John Buys Comics, Nation In Shock

I had a moment of panic when I looked over the enormous stack of comics that I hauled home this week. Somehow, the moons had aligned and the spirits of discord had looked the other way and sundry other events (one or two possibly even involving people in the comic book industry) had conspired to put out a hell of a lot of good comics all at once. Would I wear my typing fingers to the bone? How would I manage with just eight fingers?

Let’s watch!

The Man With the Getaway Face

I started reading the Parker novels when the Hunter adaptation came out last year, and if there is one person in the world that should be adapting them like this, it’s Darwyn Cooke. There’s a note at the beginning explaining why he isn’t giving this novel the full book treatment and then he boils the whole thing down into twenty or so pages that tell you everything you need to know but don’t feel like a summary.

Great. Now I can’t wait until October.

Superman No. 701

Hey, this comic! A lot of people are going to be talking about this comic! Heck, a lot are talking about how many people are going to be talking about it. Some common points:

- It’s been done! All-Star Superman, Hitman, Astro City’s Samaritan… all have tackled the issue of the omni-powerful man and his relationship with the common folk. There’s a pretty good chance that they did a better job. Heck, half of the point of Superman is that he’s so human despite being so alien.
- Superman kind of acts like an asshole. Maybe the fact that he seems smug and self-important half the time is a purposeful contrast to later issues, but I don’t know. He reads like he’s a fifteen year old who’s got it all figured out, man.
- Didn’t we just have a year without any Superman comics?

There are certainly more questions that could be raised – why doesn’t Superman just light heroin on fire all the time? Are you sure that he can combine his vision powers like that? Are there going to be a lot of issues featuring Superman walking through the desert or down a back road or something? – but I don’t have it in me. Mostly I want to know who’s idea it was to take Superman, make his comics really fun and interesting and then spend two years sapping all of the joy and punching out of them. If it is one person then they are a monster.

Catalog No. 439 (Burlesque Paraphernalia and Side Degree Specialties and Costumes)

I don’t know if your comic book store carried this, or if any of you are interested in a book that collects a wide selection of bizarre secret society initiation gags that the DeMoulin Brothers company peddled almost a century ago. There are, however, two things that I do know: 1. As soon as electricity became widely available, people began seeing the humour inherent in mildly electrocuting your friends.

2. No idea is entirely original.

I also never knew that having one’s genitals electrified would seem the better of a pair of options, but there you are.

The Bulletproof Coffin No. 2 – I find myself wanting to describe this book in “-esque” terms (Ditko-esque, Philip K Dick-esque, etc) but really, this book is a thing unto itself, which is pretty remarkable considering how densly packed with pop culture artefacts it is. But check out the superheroes that show up in this issue: they’re supposed to have originated in the Golden and Silver Ages and they hold up as such, but there’s nary a pastiche in sight. Neato!

R.E.B.E.L.S. No. 18 – I was a little worried for this title once the extended Starro the Conqueror storyline was over but it looks like Brainiac the first has made a remarkably seamless transition from the Superman books. Now I’m just worried because it’s a book that I like, so frequently a mark of death.

The Unwritten No. 15 – The literary conspiracy that is lurking in the shadows of this book has hatched a plan to capture Wilson Taylor by publishing a terrible fantasy novel under his name, thus luring him out of hiding. My question is: is it wrong for me to be enjoying the terrible cliché-fic so thoroughly? Because I find it both terrible and magnificent in its terribleness.

The Stuff of Legend Vol. II Part I – I’ve read/watched a surprising number of books/comics/movies that feature beloved childhood toys coming to life and roaming about, and I think that I might just be the best of the lot. I’m pretty sure that there is going to be a fantastic payoff at the end of this, something about the relationship between children and their toys. In the meantime, it fulfills two important criteria by being 1. extremely well-written and 2. a treat for the eyes. Also: who knew that a book operating almost entirely on the sepia colour scale could look so… colourful? Rich? Something like that.

Age of Reptiles No. 4 – While I am very sad that this latest miniseries is over, I rejoice in the fact that it contains what is quite possibly the best dinosaur fight in any comic ever. Richard Delgado is the champion of dinosaur comics – I can only hope for another Age of Reptiles series soon.

Daytripper No. 8 – I’m torn! This is such a marvellous comic that the fact that there are only two issues left should be haunting my dreams, yet the end of the series means that I will be able to sit down with the whole thing – hopefully in a big ‘ol softcover collection – and read it in one sitting. I am certain that this issue has seven or eight times more callbacks to prior instalments than I picked up on. Having the earlier issues on hand instead of buried in a box somewhere would be especially nice with this issue, as it’s the first one not to feature main character Brás. Instead, this issue showcases his impact on the lives of the people around him, all of whom we’ve met before. Hfreio

Booster Gold No. 34 – This issue is about one hair away from being completely gratuitous JLI goofiness, but it’s got Blue Beetle, Mister Miracle and Big Barda and they’re all not dead, so I’m willing to forgive.

Orc Stain No. 4 – The problem with this many good comics coming out in one week is that I run out of superlatives. Have I used magnificent yet? No? Orc Stain is magnificent. If you ever think that you might like to borrow money from me, try to time it to a week that this comic is coming out – I’ll probably still say no, but I’ll do it with a smile on my face.

The Sixth Gun No. 1, Officer Downe, Silver Agent No. 1 - I have squandered my time and these three worthy comics must make do with the briefest of reviews. In order: Old West occult action done right, super-pretty super-violence and one of my favourite characters gets to shine in a very fun comic.