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The Trouble with Charm

Brian Hibbs

I have to admit that I’m getting a little tired of continuity and universes and everything that those entail.

More and more I crave “done in one” comics, or comics that are self-contained within themselves (even if multiple issues), or comics that are “fun”.

The basic problem? These kinds of comics typically don’t sell very well.

Here’s three comics I read this week that I liked great deal. You should buy copies and support them!

PATSY WALKER, HELLCAT #1: Patsy Walker, as some few of you might know was originally Marvel’s (Timely’s) answer to ARCHIE (kinda — same demographics at least), and it ran from 1945 to 1965, gosh. Here’s a link to a cover gallery.

I don’t think she was a fashion model in the original run (at least I can’t tell so from the covers), but she eventually became so during the later Marvel issues, even getting a “Fashion Parade” special. Then, in THE DEFENDERS, some wit made her into HELLCAT, ha ha.

[Right there I really want to make a LOLhellcat -- can i haz sum sooperpowerz plez? -- but that's too dumb, even for me]

Her first “contemporary” Marvel appearance is apparently AMAZING ADVENTURES #13, an issue which does not appear to have an creative credits on it, so I’m no certain whom to blame!

ANYway, that’s just to show that the character has a pedigree going back further than most Marvel characters.

In this new mini-series, which is funny, charming, light-hearted, and joyful, Patsy’s back as the newest member of The Initiative, this time tackling super-heroics in… Alaska. Hah.

The script crackles, the art is utterly luscious, and it’s not going to sell 15k copies, even, is it? Still, it was, hands down, the best Marvel comic book this week. VERY GOOD.

BILLY BATSON AND THE MAGIC OF SHAZAM! #1: Douglass made the call on this as well (a few entries down), but I absolutely second it — this is great great fun, and probably the best ongoing series spin-off from a critically lauded mini-series (the Jeff Smith one) that I’ve ever read in my life.

Mike Kunkel’s art is just bursting with excitement and energy, but because it is marketed as a “kid’s book”, most people are just going to pass it by. That’s a damn shame, because this is the most I’ve like d a Shazam comic in many many a year.

At the price they sell the “johnny DC” books for, it is my guess that DC loses a tiny amount on each one, but they do so in order to seed the market for the future generation of reader. I’d like it if DC lost a WHOLE lot of money on this book, because everyone started buying it.

For all you cats out there who rail about prices and stuff (“Oh, if only they printed them on newsprint again, then our comics could cost under $2″ or what… you know who you are), I am OBLIGATING you to buy this comic book. If you don’t, you are a hypocrite.

In all ways (well, except maybe the paper quality!!), this was EXCELLENT.

JONAH HEX #33: Well this one wasn’t fun or charming — in fact, it might be one of the most depressing issues of one of the most depressing comics on the stands — but I wanted to point out that this issue was illustrated by Darwyn Cooke. You’d think that in a just universe, that would add 5 to 10k to the sales just by itself, but my bet is when we see this issue’s sales on the sales charts there will be less than a 1000 copy difference.

If you like Darwyn’s art (and who doesn’t?!?!), go snatch this one up — it’s VERY GOOD.

What did YOU think?

-B

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