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Garth Ennis: As Nasty as He Wants to Be
© Kenn McCracken

Garth Ennis is a madman.

I don't think he'd mind hearing that. In fact, his comic output of the past years seems to encourage the title. Between his brilliant resurrection of Marvel's Punisher, his sickly funny look at an apocalyptic future in Just a Pilgrim, and his masterful Preacher, no boundary remains untouched, uncrossed, or undisturbed.

Yeah, undisturbed is the best word.

Ennis is one of the most revolutionary figures in the comics world of the past decade, if only in his storytelling abilities. His characters are as alive and real as any flesh-and-blood being you'll meet tomorrow. The situations are over-the-top and powerful enough to engage the imagination, but presented in such as way that believability is not out of the question. Best of all, though, is a dark (call it pitch black) sense of humor that courses throughout nearly all of his books.

Ennis is perfectly capable of acting the part of serious scribe - his four-issue take on the Unknown Soldier was easily the most engaging spy story in DC's history. The ending of the Preacher saga is bittersweet and heartbreaking as well. On the other hand, his depictions of violence and sexual depravity push the boundaries of offensiveness, but in such a way that anyone would be hard pressed to take the scenes seriously.

The characters he writes populate the worlds perfectly and realistically. The dialogue is strong, giving each character not only individuality, but a sympathetic (sometimes) voice as well. Anyone who didn't fall in love with Preacher's Tulip is in need of therapy, and even the four-ring circus of Punisher featured characters that you felt badly for in the end.

Sure, a lot of people will be offended by some of the material. Between cannibalism, mass murder, and a trip into San Francisco's underground, you'd have to be completely desensitized not to feel a twinge of unease with the material. This isn't all for kids, though, and Garth knows it. The perspective that he brings to the medium, though, is unique - centered, cynical without bitterness, respectfully lighthearted.

He's been tapped to write more issues of Punisher for the Marvel Knights line, and he'll be doing a two-issue story to cap off the first run of DC's The Authority (a perfect fit if ever there was one). If you're looking for something new to try, and you see his name near the writing credit, pick the book up - it's a fair bet you won't be bored.

Recommended Reading:
Medieval Spawn / Witchblade # 1-4(Image)
The Darkness # 1-12 (Top Cow)
Preacher # 1-75 + specials, one-shots, etc.(DC / Vertigo)
The Unknown Soldier # 1-4 (DC)
Adventures in the Rifle Brigade # 1-3 (DC)
Hitman # 1-5 (DC)
Punisher # 1-12 (Marvel, 2000 limited series)
Hellblazer # 41-83, 129-133 (DC / Vertigo)

RevolutionSF Comics Editor Kenn McCracken was undisturbed once. Once.

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