I finally righted a wrong from fifteen years ago last month: I bought myself the complete Walter: Campaign of Terror by John Arcudi and Doug Mahnke off of eBay. I remember seeing the solicits for this book in, what, 1995? 1996? at a run-down comic shop in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, but I never tracked it down and oh! how it needled me. Needled me for years.
Why would a book about a guy named Walter bother me so? Easy, mister. Walter is a spinoff of The Mask, which is one of my all-time favorite comic-book runs. The Mask, The Mask Returns, and The Mask Strikes Back are three of the funniest, smartest, and best-drawn action comics I have ever read. The writing is crisp and witty, the art is hilarious and detailed, and the mood is absolutely sublime. Those who only love the character from the (quite good) Jim Carrey vehicle from 1994 would be smart to check out Dark Horse's The Mask Omnibus, Vol. 1 which features all three. You won't regret it.
But what about Walter?
Walter was the main antagonist of all three series. A hulking, nigh-indestructible mute monstrosity, Walter was the only man who could hurt someone wearing the reality-warping Mask (known locally as "Big Head"). Upon conclusion of The Mask Strikes Back, Walter abandons his murderous campaign against The Mask and went into politics.
Walter: Campaign of Terror is about Walter's sally forth into the ludicrously dangerous race for mayor. He is surrounded by a chatty and mixed group of sycophants, liars, and thieves which include a wealthy dwarf, a hitman who's had too much plastic surgery, and a little girl with murder on her mind. Walter wades through them all, taking enormous amounts of damage and uttering not one single syllable. It's a fascinating and peculiar satire; I recommend tracking it down.
And the ads... There are ads in Walter for books ranging from Hellboy: Wake the Devil (who?) to Sin City: That Yellow Bastard (what?). It's a who's who of late nineties Dark Horse goodness: there's even an ad for the live-action Barb Wire movie! Reminds me fondly of wandering through the Dark Horse section of Another Dimension Comics in Calgary during breaks in class at ACAD in the early 2000's.
John Arcudi is currently writing (the absolutely amazing) BPRD: Hell on Earth, and Doug Mahnke is a superstar artist at DC. If you want a good look at where these two titans cut their teeth, look no further than the adventures of a green-headed lunatic... or, if you're adventurous yourself, the campaign of terror of a brute named Walter.
As always, I can be found elsewhere on the net at the following:
• My portfolio
• My Tumblr
• My deviantArt page
• My webcomic That's So Kraven!