Sunday, August 19, 2007

Spent the day reading comics. I'll tell you this -- anyone who thinks comics are 'simple' just hasn't read comics lately. Not to say that there aren't formulaic comics, just as there are formulaic novels and T.V. shows and movies, but that, if anything, there is more experimentation and exploration in comics than in just about any other form of creative arts. Maybe cause the costs of publication aren't so high, people try all kinds of new ideas and styles. Hollywood knows this, and so do the video game makers.

I started off by reading the first five issues of Joss Whedon's Buffy season eight. It's obvious he's enjoying the 'unlimited special effects budget' that comics give him. There are now 2000 Slayers, 500 Slayers in Buffy's charge. Xander is a Watcher, Willow an all powerful magic user, Dawn is a giantess who had sex with the wrong guy, uber-nerd Andrew is training all the nubile young Slayers. It's great fun, and a fix for those of us who love Whedon's Buffy, Serenity and Firefly.

After that, I read the Whedon and crew written Tales of the Vampire series.

Grant Morrison's Filth, which is either about a dirty old man who dreams he's a secret agent who cleans up others messes or a secret agent who takes vacations as a dirty old man. It is claimed that Morrison's Invisibles was the inspiration for the Matrix, and he certainly plays with reality. I kept hoping it would become clearer, but I was no wiser after the 13th issue. His ideas were strong enough to carry me through, but I wish I knew what was going on....

Read Ocean, by Warren Ellis, the kind of interesting SF that Ellis seems to be able to toss off in his sleep. Pretty good, but you know he could do even better.

First 3 issues of the Highwaymen, secret agents in the Vertigo world, old men who are activated by a message from the deceased 'President Clinton.'

"But I thought she....

"No, the other President Clinton..."


Interesting to me how often comics deal with the issue of age. This along with Welcome to Tranquility directly confronts the idea of aging superheroes or secret agents. Fun stuff, but not outrageously original.

Read the fourth Desperato's story, a mix of Western and Supernatural, which is a bit awkward, but I do like reading westerns for a change.

The big find for me -- a really great read -- was the first 12 issues of DMZ, by Brian Wood. I have read Local by Brian Wood, which I enjoyed. He is just my side of being able to read the Generation Z or whatever he is without being precious about it. I have to admit, some of the indy darlings are just too -- youthy, if I can coin a word Colbert-like.

It's about a young journalist intern who is inserted in a war-zone, which happens to be Manhatten island. There is a civil war between the "Free States," and the U.S.A. which has bogged down into an uneasy truce in N.Y. No one knows what's happening inside the DMZ. The entire crew that he is sent in with (as an afterthought) is wiped out, but he is taken under the wing of a young girl and becomes "The Journalist", the only one who is left alone to see what's happening. There aren't any really political sides taken (well, the U.S. government and big media comes off looking pretty bad.) It's really more about how people continue to live their lives, even in the midst of war.

Anyway, I'm really impressed, as I always am when I actually get down to reading comics. I come home tired, I pick up a book. When I have enough energy, I read comics.

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