Welcome to the first installment of what will hopefully be a regular column here at Whim. Each week, Iíll pull comics out of my bag and review them. Iím constantly adding and dropping books, so there should be something new each time.
One problem, thoughÖI didnít get any comics this week. The shop was closed for inventory. So instead, Iíll give you the rundown on how I came to comics, and a brief description of my favorite books.
Every Sunday, my dad would take me to 7-11 in Pulaski to buy me a comic book. I'm definitely showing my age here, but a standard comic was 65 cents. At the time, I largely got G.I. Joe or Star Wars comics (back when Marvel published them), with the occasional super-hero comic thrown in for good measure. After Marvel ceased publication of those titles, I discovered super-hero books. My favorite publisher was Marvel, and Wolverine my favorite character.
I didnít get serious about comics until my freshman year of high school, when DC published The Death/Funeral/Return of Superman storyline. I would go to the card-and-comic shop in Pulaski each week to get a new installment of the saga and would pick up other books while I was there. Then something happenedóI became a huge DC fan, and have more or less stayed that way since. Donít fret, though: I read plenty of other comics too.
So what comic series am I digging now? Well, hereís a look:
Infinite Crisis: I spent the first half of 2005 waiting for this bad boy to come out, and I wasnít disappointed. Itís a grand, epic story involving practically every character DC owns. Every page contains some big, shocking development and moments that make you go, "Oh my god!" or "Hell Yeah!" My only two quibbles with it are that it's not new-reader friendly, as it builds on almost 70 years of story, and the fact that it will end come March. But what a ride it's been (and going to be).
Runaways: Bar none the best book Marvel publishes. When I got back into comics about three years ago, I would walk into the shop and just pick up books at random, trying to find something good. Runaways was one such book, and after one issue, I was hooked. The premise is this: every kid thinks at one time or another that their parents are evil, and Runaways asks the question: What if they really were, and you were the ones who had to stop them? The first series ran for 18 issues and ended. The collected editions sold so well that it convinced Marvel to bring the book back for another run, and it's been going since.
Y: The Last Man: Written by the same chap who writes Runaways, the concept behind Y sounds like every man's fantasy: a mysterious disease kills every male on Earth, except for one and his pet monkey. In execution, however, you see the horrors that such an event would bring. The book deftly mixes science fiction concepts with excellent characterization. The films rights have been optioned by New Line Cinema, I believe, so you may be seeing this one in a theater someday (although I think it would make a better TV series). This book is collected in trade paperbacks pretty quickly, and every volume is easily available, should you want to catch up.
The Walking Dead: Zombie movies are great, arenít they? Two hours of watching people fight a losing battle against hordes of reanimated corpses. Yet, after those two hours, we're left to wonder what happened to the characters after the conclusion. With The Walking Dead, we get to see that.
Seven Soldiers: My favorite comic creator of all time is Grant Morrison, and in my opinion, this is his crowning achievement. Essentially, Seven Soldiers is seven four-issue miniseries connected only by a common thread; that none of the heroes meet each other during the course of the book. Morrison and his collaborators have created new takes on established characters, and the results are nothing less than astounding.
Fell: Another one of my favorite creators is Warren Ellis, who writes in a variety of genres. Fell is his attempt at a crime noir comic. The design of the book is nifty, too: 16 pages of story and four pages of supplementary materials for only $1.99. Each story is self-contained, so thereís no need to buy other issues to understand what is going on.
The Ultimates: Probably the second-best book Marvel publishes, even if it has a wonky shipping schedule. This book is essentially the Avengers re-imagined for the 21st century. Writer Mark Millar and artist Brian Hitch serve up a heaping helping of action, drama, conspiracy and intrigue each month (or so). The sad thing is this current run is coming to an end with issue 12, and the creators will not be coming back for the next run.
Other books I enjoy include JSA, Astonishing X-men, Teen Titans, Invincible, Ultimate Fantastic Four, Dead Eyes Open, Birds of Prey and Aquaman. There, I said it.
Thatís a wrap for now. Check back next week for the beginning of Quick Comic Reviews.
Don't tell Shaun Corley what he can't do!