Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Winter Men Return

I read the first chapter of Brett Lewis and John Paul Leon's Winter Men last night.  It's pretty terrific so far.  But I wanted to point out that the first page of Winter Men is a mirror image of a memorable page from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns.

On the left is The Dark Knight Returns, on the right is Winter Men (click to enlarge):

Lots of similarities here.  Superman and the Soviet super-man (I don't know his name yet, so let's just call him "the Soviet") stand in matching poses, and are positioned at the same place on the page.  The ground that Superman stands on lines up with the soldiers under the Soviet.  Russian soldiers on Superman's page, American soldiers on the Soviet's page.  The art style is fairly similar too, and both Superman and the Soviet look like massive strongmen (not like cut body-builders).  And Superman, icon of the West, battles the enemy coming from the East, while the Soviet faces West to battle Americans.

Compare the text, too: "We must not remind them that giants walk the Earth." and "I'm going to tell you some things I never thought I'd tell an American... there were things that were larger than life once..."

That text goes hand in hand with a major theme of The Dark Knight Returns and what appears to be a major theme of Winter Men, the idea that we are dealing with super-beings that are past their primes and have faded from the public's view (and memory).  Extraordinary creatures that have become part of myth and legend, so incredible that they couldn't possibly be real.

It's an interesting choice on the part of Lewis and Leon to directly tie their book -- from the very first page -- to Miller's landmark work.  The Dark Knight Returns is seen as one of the best, if not the best, superhero comics ever made.  Winter Men has set a high bar for itself.  I hope it lives up to the standards set by its predecessor.


  1. Thanks for turning me on to this. I've never heard of this artist, but he's spectacular! An instant Amazon order, if ever there was one. I love this blog -- keep up the great work!

  2. Thanks Nate! You are correct - John Paul Leon is very, very good. Something that he worked on more recently is the Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos one shot, which I reviewed here. (The writing isn't nearly as good in that one, though.)

    By the way, I read the second chapter of Winter Men last night and it is still excellent.

  3. Very much want to read this. Beautiful artwork, that reminds me of Steve Yeowell's (Zenith).