I'm still feeling bad for knocking Asterios Polyp yesterday. I mean, who the fuck am I to have a pop? Just some spawny fat tosser who hasn't got an ounce of the talent that David Mazzuchelli possesses. Sorry Mazzer. Really I am.
Anyway, on to this week's shopping list...
What have we got? Rare issue of Fear Agent, the last before it goes on "hiatus" I believe. Sad really, I've grooved on all Rick Remender's indie books (Crawlspace, Fear Agent, Gigantic, End League) but have no real interest in picking up a bunch of new Marvel titles just to follow his work. I understand that the man needs to make a living, but his is too inspired a mind to be tied to The Punisher. Ach well.
Marvel Zombies IV wraps up. Not as good as the third installment, but Fred Van Lente still makes me chuckle. I have to think that he's wrung all that he can out of the zombie thing now. As much as I've enjoyed the whole Marvel Zombies trip, it's got to the point where even I'm going to skip Marvel Zombies V (if there is one).
Fallen behind on the whole World of Krypton thing again, not sure I can be arsed to catch up either. This week's Superman takes us up to part 36 or something, and it won't even have Superman in it. A Superman comic without Superman? I ask you.
Similarly behind on both Northlanders and the Final Crisis Aftermath titles, but continue to buy them in anticipation of that far away tomorrow when I can commit an entire uninterrupted weekend to reading. Loser.
Complete Dracula #2 from Dynamite is another Leah Moore and John Reppion collaboration. As with their other Dynamite book, Sherlock Holmes, it's a surprisingly good comic. I remember picking up Moore's Animal Girl a few years ago and thinking that it was a bit pony to be honest, but her and the hubby are really knocking out some good comics now. If you aren't reading them already, I do recommend picking up both the Holmes and Dracula books when they're traded. Both nice, well-paced period pieces with some decent art.
Tales from The Corps continues to scratch my alien itch (urggh). Blackest Night is all very silly I know, but I'm enjoying it thus far. I'll probably make it my last big event in single issue format before switching to trades. Seems like a decent one to go out on.
There you go, I'll also be picking up Darwyn Cooke's Parker from Gosh (with or without bookplate)! receiving the last couple of 100 Bullets trades in the post and vol 1 of The Creepy Archives, a collection which I'd been determined to avoid, given that it's fucking expensive and is going to run to about 40 volumes, but which I cracked on after reading that Alex Toth reprint in the Creepy reboot.
Strong start, but that big Spidey story is too long. Nice art and all, but there's a bit of padding going on in there. As for the rest of the stuff - still haven't read it all, but the Stan Lee story is rubbish and a complete waste of Marcos Martin's considerable talents. Soz, but it is. I've taken this issue as a jumping off point.
I realise that a lot of people are pronouncing this one of the finest works of comics genius ever produced, but David Mazzuchelli's graphic novel is a bit poncy for me. Yeah, he's doing lovely things with the medium, It's all very clever, looks absolutely stunning, makes fantastic use of white space etc etc etc, but the story didn't grab me and I didn't understand all the gubbins about philosophy and art.
I prefer Red Hulk.
Yes, I'm a fucking philistine. Please accept my apologies.
I didn't dislike this reboot of the old horror mag, but it didn't blow me away. The best thing about it was the reprint of the old Toth story. I'll probably be back for more, and it's considerably better than PaperCutz's godawful reboot of Tales From The Crypt.
So yeah, I was going to write some sort of review of the first two Red Hulk trades wasn't I? No time, no time. Soz. Maybe Tuesday. Put it in your diaries...Tuesday: avoid reading Sutton's bilge on Hulk book that no-one else likes.
Green Lantern #44: Martian Manhunter comes back from dead. Has fight with Flash and Green Lantern. John Stewart experiences enjoyable "Oh fuck" moment. Terrific fun.
Captain Britain #15: Last issue of cancelled series. Wraps up Dracula story. Features Space SAS who would've been a lot cooler if they didn't look so much like Buzz Lightyear...
Blackest Night Tales of The Corps #2: Throwback to the '80s GL Corps Annuals which Geoff Johns plundered for his run on GL. Nice short stories about aliens, and a bonus hokey explanation of all the various lantern colours and their symbols by Ethan van Bonkers.
Amazing Spidey #600: Read the first few pages before falling asleep. Rest of the comic could be utter pony for all I know, but as a spin on what it means to be a super-villain, this little four pager on Doc Oc is brilliant.
Captain America #601: After some humming and hawing with Mr Salmond, I eventually settled on the black and white variant of this Gene Colan pencilled special. Listen, some of the art is a bit ropey, but equally some of it is utterly glorious. Given the fact that Colan is a half-blind octogenarian, this rates as an absolute triumph.
Watched...The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters: Super documentary film about man-boys and their obsession with old school arcade games. If you haven't seen this, then go grab yourself a torrent, it's a rich study of emotional retardation and the near autistic world of competitive retro gaming. STEVE WIEBE FTW!
This fantastic splash is the opening page of Invasion, the first strip in the first issue of 2000AD...
Click the image to big up the action!
Evil Volgan troops parachuting into London and blowing up the Post Office Tower!
Get that? BBC3!
