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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
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Michael Janin
Batman has been such a terrific book since the Rebirth initiative at DC Comics and I think I’ve selected it over 10 times since Tom King took over the writing chores. It is high time I stopped referencing the author of the prior run. King has made the book and the character his own.
That is almost an impossible feat. Batman has been in continuous publication for over 75 years. Story-after-story has been written about him and his cast of characters. What new can be said?
As it turns out, plenty, and let us give DC editorial some credit for allowing King to run with his story. Risks have been taken. The status quo has been altered. Quirky narrative has been established. The plots have been decompressed.
And it has all worked.
Just when I believed an apex had been reached, King has succeeded in surpassing it with Batman #25. The first chapter of “The War of Jokes and Riddles” reads like something new and dangerous and something that will, again, change readers’ understanding of Batman. Set in Batman’s past, the first conflict between the Joker and the Riddler begins with such depth and promise that I am itching for the next issue. And is that not what a periodical should do?
Of Michael Janin I will only say what I have said before: can he draw ALL the comics? I simply love his style. His line work is so crisp and clean. His characterizations are consistent and distinct. He does more with expressions than almost any artist working today. He is, far-and-away, my favorite of the rotating Bat Team.
Read this Batman. Read it now.