Saturday, August 04, 2007

Comics, Comics, and More Comics

On Thursday, I wrote: "Tomorrow, Judy wants to take the kids to a Children's Museum about an hour away. I wonder if there are any comic shops in that area?"

There WAS a comic shop in the area, and I got a chance to stop by. I thought it was going to be pointless when I saw the exterior, though, because it was all GAMES, GAMES, and MORE GAMES according to the posters and signage. And when I walked through the door, that's what I found: a gaming store that sold a few comics. So, I thought it was going to be a quick stop, but then my daughter (who's three) noticed the Greatest Wonder Woman Stories Ever Told trade paperback, and she shouted, "WOMAN Woman! WOMAN Woman!" (She used to call her "Wonder Melon," but it's advanced to "Woman Woman." She has no problem saying other superhero names, like Green Lantern or Superman, but she can't say Wonder Woman. She pronounces popsicle as popsicable, too.) Anyway, she loves Wonder Woman, although I don't know where that fascination came from, so I bought her that Greatest Stories trade paperback. Now that she had something to look through (and something my wife could read to her as I looked around), I could take more time. (My son got bored pretty quickly, even though he likes comics and games, but I think he was hoping to find video games in the store and was disappointed.)

So, even though I thought the shop would have nothing for me, I found the three glorious 50 cent boxes, tucked away, unlabelled. No sign indicated the cheapness of these comics, but each one was individually marked with a "$.50" sticker, and once I realized that, then I started digging. At first it was all ugly 90s X-Men stuff, but after that, the goodness began. I was able to pick up over 150 great comics, almost all late-Silver Age to mid-Bronze Age DC stuff, like a huge run of the Cary Bates Flash, a stack of Mike Grell Green Lantern/Green Arrow issues, Justice League of America comics from the low 100's up through the mid 200's (including a new copy of Justice League of America #200, which was one of my favorite comics as a kid--so much so that the cover of my copy has fallen off completely because I read it at least a dozen times over the years). Basically, stuff that hasn't really been reprinted, and runs I have read only bits and pieces of. My philosophy is that I'll gladly pay 50 cents an issue for Bronze Age comics I don't already own, so that's what I did.

The owner of the store seemed shocked I was buying such a huge pile of comics from those bins. He said, "I can never get rid of that stuff," and I just said, "yeah." What I was thinking was, "that's because nobody has awesome taste like me, AND you don't have any signs indicating that you actually sell comics." Anyway, it was surprising and cool to find so many comics at that store. That's the end of that story.

Here's another story: I'm going to quickly comment on the new non-Metal Men comics that actually came out this week. (And, no, even though some were excellent, none of them knocked Metal Men #1 off the Book of the Week ranking.)

Gail Simone's tone seems wildly inconsistent in ALL NEW ATOM #14. Not just within the issue, but compared to the previous issues as a whole. A strange installment on many levels.

John Rozum writes a pretty great Scarecrow story in DETECTIVE COMICS #835, and unlike the Ostrander-penned arc over in BATMAN, Tom Mandrake's art looks good here. It's the best work I've seen from him in years, as he rises to the challenge of Rozum's moody, chilling script. This was a really good issue all around. Nicely done, boys.

I probably would have liked JONAH HEX #22 more if it hadn't come out within the same year as Matt Fraction's FIVE FISTS OF SCIENCE and Christopher Nolan's THE PRESTIGE. I'm a bit sick of Tesla vs. Edison stories all of a sudden. And Phil Noto's art in HEX is so dark that it's barely discernible. I liked the issue, and I liked seeing the character of Jonah Hex in that science-filled environment, but it's not like we don't already know that he's going to get transported into the future to a post-apocalyptic world where he must use his laser-gunslinging to fight fleshy headed mutants.

Jessie Chambers is badass, as JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #8 proves. This incarnation of the JSA, if you're not reading it, is the all-screwed up, all-the time version. Starman's bonkers, Damage is psychotic, and Citizen Steel has seen his family killed by super-nazis. Hourman's an ex-drug addict. And this issue is all about how Liberty Belle has mommy and daddy issues. I liked it quite a bit, but I'm a sucker for the Chambers family.

SCALPED #8 is another great issue of an excellent series. If you're not buying this comic, then you are dooming it to an early, undeserved death. Please, please buy it. I guarantee it won't last past issue #20 unless you start picking it up on a monthly basis. It's so very good.

I bought SUPERGIRL #20 because Tony Bedard has come aboard as writer, and he's going to tie this series into the Legion somehow, and he's apparently going to attempt to clarify who this new Supergirl is. He's done a great job in his first issue, which is actually the best Amazons Attack story yet. The only good one yet, to be honest.

IRREDEEMABLE ANT-MAN #11. I still love this series, and I don't want it to end. Yet, because you haven't been buying it, you have doomed it (just as you will doom SCALPED). It only has one more issue to go, and you can be sure that I'll pick it up. Don't bother. It's too late for you (unless you bought it each month along with me, then you are awesome and deserve a slow motion high-five).

Aaron Stack seems out of place in MS MARVEL #18, but Brian Reed writes him well enough that it doesn't matter (and, the fact that he seems out of place is exactly the point). I have said it before, and I'll say it again, don't judge this comic by its cheesecake covers. It's good. One of the best Marvel produces.

I have no comment on NEW AVENGERS ILLUMINATI #4. It is what it is.

To wrap up this needlessly long post, I just want to say that the most surprising book of the summer is NEW WARRIORS. The newest issue, #3, is another very good comic. Paco Medina's art is fun, the characters are interesting, and I don't know who's behind all of the plot machinations. I don't have any feelings toward the original New Warriors at all. They were totally outside my comic book reading scope back in those days. I saw the issues when they came out, and I assumed that a comic book starring Speedball, Night Thrasher, and Nova was probably terrible. So I never opened an issue. Yet this relaunch is a lot of fun, in a dark, mysterious way. You should buy this one.

I need to buy a bigger house for all of these comics.

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