I sat down back in February with the intention of writing a weekly comics blog. Clearly, that'd didn't pan out. But here I am, back at, though not perhaps for a weekly blog. Maybe monthly once I'm all caught. And that's the thing: because I haven't written about comics in three months, I've read rather a lot, and I intend to review all of it. Maybe "review" is the wrong word to use...my intention here is not to set myself up as some all-knowing critic of comics. It's more cathartic than critical. I think writing about what I'm reading is a good way to process it, and here is as good a place as any to do so. And if others feel like reading it, well, so much the better!
I'm going to write this in about three parts, starting with DC and Marvel's current stuff that I've been picking up at the shop, then looking at older TPB collections I'm working through, and finally talking about the graphic novels on my list. But first, Free Comics Day!! It was Saturday, May 4th, that much-beloved day for Star Wars fans when we can all walk around saying "May the fourth be with you". It never gets old, not for us anyway. There were many goodies lined up for free at the shop, and some that I am very glad I took home with me. I was able to snag a little preview copy of Mouse Guard by David Petersen, which was a breath of fresh air. It's a whimsical children's tale about love and valour and mice, told in a soft, painterly, Arthur Rackham-esque style. It's beautiful. If you can find it, take it home with you. It will make you smile. I grabbed a Mass Effect comic which, to my delight, tells the story of how Jeff "Joker" Moreau came to be the pilot of the Normandy. It's a must-read for any and all fans of the Mass Effect franchise. You can't help but read it in Seth Green's voice. And the icing on the cake...a free Atomic Robo issue. It's been a while since Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener released a volume of Robo, so it was great to flip through a new story, in which Robo comes up against grim odds and turns to his most trusted hand weapon...the Buick. I'll geek out over Atomic Robo til kingdom come; it's that great. It might also be the fact I met and got a portfolio review from Scott...so I have a soft spot for these guys. They rock.
I learned a valuable lesson that day: when you are in a comics shop that has all it's back-stock marked 50% off, explore every corner, nook, cranny, and forgotten box until you are convinced there's nothing left in the store that might be of interest to you. I uncovered a shelf of 2007 Free Comics Day issues, with "FREE" printed right onto the cover, and walked away with some pretty cool stuff. Among it, a sketchbook of the most killer pencil work from Stephen King's The Dark Tower, and the first two issues of The 99, which have some academic significance for me. That was probably the most exciting find of the day; these issues will potentially come into play in next year's art history studies. The series is written by Naif Al-Mutawa, featuring a group of mystically empowered teenagers who take their powers from the ninety-nine attributes of Allah given in the Quran. In its efforts to cross cultural boundaries and make the fight against evil a global one instead of a job for all-American superheroes, the team caught DC's eye, and The 99 ended up teaming up with The Justice League. There's a TED Talk on the series too, well worth watching: http://www.ted.com/talks/naif_al_mutawa_superheroes_inspired_by_islam.html
Alright, I've rambled a bit. Let me bag and board my Astonishing X-Men #1 by Joss Whedon, and we'll get started on Part 1 of this inconceivably large comics blog.