The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: September 2 – September 8, 2015

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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.

I read 3 comics last week: Detective Comics #44, Secret Wars: Thors #3 and Daredevil #18.

The best comic I read last week was Daredevil #18.

daredevil 18

Nothing is perfect. No comic book. No series. No writer. No artist. Nothing is perfect.

But the Mark Waid run on Daredevil comes damned close.

Waid, a terrific writer who has handled some of the biggest characters in comics for all kinds of different publishers, has written Daredevil longer than any other writer and has put together a run that should be studied by other comic book authors, especially those who have forgotten that reading comics can and often should be fun. Waid took a character who was mired in some pretty harrowing straights (not from bad storytelling as many of the volumes of Daredevil preceding Waid’s run were very, very good) and turned him into a fun and exciting hero again. He put the “dare” back in “Daredevil” by honoring the character’s past while creating a future both uncertain and energizing.

Along the way, Waid was ably assisted by a number of artists, most notably Pablo Rivera and Chris Samnee. While both of these artists left their mark on the character, it was Samnee who really made Daredevil his own. Samnee’s work on Matt Murdock, both in and out of costume, was a clinic in superhero art. Expressive, cartoony and carefully constructed, a Samnee Daredevil page was a joy to behold – I’d like to purchase a sheet or two – and perfectly composed. His Daredevil always had a hint of a knowing smile (check the cover for Daredevil #18) no matter how dire the straights. Samnee’s pencils have defined Daredevil for this generation of comic book readers without question.

Issue #18 is the duo’s last on the book and that’s a shame because, month-after-month, Daredevil was one of the best books on the market. This Waid run, especially the end of it with Samnee’s art, shows two masters at the tops of their respective games, two collaborators really bringing out the best in each other’s work.

They mention in the letter page in this issue that they have another collaboration in the offing. I cannot wait to see what it is. Waid and Samnee are in the ranks of creators – very few in my book – who I will follow no matter the properties on which they are working.

This Daredevil run is a perfect read. If you’ve not taken a look, do yourself a favor and pick up a trade or two. You’ll find it’s one of the best comics you’ve read in a very, very long time.



Filed under Comic Book Review, Comic Books, Daredevil, DC Comics, Detective Comics, Marvel Comics

4 responses to “The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: September 2 – September 8, 2015

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