The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: July 19 – July 25, 2017


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. 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.

Comics I Read Last Week:

OneTwo

The best comic I read last week was Batman #27

Writers: Tom King

Artists: Clay Mann

There was an amazing run (pun intended) of issues of the The Flash wherein writer Geoff Johns re-told stories of the Flash’s Rogues Gallery to make the villains seem less cartoonish and more, well, villain-like. These were effective and provocative stories – instant classics.

Batman #27 not only reminded me of those stories, it exceeded them in at least two ways: first, it took place in the overall telling of a remarkable arc (“The War of Jokes and Riddles”) and, second, it took one of the most ridiculous villains of ALL TIME – Kite Man – and made him something… more. Something dangerous. Something sad. Something… wrong.

Well done, Tom King. Each month you surprise and delight. I cannot wait for your Mister Miracle title and I will follow you to any book you are on.

King is so good that his work here overcomes the loss of his key artist. Clay Mann fills in for Michael Janin and, while Mann’s work is competent if not inspiring, it is simply not at the same standard as Janin (or rotating artist David Finch for that matter).

But even a sub-par effort on the art cannot detract from what is another special issue in what is a spectacular run.

Tom King should write all the comics.

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Link’n’Blogs – 7.21.17 – Fighting the Dark Night


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I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as thought provoking as I have.

When the Aurora, CO theater shooting happened five years ago at a showing of The Dark Knight Rises, I received many calls and messages from friends who were checking that our family was not in the particular theater where the shooting took place. That we were not is a blessing, to be sure. And so is this story from Story Corps, a feature of National Public Radio. Yesterday was the anniversary of the shooting and two parents from Aurora remember their son who died and talk about what they do to never lose touch with him.

Heartbreaking and touching.

Row 12, Seat 12

 

Batman Ribbon

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: July 12 – July 18, 2017


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. 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.

Comics I Read Last Week:

TwoOne

 

The best comic I read last week was Dark Days: The Casting.

Writers: Scott Snyder, James Tynion II

Artists: Jim Lee, Andy Kubert, John Romita, jr

DC Metal is setting up to be a very exciting, late summer event.

A few weeks back, I selected Dark Days: The Forge as my pick of the week so it did not surprise me at all that, after reading through my books this past seven days, the next chapter in the Dark Days prelude rose to the top of the stack. The same creative team is back: Scott Snyder and James Tynion II writing and Jim Lee, Andy Kubert and John Romita, jr pencilling.

The result is a rollicking good time that takes readers deeper into the mystery surrounding the metal in the DC Universe. This issue also lays out new questions (can the Joker really be on the side of the angels this time?) and a stunning cliffhanger. Snyder has said that he wants this book to be a celebration of all things good with DC in particular and comics in general.

He is off to a great start.

Though frequent Snyder collaborator (and major talent) Greg Capullo will take over the pencils when the Metal series debuts next month, there is something cool about Kubert and Romita, two long-time comic artists whose fathers helped create the industry, handling these early chapters. Not only are they at the tops of their respective games, they are legacy artists and it is special that their work is featured here.

Metal is shaping up to the a special event in-and-of-itself. These first preludes have only served to whet the appetite!

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Link’n’Blogs – 7.14.17 – Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds


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I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as thought provoking as I have.

In February, Elizabeth Kolbert published a brilliant – if chilling – highly detailed and well researched essay in The New Yorker entitled “Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds”. I’ve read it twice and it is a frightening story for us in these times of polarization and confirmation bias. It challenges me to check myself…

Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds

facts.jpg

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: July 5 – July 11, 2017


Related Content from And There Came A Day:

I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. 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.

Comics I Read Last Week:

 

OneTwoThree

The best comic I read last week was Batman #26.

Writer: Tom King

Artists: Michael Janin

Perhaps I simply should link to my review of two weeks ago when I selected Batman #25 as the best comic I read… all that I said in that review holds true for this issue.

This second chapter of “The War of Jokes and Riddles” is as compelling as the first. It is as well structured. It is as well drawn. Frankly, the first two issues of this arc are something of a master class in how to write well known characters in well known dynamics and keep surprise in play.

If anything, this second issue is better than the first. It propels the story forward. It shocks and it engages.

Janin and King know what they have in Batman: an immense responsibility to one of the most popular characters in all comics. They are not squandering it.

At all.

