The Wild Courage Of Despair – Wrapping Up The Remnants Of The Auteur #5

By Ed Saul

Awhile back, I read through and reviewed the first issue of The Auteur from Oni Press, and fell deliriously in love with it. You might remember my consequent review.


When they begin, these things can seem so fresh, so bold and so creative that you're blinded to the obvious flaws underneath. Like most things in the universe, the creation begins with a gigantic explosion and eventually fizzles out into a quiet hum.

In this series, troubled producer Nathan T. Rex has been through Hollywood, not to mention hell. The final issue's marriage between a brutally obvious homage to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and a slow, subtle rejigging of The Masque of the Red Death in the opening act hits the exact notes that every issue has – a profound disdain for the excesses and endless cliches if show business and a quiet affection for its classic scenarios and timeless ideals.

In the end, the story was about nothing more than a guy trying to impress a girl – and hell, how many other stories could be boiled down to such a formula? (The Anthony Hopkins project Hitchcock could easily be drawn as a parallel, especially as both stories end with the protagonist hiding in the lobby while his masterpiece plays).


But still some elements feel unfinished. What happened to Darwin, the X-Faced killer? What character traits did the Bubble Butt have, beyond her aversion to drugs and Nathan's attraction to her posterior? What possible merit can the story have in the long term, aside from being a handy guide for artists on how to impress girls? Was there any real point in making a story that mocks Hollywood through a medium it vehemently despises except as source material for franchise films?

Do any of these questions matter? Really, do they?

Even the raucous finale – the Tarot-card-like lovers oblivious to an ocean of hatred around them – seems like such an obvious jab against the 'haters' of the internet that it seems the effort is wasted in expressing it. Yet it makes for a beautiful image, there at the end, and I suppose that might be what really matters.

Just as they say a filmmaker is only as good as his last film, so a comic book might only be as good as its last page. In that case, this…this…was a pretty well-crafted comic book.

Good luck, Rick Spears and James Callahan. We're all rooting for you.

Ed Saul's the Entertainer, and he's had to pay his price; the things he did not know at first, he learned by doing twice.

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Hannah Means ShannonAbout Hannah Means Shannon

Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. Independent comics scholar and former English Professor. Writing books on magic in the works of Alan Moore and the early works of Neil Gaiman.
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