John Buys Comics

What a good week. This is my happiest comics-buyying week in a long time. Everything was so... satisfying.

Chris Wisnia’s Doris Danger Giant Monster Adventures

This is precisely what I’m talking about.

Giant monster comics are some of Johnathan’s favourite comics of yore, and they’re kind of special in that they don’t crop up all that often any more - it's not like wanting to read comics with ninjas in them or something. And so I buy them just about any chance I get.

Happily, a lot of the time the giant monster comics I buy are like this: written by people just as font of the damn things as I am. Arguably moreso, in fact, since I've never produced a series of comics about them. I'm still kind of surprised that I managed to miss out on Doris Danger Seeks Where Giant Monsters Creep and Stomp, but I guess that that's the joy of the collection, isn't it?

This is a glorious comic, just chock full of Silver-ish Age absurdities, like Doris' increasingly unlikely camera-breaking incidents (after all, the comic would have to change if she ever brought home proof), the labyrinthine plot-upon-plot development and constant editorial callbacks to earlier issues, and of course the giant monsters. Meanwhile, no effort has been made to replicate things like the era's portrayal of other peoples (okay, there are some stereotypical-style native, but they were really robots), an aspect of Silver and Golden Age comics that you just have to overlook when you're reading the real deal but that is just plain make-you-want-to-leave-the-room when someone tries to replicate it and isn't, say, Alan Moore. And sometimes even then.

Plus! A stupid number of awesome monster pinups by Mikke Mignola, the Hernandez brothers, Mike Allred, Tony Millionaire... So many great monster pictures.

The Tick New Series No. 1

I have to admit that I was a bit worried. I have noticed, over the long, cold years, that relaunches of humourous-type comic series have an unfortunate tendency… not to be good. There was a wee little portion of my brain that was steeling itself to see a minimally-illustrated book that relied on reheated jokes from earlier series and had no discernable direction. I mean, I knew Benito Cereno was better than that, but you just start getting twitchy after you see it happen enough.

But my warning signals were misfiring - probably I just got too close to a stack of old issues of Countdown or something - this is a fun reintroduction to the Tick. I mean, it's a Christmas comic, yes, and thus doesn't really have the option of getting too deep and plot-ful, but that actually works very well, as Cereno uses the "let's see how evertone is spending the holidays" schtick as an opportunity to establish just who is going to be playing a part in the series - a very good idea, what with all of the cartoon and live-action characters that certainly aren't going  to be showing up.

Anyway: fun, suitably Tick-ish, features Man-Eating Cow. Hooray!

Green Lantern No. 48/Blackest Night No. 5 - I am officially declaring Larfleeze the Sensational Character Find of 2009. I haven’t had the urge to buy an action figure for a very long time, but now I want a little Agent Orange of my own, to help me with my coveting. Very fun. Plus, this week basically explicitly confirms that at least some Black Lanterns will be returning to life (that and the fact that currently heart-freee Damage appearing in the  ad and preview for the new JSA series. Way to keep up the suspense, guys).

Creepy No 2 - I am honestly surprised at just how successful this revival of Creepy has been. No attempt has been made to fix what wasn’t broken, and thus I can sit back and read something like “Muscle Car”. My uncle’s old copies of Creepy and Eerie did a fine job of scaring the hell out of me when I was a child and I’m just pleased as punch to know that I’ll be able to offer the same kind of opportunities to any children that I may or may not end up having.

Chew No. 6 - As much fun as the Tony Chu/Mason Savoy dynamic was, the Enigmatic Mentor archetype was never half as fun as the Cop Who Knows When to Bend the Rules, which works out nicely because Chu’s old partner John Colby is back and just as entertaining as he was before getting knifed in the face in issue 1. Plus, he’s a cyborg now, with a USB jack in his face and everything. Chew is now a psychic/cyborg cop buddy comic set in an alternate Earth where chicken is illegal and the FDA is the most powerful law-enforcement body in the US - I swear, the better this thing gets the harder it is to explain.

Beasts of Burden No. 3 - My joy at there being another issue of this is leavened somewhat by the fact that I just found out that there will only be one more. I guess I know what my Seasonal Holiday wish to Grampy Tanglebeard will be this year.

This issue: Orphan in love! Rats! Mystery! If there’s a better comic about talking animals battling the supernatural then I don’t know what it is.

Detective Comics No. 859 - I didn’t really notice last issue, as I was all gaga over the excellent job that J.H. Williams III was doing of differentiating past and present artistically, but Greg Rucka is putting together a really solid origin for Batwoman, one that transcends the old “bored socialite fights crime” version without discarding it. Even if this was her unspoken origin from the start (and I did miss the series in which she got stabbed through the heart, so this might be a rehash) this is some really solid storytelling. Good show!

Arkham Asylum No. 2 (of 3) - Poor Dr. Arkham. Does he ever get a break? Maybe someday there will be a one-shot or a Bizarro Tale in which he just has a nice day and nobody escapes from the Asylum and eats someone. At least this has Mr Freeze in his underwear, hitting a guy with a bag of ice. How can you argue with that?

Superman: Secret Origin No. 3 (of 6) - I reckon that this is the second-best portrayal of Clark Kent acting the oaf that I know of (the first of course being All-Star Superman). It’s good to see that Johns is keeping the businessman aspect of the Byrne Lex Luthor, if not the fat part. I also enjoy the implication that Metropolis was just a terrible town until Superman showed up, like the worst stereotype of New York.

The Last Resort No. 4 - So the zombie-style folks in this comic are infected with a modified form of the Toxoplasmosis parasite (a wee beastie that you pick up from cats and that supposedly alters your behavior, making you more aggressive)? That’s actually pretty clever, and slightly eerie as we were talking about that very parasite at supper (this is exactly the kind of dinner conversation that you get when you date a pathologist. I once learned how to do an autopsy over lunch at the Elephant and Castle). As I theorized, the horror movie tropes are starting to make themselves known and the retribution is a-coming.

Superman No. 694 - Mon-El’s back! Mitch has a secret and it's not that he's gay!! The Parasite is in, like three comics this week!

Justice League of America No. 39 - Well, I bought it for the ring. I think that it officially put Firestorm’s girlfriend on the “girlfriend in a refrigerator” list, though. So now I have.. evidence?