Sunday, August 09, 2009

Recent Issues for Aug 9th, 2009

Two weeks in a row...?

I know, I know, but I guess I have the bug to bang away at the keyboard despite not having much to say or much of anything going on (except the move to new digs).

This week I just have a couple of Recent Issues:

Recently I re- discovered the Hard Case Crime line of books thanks to an article in the back of Ed Brubaker's comic CRIMINAL. (More on that in another post soon)

For those of you that don't know about Hard Case Crime, they publish mass market paperbacks in the crime, adventure, and pulp categories. Some of them are original and some of them are classics, long out of print by such names as Westlake, Bloch, and others.

I had seen these books on the shelf before in my local grocery store of all places but never really bought any of them until recently. Of course, when I went back to the grocery store to look for some of the newer ones, I discovered they no longer carry them.

What makes these paperbacks so cool and what drew my eye to them in the first place is all the cover art. 99% of the books have classic looking cover art that makes them look like the paperbacks from the 50s and 60s. Great paintings by great artists. (Maybe in a future post I'll share some of my favs.)

Two of the books I've read recently are Slide and The Max, both by the team of Ken Bruen and Jason Star. What I didn't realize right away is there's a first novel, Bust, that I missed and need to go back and find.
The books follow a business man by the name of Max Fisher and a woman named Angela Petrakos as their lives intersect and intertwine over and over no matter how much they hate each other.
The language is raw, the situations are bizarre and the number of people that die around these two while they escape unscathed is incredible.
Even though I missed that first book, I was very easily able to understand what brought these two characters together and the events that lead to their individual situations as Slide began.
Both are fast reads and I can see these books as movies in the same vein as Get Shorty or Fight Club. Visually cool with some style and flair.

Wednesday Comics from DC is a really cool idea.
They took a mix of some of their more popular characters like Superman, Batman, and Green Lantern, added a few lesser known characters like Metamorpho, Deadman, Kamandi, and The Demon, gave them to some of the best known creators like Neil Gaiman, Walt Simonson, Kurt Busiek, Brian Azzello, and printed them on large 20x28 newsprint stock for the look and feel of a traditional Sunday Comics page.
I remember hounding my parents for the comics on Sunday morning and even getting up early and tearing the paper apart to get them before they woke up and I had to beg.
It's a very cool idea and I'm glad DC took the chance on a project like this.
There have been some ups and downs on the production side of things. Most of the issues my shop gets each week are creased in the center when folded at the press and the color on some of the strips isn't as crisp or clear as it is on others. Aside from that, this sixteen week series is nothing but fun.
Of the features that run in Wednesday Comics my favs so far are :
Batman, Deadman, Kamandi, and Sgt Rock. These four have been the most solid, week in and week out. Beautiful art and some cool story elements.
My underdog strip is Catwoman and the Demon. Putting these two characters together is a concept that makes amazing sense and has never been done until now as far as I know. Simonson and Stelfreeze are both great creators and even though the first few pages haven't shown much, I really hope this jumps out to the front by the time it ends.
The only strip I really don't read is Wonder Woman. Beautifully illustrated but cramped, crowded with as many as 65 panels per page (some monthly 22 page comics don't have 65 panels in the whole book) it's just dense and difficult to read. This is also one of the strips that's suffered from the coloring process.
And there you have it.... I'm off to do some more work on the new place. If by some strange reason you come across my blog here, feel free to post a thought or comment. I get lonely...


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