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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 Invincible Iron Man #5.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Stefano Casselli
Stefano Casselli is a great artist for this new (and who knows how long this “new” version will last?) Iron Man, who really isn’t a man at all. Iron Man is really Iron Heart – 15-year-old Riri Williams, who built her own armor and has taken the place of Tony Stark. Casselli is a terrific artist overall, but he is really firing on all cylinders with this title. I respect artists whose teenagers and children look like teenagers and children. And Casselli’s do. His Riri Williams looks appropriately youthful while his adults look like adults. One wouldn’t think this would be hard for professional artists to accomplish, but it sure seems to be. Casselli is a good fit for this book – perhaps not quite as good as Sara Pichelli, but close.
Bendis remains one of the best writers in comics today and, while there is not as much heat around this book as I thought there might be, it’s more than a good read. It is a great one. Bendis has an ability to balance superheroics with taking on issues of import, topical and timely ones, and he does so organically. While topical, the issues Bendis takes on spring from character and that is good writing.
Riri Williams is a great lead character and the pairing of her with a tremendous supporting cast including Riri’s mom, Tony Stark’s A.I. consciousness, his birth mother, Mary Jane Watson and Pepper Potts (pitting them against a female antagonist I might add) tells you something important about this book: it’s not comic writing as usual by any means.
I like Riri Williams and I like where this story is going. While the two coming Marvel events (Secret Empire and Generations) seem to suggest the return of Tony Stark, Steve Rogers and the tall, blonde Thor, I hope Riri is still around when the dust settles. Comics needs more characters like her.