by Drew Baumgartner
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, read on at your own risk!
How do we characterize a remix? As a self-aware riff on whatever work is being remixed, it feels somewhat postmodern, but in my mind, remixes don’t necessarily share the skepticism and ironic distance we associate with postmodernism. Indeed, many remixes might be better understood as reverent tributes to their source material, taking what I’d argue is a decidedly romantic approach: offering an unabridged window into how the remixer sees a given work of art (or entire oeuvre). I was first struck by this idea when listening to The Beatles’ Love, which feels very much like bouncing around inside a Beatles fan’s head, but it came back in a big way as I read Bug! The Adventures of Forager 2, an issue that takes the same approach to comics mythology (both DC’s and others).
Last month, Patrick and I talked a lot about how the series riffs on Jack Kirby’s Fourth World, but also tied it into a larger “Kirbyverse,” and it’s that latter theme that is on full display in this issue. Forager lands in WWII, smack in the middle of an issue of The Losers, a deeper cut of Kirby’s time at DC. An even deeper cut is Kirby’s association with the Blue Beetle, which apparently happened not only before the character was part of the DC universe, but even before the character was owned by Charlton Comics. These are characters that never could have interacted under Kirby’s pen, but have managed to find their way back to one another in the DC universe as conceived by Lee, Michael, and Laura Allred.
True to the remix aesthetic, the issue is a bit of a fever dream of blink-and-you’ll-miss-them references (was that Deadman’s dad?), all held together with a plot that is entirely linear, but somehow feels incredibly shaggy. Part of that comes from the logical leaps Forager is able to make in head (often to the surprise of his scene partners), but another is the way Michael Allred crams little mini-narratives onto the page. Check out the way he intercuts between General Electric’s arrival at the mine and Forager spying on him.
Those circular panels at the beginning and end of this page give us some spatial context, but the cut to Forager in the middle of the page is less about what is immediately happening, and more about tying this issue to the previous one. Even at its most disjointed, this series is about its interconnections. We’re reading the map of the inside of a Kirby fan’s brain (or at least the DC side of it) — it’s all connected, even if we can’t yet see how.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?