist: Jose' Luis Garcia-Lopez
Watchmen brought about a sea change in comics. Out were comics approved by the Comics Code Authority, in were comics intended for mature readers. For better or for worse, Watchmen was the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band of comics. Thing never would, and never could, be the same again. Comic books grew up in the mid-80s and veteran creators, free from the shackles of industry-imposed “censorship”, rushed to fill the vacuum with their own 'dark and gritty' adult oriented content.
Gerry Conway is most famous (infamous?) as the guy who killed Gwen Stacy in Amazing Spider-Man #122 back in 1973, but to base his entire comic career on that one incident is a disservice to his body of work. He wrote a ton of titles for Marvel and DC. Not everything that he touched was gold, but he has done a ton of solid work that is worth a second look. He has written for various television shows over the years but always seems to come back to comics for one reason or another. He is paired here with Jose' Luis Garcia-Lopez, a prolific artist who can draw anything under the sun. He has done nearly every genre and nailed them all. The lure of the pair of them prompted me to pick up this previously unknown (to me) title when this book came out.
Like Conway's most famous creation, The Punisher, Cinder And Ashe's roots lie in the Viet Nam War. Being of draft age while the war was going on had a profound impact on his writing. While it could be dismissed by cynical members of subsequent generations as the musings of Baby Boomer I think that the disillusionment with the way things were served to inform his writing, giving it a wry cynicism.
Cinder And Ashe are private detectives, with Cinder being bi-racial. While people wouldn't bat an eye at that today it was actually quite bold in the late 1980s. Ashe speaks in a Cajun dialect which I find to be distracting and annoying to read. This is a sort of whodunit involving an abduction, with Conway employing timeslips to fill in backstory as you go along. Aside from a few dated aspects (coloring, etc.) this holds up remarkably well even if this wasn't my cup of tea. A worthwhile read.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3 out of 5.
The OCD zone
Linework and Color restoration: There are two pages in issue three which are patch scans of original comics. Those two look a little iffy.
Paper stock: God damn DC and their cheap ass toilet paper that they pass off on people in their collected editions. This book weighs less than a pack of cigarettes.
Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.
Cardstock cover notes: Laminated cardstock.