Friday, 2 January 2009

Time Out and Happy New Year

Been a long time as always between posts. I got into a slump between my wedding and my honeymoon, which I'm now on.
I write this from sunny Bogota,Colombia, in the house of my family here accompanied by my wife and my mum's here for a bit of it too.
2009 holds a move of house which I'm very much not looking forward to. A flathunt ahead and literally tonnes of books to move makes it all seem a bit daunting. I've not thought of work stuff for two weeks and that's marvellous.
My chosen reading for the holiday, last minute, the evening before flying out, was Dylan On Dylan (the collection of interviews), Catch 22 (which I've not had any significant time to sink my teeth into) and a bunch of comic rereads.
As I invariably write about comics I'll focus on them.
The comics are:
Batman Year One. I brought the new version of the softcover with me (not the old hardcover or the original issues which sit at home). Yes, it's an obvious choice but a book that never bores me, that I read cover to cover every time I pick it up and casually read the first page "I should have taken the train...". Can't help it. The new version contains a new Miller text piece "22 year old paralegal Stacy Lynch withdrew charges of gang rape..." (thanks Frank) and waaaaay more impressive Loads of supplemental Mazzuchelli bits and 4 pages of new comic by the great man on the subject of...Batman. I'm aware that I'll dig out the issues when I get back too...
Trinity by Matt Wagner. I like Matt Wagner a lot. My old mate and boss at the comic shop agrued that he gets worse all the time. While I agree on both his main points (he's never done anything, visually better than the original Batman/Grendel and that his cover paintings for DC over the years have been really poor) I can't help but feel, as with Miller (artwise) that the choices he makes are based on choices, rather than arthritis or failing eyesight. Trinity suffered from the start for me by pitting the three DC bigguns against three respective villains, a little contrived. The book is full of nice moments for each of the characters showing that Wagner does have a strong opinion on how each of the characters should be handled. The art is solid, the storytelling as strong as one would expect and the art is elevated by Dave Stewart (one of the best elevators in comics). The book is strong enough that I manage to enjoy it while only caring about two thirds of the cast.
JLA Earth 2 by Morrison & Quietly. Not a great deal to say about thebook apart from it breaks my heart that Howard Porter got to draw all those great Morrison JLA stories when Quietly so perfectly nails each of the characters and so succinctly tells a great story full of great moments. "Their hearts are on the right side of their bodies". We get the Earth 2 Crime Sindicate so brilliantly realised that Owlman comes across as cool as Batman. Love to see more of it.
Lastly Metal Men by Duncan Rouleau. This was a second reading of this odd, dense but compelling book. The story is based on Morrison concepts (and I'd like to know quite what that means) and so is fairly mental. Rouleau's art has come a long way since Alpha Flight and Superman, largely thanks to a strong design sense and able use of, I assume, Photoshop to create digital collages of cityscapes and techno. His storytelling is ambitious, and some could argue at times overly so, but the end result comes across like a mix between Chris Bachalo and a modern Steranko. Storywise the book flows out 52 which I didn't read but explains the events of Oolong Island that act as a catalyst for everything in a way that makes me feel to read 52 but not that I have to. The colours are amazing in a Dave McCaig vain and contribute greatly to the feel of the book. Well worth look. Ambitious and inventive.
Next up, the last book of the holiday, a well overdue reread of Elektra: Assassin.


Anthony Hope-Smith said...

Happy New Year, Mr Shyne, to you and the family!

Year One is a great comfort read - when you say 4 new pages by the great man, do you mean Mazzuchelli? Might have to pick up this version!

You can count Batman Faces alongside the first Batman/Grendel mini for Wagner's best work. For me, anyway.

Can't believe I still don't own Earth 2. Read it, loved it, big on Quitely. A strange discrepancy for sure.

Quite fancy this Metal Men. Rouleau has always been someone with potential, and between what you say and the few preview pages I've seen, it looks lovely.

Right now I'm going through a HUGE John Buscema inked by Alfredo Alcala phase. All stems from when we were at the pub and that fella pulled out an original Conan page by those guys. I wet my panties!
Also just read the second Hellboy library edition with all the short stories perhaps making it the best volume. Incredible stuff.
And got the first few BPRD trades for Christmas too! Man that Davis is good! Great stories too!

Ah, I love comics...

Anthony Hope-Smith said...

Oh, and just cos it can't be said enough...

...Dave Stewart is a genius.

David N said...

Congratulations on the betrothal etc. Colombia, eh? I love South America but that is hardcore.

You seen the new Mazzuchelli GN has a release date, title, etc? Summer, I believe.

I really like Wagner too but yeah, diminishing returns. His recent stuff looks like it was drawn with a magic marker. Still a great storyteller. I love the second Batman/Grendel as much as the first, because Grendel Prime is a pretty good Terminator rip-off ( I think Grendel War Child is the best thing Wagner ever did - whatever happened to Patrick McKeown, whose work on that is stellar?), but Trinity was ok.

Predictably, I love Earth 2. Owlman actually seems cooler than Batman, I think, in this story. Its that edge of malevolence.

Enjoy your honeymoon. Blog more when you get back!

Will Shyne said...

Yes, Dave Stewart is god but I love what Dave McCaig brings to everyone he colours (Immonen, Pearson). Love to see that guy getting the same level of gigs as Dave Stewart and Matt Hollingsworth for a bit of variety.
Year One new version is 4 new drawn pages in the form of an essay plus loads of pencils etc.
I hadn't sen that there's a release date for the new Mazz book. Great news...Fantagraphics or Drawn & Quarterly? Either way gorgeous and a year late.
Pat McKeown went to work in animation but his last couple of bits in comics, off the top of my head are Zombieworld with Mignola which is great and a great innovative strip here:
Well worth a look,along with many of the latter DHPs.
Looking to come back invigorated.
I saw that the last Winter Men came out last week so that's a good start to 2009. Thought it would never happen.

David N said...

Asterios Polyp, as its called, is on Pantheon.

Will Shyne said...

Great news. Thanks for the heads up. I feel like this is the point comics are at now for me. You can buy bits every month but it's really about waiting for the true, few and far between, great comics. Fingers crossed.