Yes, the world's premier SF comic kicked off by accurately predicting the future (sort of). Magic!
Sadly, there is no way that the BBC3 we ended up with would interrupt Boob Job: My Big Decision, Bizarre Animal ER or Snog, Marry, Avoid to bring its viewer(s) news of something as inconsequential as a Volgan Invasion.
Don't think it's swine flu, because we haven't had cold, fever or sore throat, but me and the missus have been knocked for six by this flipping lurgy. Vomiting, gastric pain, aching limbs and above all CRUSHING fatigue. It seems to have hit us harder than our son who had a few pukes and a bit of diarrhea but little loss of energy. Anyway, just explaining the lack of updates around here.
On the advice of Big Dave F (Lewisham's No.1 Hulk fan) I've been reading a bit of JephLoeb'sRed Hulk. It's totally bonkers, badass, brilliant stuff. Top recommendation Dave, Ta!
I used to have this friend at school whose dad wouldn't let him go into the West End because he had heard that gangs of crazed gays were roaming Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road injecting shoppers with AIDS. True story, swear to God.
There were also loads of people who thought you could catch AIDS from toilet seats or door handles. Kissing or shaking hands equalled AIDS! Any male teacher who looked skinny and acted camp probably had it. Honestly, those were shit scary times. Yay, the 80s!
To be honest though, I thought everyone had chilled down about things by the mid '90s. Apparently not, as this DC ad from 1994 shows...
Fair point, well made. Although, with all this talk of wildebeests being easier to take on than AIDS patients, there is the slightly disturbing suggestion that Beast Boy thinks he's come to the hospital for a fight.
Great ad. Fantastic AIDS ward! Everyone looks really healthy. Bit of painting and reading going on. There's even a bonny AIDS baby. Smashing!
I love that The Teen Titans have just turned up. A few minutes before this they were probably all sitting about in Titans Tower, bored. Beast Boy started prattling on about how he'd accidentally sat in some wee in a public toilet and was now likely riddled with AIDS. Nightwing and Donna Troy told him to chill out, and, (when he started freaking and turning into a panic stricken rhino), they took him to the local AIDS ward to put his mind at ease.
Didn't stop him wearing the suit with the full-length gloves though.
Ad scanned from Supergirl: Reign of Tomorrow #1, February 1994.
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!
And we're back. Bit of a break on the blogging front owing to the fact that I've been in sole charge of my two-year-old son while the missus was on conference duty in Leicester. Farkinell, I'm knackered! I did consider writing something during the evenings, but to be honest with you, I've been crashing out at around 8pm every night. Honestly, sleep has never come so easily. Christ knows how people cope as single parents with no family support. Fizzy drinks, that's my only answer.
Anyway, the missus has returned, so the workload is lightened and I can once again resume my comics related blathering. That said, I haven't had time to read anything much, the odd issue here and there. Batman & Robin #2, which you've all read about anyway, and Chew #2 which was almost as strong as issue #1 (does that count as a review? Fuck it, it'll have to).
During my occasional forays online I've been following the whole Rob Liefeld/Peter David/Shatterstar blow-up with some interest. Fellow Londonite Neil makes reference to the business HERE and, as a quick aside, links this brilliant page. Neil also recommended me the podcast Awesomed by Comics, which I've been plugging into my head for a month or two now, and they provide their own deliciously snarky take on the whole thing HERE.
Me? Truthfully? I hadn't even heard of fucking Shatterstar until last week. Seriously, I know that will harm my credibility the next time I get into one of those, What weighs more, Mjolnir or Stormbreaker?, type arguments, ("How the fuck would you know dude, you haven't even heard of Shatterstar?"), but I stopped reading comics completely in the 90s and haven't read an X book since getting back into the hobby, so I'm utterly clueless about the whole thing.
Obviously Liefeld's just a bit of a bible-beating loon who doesn't like The Gays. He more than most should realise the perils of work-for-hire though, so it seems a bit daft to get his knickers in a twist over a Marvel character who he has no rights over. There you have it, my informed and biting commentary on the big (and hugely unimportant) story in comics this week. Aren't you glad you stopped by?
There it is, quite the fucking list for a man who claims he's about to knock single issues on the head, eh?
What can I say? I'm full of shit.
Pleae note though: no Captain America Reborn, no Greek Street. In fact, no new series or mini series at all. This is it for me now. What I have I hold, so to speak.
Highlights include Chew #2, a comic which has gone buzz ballistic. There are muppets paying anywhere up to $150 for copies of the first issue on ebay, but you should be able to get your hands on a reprint for a couple of quid.
The Mighty and Irredeemable both cover similar ground, namely superheroes gone bad. There's nothing inherently new about either title, they are both just superbly executed examples of the grim and gritty superhero genre. Heavy with reference to the likes of Watchmen and The Authority, but different enough to be worth your attention.
I'll also be picking up Viking #2 and a couple of volumes of 20th Century Boys from Gosh! (That is if they have them). Oh, and although it isn't on my shopping list, I heartily urge anyone who hasn't already read them in singles issue format to pick up the first collected volume of Michael Kupperman's AMAZING Tales Designed To Thrizzle, which is a by turns an odd, hilarious and occasionally disturbing work of genuine comics genius. Trust me, you need to read it.