The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: October 28 – November 3, 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 8 comics last week: Batgirl #45, Cyborg #4, Superman #45, Robin: Son of Batman #5, We Are Robin #5, Grayson #13, Chewbacca #2 and Batman and Robin Eternal #4.

The best comic I read last week was Batgirl #45.

Batgirl 45

Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr have it ALL going on. They are absolutely the best team working in comics today. Their run on Batgirl, while praised widely, should be praised universally. This issue, easily the best in their spectacular run, is striking because – and this is a word I don’t often apply to comic books – it is so real. It’s the story of Barbara Gordon showing off her real power (wedding coordinator) while dealing with a pretty boorish (and, again, pretty realistic) ex-boyfriend in the person of Dick Grayson. It’s an issue about an independent young woman juggling her past with her present and doing so very nicely. There is no superheroic daring-do. There is just a wonderful, human story told against the backdrop of the comic book world.

The star of this book is absolutely Babs Tarr. There is no one illustrating today who has a better feel for composition, a better command of blending cartooning and realism and a better developed ability for conveying the joy her characters feel. She draws distinct individuals, especially her women, and each design suggests exactly who the character is. I do not note that Tarr draws women well because she herself is a woman (for she draws men very, very well, too) but to underscore the concept that this is an artist who can draw women of all shapes sizes and varieties in whatever manner the story demands and she does so seemingly effortlessly. The vast majority of her male compatriots in the field seem to have two settings when they draw women: super hot or unattractive with very little variation in between. They should take a lesson or two from the terrific Babs Tarr.

Batgirl is a wonderful read and a welcome one each month. It’s heartfelt and fun and features more women than men in key roles. Talk about refreshing.

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5 Comments

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

5 responses to “The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: October 28 – November 3, 2015

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