There is Nothing Funny About Comics
Aside from DC's great notion for a weekly summer run of broadsheet comics, Wednesday Comics, things have been a tad slow in comicsland of late. But here are notables:
Criminal: I cannot say enough about this series by Ed Brubaker. Smart, cutting, gritty, low down and sexy. The latest installment collected as Bad Night is taut and surreal. In some ways it reminds me of Rod Filbrandt, a Vancouver artist and writer, work on Wombat and Dry Shave for the Georgia Straight. Again, Brubaker's Incognito is also superlative.
Bone: A friend of mine has a son who doesn't like to read, an oddity given the family in question. I have been hearing over the years how many literacy and child education experts recommend giving comics to children who do not read. One of the titles that has come up again and again is Bone by Jeff Smith. So I have bought the first volume of Bone in the hopes that it may entice my friend's son to read more often> Failing that, I am sure my friend and his daughters will enjoy the book. I like the first book and will probably pick the series up for myself in time.
Heaven's War: I read it, I liked it for the most part but can see why this limited series didn't fly. The book's antagonist is famed occultist, Aleister Crowley. Crowley seeks to turn the tide in Heaven's War in his favour for his own power. The book's protagonist's are The Inklings, or the three men most Identified with The Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Charles Williams. (whom apparently also appear as characters in James A. Owen's Here, There Be Dragons) Charles who? Therein lies one of the problems with Heaven's War.
Charles Williams is a favourite of mine. He wrote supernatural thrillers that dealt with Platonic Absolutes becoming manifest upon the Earth, the Stone of Sulieman, the Holy Grail among other concepts. His themes often dealt with the need for communion and take on the burdens of one another. His writing style is nowhere near as polished as Tolkien's, nor his work anywhere as accesible as Lewis' - but his concepts and ideas are where the draw is. However, he is quite obscure outside of edcated Christain circles. Most of us learned about him through his association to C.S. Lewis and Tolkien.
Heaven's War also relies on the dubious book, Holy Blood, Holy Grail for the stories backdrop. Holy Blood, Holy Grail perpetuated the hoax perpetrated on the world by Philippe de Chérisey and Pierre Plantard, in support of Plantard's desrie to place himself as the heir to the Merovingian Dynasty. HB, HG was also the inspiration for Dan Brown's best-selling novel, The Da Vinci Code. In fact, the characyer of A.E. Waite is made strikingly similar to Brown's character, Sir Leigh Teabing. I am not a fan of Holy Blood, Holy Grail and its irresponsible legacy of bad history posing as credible scholastics.
Micah Harris, the author of Heaven's War, has done a good job synthesizing Williams concepts and idelas to form the backbone of his story. The concept is worthy of a Williams novel itself and very like his own work. As a Williams fan I can appreciate this, but I can also see how it would loose many other people. Also, Michael Gaydos, if you are reading this - dude - seriously, you need to stop recycling frames as often as you do. Please. You are a good artist, great style, draw just a bit more.
Another comic that was just released this week is Ed Brubaker's The Marvels Project. In celebration of Marvel Comics 70th Anniversary, Brubaker has written a limited series about the birth of the Marvel Universe in WWII. This is something I was always eager to see and it is good to see it being donw by one of the best in the business today.