Comics Time: Peter’s Muscle

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Peter’s Muscle

Michael DeForge, writer/artist

self-published, May 2010

12 pages

no price listed

Visit DeForge’s website

The second panel in this comic, a view of the buildings lining a city street–here, you can see it yourself–literally made me say “whooo” out loud on the train. Yeah, I’m quite frankly impressed as hell by what I’ve seen from Michael DeForge so far. This minicomic contains two nightmarish short stories, both of which pivot off of characters from popular comics (Spider-Man and freaking Foxtrot respectively) as is DeForge’s apparent wont, and they’re maybe the tightest things I’ve seen from him yet. The first involves Spider-Man recounting to his therapist a sex dream he had about Aunt May and Doctor Octopus; it’s not a “haha look the famous corporate icon is doing something dirty” joke, it’s a way to make this sort of uncomfortable Freudian stuff even more up-close-and-personal by using the familiar visual vocabulary of a hugely popular pop-culture staple to keep everything painfully simple to understand. The second shows a loinclothed character wandering through a wasteland whose geological features seem to consist solely of viscera, killing a phallic animal, and offering its disembowled corpse to the colossal, godlike, bifurcating head of a cute comic-strip kid. Again, this kind of “cute thing doing gross thing” material might read as overly broad in less skilled hands, but DeForge appears in complete control of his line, his figurework, his character designs, his backgrounds, his use of zipatone, his cartoony satirical representations of Spidey and Doc Ock and Aunt May, his pacing, his punchlines, his choice of nightmare imagery (sidewalk-as-thin-membrane is gonna be hard to shake when I walk to the comic shop today)…it’s very, very sharp, it does exactly what it wants to do.