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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 9 comics last week: Nightwing #6, Superman #8, Champions #1, Batman #8, Death of X #1, Invincible Iron Man #14, Doctor Strange #12, Amazing Spider-Man #19 and Justice League #6.
The best comic I read last week was Champions #1.
Huberto Ramos can draw kids and that’s a good thing because this new iteration of an old Marvel property features teenage heroes (and an android) as lead characters. Ramos’ style is a perfect match for the book as he captures the kinetic energy of kids, he has fun with his renderings and his young characters are readily distinguishable from older ones. Ramos has been doing this for years and he’s an artist whose work rarely disappoints. I hope he’s on the book for longer than the launch arc. His presence would help keep me buying it.
Not that I am not inclined to do so already. This book is a great read and has such a “pulled from the headlines” quality about it, one forgets that comic books are produced months in advance of publication. Its young vs. old, freedom vs. authority, Millennials vs. Baby Boomers themes really work.
This should be no surprise as the book is written by Mark Waid, an all time great comic book scribe. Though the “new” Marvel status quo has been challenging to understand and something of a mixed bag in terms of realization, Waid’s Marvel books have been bright spots. When he’s allowed to do his thing free of unneeded editorial edicts, Waid is one of the top five writers working today. Hopefully, Champions can be free of too many company-wide story lines and plot restrictions because the imposition of those and the resultant lines of dialogue and plot developments related to them are the only places where the issue lags.
Clearly planned to launch after the delayed Civil War II conclusion, Champions suffers from readers having to fill in blanks that should already have been revealed. Something very significant clearly happens to Miles Morales in Civil War II, but Waid cannot disclose it and the reader is left wondering.
Marvel, let Waid and Ramos go do their collective thing and you have a monster hit here!