Category Archives: El Diablo

The Myth of DC’s El Diablo: Does he Even Exist in the Pages of Azarello’s Arc?

Decoding DC Part 17

Moses "Elmer Huskey" Stone

Moses “Elmer Huskey” Stone

Extremites, what’s it like to read these articles?

I know sometimes the topics that interest me are pretty abstract. In effort to find an interesting angle on an issue I can go off into the wild blue yonder for inspiration. Today, I reach far into that yonder and ask “does El Diablo exist within the pages of Azarello’s Arc?”

He does.

However, I wonder, if in the world of the issue, he exists. Read the rest of this entry

Why Brian Azzarello Is a Really Excellent Comic Writer


10.15.11BrianAzzarelloByLuigiNovi2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Decoding DC – Part 16


Extremites, what makes a good writer of comics?

In both Decoding DC and Journey Into Marvel ,the search for an answer to this question defines each series. I have found there is no absolute answer. However, one trait  is shared by each writer of successful comics. It’s the ability to subvert the reader’s preconceptions. Brian Azzarello shows this ability tenfold in Part III of his El Diablo arc.

Azzarello’s ability to write dialogue astounds me.

I am also astounded by his skill at creating vibrant and full characters, particularly when it comes to Moses Stone. Azzarello has spent the last two issues setting up Stone as a hammer of justice. He’s a reformed bounty hunter turned into a righteous sheriff. But this — “SPOILER” — is all a lie. Stone is the villain. Read the rest of this entry

Brian Azzarello and Danijel Zezelj’s El Diablo: Authenticity in Simplicity

Decoding DC  – Part 15

El_Diablo_v.2_2Extremites, dialogue is a beast to write. Write it too stilted and readers are drawn out of the story. Too colloquial, the readers have no clue what is going on and give up out of frustration. It is the writer’s job to create authentic clear dialogue that shows character and makes the story coherent and compelling. Brian Azzarello does just that in his redux of El Diablo.

In my articles about Joe R. Lansdale’s Jonah Hex, I often noted that the dialogue ‘seemed wrong.’ I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. The lines were alien in the world they existed in.

Read the rest of this entry

Unravelling the Mystery of El Diablo: Plunging Into Azzarello and Zezelj’s El Diablo 

Decoding DC – Part 14

El Diablo (Zezelj)

El Diablo (Zezelj)

Extremites, this article is the first article of Decoding DC that does not concern Jonah Hex. It concerns one of the other characters that was born in the Weird Western renaissance of the late 70s: Lazarus Lane or El Diablo.

Lazarus Lane is a mild mannered bank teller until one day he is attacked by a gang of thieves and put into a coma by a lightning strike. A Native American shaman revived Lane and from then on he spent his life chasing criminals under the name ‘El Diablo.’

During the Weird Western period of the early 80s, ‘El Diablo’ ceased being a pseudonym and became an actual vengeful demon that possessed Lane. Perhaps, DC was inspired by success of Marvel’s Ghost Rider?

Like Ghost Rider Lazarus Lane disappeared into the ether, but also like Johnny Blaze, around the turn of the millennium El Diablo received a renaissance.

In 2001, Vertigo had become less a separate line, and more of an underbelly of the wholesome mainstream lines. Experimentalism was still embraced here. Relative unknowns like Brian Azarello and the Balkan import, artist Danijel Zezelj, were free to go wild and show readers a new way to read supernatural westerns.

Azzarello’s arc is by no means a rehash of El Diablo’s origin story. In fact, El Diablo only figures in a few short panels. The story instead focuses on a bounty hunter turned sherif named Moses Stone. There’s a brutal gun attack that destroys the town. Moses, through a series of events, finds himself returning to his home town in pursuit of El Diablo.

El Diablo remains a mystery throughout this issue.

It’s a simple story but there is enough action and character development to keep any reader interested.

I am impressed.

This is exactly how a beginning issue should be. It should offer a conflict that is attractive enough to wet the appetite of a reader; enough to get them turning the pages and ordering the next issue. It should not, as was so often the case with the Lansdale and Truman Hex, spell out a run of the mill story with two-dimensional characters going through the motions of story to fill an issue quota.

As much as I enjoy the richness of Azzarello’s story ,I don’t enjoy Zezelj’s art. It is scrappy, foggy and unfocused. It also lacks the detail that have come to expect in the DC modern age. Each face is not discernible from the next. The fogginess maybe intentional for there is a subtext throughout this story that seems ready to burst through at any moment. Perhaps, Zezelj’s art is intentional in its enigmatic quality.

I feel at a disadvantage in this article.

I want to have a loftier discussion as I do with most these articles but, the issue presented is so perfect in its simplicity that I don’t have much to digest. This simplicity feels ominous. I get a sense that as this arc progresses the world presented will not be as it seems.

I cannot wait to unravel this.

Until next time, Extremites, I remain: Julian Munds.

Story I Read: “El Diablo Part 1″ (El Diablo #1 Mar. 2001)

Rating: 4 out of 5

Pros: The simplicity, the fully fleshed characters and the lush dialogue.

Cons: The art is foggy and tough to discern.

Previous Review:Part Three: Final Shadows” (Jonah Hex: Shadows West #3 Apr. 1999)

Upcoming Review:El Diablo Part 2” (El Diablo #2 Apr. 2001)




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