Monday, January 08, 2007

Some Comics Talk, Part 1

Between Christmas and a larger than usual box from DCBS for December, I've found myself in possession of an extraordinarily large amount of comics goodness lately. Here are some theoretically brief thoughts. Things may get a little spoilery.

Spirit 1 - Yes, I'd like a lot more like this, please. They said it couldn't (maybe even shouldn't) be done, but Darwyn Cooke brought the goodness here in a big way, I thought, keeping the book true to the (ugh) spirit of Will Eisner but at the same time not shying away from making it a thing unto itself. Very anxious to see A.) where this goes, and V.) if Cooke can keep up the standards he set for himself here.

Justice Society of America 1 - More like this, too, please. Everything a first issue should be: sets up/re-establishes the premise, introduces some new folks, lays the groundwork for future stories, and sets the main plot of the arc into motion. This got me more excited about the JSA than I've been in some time, and has me thinking that maybe I'll pick this up monthly rather than in trades. We'll see, I guess. Also, I hearby declare Maxine Hunkel to be the Sensational Character Find of 2006.

Supergirl and the LSH 25 - I like this new version of the Wanderers, and just how many of them are new versions of old Legionnaires and/or Subs. And I'm glad Waid finally gave Dream Boy something useful to do... he's been depicted as such a tool so far, and his only really flaw is that he's not Nura. And, you know, that's not so much his fault, really, is it?

Nextwave: Agents of HATE 11 - Alright, so the MODOK Elvises were inspired, but you had to appreciate the all-ape squad of Wolverine clones, too. This is Warren Ellis-as-mad-genius.

newuniversal 1 - And this is Warren Ellis phoning it in. Sorry, I just didn't like it, even for 75 cents or whatever the DCBS price ended up being. Not enough of a story (even for an introduction issue), and the art is way too photo-referenced for my liking.

An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, & True Stories - My boss got me this for Christmas. How cool is that? Anyway, this is an amazing collection of material that I'm having an absolute blast picking my way through a few pages at a time (which is the best way to approach this, I think - a few pages every couple of days or so). Editor Ivan Brunetti selected some truly memorable material from a who's who of indie artists past and present (though of his own work, I wish he'd included the "Whither Shermy?" strip instead of one or the other pieces he selected; it would've gone well in the Schulz tribute section of the book), as well as material from some classic sources: a week's worth of daily Barnaby strips by Crockett Johnson, a Gene Dietch magazine cover, a Hey, Look! from Harvey Kurtzman, a Gasoline Alley Sunday strip from the '20s (IIRC), and so on. They make nice little palate cleansers in between the more modern stuff, as well as helping to show the influence of the classic on the contemporary. A fine "how do you do?" to indie comics that's well worth your time and money.

There's still more to discuss, but that can wait for now. In the meantime, there are meals to be prepared, children to be put to bed, episodes of Arrested Development to be watched, and levels of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance to be played. I'm one busy dude.
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