Bodymore, Murderland

So last night someone asked me if I read the series Murderland. Now, I do know Murderland is a nickname for Maryland (see the title), but at that point I had not heard or read said title. I’m really curious as to why I didn’t pick up on this, since I…

1) I’m in comic book stores all the time

and

2) will eat up anything Baltimore related. There’s like a thousand flamingo things in my house and in my yard, and I only drink Natty Boh (ok, I drink other beer, but at 42 cents a can c’mon).

So off into the depths of the internet I went, finding this comic online, finding out about the author (I found zilch!), and coming to the conclusion I’m not crazy about this comic. The idea is cute; think of the X-Men coming to Baltimore to save it. The main character is a reformed criminal who becomes an arabber* and wants to bring peace to the city. You could also compare him to Wolverine, as he shares many qualities with Wolverine. Yes, that is a great idea. However, the comic moves at a snail’s pace. Baltimore, does not move at a snail’s pace. If this is going to be a mini series, I sure do hope it picks up, or at the very least, have one helluva ending. If this is an ongoing series, well, still…I’m falling asleep here! It is pretty accurate with setting, characteristics of the city and yes, the crime. I want this series to do well, but it really is a slow series.

The other thing I can’t help but to do, is to compare it to The Wire, the most recent and accurate description of actual life on the streets of Baltimore…if you’re somehow involved in the drug game or are a cop. (Or a union worker, a teacher, or a journalist.) The Wire is one of those shows where you either hated it because you live in the city and don’t need to hear anymore crap about the problems we have, or you loved it because you don’t live in the city. (Or you just like damn good television.)  I look at the comic the same way I do The Wire; You love it or hate it. (Granted I love The Wire, a few of the characters on the show were/are real Baltimore cops.) The same would be true if I lived in New York, which is saturated with stories, movies, and who knows what else all dealing with it. You either love it or can’t stand it. I would love to love this comic, but I just can’t.

I guess what I’m really sick of, is Baltimore being shown in a mostly negative light. In issue two, a character quips on a rooftop in West Baltimore* “So you stand on any rooftop and crime just comes to you?” You know I stand on tons of rooftops in Baltimore and the only thing that’s ever happened is someone gets too drunk and falls off of them. John Waters shows Baltimore in a cheesy, dingy light, but it’s never negative. Are we all really duped again and again into romanticizing the crime in Baltimore? That’s a real shame, because there’s so much more to this city that is really looked over. I would be tickled pink if someone wrote a comic series, or a television show, or did a movie (AND THE PERSON WAS NOT JOHN WATERS) about Baltimore that had nothing to do with crime. Seriously, Baltimore is awesome.*

*Arabber; More or less, a horse-drawn cart carrying food. I’ve only ever seen one in Baltimore.

*West Baltimore:

*Baltimore is awesome:

-Lauren

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One Response to “Bodymore, Murderland”

  1. Vince Says:

    Barry Levinson did two off the top of my head. Avalon and Diner.. though crime shows up in both, neither is focused on the “negativity” of Baltimore. Though they’re also both period pieces and neither reflect on modern Baltimore. Closest for that is probably Ladder 49. Again, crime comes up, but Baltimore in the film is depicted rather decently. Though I agree.. I spend half my time trying to convince people in Chicago that Baltimore isn’t as bad as TV likes to depict it.. but were it to be shown in a better light, it’d probably make for less compelling storytelling.

    -Vince

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