I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got one new comic plus a hard cover collection:

  • The Walking Dead – 59
  • Eerie Archives Volume 1
  • And now for a review of something I’ve read recently.

  • “Mister X – The Archives” by Dean Motter and others

    Though I have thirteen out of the fourteen issues of “Mister X” that are collected in this hardcover volume I haven’t read them in a really long time. At least not all of them. I’m not even sure if I read the last five issues or so before now.

    As I remember it “Mister X” was one of the books I really liked when it first came out. It was stylish, interesting, and different. Plus the Hernandez brothers were drawing it. But they were gone in four issues and then we got an issue drawn by Klaus Shonefeld followed by the one named cartoonist Seth taking over the art chores.

    “Mister X” also came out infrequently. It took about four years to come out with the fourteen issues by which time I was done with it. I didn’t even buy the final few issues of the series (minus issue 13) until a decade later when I saw them in the bargain bin at my local comic shop. I don’t think I ever even read them.

    I remember “Mister X” taking a serious nose dive in quality when Seth took over the art. Ironically enough he is now one of my favorite cartoonists. His books, “It’s a Good Life if You Don’t Weaken”, “Wimbledon Green”, and “Clyde Fans” are among my favorites of all time.

    So how much did the book resemble my memory of it? Well, it was a little better and a little worse than I remember. I have read the Hernandez brothers issues since I first bought them and they hold up fine. Those guys are just plain talented and they tell the story of Mister X well.

    Mister X is the architect of Radiant City which was built without his final approval. Mister X was pioneering something called “Psychetecture” except it was corrupted in the final build of the city and now people are being driven crazy. Mister X is back to try and fix things. Except he’s a bit crazy too. There is a whole cast of characters involved in all sorts of plots as Mister X tries to go about his business.

    What surprised me was that there were a few good issues after Seth took over the art. He certainly wasn’t as good, at the time, as the Herandez brothers but he was trying. There was talent and imagination in the art. As a matter of fact there were five good issues that he drew. It was his sixth issue, number 11 (the only one he drew the cover of) that fell off the quality cliff. I remember now that that was the last issue I read when the series originally came out.

    I don’t know what happened but issues eleven through fourteen are nowhere near as good as the rest. I know how hard it is to put out a small independent comic and it looks like they could no longer give “Mister X” their full attention but they tried to finish up the story anyway.

    The last issue of the collection, fourteen, even comes with an introduction by Dean Motter apologizing for disappointing us with the quality of the final issue. It had “a lackluster script and earnest but inadequate fill-in art” and I think that’s an apt description. An ignoble end for an interesting series.

    I was happy to see this archive volume of “Mister X”. I’m glad so many comics are getting bound in hardcover collections these days. Especially ones that, ten years ago, I never would have thought would see print again. “Mister X” falls into that category.

    “Mister X” was better than I remembered it in that there were ten good issues of it. I didn’t remember most of the issues Seth drew being as good as they are. But they are good. The Hernandez brothers issues are still the best ones but not the only good ones.

    It’s a little worse than I remember because when this book fell off of the cliff it fell far. This is my first time reading the last couple of really bad issues that end this collection so that made it worse than I expected. Still it was worth it though. “Mister X” remains a book high on originality in it’s visuals and concepts. Check it out for yourself.