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Friday September 9, 2011 2:03 pm

Marineman by Ian Churchill

MarinemanEvery year when I go to Comic Con International in San Diego, I always find something unexpected, interesting and surprising in the world of comics.

This year, 2011, was no exception.

Of all the things I picked up at the various booths, there was one that really stood out for me and I stumbled across it by accident while lurking around the Image Comics area.

Marineman: A Matter Of Life And Depth by Ian Churchill (Cable, Deadpool, The Coven).

Churchill had a spot to himself and was selling trades, individual issues, and sketches.

He’s a charming, affable guy who genuinely believes in his story and his work.

He handsold me on the trade - I’d only heard of the in passing and yet I gladly handed over the $15 to get a copy.

It’s thick, six full issues plus extra stuff, including a foreword by Watchmen’s Dave Gibbons, who says of Churchill it’s “a real joy to witness him bringing his passions together in the exuberant, stylish, and, well, just plain fun pages of Marineman.” It’s printed on terrific paper that really makes the art pop and the book feel substantial.

I love Aquaman and Sub-Mariner as characters - but I wish they could be handled better and with more consistency. Every time they’re relaunched they still feel like the same old. Marineman, by virtue of being new, doesn’t have to carry the baggage of decades-old undersea continuity, covers different and exciting territory without all the “I’m angry at the surface-dwellers” and “I can’t be out of water too long” cliches, and also has a pro like Churchill at the helm.

The story involves a lost mother, naval experiments, the city of Atlantis, and Steve Ocean, the adopted boy who came from the sea and grew up to be Marineman and a reality TV show star, plus his friends, family and co-workers. Also, shark-punching.

Shark! Punching!

Talk about wish fulfillment! I’ve never wanted to swing around Gotham on my Batarang-and-string combo, but having gone swimming with sharks, I can understand why someone might need to punch one now and then.

Churchill tells Steve Ocean’s story with expert ease, an excellent pace and plenty of thrills and surprises in each chapter. Dialogue crackles, and the art is slick and powerful. It got the series an Eisner Award nomination earlier this year for Best New Series.

Marineman deserves a wider audience. I hope you’ll be a part of it.

[Artwork: Cover to Marineman: A Matter Of Life And Depth by Ian Churchill, © Ian Churchill]
 

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