I Book My Own Gigs (Sliders Comics: Armada).

So guys, two things: First, I’m a cartoonist. Did y’all know that? I make comic books. This blog is what I do when I’m not making comic books (or making coffee because, y’know, recession). So the fact that there are Sliders comic books is totally great. My two worlds! Combining! Far out!

Second: wait, there are Sliders comic books?

Sure! Between 1996 and 1997 Acclaim Comics (remember them? no, me neither [okay, I do, but not really]) put out a series of Sliders comic books. The intent was to ‘tell the stories that couldn’t be told,’ freeing the infinite concept of the show from constraints like “budget” and “reality” and “no, why would you ever think that having the sliders chased by a huge fucking ANT BEAST would be a good idea?”

A preposterous Ant-Beast, AND a preposterous “Arturo is Fat” joke. TWO BIRDS/ONE STONE.

The above panel brings up the question we’re all thinking: “so, like, are they good?”

The answer?

Swell, indeed.

In a word? Meh.

I mean, I should qualify this by saying that ‘mainstream comics’ aren’t really my scene. And while that make me seem like a pompous windbag— and sure, in this case, I’m going to be one— I’m really just admitting that this kind of comic work isn’t what I’m familiar with. So I won’t be able to judge it as fairly as I otherwise could. Not to mention that it’s a ‘mainstream comic’ from 1996, so I’m going to be double useless.

In any case, there’s a few of these weird comics to bust through, but a good amount of them are two-parters, so that should make it pretty easy on us. In the first of these, “Armada,” we have what’s basically a dry-run for “Invasion,” what with some interdimensional conquerers hell-bent on turning us into salt.

Hey look, here’s Rembrandt sneezing a woman to death:

The next thing he says is “Vacuum Cleaners must be big business on this Earth… heh.” BECAUSE OF COURSE HE WOULD SAY THAT.

So before I deal with this silliness, I need to get something else out of the way. The way these comics write our characters is so ridiculous. It’s like, glib punchline after glib punchline after total nonsense that no one let alone the Sliders would ever say or do.

Plus, since when was the Timer just a miniature TARDIS?

Now, I’ve read a few comic-adaptations in my day. I was a big fan of The X-Files comics that Topps put out, and I remember getting a Batman Forever comic when the movie came out. And so I feel like it’s safe to say that it’s a general problem with these things and the whole ‘making the pictures look like the real people’ thing. So if you were wondering, the answer is “No, they don’t look anything like they do in the show.” And since they also don’t act anything like they do in the show, we’ve got a problem? What are we reading? Is this unique? Is this Sliders?

Well, I don’t know. It’s fun enough to skim through. It’s 2012, and we didn’t pay money for this comic book, and we don’t really have any stake in it. I guess this shit is so fucking mediocre that it just ends up being bad again? But that isn’t to say it’s not without merit. The Zercurvians are not only Sliders, they’re also two dimensional.

And this page is totally rad.

But as rad as that idea is, it is, like many other rad ideas on the show, thrown in the middle of a bit of a mess. The first part of Armada has worse pacing than “Time Again & World.” So compounded with the fact that the characters are even less defined than Wade is in general, we aren’t left with anything to love. There’s some weird shit that happens, Quinn climbs a building, they find a spaceship, shit is weird again, an alien says “hey we found your double he was SOO NICE so we killed him,” and then they slide out—only to land on a world where ANOTHER ALIEN FORCE IS INVADING.

Conclusion? Perhaps. Thrilling? Perhaps not.

…what?

So it’s nonsense. And so is part two, more or less, but it does have this panel, which is maybe the best thing that has or will ever happen ever in Sliders history:

MOTHERFUCKING SPROOM MOTHERFUCKER

I BOOK MY OWN GIGS, MOTHERFUCKERS.

But other than that being awesome, the second part of Armada is so ridiculous I’m not even going to summarize it with anything other than “weird shit happens, on both a spaceship and a vaguely Roman world (oh wait it’s ATLANTIS? OF COURSE IT IS [WHAT?]) I guess but who cares because that shit is weird.”

And if you guessed that this dude is Quinn, then I don’t know who you are anymore.

I can’t even understand what’s going on in it. I keep getting distracted by the atrocious use on onomatopoetic typeface:

And of course, the be-all end-all of bad ideas, this panel:

WAIT. Hold on.

Enhance.

Enhance.

Enhance.

Yep. That’s an awful computer written “Noooo.” If I could have that on a T-Shirt, I would in a heartbeat. But that shit is so dumb. This whole comic is so bad. Trying to make sense of it makes me have this face:

Whoa, don’t force it, bro. You’ll pop something.

So some weird shit happens, and then the Atlanteans get to skewer some other Aliens, and the Zercurvians are defeated. Or whatever. The sliders end up on a world where erryone chunky, and this terrifying panel is forced down our eye-gullets:

I hope they got ALKA SELTZER in HELL.

So. One down, way too many to go. I’m going to run through all these comics, and try to treat them with a little more ‘critical respect’ than I treated this one. But they’re all pretty bad like this, so no promises. I’ll try to make it quick, too, but let’s be honest— who of you are REALLY chomping at the bit for me to start Season Three?

