1988: Dishman

Dishman (1988) #1 by John MacLeod.

This is an unusual item in Eclipse’s late-88 line-up: It’s a reprint of a mini-ish comic from 1986 (so it’d be a thing Eclipse might have published 18 months earlier during the black and white boom) and it’s 48 pages long.

And I remember being really taken with it at the time it was published.

I find MacLeod’s artwork to be really charming. It has an attractive normalcy to it: It’s not overtly Jamie Hernandezish or anything; it’s just a solid, realistic, non-exaggerated rendering of people who look like real people.

The storytelling is also clear and well done, and this spread tells you what the concept of the book is: A guy gains the superpower to clean dishes from being exposed to radioactive Fiestaware for too long.

That all sounds like a parody book, but it’s… kinda not. It’s having fun with super-hero concepts, but it’s not exactly making fun of super-heroes. It’s depicting it as an aspirational idea, even if the power imagined is a pretty tiny one.

And then, after 48 pages, it just ends with no real resolution. Were further issues planned after reprinting the initial mini-comics?

I even have the original #2 of the mini-comic series, which I’m guessing I bought at the time in the hopes that it was the continuation. I was probably bummed that it was just one of the issues reprinted, because I really enjoyed this very special book back then, and I enjoyed re-reading it now.

Hm… Oh! John MacLeod has recently (?) started doing more issues! I’ve gotta check those out. He’s just putting them on Dropbox, which is very nice. Now I can read them on my Ipad.

He’s also got this old page. And he’s on twitter.

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