Wednesday, November 07, 2012

QUICK LOOK: Flex Mentallo

Comic Book fans know very well who Grant Morrison is, particularly for his work on Batman, Superman, X-Men and the Fantastic Four and many other acclaimed works such as 'Joe the Barbarian', We3, Infinite & Final Crisis, and many more!

Back in 1990, Morrison teamed up with artist Frank Quitely, who has worked with Morrison on many of the titles listed above to create a spin-off from another series by Morrison called 'Doom Patrol' which is tied into other works such as 'The Invisibles' & 'The Filth' forming what Morrison calls his 'Hypersigil Trilogy.' This spin-off featured the character 'Flex Mantello.'

Although Flex Mantello was completed as far back as the early 90s, legal issues had kept it from being reprinted due to a lawsuit filed against DC Comics by the Charles Atlas Company. You see Flex Mantello's character was a parody based on the infamous advertisement printed in past American comic books called 'The insult that made a man out of Mac.' When Grant Morisson's work was brought to the company's notice long after it was finished, they filed suit. The suit was dismissed by the court based on the fact that it was a fairly produced parody. So after being reprinted in Doom Patrol collections, Flex Mantello finally got its own deluxe hardcover edition newly printed in 2012 through Vertigo.

Flex Mantello is a hard work to recommend to casual readers of graphic novels. It will however find interest with veteran comic book readers familiar with Morrison's work on Doom Patrol, or anyone looking for something out-of-the-ordinary with quirky and unique characters and highly imaginative stories. Frank Quitely's artwork is certainly characteristic enough to enjoy for its flexible, loose, detailed and colorful style.

The plot involves Flex Mentallo on the trail of an organization called 'Faculty X' who go around terrorizing people by throwing around cartoon Bombs that don't explode, as if just to taunt the general public by exposing to them how fragile their lives are. However another story is also happening simultaneously where, as if in another dimension entirely, is that of a man who has hit rock bottom in his life. Seemingly overdosing on drugs to commit suicide, he calls a suicide hotline simply to have someone to talk to in his final moments. And he wants to talk about comic books and superheroes. As to how these two stories relate and cross paths with each other; that is best left to the reader to discover.

Flex Mentallo's story and world are pretty wild in a sense where just beneath the veneer of a downtrodden world, there lies one of magic and sentimentality. Beneath the fantastical and depressing story is a homage to a by-gone era of comic books where characters were designed to be free, flamboyant and nonsensically funny. Things enjoyed by young boys before the era of the dark and anti-heroes. When comic books went from being fanciful children's entertainment, to becoming more complex & adult. Flex Mentallo aims to merge them both to reach a sense of hope and brightness. As such it is highly recommendable to lovers of comic books!

The hardcover deluxe edition of ‘Flex Mantello’ is available at our store for the U.S. Cover price. There is also an interesting story that acts as an introduction to the book along with an end section looking at artist Frank Quitley’s process! We also carry Grant Morrison's other works from Doom Patrol, the Invisibles and the Filth! So be a big, strong man and grab some copies to beef up your rewards account today!