John Buys Comics, Gets Around to Reading Them For Once

Firstly, though, a step back. Last week brought two delightful new additions to the ever-expanding John Lair’s library and I wanted to hearken back to them.

First up, Xenozoic, collecting Mark Schulz’s Xenozoic Tales series, which I for one had only ever encountered under the Cadillacs and Dinosaurs moniker up ‘til now, and despite the fact that that is a pretty good description of the series (there are classic cars! Dinosaurs abound!) I like the feel of the original better. It’s less Saturday morning cartoon and more pulpy high adventure, which is also a good description of the series. This is one of the most purely enjoyable things that I’ve bought in a while – humans plus dinosaurs plus strange science is almost always a winning combination, as far as I’m concerned.

And of course Superman vs. Muhammad Ali also came out last week. What a book! I would venture that DC pulled off one of the greatest Superman stories of all time here, an especially impressive feat in light of the fact that this is a book with a celebrity guest star, something that is frequently fraught with peril, but Superman and Ali both work so well both together and in concert, and (and this is important) in the context of a plot that is more than a shoddy background painting for the guest to be showcased in front of. Anyway, about a million nerds have already spouted off about how wonderful this thing is – I don’t have to bore you with yet another paean to its greatness.

I will, however, bring up just how supremely confident the Superman in this book is. Enough of these constant crises of identity and journeys of self-discovery, Clark! Be this guy again, because he is much more entertaining than you have been for a while now.


The Sixth Gun just finished its initial story arc, which means that we’ll be seeing a trade soon, which is terrific. I’ve already mentioned a lot of the things that endear this book to me – the complex morality of the protagonist, the creativity involved in introducing supernatural elements to the Western setting, etc. – but here’s another: with this sixth issue, Bunn and Hurtt have taken the settings and plot elements that they had established thusfar and blown most of them up. There’s character continuity, sure, but virtually everything else is going to be all shiny and new. I very much look forward to the new twists and turns and gunfighters and dry-gulchers.

And speaking of supernatural craziness, Hellboy: Double Feature of Evil came out this week, with art by Richard Corben. It’s excellent, with one of the best twists on the old haunted house story that I’ve seen in a long time, but more importantly it’s a new Hellboy book that someone can pick up without being invested in the series already, which important for those like me who have a twisted need to get their friends hooked on excellent series but know the pain of scaring them away with an enormous stack of trade paperbacks “for context”. Two new Hellboy yarns, some creepy art and my personal guarantee that at least one mummy gets punched out, how can you resist that? YOU CANNOT.

Batman, Batman, Batman. There is a lot of Batman coming out right now and I just keep on buying it, and probably will until it stops being good (and possibly beyond that and into terrible, if the fact that I’m still buying Superman is any indication). Heck, why should I stop? I love the idea of DC having more international heroes, more Batmen of All Nations, as long as they all have distinct identities like Mr. Unknown and the Knight and so forth and aren’t just a series of guys named Batman (or possibly Bat-hombre, Bat-chap and Bat-homme). 


And here's where I get to the part where my title starts to become a lie. I did actually read most of What I Did, the new hardcover collection of stories by John-favourite Jason and his melancholy bird- and dog-men. I haven't even opened Brian Talbot's Grandeville: Mon Amour, though, partially because I'm incredibly confident that it's going to be amazing but mostly because I did a lot of my reading on the bus today and I feared that the sexy badger-lady on the cover might get me some unwanted attention from the sarcastic teens in the next seat over.

And that is that. Good night.