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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 Batman #40
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Joelle Jones
Batman #36 is the best Valentine’s Day comic book I have ever read. No, strike that: it is the best comic about love I have ever read. No kidding.
Joelle Jones’ work is all but perfect and she is comfortable with characters in costume and out. The choices she makes in staging her scenes are ever inventive and compelling. Her figures have scope and scale. They look like she wants them to look and their appearances do not alter panel-to-panel. I would love to see her on a big-team book, a top tier title. She deserves that kind of exposure.
Tom King continues his love letter to Batman and his love letter to, well, love in the “Super Friends” arc. I am so heavily invested in things working out for Batman and Catwoman that I am surprised. He has such a handle on both of them and they speak in distinct voices. One could read his scripts without attribution and know whose dialogue is whose. That is not something one can say of every book on the market. This is impressive.
The storyline itself is compelling, but the themes raise King’s Batman to an entirely different level. If he is not the best writer working in comics today, he is in the top five.