About Me

A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Funny-book round-up

I used to have a serious comic book habit. When I started my own business in 1994, time suddenly got a lot scarcer and it became hard to keep up. It was even harder to give up the idea of it, and I accumulated huge stacks of comics with the certainty I would read them some day, and then finally went cold turkey. I never read those stacks. Several years ago, around the time "Y" started with Vertigo, I decided I was missing my comic books too much, and I decided to pick up the habit again, the the conditions that I would average no more than a few comics a week, that I would read them all, and that I wouldn't read things out of force of habit if I wasn't liking them. I've done a pretty good job of sticking to it. With the exception of the meandering last year of "Y," I've rarely been patient for two bad issues in a row of anything. And though the books might get stacked up 4-6 weeks sometimes, I do read them. I buy the monthlies, because the compilations or trades would be too big, and I would never be able to make the time for them. So herewith, the first in a sometimes round-up of what one finds on my shelf:

Infinity Inc #7. This is the kind of comic I once read all the time, but my current age and interests and habits leave me little interest in books that endlessly crossover here and there with this book and that book and some company-wide catastrophic civil crisis. It looked like there was a bit of a break in the crossing over here, so I decided to give this a try on a slow week. This is the 2nd issue I've read, and it's solid. 3.5 slithy toads, and I'll probably stick with until the next crossover, and then drop it.

The Exterminators #27: This is the kind of comic that once never existed and which now forms the core of my reading. A surprisingly good Vertigo series that I've enjoyed from its inception. A Mayan cockroach infestation threatens to conquer Los Angeles, and along the way to stopping it the eponymous exterminators manage to find much that is interesting. Here, a little sidetrip into the world of the cantaloupe bomber. 4.5 slithy toads.

The Un-Men #8: Another interesting Vertigo series, if perhaps a step down, 4.0 slithy toads, from the line's best. A carnival city of mutant freak show acts, a PI, action, sex, all kinds of stuff thrown in. I kind of figured out the Aidan bit an awful long time before the lead, but OK.

The Simpsons #139: Bongo does a great job, and The Simpsons has always held true good and bad to the TV series. Homer orders an ostrich farm off of an infomercial and the merriment begins! 4 slithy toads. & FYI, my client John Zakour will be doing a Simpsons script or two. I can't wait to see his name in Bongos. John will be upset if I mention his name without also mentioning his entries at Zuda comics.

DMZ #29: Manhattan is the war-ravaged zone between the US and the Free States, an intrepid reporter goes in to cover the story and ends up becoming part of it. In this start to a new six-parter, he's covering peace talks and a cease fire in the offing, and the flash-forward at the start tells us things may not go as well as one would hope. Like a lot of Vertigo books, this is worthwhile for being a bit off the beaten track, and it easily lets you think it's more intellectual than it is because you can maybe pretend NYC is a stand-in for Baghdad, though I'm having a harder and harder time buying it, and this 6-part epic I kind of feel could maybe be done as 4, kind of like the last multi-parter could have been an issue or three shorter, and I'm not sure where it's going but know it's doing it slowly. I liked this issue more before the blogging forced me to really put it up against the other books I'm reading. 3.5 slithy toads, and I'm not in danger of giving it up. Yet. If it slips any, though...

DC Special Raven #1: Yuck! You can't go home again. I found with a lot of the recent First Comics revivals (Badger came back, Nexus came back, Grimjack came back, Sable came back) that I wasn't liking them the way I had loved them when First was in its prime, and certainly not loving them so much to pay $3.99 when the rest of my comics were $2.99. Well, heavens knows I have a real super soft spot in my heart for Marv Wolfman and the New Teen Titans. So I picked this up because it's Wolfman, because it's Raven, and in spite of the fact that the art looks so godawful bad that I can't comprehend what fandom sees in the guy, except there must be something. 0 toads, dude!

Young Liars #1: Another new Vertigo series. This one had decent art and looked literate so I decided t add the first issue to my bag. David Lapham, the creator, is apparently known for something called Stray Bullets. Not familiar with it. This first issue introduces us to a guy's guy named Danny Noonan who's moved to the big city, gotten himself involved with a slightly crazy lady who has a bullet in her brain that will kill her if the craziness it induces doesn't kill her first. Her father's crazy without the excuse of a bullet in his brain. There's something about Danny that has me at "hello," as the sane core of a crazed existence. But does the title hint at something about Danny that I may not like to find out? 4.5 slithy toads as a first issue that has me eager for more...

1 comment:

Peat said...

David Lapham has a new book?! Holy Crap. How did I not know that? Man, Stray Bullets is one of the best comics ever. Jay and I met him at ComicCon a couple of years ago, and he was amazingly nice. He told us a lot about the history of comics and gave everyone who went to his panel (very valuable) signed copies of Stray Bullets #1 that he found in his basement. I need to pick up that new book. If you want a shorter foray into his work, pick up his HC graphic novel SILVERFISH that came out last year.

I started the Exterminators (read the first trade), but while I liked it, not quite so much as to go buy more.

I am experiencing a similar problem to what your did a few years ago. I am still BUYING comics at the rate that I did when I had close to two hours of daily commute to read them, but now that I am writing full time, they are stacking up.

I lost patience for company-wide superhero crossovers after Secret Wars II.