Beginning, anew, a weekly feature from last year… Here is this fall’s first installment of The Best Sequential Art I Read This Week.
I am a comic book collector and happy to be sure. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.
Then I read them.
Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.
I read 9 comics last week: Batman Eternal #25, Booster Gold: Futures End #1, Superman: Doomed #2, Superman: Futures End #1, Star Trek #37, Star Trek Harlan Ellison’s City on the Edge of Forever #4, Amazing Spider-Man #1.5, Edge of Spider-Verse #3 and New Avengers #24.
The comic that most arrested my attention, that I thought was the best read of the week and that I most enjoyed was Star Trek Harlan Ellison’s City on the Edge of Forever #4.
The cover of Star Trek Harlan Ellison’s City on the Edge of Forever #4, published by IDW Comics.
The story of City on the Edge of Forever, one of the most famous Star Trek episodes, is pretty interesting to Trekkers like me. Author Harlan Ellison turned in a script that was brilliant, but a bit out of keeping with the characterizations the show was trying, in its first season, to establish for its cast. It also included visuals that would be almost impossible to produce. Did I mention it referenced an illicit drug trade on the USS Enterprise?
So, yeah, there were issues with the script. But the core story was so good that the story we re-written and became a classic episode, perhaps THE classic episode.
And Ellison never wrote for Star Trek again.
The above is an oversimplification of a complex story, but the result has been this comic book from IDW Publishing. It is a five-part adaptation of the original Ellison teleplay written by Scott and David Tipton and drawn by J. K. Woodward. And it’s been really, really good.
The Tipton brothers have really captured the feel of the original series and Woodward’s art is spectacular. Take a look:
A page of art by J. K. Woodward. The artist is creating beautiful work for this book!
Normally, a licensed adaptation feels like “fanboy service.” The Junior Senator could write an entire blog post about that. Star Trek Harlan Ellison’s City on the Edge of Forever doesn’t feel that way at all. It’s a compelling story. It’s beautiful to look at. I am sorry it ends in one more issue!