Sunday, July 17, 2005

Just some catching up today...

Finished Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment last night, as planned. I enjoyed it, enough to want to read the next installment. And a quick check of the book's web site indicates that this series does not continue from similarly-themed Paterson novels Where the Wind Blows, and The Lake House, so I don't have to add those onto the "to read" list.

I also finished reading the first of the Spirit Archives books I had dilligently collected up until volume 8. I'd loved the Spirit stories by Will Eisner I'd read as a kid, and when the complete reprinting of the series in nice hardcover volumes was announced, I declared that a must-purchase. However, when it became apparent that I wasn't getting them read as fast as they were coming out, I stopped. New of the Darwyn Cooke-penned new series has gotten me excited again, but I don't want to start buying the books again if I'm not reading them. So, the rule is, as I finish reading one, I can buy another one. I want to say it's incredible how well these stories hold up, compared to other comics from the 1940s, but then, if they didn't, then they probably wouldn't have their place in comics history, would they?

Other news from the San Diego Comics Con International: Two new series from Brian Wood, one from Vertigo, an ongoing, and a twelve issue series from Oni. (Plus he has a miniseries coming from IDW later this year, I think.) Manga spinning off from Jim Henson films that I either love or hope to love. More information about the Disney/Slave Labor comics that I'm looking foward to, including art that even makes Wonderland look cool. A spin-off from Bill Willingham's Fables series, which is cool because I like Fables, although it mainly gives me more of an opportunity to tease a friend who Willingham hit on a few weeks back. And a bunch of other cool-sounding stuff from Oni Press, including new ongoing series from Chynna Clugston and Anthony Johnston, plus a bunch of cool sounding graphic novels. And a new Elfquest miniseries.

Nothing particularly exciting from the big superhero lines, but that may be as much me as them. I did receive some reassurance that I'll still be able to read Batman comics on a fairly regular basis without having to buy the monthly books, which now suck. (Seriously, I just read the new issue of Batman last night, and it was just sad. This, from the Pulitzer-prize winning (or nominated) creator of Pedro & Me.) There are two six-issue miniseries on the horizon from Matt Wagner, a graphic novel by Tom Fontana (creator of TV series Oz and Homicide: Life on the Street) and Cliff Chiang, and a miniseries by Paul Pope. And there's still that twelve-issue series by Andy Helfer starting next month, I think, plus a miniseries by Steve Niles and Scott Hampton in the fall.

I've come to the conclusion that the way the Batman comics are being written today, there's no particular advantage in reading the ongoing monthly comics. There isn't going to be any character development of the Batman, because he's pretty much been perfectly defined for the last forty years or so. There's no supporting cast to speak of, and what supporting cast there is all have their own comics anyway. So, better to read self-contained cool stories by top creators, than the run of the mill stuff appearing in the monthly books. And it looks like I'll totally have that option for the forseeable future.

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