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You Can Do Magic – The Cinnamon Girl’s Birthday


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Spring 2017Today is The Cinnamon Girl’s birthday and it is a day to celebrate all that she is to those of us who know her and those of us who love her. One of the many ways we will do that is to give her cards and gifts and that is good. I love – LOVE – to give gifts.

However, it occurs to me as I write this post, that she is the gift. She is the present. She is so very special.

She is the most special woman I know.

I cannot imagine life without her. I do not wish to.

I know that that our children, too, cannot imagine their lives without her in them. She has given so much to us and is the connection that brings us together, the light around which we all hover.

I marvel at who she is and all she does.

She is confidant and confider.

She is humorist and storyteller.

She is shocking in every good way.

She is kind and compassionate.

She is breathtakingly smart and stunningly quick witted.

She is incisive and insightful.

She is beautiful by any definition of the word.

There are many (myself included) who wonder if she has precognitive powers – if she is tapped into some kind of font that allows her to understand the world in ways that other people do not.

Here’s the secret: my Cinnamon Girl is magic.

She is pure magic.

Happy birthday, Cinnamon Girl. Thank you for being the gift.

 

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Spider-Man: Homecoming – A Movie Review


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Spider-Man Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming has a lot riding on it. Billed as a coming-of-age story constructed in the vein of a 1980s John Hughes movie, Spider-Man: Homecoming is also the first joint venture between Sony and Marvel with Marvel controlling the content of the film. It brings Spider-Man firmly under the control of Marvel Studios and fully into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is intended to re-launch perhaps the most famous Marvel Comics character into a series of successful solo movies.

It is likely to succeed very well in this ambition.

The best – the very best – thing Spider-Man: Homecoming has going for it is star Tom Holland. Marvel movie fans got a taste of the actor in Captain America: Civil War when he joined the super hero clash and the screen lit up whenever Holland was on it. Pitch perfect in that movie, the actor is even more appealing here in his solo venture. Following two very good performances as Spider-Man (in Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield), Holland had a bit to live up to as he stepped into the high tech tights. He is more than up to the challenge. In fact, for my money, he is the best of the bunch. That is saying something as the others were very good themselves.

Tom Holland makes the movie work. Though he is surrounded by wonderful actors (all the students in the movie are terrific, especially Zendaya as Michelle and Jacob Batalon as Ned), his energy outshines them all. This is quite a feat when considering Michael Keaton and Robert Downey, jr (not to mention Jon Favreau) are all on hand. Keaton and Downey, jr as as one would expect, both fully committed to their roles as the antagonist The Vulture and the mentor Iron Man respectively. Keaton, in fact, is a far more fully developed villain than we have come to expect from most Marvel movies and Downey, jr is so good as Tony Stark that it is difficult to determine where the character stops and the actor starts.

A common issue with these movies is that they try to do a bit too much, and Spider-Man: Homecoming suffers a bit from this malady. I loved the cameos (especially the one at the end!) but are they critical to the film? There are some nice set pieces, though some of the action sequences are fairly muddy in their execution. The entire side trip to Washington, DC seems excessive and unnecessary. It seems to me that everything that scene accomplishes could be handled in New York which is where the character belongs. But Spider-Man: Homecoming is Holland’s movie and, while it is not a perfect film, Holland makes up for all of these shortcomings and then some.

Beyond casting Holland, the filmmakers make two important decisions for Homecoming. First, they do not re-tell the origin of the character. Been there. Done that, thank you very much. Second, they put Peter Parker in high school. Spider-Man has always worked best as a teenager going through the struggles of coming-of-age. This Spider-Man has girl troubles, homework and a curfew (that he regularly breaks). He is trying to understand who he is and what he can do. He is carving out his place in the world and the movie does a terrific job with that arc.

Here is a Spider-Man that changes over the course of the film. Here is a Spider-Man that is funny and engaging. Here is a Spider-Man that is not driven by angst (the best versions of the character are not). Here is a Spider-Man that simply wants to be heroic.

Spider-Man: Homecoming succeeds in evoking a feel of high school movies of the past (think The Breakfast Club but Anthony Michael Hall with superpowers). It succeeds in incorporating the character into the fuller Marvel Universe. It succeeds in launching this version of the character. It succeeds in being a fun, summer entertainment and places itself firmly on the list of very good – not great – Marvel movies.

In many ways, it does feel like Spider-Man has come home.

 

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING receives FOUR AND A HALF (because Holland is just SO good) FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOODS out of a possible FIVE.

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