John Buys, How You Say, the Comics

Another great week! Once again I feel a vague sense of dread – does half a month of terrific comics forebode some stinkers in my future or should I be more concerned. Perhaps my long-overdue Gelatinous Cube attack is finally imminent. Please try to recover my bones from its improbable depths.

First up, Daytripper ended at issue number ten and it was excellent. If you’ve missed the three or four other times that I’ve waxed enthusiastic about this book then here are the basics: 1) it’s by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá (with colouring by John-favourite Dave Stewart) and consequently looks fantastic. 2) It’s the story of the life of a man named Brás, told in non-chronological order and one-day increments. Brás dies a lot. 3) This is an excellent storytelling device that I wish I had something really profound to say about but organizing my thoughts on the matter is going to take a lot of hunting up of individual issues from my disorganized comics-boxes or (much more likely) the purchase of a shiny new trade in a few months time. In essence, every time Brás dies you end up looking at his life up to that point as a completed story and contrasting that story with those generated by his deaths as older and younger men creates a much more intimate view of the character than a straightforward telling of his life story might have. Having seen what his life might have become, I had such an incredible investment in what his life did become that this was one of the most satisfying final issues of any comic series for me.

And then we have Billy the Kid’s Old-Timey Oddities and the Ghastly Fiend of London, which might not be quite as thoughtful as Daytripper but certainly has a longer title. The original BtKOTO was a particular favourite of mine, and I don’t anticipate that this series will change that. I was going to maybe get snarky about the fact that Billy the Kid hasn’t actually changed much as a character despite the events of the earlier series but someone did that in the letters page and I get the impression that “unrepentant asshole” is Powell’s vision for the guy. And that’s okay, really, they do exist. Hell, I could probably hit a couple with a rock from where I’m sitting (Oh wait, I'm at home now. I should probably take that back before I get in trouble with the dog).

Meanwhile: a Weird War Tales one-shot! I will hazard a guess that this was put out in order to maintain the trademark or copyright (delete as appropriate) on one of the best titles that DC has. This was a very odd comic for me, in that I enjoyed all of the stories but was unimpressed by the book as a whole. It was just too damn short, especially for four bones. Damn fine cover by Darwyn Cooke, though.

Did you know that  this week’s Batgirl was a joy? I am very much a fan of superhero friendships, and Batgirl/Supergirl is a team that should always exist as a counterpoint to the often rocky and troubled Batman/Superman relationship. Of course, friendships can’t just spring from the void fully-formed, which is why you need something like this issue every once in a while. I can’t tell you how many friends I’ve made while hunting fake Draculas through the streets of a great metropolis. And speaking of streets, here’s a panel that made my commute this morning 100 times better:

Segway Dracula is one of the hardest Draculas to defeat. He’s so damn mobile!

If you’ve been doing some sort of week-by week analysis of my likes and dislikes, possibly with a line and/or bar graph for visual [oomph], then you might have been able to predict that I found this months Batman and Robin and BPRD: Hell on Earth to be fantastic. But was your science able to tell you that I would be absolutely blown away by The Sixth Gun No. 4 and its increasingly epic story? Huh? Well, it probably was. Hell, the book itself is probably registering on scientific instruments tuned to pick up extreme levels of incredible, or perhaps blowmyfriggingmindium radiations.

And finally, we have a collection of the Dr. Horrible one-shots and digital comics, notable for these reasons:

- No attempt was made to make it a musical comic book. This is very good, as those usually don’t work.
- Aside from (and probably because of) that, these comics are a terrific adaptation of the web series’ feel. Everything in this book works in the context of the show.
- There is a new Evil League of Evil story that is pretty darned fantastic. Fake Thomas Jefferson!
- This one is only really of interest to me but I have this forum and I will use it, dammit. I saw a live version of Dr. Horrible at the Halifax Fringe last week (still on for at least a couple of days! Tickets only ten dollars!) and it was great and there was a new Moist song and I was trying my damnedest to describe his origin story to my friends after the show, AND THEN THE TRADE CAME OUT THREE DAYS LATER. I feel that I may have warped reality a bit, and all so that I could lend this book to my pal Tubby. Kind of a waste of a power, when you think about it.