Sunday, 12 July 2009

LLC Recommends: Wednesday Comics

So, after loudly proclaiming that I would be buying precisely 0 new series in single issue format, I went and picked up Wednesday Comics.


To be fair, if there's one comic worth picking up in singles it's this one. Deliberately aping the American newspaper funny sections of yesteryear, this is a comic which is at once innovative and nostalgic, a throwback to a more innocent time packaged in a format that will leave your average Direct Market punter scratching their heads.

Forget writing for the trade, this is all about writing for the moment. A series of one page ongoing strips showcasing the talents of a bunch of A list artists and writers, printed on paper which you could wrap a bag of chips in.

It's a comic which shouts at the reader to get stuck in. The very act of unfolding it (yes it's a broadsheet!) and reading it is going to cover your copy in tiny creases. The corners will blunt and buckle, you'll create new folds off the old ones, the paper will give as you turn the pages. In short, this is a comic which tells you to forget about keeping things mint and just enjoy yourself.

And, unless you are a very jaded old soul, you will find something to enjoy here. Sure, there are a couple of clunkers (Caldwell's Wonder Woman, Berganza and Galloway's Teen Titans) but in the main these strips are things of beauty - lovingly rendered shorts, free of the blood, guts and other bodily fluids which we've become used to wading through. There's a real affection going on, a playfulness which comes to the fore in Gaiman and Allred's Metamorpho, as the writer messes around with a series of gentle double entendres against a backdrop of gorgeous silver age style images.

You get Joe Kubert doing Sgt Rock BETTER then he's ever done him before. Paul Pope drawing fantastic mandril space pirates in Adam Strange. Ryan Sook providing Kamandi with a Prince Valiant style treatment. Kyle Baker giving us a birds-eye view of life with Hawkman. Azzarello and Risso bringing the noir back to Batman. And much, much more.

Every page is different, but the tone remains consistent. Forget about continuity, bags, boards, NM, Gem Mint and CGC. This is comics for comics sake. Comics that revel in the silliness of DC's characters while celebrating their brilliance. There aren't going to be any groundbreaking story arcs here, no repercussions that will echo through the DCU for years to come. Who needs that anyway? These are just strips about colourful characters drawn by folks with a healthy respect for the absurd wonder of superhero comics.

In many ways then, Wednesday comics is the antidote to the impenetrable, continuity heavy epics that dominate the output of the big two. In an age when the traditional single issue is on the way out, DC have provided us with one last example of a comic that demands to be handled. This one isn't going to work half as well on a computer screen as it does in your hands, and it won't read particularly well in a collection (although no doubt some of the art will look lovely on better quality paper). No, Wednesday Comics is a comic to pick up and put down every week. Perhaps the last of its kind, or maybe the future for non-digital single issue comics. Whatever, it's worthy of your attention, go pick it up!


Mr A. P. Salmond, esq. said...

Well said, that man! What a joy, to read and to hold. An all around pleasure of a comic that even I am going to buy!

pulpsfromthebothy said...

I forgot to pick this up, but after listening to the drunken excitement it caused on the 11 o'clock comics podcast I gave Forbidden Planet a call and had them slot one in my box. Can't wait!

Hurk said...

I enjoyed it very much, it's the new beano for the adult me.

Mike Leader said...

Great post, sir. I'm really enjoying this little bundle of fun - and the second issue was just as lovely!