Tag Archives: Watchmen

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: March 28 – April 3, 2018


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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:

Capture

The best comic I read last week was Doomsday Clock #4

Writer: Geoff Johns

Artist: Gary Frank

Here is what I did not expect when Doomsday Clock was announced: I did not expect that it would be a straight-up sequel to the seminal Watchmen. Rather, I thought DC would focus its energies on a crossover of the Watchmen and DC Rebirth universes. While the later is occurring in Doomsday Clock in fits and starts, the former is much more in evidence.

And that is a shockingly good thing. Don’t misunderstand me: I am looking forward to the universes colliding, but this series has been such a testament to what a good writer Geoff Johns is and has been such a terrific sequel to the source material that I can wait a bit on that.

And, at this point I trust it goes without saying, that Gary Frank is spectacular. His work here is career defining. He is not aping original Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons at all and that is a good choice. Rather, his hyper-realism is the perfect match to the subject.

Doomsday Clock is firing on all cylinders. What a terrific book.

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Filed under Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Geoff Johns, Marvel Comics, Watchmen, Weekly Comic Book Review

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: November 22 – 28, 2017


Related Content from And There Came A Day:


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:

One

The best comic I read last week was The Doomsday Clock #1.

Writer:  Geoff Johns

Artist:  Gary Frank

Perhaps it was inevitable, but it is also kind of gutsy: to revisit and write what amounts to a direct sequel of one of the most revered comic book narratives of all time. It was inevitable because, let us face it, there is money to be made. It is gutsy as Doomsday Clock will relentlessly be compared to Watchmen, the classic 1980s graphic novel and there is hardly any way to imagine that Doomsday Clock will not come up wanting.

I expected something different from this book. I expected it to be more of a DC Universe/Watchmen crossover than it actually is. Though Superman appears at the end of the book (and in remarkable fashion: Geoff Johns has had a terrific feel for this character for years), Doomsday Clock is very much chapter 13 of Watchmen and it plays exceedingly well.

Gary Frank is not aping the work of original artist Dave Gibbons here, but he is adopting the panel structure – of course – and is bringing to the book his top work. Frank is an artist whose best asset is the detail he puts into the page, the expressions, the stands of hair, the crumpled garbage in the streets. He is on point in Doomsday Clock and his gritty realism really works here.

I love what Johns did in continuing Alan Moore’s appropriation of DC properties. In Watchmen, Moore used facsimiles of the Charlton characters DC had just purchased. In Doomsday Clock, Johns creates the Marionette and the Mime, DC’s Punch and Julee simulacrums and the trick is pleasant and works.

The whole issue works and I read it three times this week. Each time, I was more deeply pulled into the story. I am sure I can dive in and feel the same way again.

Big event comics seem to rarely deliver on their promises these days. Doomsday Clock, at least for one issue, does.

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Filed under Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Geoff Johns, Marvel Comics, Superman, Weekly Comic Book Review

And There Came A Phenomenon – Comic Book Movies Are For Everyone (and There’s No Place for Robin)

I read a pretty interesting article today on comicbookresources.com which you can read HERE. It was on a topic I’ve been considering for the last few weeks as the world (that’s probably overstated – my world is better) is ramping up for the release of Iron Man 3 next Friday.  It’s followed by Man of Steel in June and The Wolverine in July and then there will be a hiatus in superhero fun (if you don’t count things like The Lone Ranger in the mix) until November’s Thor: The Dark World. Superhero movies have become a tradition it seems. And a fairly recent one at that.

Superman The Movie didn’t set of a superhero movie craze in the 1970s. Sequels were made, sure. Supergirl was a poorly conceived and received spin-off. Even Batman and the craziness surrounding it in the late 1980s weren’t enough to spark a sustained slate of superhero films.

The came Marvel’s Blade. Then the X-Men. Then Iron Man and Marvel’s plan (which was filled in a bit retroactively, but that’s okay) to build a cinematic shared universe. Then came the expectation of a superhero movie or two or three each year.

I am okay with that expectation.

However, what I might have wanted or expected to see from superhero films ten years ago has changed.

Ten years ago, I was looking for a pretty slavish devotion to, if not a paint-by-number, point-for-point, the mythos of some of my favorite characters. I was looking for the writers, designers and directors of these films to do everything “right.”  How they give me the Batcave or the Baxter Building or Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters? How would the costumes look? Who would play the characters?

I wanted the movies to not only look like the comics I loved, I wanted them to be the comics I loved.

1989’s Batman is an example of a skilled director doing his damnedest to slavishly adapt. Outside the backstory-shattering revisioning of the Joker having been responsible for the deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne (And how many of the millions of movie goers who plunked down their $4.00 [that’s a little high, the average price was $3.97] knew that it was Joe Chill not Jack Napier who killed the Waynes in the comics? A pretty small percentage, I would guess.) the film was very much like the Batman comics.

And, in terms of making much sense, not very good. Oh, it looks cool and Michael Keaton nails it (Nicholson’s Joker was always a little too over the top for me, but that’s another function of the slavish adaptation) but, in terms of story, it just falls flat.

Why do producers make big summer movies? To make money. It’s not to make art. If superhero movies only cater to comic book readers, they’ll fail. There’s barely enough money among comic book readers to keep the comic book industry alive.

Comic books movies are like Shakespeare’s plays. Yes, really. They are.

Are they as good as Shakespeare’s plays in terms of literary merit? Of course not (though I would personally stack Watchmen or The Dark Knight Returns up against Coriolanus anytime). Can they – should they – be as malleable? As adaptable? Should they be altered to the tastes of a mass audience?

I saw Natalie Wood as Juliet in West Side Story. It was still Romeo and Juliet. I saw Val Kilmer as Hamlet in Boulder about 20 years ago. The setting was Latin America. It was still Hamlet. So was The Lion King, for that matter.

It doesn’t matter, then, that Hugh Jackman is 6 feet tall and Wolverine is supposed to be 5′ 5″ or that Superman will be missing his red trunks or that Tony Stark, by now, should have a raging problem with alcohol. Slavish devotions would lead Christian Bale running around with a 10-year-old kid in a red and green and yellow costume facing Heath Ledger’s Joker or Tom Hardy’s Bane. I think we can all agree that the Robin John Blake solution in The Dark Knight Rises was far more elegant.

No, I say Shakespeare it up. Change the settings, the costumes, the sex of the characters. Play to the mass audience. Make the stories work.

Make fun movies. Make people want to plunk down their $12.00. If they are good, make more.

Comic books – superheroes – they’re American myth. I want to see the mythology continue.

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