I was going to blog about how few comics I read … (#SFWApro)

Because I made a recent trip to Barnes & Noble and noticed how little enthusiasm I had to buy most of the current weekly offerings. The only monthly I still buy is Astro City.
Then I reflected that between the stuff I reread, the TPBs I buy and the ones I check out from the library, I probably read more comics now than any time since the century started. And that there have been plenty of periods in the past when I read stuff I didn’t like any more than the last few I flicked through at B&N, it’s just that in those days (despite having a lot less money) I was a completist who never let go of a series, no matter what. So all my changed buying habits really say is that I no longer think it’s worth owning a complete collection if most of the issues stink. Also that I can’t shake the feeling they’ll reboot the DC Universe again so investing even in the good ones seems futile.
That said, on with the reviews!
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MARVEL MASTERWORKS: DR. STRANGE completes the Doctor’s original run in Strange Tales before moving to his own book as he rematches with Dormammu, battles Dormammu’s sister Umar, duels the Ancient One’s former friend Kaluu and has to save all Earth from the Living Tribunal. Steve Ditko’s work on the book is sorely missed—after his departure, both the art and the stories (Ditko was a co-plotter) dropped in quality, though Marie Severin comes closest to capturing his visual style (and both she and Ditko look much better in this color edition than the B&W I settled for before). It took Gene Colan to really bring great art to this book that wasn’t just imitating Ditko.
WONDER WOMAN: Guts by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang confirms my feeling this book really isn’t for me. The story, involving Diana’s battle with her siblings (she’s now a demigod child of Zeus) on Olympus, is certainly entertaining and the gods are bizarre, but it has even less to do with the mortal world than the first volume, and zero to do with any previous version of Diana (unlike Flash, Green Lantern, Batman and Superman who are all recognizably themselves, a problem I’ve touched on before).
FABLES: Cubs in Toyland by Bill Willingham and various artists has Snow and Bigby’s daughter Therese taken away to rule an island of lost toys that turns out to hide a (pretty good) dark secret, and her younger brother Dare setting out to rescue her. One of the darker stories in the series, but nicely done, with a back-up two parter about Bigby’s early years.
BAD MACHINERY: The Case of the Team Spirit was the kickoff arc for John Allison’s follow-up to his Scary-Go-Round online comic, as teens in the town of Tackleford investigate an alleged curse on the local football team. While I like the strip online, this was pretty dull—I don’t know if it was just a brief dip in quality or that I prefer the series in smaller doses.
SUPERMAN: The Black Ring by Paul Cornell and Pete Woods boasts an excellent characterization of Luthor as he hunts for the Black Rings left behind by the Blackest Night big event, but the plot itself doesn’t grab me and I really hate stories that treat the gorilla criminal Grodd as if being a gorilla makes him somehow more monstrous or savage (if anything, it should make him kinder and gentler than human villains). Also it suffers, like a number of TPBs from ending on a cliffhanger, though not a very memorable one.
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HELLBOY: House of the Living Dead by Mike Mignola and Richard Corben takes place during Hellboy’s 1950s stint as a Mexican luchadore, when his growing legend in the wrestling ring leads to a mad scientist’s challenge to battle a Frankensteinian monster. And then more monsters show up … Mignola’s tribute to House of Frankenstein is enjoyable, over-the-top fun, though I don’t now how well it would work if you’re not already a fan. And it gives me a chance to mention I’ve started a web page for tracking the chronology of the Hellboy series.
(Cover art by Ditko for Dr. Strange and Richard Corben for Hellboy. All rights with current holders)

1 Comment

Filed under Comics, Reading

One response to “I was going to blog about how few comics I read … (#SFWApro)

  1. Pingback: Retro-Hellboy? This week’s reading (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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