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.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Funny Book Round-Up

Besides all the New 52 books, what else has been in my funny book pile in recent weeks...

Phantom Lady and Doll Man, a 4-issue mini-series by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti and artists Cat Staggs and Tom Derenick.  If I'd gotten around to reading the first issue, I wouldn't have read the second.  It looks really nice, but it didn't cohere.  It seems to be bits and pieces of a story instead of a story, a Zan and Jayna of a comic book.

I always buy some Bongo.  Bart Simpson #75 was an OK issue of this title.

American Vampire has a great story arc going on, The Blacklist.  I think this is the third arc I'm into since I started reading this DC/Vertigo title, and this might be the best of the three. There's some great artwork by Rafael Albuquerque, Scott Snyder is doing some excellent work.  I don't know why I didn't cotton to this series when it started, but I'm totally into it now.

I had two issues of The New Deadwardians.  This is an excellent Vertigo mini-series. Since I started reading Sweet Tooth and American Vampire in recent months after not taking to them at the start of their runs, and have been enjoying New Deadwardians and Saucer Country from their 2012 launches, I am back in the game with Vertigo after a bit of a drought following the end f DMZ. Deadwardians is a zombie vampire detective yarn set in London and thereabouts, written by Dan Abnett and very will illustrated by I.N.J Culbard.  The writing is stylized, clipped Victorian, but never annoyingly so.  The issues often end with classic cliffhangers.  It is a true graphic novel with both the words and pictures of importance, take a look at the pull back on page 3 of issue #6, the dialogue says "I'm starting to get the willies," the picture tells us why.  Sometimes, kind of lime Aquaman, there isn't much dialogue.  But unlike Ivan Reis in Aquaman, there's something about the art that makes me linger.  And that's without a lot of heavy line work. I have really been loking this mini-series which ends with the October on sale issue.  I would definitely suggest checking it out once it is collected, or seeing if you can find the run on Comixology or such. 

I got three annuals, Superman, Detective Comics starring Batman, and Flash at the end of August, I shouldn't have gotten any of them.  They all had interesting aspects.  Superman had a little different art for the character, almost more of a charcoal feel, but then it also had the Daemonites whom I want to see expunged from the DC Universe.  Detective had lots of classic bat villains but not much of a story.  Flash started off strong, almost maybe like a lead in to the 0 issue which had Flash's dad, but then veered all over and ended up nowhere.  Or worse.  Promising a Gorilla Grodd story line for issue #13.  Grodd is a classic character that's was great for the camper days of Julius Schwartz editing Flash or when Cary Bates was writing the character decades ago.  He doesn't work as a serious part of modern comics mythology but everyone wants to use him, it must be seen as fun to write or draw gorillas. More for the creators than the readers, if you ask me.

Back in Bongo land, the Simpsons have a spinoff book One Shot Wonders that allows background characters to have a come all to themselves.  The latest is for Little Homer, and it wasn't great bit gave me a nonstop smile.  The young Homer has to figure out what to do with a gravy boat genie, listens to a bedtime story about a boy who never bathes, becomes a model.  A smile, not a guffaw, but good enough.

I buy The Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror as a triumph of hope over experience, but happily this year had some nice things in it.  The best, Homer takes the family to the cabin where Duff Beer was invented, and of course, you know what happens when you go to a cabin in the woods.  Another tale features Bartman, and was as enjoyable a potpourri of Batman villains as the Detective Annual.

And finally The Simpsons #194.  This is one of the most consistent books I have purchased for an extended period, and this issue is solid.  It is kind of Homer mashed up with Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Lisa at gym class and other things in that typical stream of conscious with a purpose Simpsons kind of a way.

Leaving Bongo behind...  Sweet Tooth #37 is a very solid issue full of portent and I tribute as this Vertigo title heads toward a planned ending, perhaps without the strong sense in Y: The Last Man and even a little in DMZ that things were being stretched or milked a bit I. the final year.

As noted above, Saucer Country is one of the new wave of Vertigo books I've been digging.  Issues #6 and the newest #7 have been giving alternate histories of alien invasion in #6 and now of science and the space program vis a vis extraterrestrials.  They've been interesting and intriguing. But what I would like is a bit of a summarization when we've finished these to re-ground us in which characters are which.  Much as I have been liking the series I was starting to have trouble with the who's who, and now taking a break from the ongoing story for the revisionist history of these past two issues will make it that mich harder to get back into things when the series renews its forward march.

And finally...  Looker is a one-shot in a "National Comics" series DC is doing to re-introduce some older characters, this one from Batman and the Outsiders, a long-ago team up character.  This revitalization doesn't entirely work.  The script by Ian Edginton is interesting, but not quite clear enough, I read it and don't have a handle on who the character is.

So I am caught up on funny books, more or less, for the first time in several weeks, save that a new batch of books came out yesterday.  But still, caught up.  Which is a nice feeling.

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