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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 Doctor Strange #18.
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Chris Bachalo
Perhaps some of the energy around Doctor Strange has died down since it’s been months following the very well received Doctor Strange movie. I suspect some of that energy will ramp back up when he makes his appearance in Thor: Ragnarok. However, until then, what we have is a superior comic book featuring the character.
It takes a great team to keep me interested in a character like Doctor Strange, someone who I don’t love but began to read in my own furor around the movie. Chris Bachalo is a tremendous artist and, as I have written before, so perfectly suited to this book. He is cartoon-y in approach and that fits here. What is also noteworthy is how twisted and dark his artwork gets in support of the story. Some of the images he’s created are truly haunting. He’s been a perfect fit here and, while there have been excellent fill-in artists during Bachalo’s run, he’s clearly the master here.
“Master” is also a term that fits Jason Aaron. In this issue in particular, he shows great facility with balancing other-worldly, supernatural plot devices with emotional beats and humor that really work well. In fact, this issue had me truly questioning whether readers were about to witness the death of a major character. Not many comics these days surprise. This one did. That’s saying something.
I have read that Aaron and Bachalo are getting ready to depart Doctor Strange and that’s a shame. It will take a superstar team to keep me reading the book. If this is the last arc I have with the good doctor, it’s been time well spent!