Issue #5, Page 23: Dirk Anger on a Rampage

© 2007 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

by Warren Ellis, Stuart Immonen &
Wade von Grawbadger
Issue #5, Page 23: Dirk Anger on a Rampage
Graphite and ink on board
Signed by Stuart Immonen
11" x 17"

Warren Ellis is at his best with widescreen action that mocks convention. Nextwave does both in droves and scooped the Eagle Awards in 2007.

Warren Ellis is an evil genius. He brought a Vertigo-style disenfranchisement and a Kitchen Sink wit to the “big dumb action” of the Image Universe. He got more subversive, political commentary in front of young, impressionable comic readers on a monthly basis via his Image audience on Stormwatch and The Authority than the sum total of authors at Fantagraphics and Drawn and Quarterly combined. When he launched his Hunter S. Thompson inspired Transmetropolitan in 1997, his dystopian future connected with the malaise of the era and the title remained one of DC’s most successful non-superhero comics through 2002. Planetary was another monstrous success that matched-up pulp heroes with B-movie plots and sprinkled enough conspiracy theory fairy dust to remix the formula into something refreshingly original. His collaborators were Bryan Hitch, Darick Robertson and John Cassaday, who established a new look for superhero comic fans while Ellis messed with their minds.

Nextwave was a combination of everything that had preceded it: big, dumb action, convoluted conspiracy theories and acerbic satire –all in one. Replete with ridiculous anagrams like Highest Anti-Terrorism Effort (H.A.T.E.), Ellis waged war on the concept of superhero teams by writing an often hilarious parody of same featuring minor existing characters from the Marvel Universe. In an interview, Ellis said, "I took The Authority and I stripped out all the plots, logic, character and sanity…It’s an absolute distillation of the superhero genre. No plot lines, characters, emotions, nothing whatsoever. It’s people posing in the street for no good reason. It is people getting kicked, and then exploding. It is a pure comic book, and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. And afterwards, they will explode."

What separated Nextwave from just another Cracked spoof was its presence within the existing Marvel Universe continuity, and Ellis routinely scripted flashbacks in which more prominent Marvel heroes (like Captain America) were portrayed inappropriately for maximum comedic effect. While sales were not stellar in the US, the book reached cult status in Britain, where in 2007 it scored five Eagle Awards for Favourite Comics Writer, Favourite New Comicbook, Favourite Comics Story, Favourite Comics Villain (Dirk Anger), and a Roll of Honour Award for Warren Ellis.

The page above is classic Stuart Immonen from his 2007 Harvey Award nominated work, featuring a central close-up (bottom panel) of everybody’s favorite Nick Fury parody, Dirk Anger. If it’s a Nextwave page, it’s just got to have Dirk Anger in all his loony glory!


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