Early Reviews of Hard Time Season 2 #1

…from the Scripps-Howard News Service and The Fourth Rail.

If you’ve read your own copy and enjoyed it, *please* tell your friends. Post about it on any Usenet or AOL or Yahoo or kinky sex forum where you think potential readers might be lurking. I’d love to see this issue go back for a second printing.

And, yes, folks — people *do* listen. You really *can* help.


Oh, and please continue to post your comments here. Mary and I need all the encouragement — and/or brutal honesty — we can get.

21 Responses to “Early Reviews of Hard Time Season 2 #1”

  1. Brian Spence Says:

    I won’t get it for another three weeks, unfortunately. I’ll let you know what I think.

  2. Alistair Says:

    I found this to be a very interesting and moving read.

  3. Len N. Wallace Says:

    Any word yet on the possibility of a second trade to collect the end of the last series?

  4. Mynd Hed Says:

    Man it feels good to be picking up a new issue of Hard Time. I thought the ish did a masterful job of balancing comprehensibility for the new reader with interest for those of us who already know the basic setup. The flashback really shed some light on one of my big questions from the original run– why Ethan would go along with Brandon’s revenge plot in the first place. Powerful stuff. And the question of what exactly it was that Travis did to send Brandon over the edge definitely makes me want to keep reading.
    It’d be interesting to hear reactions from a first-time reader being dropped into this issue in media res. The only point of confusion I can possibly see being slightly problematic would be the extent of Ethan’s paranormal abilities (not that those of us who’ve been reading since day one are all too sure on that one either, naturally), but as they don’t figure too heavily into this issue past the first couple pages, it seems like the kind of thing a typical reader would be able to keep in abeyance.
    Congrats on the return of Hard Time, Steve! I’ll be eagerly following future issues….

  5. craig taylor Says:

    Here’s a review (somewhat critical) from Comics Should Be Good blog:
    The reviewer recommends Hard Time Season 2 #1, but finds fault with the interpretation of high school life. While I agree not all schools are Columbine (thankfully) that interpretation serves as the starting point for Hard Time and what keeps me intrigued with HT is the promise of further revelation.

    (And I agree completely with what the reviewer says of the MAX series Supreme Power: Nighthawk)

    I should get my copy of Hard Time 2 #1 with the TPB ’50 to life’ in the next few days, so I can do my favorite kind of all at once catch-up. Mind you, I’ve learned my lesson about “waiting for the trade” : support series that deserve support, or else there won’t be a trade. Hard Time is one, and I cleaned out my standing order of Avengers and Supreme JLA to accommodate the coming year of great comics reading.

  6. Leighton Connor Says:

    I’d never read an issue of Hard Time before but I bought the new #1 on Wednesday. I’m happy to report that I really enjoyed it. Even though I hadn’t read the previous issues, the story made perfect sense and I had no problem following it. The last line, about prison being basically the same as high school, was great. I’m looking forward to the next issue.

  7. David Medinnus Says:

    I’ve had a solicit on the blog this week, and will post an online review next week – acording to friends, I’ve sold seven!

  8. david Says:

    Up above, Craig Taylor posted a link to the Comics Should Be Good blog, and I primarily agree with the sentiments expressed there. Of course, I only attended one high school in my life, which is by no means a fair representation of ALL high schools, but some of the cliches presented in Season 2 #1 seemed very far away from any current high school realities of which I’m aware. However, if you ever turn on the TV to any of the O.C., Reunion, or other post-90210 teen drama craps, they all represent teen life in this same cliched fashion. I don’t know if you intend to follow this trend (either for appeal or for mockery), or simply, as the blog suggests, perhaps have fallen out of tune with modern teen life.

    The latter seems impossible to me, because you’ve always seemed AMAZINGLY on top of how life works, from when you started writing to your more recent stuff. I actually was introduced to you through Nevada, and I was surprised to find out how far back your comic history went, because of how modern the dialogue and characters of that book were. As I’ve collected more and more of your work, I’ve felt you’ve never faltered in this trend.

