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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 12 comics last week: Batman #45, Star Wars: Shattered Empire #3, Paper Girls #1, Batman/Superman #25, JLA #4, Star Trek/Green Lantern #4, Chewbacca #1, Secret Wars: Civil War #5, New Avengers #1, Batman and Robin Eternal #2, Captain America: White #3 and Superman: Lois and Clark #1.
The best comic I read last week was Superman: Lois and Clark #1.
Dan Jurgens and Lee Weeks combine on words and art on Superman: Lois and Clark #1 to give long time fans of DC a taste of what we’ve been missing – namely some of the Pre-New 52 characters we’d invested ourselves in for years. When I bought this issue, I thought “I’ll give it a chance and see if it hooks me.” It did. Quickly. While I’ve enjoyed much of the new DC universe, I had a gnawing sense in the back of my head that I was missing some of the old characters and concepts more than I had let myself acknowledge. Superman: Lois and Clark illustrated to me that I was really, really missing them. This confident Superman, this daring Lois Lane, these characters with their shared history – this I was missing. I am very glad that DC has figured out that they can, perhaps, have their cake and eat it, too.
Dan Jurgens, who I really enjoy as a penciller, is an equally adept writer and he proves that here with a script that could very easily have gotten away from a lesser talent. He has much to do: establish Lois and Clark’s world, suggest the dangers they face, and introduce a status quo without burying the lead. He does so with skill. A veteran of Superman titles, Jurgens is writing a Superman here who has lived through death and resurrection, heartbreak and marriage. He is adding to the myth by including a son. He is crafting a story about a man and a wife about whom we as readers immediately care, because we know them so well. In some ways, Jurgens’ Superman is a more appealing version of the character than any appearing in other DC titles. Conveying that character in one issue is an impressive accomplishment.
Lee Weeks is an unsung superstar. His work reaches back into the old DC universe while remaining fresh and vibrant. He handles the “smaller” scenes between Lois and Clark very well, while also giving the reader some very well composed action. His bearded Superman is at once heroic and dangerous. Dark and powerful. And wary. All of that comes through in his work and that’s impressive. Though there have been really strong artists working on Superman, Weeks stakes his claim to the character in this one issue. It’s great work.
My hope is that this title is a grand success – judging by the first issue, it deserves to be – and that DC finds other ways to embrace its storied history. When it does, it should be sure Jurgens is at the helm. The man knows what he’s doing.