Posted by: Brian Hibbs on October 18, 2006
No preamble, not if I want to have a chance of finishing this today…
(And, man, I really need a good idea for the TILTING I’m supposed to write tomorrow.)
DORK #11: What I loved about this was the sheer density of ideas. Even when some of them kinda sucked (I thought “Shitty Witch” was fairly well named), you just turned the page, and there were another 5 new ideas waiting for you. I wish Dorkin could give us an issue a year (or more), but I’ll definitely take what I can get of this VERY GOOD comic.
GEN13 #1: Oh. A full-on hard reboot. Not what I expected, I have to say, and something that could really backfire, since if it doesn’t take THIS time, well its pretty much over, ain’t it? The whole relaunch of the WS books has kind of been a disaster, really, what with not being able to hit deadlines on the “flagship” title, and all, but I thought this was a fairly solid launch here. If only they’d been clearer about the intentions. I’ll go with GOOD, albeit a very LOW “Good”. It has my attention for 3 issues.
CHIP ZDARSKY’S MONSTER COPS #1: I love ol’ Chipper (A deep, masculine love), though I keep waiting for the home-run humor of his online persona to really translate in a comic book. I was pretty meh about the first story in here, but then we got to the Vampirella one, and I just howled and howled. “Buh…buh…but I can’t READ!” Beauty! And pure comedy gold. That story alone elevates the proceedings to a GOOD.
TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED #1: Go read Graeme’s review, because I think he nailed it pretty accurately. Me, I just want to add that I thought the Dr. 13 story was really wonderful. I’m not used to liking Azzarello’s writing (Sorry), but here it was like a whole new guy. Oh, and that art! The Spectre stuff was pretty meh, but I liked 13 enough to give the whole thing a GOOD. Yeah, shocked me, too.
BOMB QUEEN v2 #1: Sure, it’s pandering, but I thought it reasonably amusing in doing so. Unlike, say, TAROT, one gets the sense Jimmie Robinson’s tongue is firmly in his cheek. A solid OK.
PIRATES OF CONEY ISLAND #1: Pretty enough, but badly paced. I’ll give it one more issue, at least to find out about the eponymous Pirates, OK
STAN LEE MEETS DR STRANGE: Not as full-bore insane as the SPIDER-MAN one, but fairly close. At first blush I thought maybe that Stan just scripted this over a wholly different plot, but there are a few things in there that must have been from Stan, so… I’m sorta sorry he’s so cynical about his creations, and their value, since a lot of us still respond viscerally to them, but, I guess that’s what happens when your very name becomes household like that. Its funny, it probably takes me 20 years to gross what Stan does in one, and he’s the one cynical about money. Ah well. The Bendis backup was, as Graeme observed, shrill, self-serving, and kinda blechy (Grow a thicker skin, it my advice), but, at the same time, I thought it was really terrific. And right, in places. It’s just that someone OTHER than Bendis needed to make that argument. Overall, I’ll go with an OK for the package.
ULTIMATE POWER #1: Problem #1 is the art. Ugh, so stiff, so posed, so traced-looking. I used to really like Land’s work in SOJOURN (because the fantasy setting hid the photo ref?), but I can’t hardly bear to look at it any more. Problem #2 is the story — it’s an adequate FF story, I guess, but it ends with such a huge awful thud when the Squadron arrives. There’s no weight or power to it — just a bunch of posed costumes with no context. Bordeline awful, but I’ll be a soft bastard and just say EH, instead.
DMZ #12: I couldn’t read it. Just couldn’t. Way way way too soon in the series to release a “worldbuilding” sourcebook issue. Especially in the context of a regular issue. AWFUL.
On to the BOOKS:
ANTHOLOGY OF GRAPHIC FICTION CARTOONS & TRUE STORIES HC: Here’s the thing: if GRETEST AMERICAN COMICS hadn’t JUST come out… or possibly if MCSWEENEYS #13 had never come out, then this might have been perceived as kinda great. Maybe. But those books DID come out, and that gives a benchmark to look at this against. See, it’s not that this isn’t a great big honking collection of suberb comics, because it is — its just that we’ve seen this before, and better, at that.
Part of my problem, I think, might be that the book is kinda formless. Title aside, there’s no clear theme when you’re reading the book, and it jumps around in decades willy nilly. Plus, there’s a sense of including stuff because (creator) “needs” to be in the book…. whether because it is “expected” or because they’re pals with Brunetti, I can not say…. but it FEELS like one of the two.
When discussing the book with Jeff on Friday, the only thing I was able to seize upon was that, maybe, because it is published by Yale University Press, maybe the intent of the boo is to be a syllabus for a critical comics reading class. That might explain the excerpt from MAUS (8 pages from the middle kind of have no power on their own), or the section where “here’s all the D&Q cartoonists” and so on. As a TEXTBOOK, it’s not a bad package really.
Really, it is a package of really really good comics. REALLY GOOD… but if you already know comics, it’s pretty formless, pretty toothless, and pretty damn dated. If all you’ve ever read in your life is SUPERMAN or X-MEN, then, damn straight, you should get this. But if you know your comics, then this package is a failure. A well intentioned, noble, lush, pretty failure, but a failure nonetheless.
The PICK OF THE WEEK is pretty obviously DORK #11 (and isn’t the lack of Dorkin in Brunetti’s anthology pretty glaring?)
THE PICK OF THE WEAK goes to DMZ #12 this week. Too soon, too slight.
THE GN/TP OF THE WEEK has 2 primary choices: DESOLATION JONES, which is just pure gold, and the ABSOLUTE SANDMAN HC, which, OMG, is a supremely lush version of one of the greatest serialized stories ever. The recoloring on those first issues is really damn good (though I wish someone asked around for some of the original art… I own the original for page 7, and could have given them a better scan of it than the “decolored” version they had)
I’m going to be an ass and lean towards ABSOLUTE SANDMAN because… well, because it was actually MY idea. Neil had complained about the original coloring for YEARS, and after the first “Absolute” (HUSH, was it?) came out, I called both Karen and Neil and suggested that they amortize the cost of recoloring on the back of an ABSOLUTE. “That’s a really good idea!” they enthused, but 2 weeks or so later Karen told me that Levitz said no. Well, it took a year or two of convincing, I guess, but eventually he apparently came around, because here’s the book. It’s going to really pay off the next time they go back to press on v1 & 2 of the SCs, and they can use this coloring. Should send sales right upwards!
Anyway, I don’t know if anyone up there remembers it was my idea (Certainly, there’s nothing in the final book to suggest so), but I don’t really care, because the more important thing is that it happened. And it looks GREAT. Best $100 you’ll spend, really.
And that gives me 10 more minutes until the truck is supposed to show, so off I go to try to read a comic or two today…
What did YOU think?