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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 6 comics last week: Superman/Wonder Woman #21, Lando #4, Star Wars #9, Star Trek#49, Captain America: White #1 and Robin: Son of Batman#4.
The best comic I read last week was Captain America: White #1.
These days, it is a very big deal with Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale create comic books. Two of the most respected names in the business, Loeb and Sale have given us Marvel characters with a color subtitle before (Hulk: Grey, Spider-Man: Blue, Daredevil: Yellow) and each has been a terrific series. Captain America: White looks as though it is going to be another installment in a very impressive line up.
Jeph Loeb is a wonderful writer and the comics he pens are so uniquely his that I didn’t realize how much I had missed reading him until I read this issue. He’s in touch with the history of the characters about whom he writes and his flavor of Steve Rogers is a flavor I’ve missed. Loeb has a way of taking a character to her or his roots – way of distilling the character to essential components.
His frequent collaborator, artist Tim Sale, has very much the same approach. He’s not so much trying to put his artistic stamp on Captain America as he attempting – and succeeding – in creating an amalgam Captain America, kind of a Captain America for all ages who would be at home in a Jack Kirby strip as he would be in a George Perez panel. Sale doesn’t shoot for any kind of realism, but embraces the trappings of comic book cartooning in such a special way that it makes he wish he illustrated more books.
Captain America: White was originally announced and, in fact, a #0 issue was published, in the early 2000s. This story of Captain America and Bucky’s early days has been well worth the wait. Wonderfully paced and evoking just the right amount of nostalgia, Captain America: White promises to be a terrific series.