“…Cums a Hero”, “Acid-Washed Genes”, “Death be not Profitable”
Script: Kevin Smith
Art: Micahel Avon Oeming
Art, Letters & Colours: Pat Garrahy
Art Assists: Neil Vokes
“The Derris Affair” – originally presented in Oni double feature No.12, Published by Oni Press
Script: Kevin Smith
Art: Michael Allred
Colour: Laura Allred
Letters: Sean M. Konot
Design: John Roshell of Comicraft
Editor: Bob Chapman
Consulting Editor: Diana Schutz
Kevin Smith is a man who splits the world in two like marmite. Some people, like myself, love his films and everything he does across all mediums, but others despise him and claim he’s a terrible creator, but if you are in the minority that hasn’t decided, hopefully, I can persuade you to join the team that loves him because honestly, despite his own claims that he’s not, I honestly think he’s a genius.
His concepts seem so simple and rather silly but that’s what makes his work so brilliant. He’s done what so many wishes we could do, or some of us have done, but he’s been lucky enough to take it to a whole new level, and now he’s essentially become ‘King of the Nerds’. He was best friends with the great Stan Lee and even gave Stan some of his most memorable cameo’s first in Mallrats and again years later in Yoga Hosers. Stan’s last cameo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe featured him on a train reading the script for Mallrats, that’s how far Kevin’s work has ascended, he’s basically become part of the MCU, somewhat indirectly.
I could go on forever about why Kevin Smith is one of my biggest inspirations and why he’s basically a genius but I’m here to talk about his work in comics, specifically, his own comic, in which he and his best friend Jason Mewes’ characters become superheroes, leading them to take on some of the worlds craziest looking villains, including a giant penis-headed man…yeah.
Jay and Silent Bob seem to be having a run of bad luck in their shenanigans, finding an alien in its final moments of death, being in a lab when something explodes, being shoved out of the road by some young guy who was just trying to stop them being hit by a chemical truck…I mean, the nerve of some people. However, their lives are about to change when Silent Bob hits the jackpot on a scratch card ticket, winning himself and his hetero-lifemate tons of fat stacks, meaning that they can now live out their dream and become superheroes! Their names? Bluntman and Chronic!
However, what good are superheroes without a rogue’s gallery of heinous villains? Well, luckily for the doobage duo, they have wronged enough people to have a league of villains to face. Lipstick Lesbian, Dickhead, Newsgroup, Diddler, and Cock-Knocker (don’t ask why they call him that!), all deranged lunatics that have a vendetta for vengeance against Bluntman and Chronic, so together, they form ‘The League of Shitters’.
So…can Bluntman and Chronic possibly hope to stop these evil-doers from wreaking havoc in the city of Red Bank, New Jersey, or will the League of Shitters cut their hero-ing days short.
Okay, so after reading the plot summary, you’re thinking one of two things; either you think this sounds hilariously brilliant, or you’re simply thinking “what the actual fuck did I just read?”. That’s understandable if you’re not familiar with Smith’s filmography, but trust me, this comic is pure brilliance.
One of the most interesting things about this comic is that its written by Smith, who is writing is as one of his characters, who wrote the comics in the film Chasing Amy (1997), and was portrayed by Jason Lee. There’s even a foreword from Lee’s character, Banky Edwards, about the comic as if we were in the world of Chasing Amy, and an afterword from Lee himself about his experiences with Smith whilst making those films.
This book contains so many pop culture references which Smith is famed for using in his work, with parodical references to Batman, Spider-Man, Daredevil (before Affleck took the role), Green Lantern, and much more. The characters even have dialogue talking about some of the movies made in real life such as Batman Returns, which I guess you could say grounds these characters in some sort of reality…as messed up as it might be.
The story of the comic itself may be rather offensive in some ways, to today’s easily-offended audiences, but remember, this book isn’t for kids and this book is essentially written by a fictional idiot, who a real-life genius brilliantly scripts. If you read this book and think Smith is an idiot writing his idiotic views on certain topics into a comic, then you’d be the fool, because a writer creates characters and some of those characters are idiots. It doesn’t mean Smith believes a word of what he writes for that character to say, he’s simply creating a character for us to love or hate, such as Jay, whose views on lesbians is pretty questionable at best, but if you have a decent sense of humor, you’ll get that it’s brilliantly hilarious because the character of Jay is an idiot, and nothing he says or does ever works out for him.
Regarding the story at the end of this book, titled ‘The Derris Affair’, was Smith’s first attempt to bring the characters to the comic book world, published in Oni Press Double Feature #12 in 1999. However, the popularity of Bluntman and Chronic really grew in Smith’s 2001 film ‘Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back’ in which the titular characters travel to Hollywood to stop the Bluntman and Chronic movie from being made, which even featured Mark Hamill as the villain Cock-Knocker. So Smith released the Trade Paper Back book featuring the three issues of Bluntman and Chronic as written by fictional characters Banky Edwards (portrayed by Jason Lee) and Holden McNeil (portrayed by Ben Affleck), from the film Chasing Amy.
According to my research (always wanted to say that), the art style in this TPB is not the same as art style used for the other B&C comics published in the Clerks/Chasin Amy screenplay book and the Oni Double Feature #12 which you can read at the back of this TPB. The art style in this TPB for the first 3 issues is a more modern style, using a more animated style of art, that makes the characters feel cartoony, whereas the other comics featured elsewhere, felt more like the classic comic styles of popular golden and silver age titles, like Detective Comics and Spider-Man.
However, it doesn’t matter what style is used, Micahel Avon Oeming, Michael Allred, Neil Vokes, and Pat Garrahy do an excellent job of drawing your eyes to every panel and page with brilliant designs, vivid colours, which accompany the excellent script and hilarious pop culture references through both dialogue and art.
The images portray show a moment when Chronic is parodying a famous panel from Marvel comics’ The Amazing Spider-Man #50 (1957) in which Peter quits being the hero and puts his outfit in a trash can.
Bluntman and Chronic is a must-read for Kevin Smith fans and for anyone looking for a not-so-serious adult-themed book to take a break from the usual titles you read from either Marvel or DC. Titan Books has you covered with this book because it’s honestly brilliant for those with a similar sense of humor to my own.
This is one of a few comics of Smith’s that I will be reviewing on this blog, and if I ever get the chance to meet Kevin in person (there’s a not-so-long story as to how that nearly happened but didn’t because I’m an awkward idiot), I would love to get him to sign the books of his that I own.
This comic was also adapted into an animated feature called ‘Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie’ which I will also review eventually.