Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Am I just jaded? A grab bag.

So, in addition to the wonderful French graphic novel I described here, I found other stuff at that previously-unvisited-by-me comic shop, some back issues and some new. Overall, I was... underwhelmed.

I grabbed four of the Before Watchmen number ones, just to see what all the hullabaloo was about. There was hullabaloo, wasn't there? These seemed to drop off the radar pretty quickly. I guess they ran their six or four issues and got collected, but it sure didn't make a splash in my corner of the world.

Does anybody remember the 1983-season television series Casablanca that was a prequel to the classic movie? Anybody? No? Well, I felt about these books the same way I felt about that series. I worry whenever I agree with Alan Moore about anything, but I am not sure why these exist.

Tiny saving grace: Darwyn Cooke's vision of Silhouette:


So, this should have grabbed me, if anything did: a pulpy re-imagining of the JSA with some of my favorite characters, and a shot of Doc Fate with twin forty-fives on the cover - shades of The Spider!

But Society of Super-heroes did not engage me. First of all, I couldn't get the whole Multiversity thing - the comic shop guy tried to explain it to me, but either he didn't do a good job or I'm losing my capacity for Big Events, or both. Besides that, characters were introduced into the story in very off-hand ways, as if I was supposed to already know who they were, and the conflict was more of that generic crossing-dimensions-to-conquer-another-universe stuff, and I'm sorry, but those tropes are just so tired and abstract I can't connect to them anymore. Whatever happened to stories about heroes trying to save a life, or win a battle, or stop a catastrophe involving people we had learned to care about instead of millions of faceless masses that are supposed to evoke some kind of vague empathy?

Tiny saving grace: Al Pratt in mask and mufti:


Is it okay to say I didn't like this all that much? I know it's a whole new direction, and I am glad that a woman named Babs is drawing Batgirl, but maybe I just have to deal with too much hipster culture in my real life to want to visit with the hipsters in Burnside. And has Batgirl been doing that eidetic memory, they've-worn-it-out-on-Sherlock-already thing for very long? I don't remember that being part of what she did, but maybe it was an outgrowth of her Oracle days. I do love the character - a couple of years ago I bought and read all nine issues of this and thought it was wonderful. Maybe I'll wait for the first trade and give it another shot; in the meantime, a colleague was fascinated by the concept so I'll lend this issue to her.

Tiny saving grace: the abundant use of DC's traditional trademark pseudonyms: Hooq for Tinder (or Hinge), Snapgab for Snapchat, and some kind of unnamed not-Facebook. I love that stuff.


Just so this is not all downer, I did buy one thing that was cool: 

Now, he is a Thark! Nobody could do Barsoon like Murphy Anderson, and all of the DC John Carter stories (by Anderson and by others) have been collected. It's worth picking up.


  1. Just wanted to say your comments line up with mine on the few books here that I've read, and they line up with my suspicions about the books I haven't. That DC John Carter collection is tempting; my memory is all the artists did great work on it.

  2. Yeah, I just want to be thrilled. That might be too much to ask of anyone anymore.