    Also similarly to the blog, I still felt that Hard Time #1 contained some very strong writing, and was most certainly compelling enough to make me look forward to issue 2. The structure of the issue (both in plotting and the art) was amazing – very cinematic. I’ve always felt that pacing was one of your great strengths.

    I had a couple of friends that I kept urging to buy Hard Time during the first season; the reason they were hard sells is because they felt like the premise was based on a cliche. I expressed my confidence in your writing, and told them to stick with the series. Thankfully, they did, and they ended up as massively impressed with the book as myself, and as anxious for this new issue.

    So what’s your take, Mr. Gerber?

  9. Micah Says:

    Steve’s work has always been and remained timely.
    Way back in HTD 8 we have a presidential candidate being brought down by sex scandal. This predates Gary Hart and Bill Clinton.
    Steves Popsyke story skewering self affirmation cults is pretty cutting even today what with the popularity of Oprah and such.
    The truth is that the same issues from 30 years ago have yet to be resolved so Steve’s writing remains relevant and fresh.
    Whether Ethans high school experience is the same as yours or mine is kind of irrelevant. The story rings true for me and it’s a good read.
    There are certain character types that Steve writes really well such as the fanatic (Gantry, the Foolkiller, any number of HTD villians), the follower (Deshon), the outsider (Ethan, Howard), etc. Thats mostly what I read Mr. Gerber for.
    Gantry was my favourite character from season one. Something about baptising his victims with solvent. He was the scariest comic book villian I’ve ever seen.
    Keep up the good work. I’m looking forward to getting season two.
    Although I will add one thing. Knowing all the characters motivations is not all that important to me. Sometimes not knowing is better.
    That is actually one of the joys of comics. A lot of times you pick up an issue from the middle (anybody read the Fantastic Four from issue #1? Not me, but I still have lots of issues from the middle) and get intrigued. The mystery is nice. While you are waiting for new issues to come out you can seek out the back issues and the story gets filled in. This is unique to comic books. They can be unintentionally non-linear and your experience with a book is different depending on where you started reading. I imagine everyone who has read comics has had this same experience at some point.
    The quality of one issue sells you on looking for the rest.
    I’m belabouring the point here but Cerebus is an extreme example of this. If you were to buy any one issue you would have to say, “What the hell is this?!” The slow pace and deliberate mystery surrounding Sims’ characters is a hook. Worked for me anyway.

  10. Brett Says:

    Just finished reading Season 2 issue 1. I was planning on waiting until I had a few issues because most comics today are written as trade paperbacks that are then just split at the appropriate page count. Not Hard Time. You guys still understand the art of making an issue stand on it’s own while being part of something bigger.
    Last year Hard Time was one of only two comics I actively recommended to people (the other was Abadazad – hope that comes back). Well, it’s time to start recommending again.
    It’s weird. It was only until I read some of the other posts above that I realised you hadn’t dealt with what led Ethan to join Brandon with the guns. Even when I was reading it I thought you were just fleshing out what we already knew. I guess that either means you had written Ethan so well in season 1 that his past seem to come with him or I was just making stuff up myself.
    Anyways, this issue is nothing short of brilliant. I went to three different high schools here in Australia and this is exactly what it was like (without the shootings). I suspect this resonates so well because the practice of bullying to some extent in schools is universal. If were lucky we don’t experience it first-hand but I’d be very surprised if it was gone.
    And that ending is sensational. But now you’ve got me wondering. Where is Inez now?

  11. Christian McDonald Says:

    Amazing storytelling… really great stuff.

  12. Man of Aluminum Says:

    I recently loaned a friend my issues from last season… here’s what he posted on his blog (He calls me Fish):
    “Anyway, Fish loaned me Hard Time, a comic from DC Comics’ DC Focus imprint about Ethan Harrow, a fifteen year-old kid who participates in a Columbine-esque attack on his classmates. It’s supposed to be bloodless, an attempt to frighten his tormentors, but his accomplice snaps and starts killing kids. A strange power manifests from Ethan, killing his accomplice, though no one else seems to notice he’s responsible. Ethan, though, is prosecuted as an adult and sentenced to fifty years to life for the murders his partner committed. The power, though, follows him into prison. It’s a compelling comic book that teaches the “With great power, comes great responsibility” thing from a whole new angle. I read the first two issues before going to bed last night and totally recommend it for anyone looking for something new and smart to read. It’s like Smallville meets Oz.”

