I got a lot of comics in 2011, and as people often do at the end of a year, I’m taking this week (week does not include Playing Favorites Tuesday, It’s the Magic Friday, Weekend Music Saturday, or Sunday) to reflect on my purchases and share the resulting insights with you, the unwary reader.
Daredevil: Born Again by Frank Miller
Daredevil is not and will never be on a top ten list, except for possibly “Top Ten Things Called ‘super’ That Can Stub Their Toes on Florescent Orange Safety Equipment,” a category in which he would take nine slots out of ten, ultimately losing to a comatose Miss Marvel.
His momma so fat—oh, right his mother left him as a child and never loved him so her body proportions are unknown.
Born Again is about The Kingpin learning that Matt Murdock is Daredevil and destroying Matt Murdock. Murdock gets better. The end.
Chronowar #3 of 9
Warren Ellis freely admits the influence of manga on many of his works. I’m sure that there’s a lot of give and take in the comics world between manga and good, clean God-loving American comics (written by British people). Chronowar is 100 percent aesthetically manga, mind-blowingly contained in an American comic format. Only a few things happen in the comic itself, but it recaps fluidly and I’m confident that by the time #9 rolled out, many more things had happened. Given the thorough rehash here, I’m wondering how convoluted it gets by #8, but that’s nothing to hold against #3.
The Amazing Spider-Man Spidey Sunday Spectacular by Stan Lee
Formatted as a series of two page comics (front-to-front) that have their own action arcs that create an overall story, TASMSSS gets in for its original style. It isn’t afraid to recap, doesn’t shy away from spelling out motivations, and isn’t your fancy-shmancy nuanced storytelling.
It’s brazen, it’s different, it’s fun, and it’s good. People are fond of saying that Stan Lee has “lost it.” I think that he’s just the top dog from a different culture and era of comics. This is a benign incursion from that culture and there, Stan Lee is, and will forever be, The Man.
Jane's World #3
Printed in 2002, this is a black and white comic with simple art that—fuck the objective descriptions; it's a self-important female reporter from the city in the newspaper of a stereotypical rural area. The panel layouts are sometimes original, but the story becomes so intolerable even the writer gets bored a few pages in and decides “aliens” is the way to go. Imagine the last panel of each strip says either “That’s not how it should be” or “How socially awkward.”
In a blow to all progress of the human race since 2002, this comic is still being made.
What If: Venom Possessed Deadpool
A Superman/Batman comic from a few months ago questioned--via time travel and questionable physics--comics’ obsession with The Silver Age. WI:VPD is like that, but incinerates comics’ most indolent, vapid history in a pyre of its own idiocy, with enough time left over to snark on every fan who clings to that history.
The comic is fun on a *#&$ing stick. I can't seriously recommend enough that every comics reader who would get something out of this should read it and everyone who can't get something out of this should be beaten savagely with it.
“Save me, Lord Mephisto!”
The greatest stories are not about things that happen, but about life in a universal sense within those happenings. Movies like “Contagion” show dimensions of events with a cast of dozens and a budget of millions. With anthropomorphic characters rendered in simple black ink, Art Spiegelman reminds us that the perspective of one man can still show us depths of something as complicated as The Holocaust. The realities of his father’s story aren't consistent with the preconceptions of The Holocaust I believe many of us have. Everyone—cliché at it is—owes it to themselves to pick up these books.
As you might have guessed, this comic was made in the nineties. You can point at just about any other comic you like, but I think that the special limited edition, foil-covered X #1 pretty much takes the grimdark cake with monologues which really don't think we understand how machine-like the city of Arcadia's politics really are. It tries to blend space alien crazy, gritty S.W.A.T. Team realism, and figure of destiny bullshittery into one mediocre comic. X’s powers are left undefined, but we do know he’s fond of luchador boots and kevlar girdles (I’m assuming it’s kevlar. [It is.])
—he thought she was a futon!