Yep. That’s what I thought.

Next Week: Holy, Holy! (Ultimatum: Rapture/Damnation)

PS: You can read all of these at Earthprime. Thanks guys!

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8 thoughts on “I Book My Own Gigs (Sliders Comics: Armada).

  1. You kidding? I’m incredibly excited to see you tackle season 3.

    But man, I remember reading these comics years ago…this is like, 90s comics at their worst, just maybe with a few less guns. That art is just so terrible. I will say that, in true Sliders fashion, I liked a lot of the concepts behind “Armada”, just not the execution. Although this time I guess the concepts are just “Invasion”…sooo…

    Also, TRAAAZKOOM!

    • Every day we should thank the Gods of the Multiverse that I’m not reviewing a Rob Liefeld Sliders comic. “Quinn, where did you get so many POUCHES!?” “Shut up, babe. Gimme a kiss before we INFILTRATE THIS BASE.”

      • Issue titles would include “DeathSlide”, “MurderSlide” and “BloodSlide” and would feature a new one-eyed Uzi-wielding Slider assassin named SlideStarr. Also Wade would never, ever wear clothes.

      • How is that any different from “Dinoslide,” “The Other Slide of Darkness,” “Virtual Slide,” or “This Slide of Paradise?” 😛

  2. I used to think that Season 5 was as boring and lifeless as SLIDERS could possibly be. Then I read the comics.

    But here’s the thing: SLIDERS should *never* have been a TV show in the 90s. It was too weird for the era. It should have been a Vertigo comic, preferably with scripts from Neil Gaiman and Warren Ellis. Vertigo wouldn’t have demanded dinosaurs or car chases or a makeover for Wade or Kari Wuhrer. This is where the concept could have thrived, but not when hacked out by writers who only knew the show from skimming the scripts and artists who probably never got any reference material for the actors or props.

    • The problem is that the people making the comics actually had a good relationship with the people making the show! I mean, at the least they’re working with the show bible, and in interviews they all say how big of fans they are of the show. And hell, even Jerry O’Connell wrote one of the books! Again, all the elements for ‘rad’ are there, but the execution is a total fumble.

      I also kind of feel like Sliders is a great example of how weird the 90s could be— it just wasn’t allowed to be as weird as it maybe should have. Most of the time the problems with episodes comes from the clash of genres being too glaring (I think the most egregious example is that Hacker in “Genesis” saying “Marry me, be my love monkey” about five seconds after telling Quinn his BFF is going to be raped for eternity).

      It’s obviously possible to successfully mix weird shit with funny bits with moving drama (The X-Files at it’s peak is probably the best contemporary-to-Sliders example). Again, it’s the ever-present problem of Network Intervention mixed with Creative Vision Confusion.

      • I suspect reading the show bible and the scripts won’t capture the character and actor nuances, which, as you’ve said, is what made SLIDERS special. I think the deadlines made it impossible, at least at the outset. And Jerry’s NARCOTICA is where two artists drew the book and one got Season 1 photo references while the other got Season 2 photos. The result’s pretty much what you’d expect.

        One approach might’ve been to take a manga-style approach to the art so the poor likenesses would be less of an issue. And the current FRINGE digital comic has a neat approach: almost every story is set in a parallel universe with alternate versions of Olivia, Water and Peter.

  3. It’s always interesting to see your favourite franchise expressed in a new medium. I’ve been excited to read these comics since I heard about them on Earth Prime a few years ago as I must have missed the original run. Now that I’ve finally managed to collect all 10 issues, I can sit down and enjoy them.

    What?

    Ian, you’re absolutely right. There’s very little physical resemblance to our heroes (or the timer for that matter), and their personalities all seem off, like poor caricatures. How are we suppose to get invested in these stories when the protagonists are so distracting?

    Three things came to mind after I finished the story. The Zercurvians have this conveniently accessible and incredibly painful weapon (their bare hands) but we never see them use it, except in a flashback? That doesn’t sound very threatening.
    Why Atlantis? Pompeii would have been much more believable with an alternate history to go with it. And why, after thousands of years (based on their appearance), has nothing progressed on Atlantis Prime? If you give me a logical alt-history explanation, I’ll probably believe it. But as it is, I find it hard to believe not only that this world has been successfully ruled by the Atlantisians for so long, but that they managed to stop an alien invasion.
    Lastly, what was the plan for returning the Atlantisian’s back to Atlantis Prime if and when they freed the people on alien invasion world? As per usual, our heroes have left them to their fate on a parallel world. At least that’s one aspect of the show they successfully managed to transfer to the comic.

    All in all, this comic wasn’t really what I was hoping for. Seeing Sliders in a new medium is always interesting which means it wasn’t a waste of my time or money. But like many of you have already said, it feels like poor execution of a good idea. I was surprised to see the interview with Tracy Torme in the first issue. Clearly it shows that the creative mind that made the show interesting in the first place was behind these comics. So what went wrong? Ireactions, I think you’ve nailed it. The deadlines in the comic book industry are infamous. Sounds like this was a case of a good idea being pushed through the wrong medium. I would be interested in seeing that manga-style approach you suggested, because hey, new medium, right?

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