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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.
COMICS I READ LAST WEEK
The best comic I read last week was Champions #5.
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Humberto Ramos
Mark Waid remains one of the best writers in comics. Humberto Ramos is one of the best cartoonists the medium has to offer. Together, with Waid writing to Ramos’ strengths of kinetic energy and crazy characterization, these creators are making Champions one of the best reads of the month.
What makes this issue so great is the relevance of the story. More than a “ripped-from-the-headlines” approach, Waid is crafting stories that respond to our current American political conditions without relying on scenarios that have actually happened, he is simply creating situations that could happen.
In this issue, the Champions come across a racist sheriff – a man whose hatred seems directed at anyone who is not white – and deal with what it might take to bring down such a person who, unfathomably to them, seems to have the support of his community.
Included in the action is the character “Gwenpool,” an alternate universe Gwen Stacy who is, in her reality, a Deadpool-like heroine. Yeah, I can’t explain it better and, yeah, I am too old to really love me some Deadpool-like antics, but Trust.In. Waid.
Injecting Gwenpool and her brand of justice, along with her perspective that the easiest way to deal with this crooked sheriff is just to end him, provides a terrific counterpoint for the Champions and gives Waid and ability to play out the delicate realities of this type of conflict.
This is a terrific title and it deserves an audience.