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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 #36.
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Clay Mann
I do not often regale The Cinnamon Girl, my lovely wife, with what happened in my comic books in the course of any given week. For me to say something to her about any book I have read means something very clever or very special happened in the given issue.
I told The Cinnamon Girl about Batman #36. I told her with enthusiasm.
Batman #36 follows more of the story of the engagement of Batman and Catwoman.
And let us pause for a moment and note that writer Tom King is putting together a significant story arc featuring DC Comics’ most famous character which deals, not with a super villain’s nefarious plan or a crisis facing Gotham City, but with the wedding plans of the main character. Bold choice.
And this particular issue deals with something that happens in all engagements: best friends must be told life is about to change. In this case, Batman and Superman must come to grips with the fact that Batman is about to wed Catwoman and all that means for their friendship.
The issue is brilliant. It is funny and touching. It delves into the insecurities of powerful men and illustrates the power of secure women. Lois and Selina are far more than supporting characters here. They are main players and they are, clearly, more emotionally developed than their beaus.
Clay Mann’s pencils are solid and support the story nicely. There is a super villain to fight and he handles that work very well. What is less impressive, unfortunately, is the way he illustrates women. His women simply do not look like they could exist in any kind of real life and, while one can argue that is not the point of comic books and argue that convincingly, it seems to me that we have come to a point in which illustrations of women ought to be viewed differently than they have been or, perhaps, they are. Overall, however, Mann is on point and this issue is delightful.
Given that Batman #37 will feature a date night with Lois, Clark, Bruce and Selina, I think I can predict that #37 might find its way into the Best Sequential Art in two weeks…