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WLG #399: What Looks Stellar!

A column article by: Kyle Garret

This is an absolutely stellar week for independent comic books, but that’s something that can be said a lot these days.  Perhaps I’m still coming down off the high that was Image Expo, but independent and creator owned comics have never been more vibrant as they are now.  There could be an argument made for the indie boom after the direct market was established, but we didn’t have digital and web comics back then.  These days, the only thing stopping you from creating a comic book is your level of talent (which is why you don’t see any by me).

But let’s start the week off by looking at the best of the corporately owned comics.

Resurrection Man has a tone that’s unique to DC Comics.  It has this kind of 70’s DC horror vibe going on, with a touch of Vertigo and a touch of superheroes.  The only real problem I’ve had with this book so far is that it feels like it’s moving really slowly, but I honestly find that to be the case for a lot of the relaunched DC books.

Legion Lost #7 is, I think, the last issue written by Fabian Nicieza, with an assist by incoming writer Tom DeFalco.  I have a confession: Tom DeFalco’s comics are a guilty pleasure of mine.  I know, his work doesn’t jibe with anything else I read, but there’s just something so old school about it that I can’t help but get it.  My bookshelves are lined with those MC2 digests that he wrote.  So while this book has been kind of erratic up until now, I’m still looking forward to what’s coming.

I get my comics through the mail.  I also get them every other week so I’m not paying for shipping four times a month.  This means I get a nice haul of books to read every other week.  Not long ago, I was reading through my stack and realized how really mediocre all of the superhero books were.  It was disheartening.  But then I read The Shade #5 and I fell in love with superheroes again.  I would expect more of the same from The Shade #6.

If you love comic books and you’re not reading Atomic Robo, then you don’t really love comic books.  It is the epitome of what comics should be.  It gets a lot of good press because it’s a lot of fun, but more than that it’s smart.  It’s also published in the best way possible – finite, stand-alone volumes, that are later released digitally at a substantial decrease in cost.  I bought the first two trades in their physical forms, then caught up with the series digitally, so I would be ready to buy Atomic Robo: Real Science Adventures each month, in print.  And that’s how digital comics should work.

Nearly as anticipated is the first issue of Saga.  I say “nearly” as anticipated because I know what I’m going to get from Atomic Robo.  I have no idea what to expect from Saga.  Sure, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples make for a pretty amazing creative team, but Vaughan’s been out of the comic book game for a while.  It will be interesting to see how his writing has changed since he’s been gone.  There have been some reports that this book has been ordered by the truck load.  Fingers crossed.

Image’s latest sellout was Peter Panzerfaust #2, so I hope you pre-ordered it.  There was plenty of buzz around this book before it premiered, and that seems to have increased going into the second issue.  I like the initial concept (Peter Pan in WWII), although the first issue felt a little light.  But I think there’s plenty of material to run with given the concept, and I have faith in writer Kurtis J. Wiebe.  He has yet to let me down.

Another high profile Image books gets its second issue this week with Thief of Thieves #2.  To be honest, the first issue didn’t really knock my socks off.  The art by Shawn Martinbrough was nice, but I didn’t really get pulled in by the story.  At the very least, it was interesting enough for me to order the second issue, but it’s rare for me to write off a book completely after just one issue, particularly given how hard it is to write first issues.  This issue will determine whether or not I stick with it.

Lots of great books out this week, and plenty which are still relatively new, which means you can get in on the ground floor.  While the industry might be struggling, the medium is bursting with creativity these days.

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