High Five! Comics

Red Herring: Stop Being a Skank and Get Awesome, Already

Posted on: September 10, 2009

Red Herring #1 started off stupid. There’s some chick named Maggie (Har-RUMPH!), who’s apparently a vapid slut; I mean, two pages in she cops to sleeping with her best friend’s boyfriend. Lovely. Twenty-teo year old Maggie MacGuffin goes on and on about shoes and clothes while gabbing with her mother – which we all do sometimes, but geez, not in my comics please! Somehow, this girl’s got a job as a congressional aide to a representative from Florida. Who she’s fucking. Lovely.
To be honest, I was ready to put this book down by the middle of issue #1. They used the word “ass” more times than the word “the.” Maggie (NOT ME!) literally spends a full page discussing her best friend’s ass. You start to wonder if the guy writing this has ever met a real live woman before.
Luckily, Red Herring doesn’t revolve completely around Maggie’s sexpottery. We’ve got the geeky, unfortunately named Meyer Weiner and the “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mena they’re not after you” titular hero/anti-hero/whatever Red Herring; both of whom are much more interesting at the outset than Maggie “OMG MAH ASS” McGuffin. Weiner is working for Red Herring in some capacity, but in issue #2, we’re still not sure what it is. Honestly, it’s Red and Meyer and the awkward position they seem to be in that kept me reading at all.
It seems to have paid off. By issue #2, it’s clear that spoiled Princess Maggie is ditzy not because she is, but because she thinks she’s supposed to be. Seriously, if Red Herring ever gets the Hollywood treatment, Reese Witherspoon is ALL over this. Maggie’s in-your-face whoring was, well, a red herring. The story isn’t about a nuevo-Monica Lewinsky and a couple of suits at the Lincoln Memorial. There is underlying conspiracy afoot involving the Roswell aliens, corporate gluttony, government corruption, and, for whatever reason, Red Herring and Maggie MacGuffin.
But Red Herring’s strength is in its pacing. This ain’t no set-em-up and wait ten issues to knock-em-down book. By issue #2, we’ve had extramarital affairs, kidnapping, aliens, corrupt government officials, and more then one near escape. This is The West Wing meets The X-Files, and to be honest I’ve got no idea which plot line I’m supposed to be following; which could either be really awesome or just godawful as the series progresses.
It’s also rad seeing Philip Bond do more “kill Your Boyfriend” style work while not under the influence of whatever Grant Morrison forces his artists to take. Bond’s art complements the absurdity (and occasional frat-boy humor) of David Tischman’s story, making some of the more bizarre or silly moments feel more organic than they might have otherwise.
Verdict? Red Herring’s a six issue series and I’ve already bought #1 and #2. I like it enough to keep going – there’s enormous potential here.

red-herring-1-cover1At first, Red Herring #1 seemed to have woken up on the idiot side of the bed. We open by staring smack into the boobs of some chick named Maggie (Har-RUMPH!), who is apparently a vapid slut; I mean, not two pages in she cops to sleeping with her best friend’s boyfriend. Lovely. Twenty-two year old Maggie MacGuffin goes on and on about shoes and clothes while gabbing with her mother – which we all do sometimes, but geez, not in my comics please! Somehow, this girl works as a congressional aide to a representative from Florida. Who she’s fucking- oh THAT explains it! Lovely.

To be honest, I was ready to put this book down by fourth page of issue #1. They used the word “ass” more times than they used the word “the.” Maggie (NOT ME!) literally spends a full page discussing her best friend’s ass. You start to wonder if the guy writing this has ever met a real live woman before.

Luckily, Red Herring doesn’t revolve completely around Maggie’s sexpottery. We’ve got the geeky, unfortunately named Meyer Weiner and the “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you,” conpiracy theorist and titular hero/anti-hero/whatever he is, Red Herring – both of whom are much more interesting at the outset than Maggie “OMG MAH ASS” MacGuffin. Weiner is working for Red Herring in some capacity, but in issue #2 we’re still not entirely sure what it is. Honestly, it’s Red and Meyer and the awkward position they seem to be in that kept me reading at all in issue #1.

It seems to have paid off. By issue #2, it’s clear that spoiled Princess Maggie is ditzy not because she is, but because (thank you, daddy issues!) she thinks she’s supposed to be. redherring_01preview-2-02Seriously, if Red Herring ever gets the Hollywood treatment, Reese Witherspoon is ALL over this. Maggie’s in-your-face whoring was, well, a red herring. This story isn’t about a nuevo-Monica Lewinsky and a couple of freaked-out suits meeting up at the Lincoln Memorial. There is a vast conspiracy afoot – involving the Roswell aliens, corporate gluttony, government corruption, and, for whatever reason, Red Herring and Maggie MacGuffin. Somehow, all of these characters are connected in the machinery of this conspiracy; and the groundwork for the whole tangled web is laid almost immediately.

Red Herring‘s strength is in its pacing. This ain’t no set-em-up and wait ten issues to knock-em-down book. By issue #2, we’ve had extramarital affairs, an ambush, a quasi-kidnapping, aliens, corrupt government officials and more than one near escape. This is The West Wing meets The X-Files and to be honest I’ve got no idea which plot line I’m supposed to be following. Which could either be really awesome or just godawful as the series progresses.

Seeing Philip Bond do more Kill Your Boyfriend style work while not under the influence of whatever Grant Morrison forces his artists to take (hurr!), is Basic RGBawesome. Bond’s art complements the absurdity (and occasional frat-boy humor) of David Tischman’s story, making some of the more bizarre or silly moments feel more organic than they might have in the hands of another artist.

Verdict? Red Herring’s only a six issue series and I’ve already bought #1 and #2. I like it enough to keep going, though anyone not already involved may want to wait-for-trade on this one.

I’ve been reading Red Herring with Newcastle (cos ohmigod did you know those mini Heineken kegs come with Newcastle now?), but something blended and pineapple based might work a little better.

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