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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
All Star Batman #10.
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Rafael Albuquerque
Scott Snyder is not only the master of the modern Batman story, he is also the master of the twist ending. He has a brilliant way of setting up expectation and then changing course at the last possible moment (often the last panel of a book) to alter the readers’ perceptions of his story in often uncomfortable and usually uncompromising ways. Both of these skills are on display in this initial issue of the new arc called “The First Ally.”
This story deals with the relationship (strained in recent issues) between Bruce Wayne and his faithful butler, Alfred Pennyworth. While it is clearly a “if you think you know the whole story, think again” kind of scenario, what Snyder is doing works. His brings the reader into the story of his young protagonist through deft, first person narration and a couple of time shifts that keep the reader guessing.
Snyder seems to be looking for a way to underscore and, perhaps, understand the bond between Batman and Alfred. He seems to be going for a definitive look at the relationship.
He’s off to a great start here.
Snyder is joined by his frequent collaborator Rafael Albuquerque and the artwork is excellent. The characters have real emotion, the action is well staged and the atmosphere Albuquerque creates is perfect for the story. I did not follow the artist’s American Vampire work and it is obvious I missed something. He nails Batman and Bruce, for sure, but, critically, he has a take on Alfred that is special.
This book, recently announced to be winding down, has been special. I will be sad to see it go.