    I can’t wait until he gets to season 2! The first issue did a great job of fulfilling the anticipation that I had been feeling and making sure that I’ll come back for more! A “new and smart… read” indeed!

  13. Tom Walker Says:

    Hard Time Season Two : An invitation to induldge in some more casual deviance!

    Back story was well paced and written. Loved the details such as Snodd’s homelife and Red’s adopted parents. Fine work, S&M!

  14. Marc Bryant Says:

    Great stuff, as expected. Buying a copy to give away and one to keep of each episode, I mean issue.
    Anyone in particular that needs annoying to get a 2nd trade of Season One out there?

  15. Corey Bond Says:

    I read Hard Time this weekend, and by “Hard Time” I mean all 13 issues so far. (I guess you could say I was saving Season 1 for a special occasion. It was worth the wait). Now the wait for Season 2 #2 begins. In the meantime, I’m doing what I can to spread the word on my blog. Thank you, Mr. Gerber, for yet another great read.

  16. Steve Gerber Says:

    Just a quick note for now:

    Thanks, everyone, for taking time to comment. Please — keep the critiques (and the compliments) coming. Mary and I read them all and take your opinions very seriously.

    More to follow…!

  17. David Medinnus Says:

    Newsarama chimes in with a review of Hard Times Seasn 2 #1:


    Favorable review. Youve’ hooked the reviewer!

  18. Brian Christgau Says:

    I finally read the first issue of “Hard Time, Season Two” last night and found it to be such an excruciatingly painful experience that I literally had to put the damn thing down about halfway through and walk away from it.

    Before you go thinking this is a slam, allow me to elaborate.

    Ethan’s chronicle of his school life, being bullied and ostracized, so closely mirrors my own experiences that it reawakened many old, painful memories and the turbulent emotions associated with them. You think you have this stuff safely buried, and then one day something seemingly innocuous- an old song, a playful punch in the arm from a friend, a look from a passing stranger on the street – brings all that black, tar-like goop bubbling up to the surface again. Well, in the case of “Dirty Linen”, you and Mary, Brian and Steve had it erupting out of me like a fucking geyser.

    I’m not going to go into the details my own experiences. I don’t want to be that poor old white boy singing the blues about how rough he had it growing up in a middle class suburb. But I will say this:

    You guys nailed it. You got it so right it hurts.

  19. Travis Webber Says:

    Excellent, excellent issue. The art fits and flows so naturally, and the story was very affecting (maybe a bit too affecting – I was crabby towards everyone for hours after reading it!). I found the comment about “certain kinds of arbitrary hatred” especially thought-provoking.
    Is it just me or have football players and cheerleaders become stock villains in fiction, instantly recognizable by readers as the “bad guys” like Germans or Russians have been in the past? This is not a comment on your characterizations of Travis and his friends, which are quite good and I’m sure will deepen even further (I liked the scene of his visit to Alyssa last “season”) – just a tentative observation.
    Thanks for the hard work. It paid off.

  20. J. Alexander Says:

    Steve, you, Mary and Brian did one hell of a job. Since it has been quite a while since the last issue, the first issue of the second season was a great recap of the series’ premise while giving us a fresh perspective.

    Right now, I am going through some economic belt-tightening. Certain titles will be dropped that I have read for years. HARD TIMES will not be one of them.

  21. Jim Sheridan Says:

    I just bought the HARD TIMES TPB this afternoon and devoured it. I loved Stever Gerber back in the 70s but have been an intermittent comics reader since then. However, now I am asking and begging, HOW DO WE GET A TRADE PAPERBACK FOR HARD TIMES SEASON ONE VOLUME TWO?!