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Comics Worth Reading: Altercations 1

Posted 10/02/02 at CWR Reviews by Johanna Draper Carlson

David Yurkovich (DEATH BY CHOCOLATE, THE WAITING PLACE) returns with an ambitious new project -- the history of superhero conflicts throughout the 20th century, told with a story from each decade. I've read this first volume in preview form, and the thoroughness of this faux history is astounding. The first chapter takes place in 1906 San Francisco, with two lovers changed into heroes dealing with their subsequent separation. The next chapter is set during a particularly hard winter, due to a coal shortage, in New York City of 1918. Additional stories deal with secret identities, superhero teams, and giant Nazi robots.

Yurkovich's style is unique, and it's made even more distinctive through the limited palette choices he makes for each chapter. It takes the emphasis off the fights and puts it on the emotions of the characters, often focusing on how regular people are touched by the superhumans, or how the superheroes are themselves people, with their own motivations and problems. Essayist Alfred Pinchley provides commentary on each chapter and era.

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