WEDNESDAY COMICS #1 – A Shrine, A Tactile Piece of Heaven

WEDNESDAY COMICS #1 (DC Comics – Various All Stars, see below)

WEDNESDAY COMICS is unique in modern comics history: Reinventing the classic weekly newspaper comics section, it is a 16-page weekly that unfolds to a sprawling 28″ x 20″ tabloid-sized reading experience bursting with mind-blowing color, action and excitement, with each feature on its own 14″ x 20″ page.

Here are our heroes how we’d like find them.

In an absolutely beautiful format, an absolute graphic shrine, where our heroes deserve to be.

Stories unencumbered by idiotic mega-plots that wreak havoc with continuity and character which plague the market today.  These are simple, little ditties, very focused, very distilled, not convoluted by years of death and rebirth, schizophrenic personality shifts, or weighed down by years of bad ideas.

They could have done a half-assed, cheapo job on the production, but they didn’t, again pulling out all the stops apparently.  The color on these strips is pop off the page gorgeous. The paper, though newsprintish is durable, and the ink doesn’t smudge.  Good god its a tactile heaven!  The production quality of this book or whatever we want to call it, is so high that I would advocate a return to using newsprint for the interior of comic books instead of the shiny crap we got now.  And I’ll tell ya what, if it means keeping the price of books lower, or even a drop in the price of the book, I say DO IT!  Save the snooty, shiny paper as added incentive to buy  trades and absolutes, and compendiums, and other fancy schmancy books that’ll do your laundry for you too.

Bring back newsprint for my regular comic book pages!

Oh, yeah, there’s some stories and art in here that I should talk about too, huh?  This project could have hit the crapper quick, if they had gotten Mr. Average Blah writer or artist to do the work,  BUT that is NOT what happened.  This book is comprised of some of the best talent this industry has ever seen, not all of it, but most of it, and it is more than enough to anchor this book. (and its oh so nice to hold…)

Most of the writer’s and artists have obviously done their research and try to emulate,   the full page newspaper medium,  with layout, color palettes, story lines, and camp, and they do a great job paying homage to the medium.  They’ve done a good job lifting the little plot twist, cliff hanger tricks that made the strips work so well.  I’m interested just about in where everyone of these stories are going.  Some artists, clearly tried to move beyond the medium or didn’t really care much about emulating the medium and those were by far the weaker pieces.

So here we go, take a deep breath as we advance into the inner sanctum:

BATMAN,  written by Brian Azzarello, art by Eduardo Risso
The absolute perfect cliffhanger, truly worthy of BATMAN, emotive and tense art by Risso, Colors fantastic,  Perfect.

• ADAM STRANGE, by writer/artist Paul Pope
Odd combination Pope and Adam Strange, absolute perfect choice, the quirkiness, the campy machismo, the sense of motion, the colors.  Perfect.

METAMORPHO, written by Neil Gaiman, art by  Michael Allred
A direction I love to see Rex go in a regular book.  Again, not a combination you’d expect Gaiman / Allred, but that is what makes this project fun.  And it works great.  Gaiman’s story a bit clumsy,  not Allred’s 100% best, but overall just about perfect.  Allred (hopefully) does some awesome foreshadowing with his art.  That Java will be trouble!

• THE DEMON AND CATWOMAN, written by Walter Simonson  Art by  Brian Stelfreeze
I love Brian Stelfreeze, this is not his tightest work, especially compared to ‘Gun Candy’.  Nor is Simonson’s story particularly inventive.  But both are competent and strive to pay homage to the original Media.  Still good work.

DEADMAN, written by Dave Bullock and Vinton Heuck, Art by Dave Bullock
I like the art style, still it feels more like a comic book splash page than a newspaper stripe.  Story content and some of the art may be a bit unnecessarily graphic for the medium.  Fine, not particularly engaging.

KAMANDI, written by Dave Gibbons , Art by Ryan Sook
Holy Cow, a full page homage to Hal Foster, right down to the colors.  Story is good, Ryan Sooks art is awesome.  One of the jewels of the project.  Perfect.

• SUPERMAN, written by John Arcudi , Art by Lee Bermejo
Another Jewel.  Well, succinctly written, gorgeous colors, captivating cliff hanger. Emotional punch which kind of suits Superman. Just about Perfect.

• WONDER WOMAN, written and illustrated by Ben Caldwell
If I were DC I’d be pissed.  Flagship character in a flagship book, and Cadwell comes and treats it like crap.  Unreadable story, I mean literally, I don’t even know if the story is any good, I couldn’t read it. Too much going on, too busy, like 4 comic book pages crammed into one.  Boo hiss.  But here’s the kicker, newspaper strips were a pen and ink medium.  Caldwell didn’t even bother to ink his art, its scratchy, sketchy and in places illegible.  This piece goes against everything the project was trying to attempt.  Complete crap.  Wonder Woman should have been the second or third right page in the book but she finds herself conveniently buried deep within.

• GREEN LANTERN, written by Kurt Busiek ,  Art by Joe Quiñones
Very pleasant surprise.  Kurt Busiek we know is a great writer, he shows it here, keeps the story tight, simple and focused.  Quinones’ art is spectacular and captures small telling details well.  Just about Perfect.

• TEEN TITANS, written by Eddie Berganza, Art by Sean Galloway
This would be one of those that breaks the medium, shatters the panel actually, but while the art is nice it isn’t really engaging, more like a bunch of pin ups than a story.  Also, I don’t like the fact that the story is narrated by the villain, could of come up with something better.  Should be titled “Trident” not “Teen Titans”, and he’s not very interesting or original.  Sort of overall eh.

• SUPERGIRL, written by Jimmy Palmiotti, Art by Amanda Conner
Sufficient. There can be no complaining about Palmiotti’s writing or Conner’s art, but there’s nothing super special here.  Fun to read, could have been better.  It does do a good job of  keeping the story tight and focused.  The colors may be the strongest part.

• HAWKMAN, written and illustrated by Kyle Baker
Holy crap!  And absolute brilliant balance of blacks and whites, absolutely heart stopping stunning.  Effective colors, maybe a bit overwrought in the last two panels.  The story, in an effort to come up with a unique point of view, is actually too wordy and distracting from the actual story.  Artwise, for this issue, this was the most stunning for me.

• SGT. ROCK, written by Adam Kubert, artist Joe Kubert
If you want to know why Joe Kubert is the icon he is, all you need to do is look at this page!  Every detail is perfect and unwasted.  Storytelling at its best.  His son’s story is likewise spare and focused, just enough information, not too much not too little (I like this porridge).  Perfect.  My second favorite piece, artwise and storywise.

• THE FLASH, written by Karl Kerschl and Brenden Fletcher, art by Karl Kerschl
This one was a nice surprise in it’s cleverness, using 2 strips and 2 separate strip genres to tell the story.  Absolutely captured the ‘Mary Worth’ type romantic drama strip.  Loved the zipatone colors and the attention to details.  Nearly perfect.  Nice surprise.

• METAL MEN, written by Dan DiDio, Art by Ian Churchill
Not a Didio fan.  Could do without his meaty little fingers in the DC cookie jar.  And while this story is sort of clunky and contrived, I actually like it.  It does a good job capturing mid-seventies super-hero newspaper strips.  Garcia-Lopez shows why he is consummate master and Kevin Nowlan manages to ‘dekevinnowlanize’ his inking style to give it just the right ‘look’ for the piece.  Good foreshadowing with the art also, just you wait and see.  Not quite perfect, but really quite good.

I’m so happy its Wednesday again!

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Updated: November 2, 2010 — 11:04 am

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