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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 Fantastic Four – Grand Design #1
Writer: Tom Scioli
In 2017, Tom Scioli took on the complex and ridiculous history of The X-Men in his instant classic X-Men – Grand Design and I remember thinking, “man, the Fantastic Four need this treatment.”
It was worth the wait.
Scioli’s humor is evident in both his writing and his artwork. His cleverness and his skill are evident throughout this issue and he somehow condenses over 50 issues of Fantastic Four history into this one book. What works so well is that the content he is addressing is almost as over-the-top as his style. He takes the sometimes funny, sometimes insane, sometimes absurd adventures of Marvel’s first family, updates pieces of it for a modern audience and weaves the stories into a cohesive narrative.
This book shows some of the best parts of comic books as a medium. The bending, twisty structure, the cartoonish, Kirby-invoking art and the scenery chewing prose are quintessentially comic book and, as Scioli re-tells the stories of the FF, he also shows his reverence for them.
Hard to find a better illustrated read this week…