Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Waiting for Wednesday, Volume 2, Issue 18

So much to write about, so little time in which to do it. I mean, sure, if you really look at it, I have plenty of time in theory to sit here and type. But in reality (a place I've only visited in my lifetime, never settled down there), I really need to not be doing something on a computer.

Sleeping would be a good idea, as a fer instance. Or just staring blankly at a wall or two might work, as well.

But there's plenty of comics news out there, and not to mention a pile of great, new books that are all ready to ship to our favorite shops today. So I guess I'll put on my Hero Hat (and, yes, I actually have one), fight through, and whip up an awe-inspiring edition of Waiting for Wednesday.

I'd like to start with a very serious, general topic--death. Now I'd like to move on to a much more specific and much less important topic--death in comics.

Last week, there was a pretty big death in a pretty big book from one of the industry's major players. You all know how I hate spoilers, so I won't mention names here, but I will say that I read the issue and I watched the character die.

There's been plenty of hoopla online about the incident, so if you really wanna find out who it was that went to that big spandex-filled graveyard in the sky, just check out any of the comics news sites/fan sites/angry ranting fanboy homepages on YouTube.

You'll find plenty of spoilers at any one of those places.

Here, however, while I won’t delve into specifics on this most recent example of a comics character biting the big one, I will talk a bit about death in comics. You know, as an overview. If you have zero interest in the topic and you just want to see what books are shipping today, please feel free to skip down a few (read: way too many, self-important) paragraphs.

Otherwise, hang on for the ride. Because it promises to be rocky and barely coherent.

Now, we’ve all heard the mantras before--from publishers, from writers, from fans. That great spectrum that ranges from “Death in comics is meaningless--they’ll be back in a couple of years” to “Dead is dead.”

Kinda runs the gamut, but hey, that’s comics, right?

I tend to believe that, while they are on complete opposite ends of things, both (often quoted) statements are absolutely true. Because sometimes, death in comics is meaningless. Like when pretty much any DC character who's spent some time sleeping with the fishes shows up in Brightest Day. Or like when Bruce Wayne ends up in a cave.

And then there’s “dead is dead,” Joe Quesada’s famous line about Marvel's continuity and the finality of dirt naps in the funny books. Marvel has always been the standard-bearer when it comes to meaningful, lasting deaths (what a weird sentence to write) in comics. Just look at the list--Bucky, Gwen Stacy, Captain Amer--hey, wait.

Dead isn’t really dead at all, is it?

So, yeah, OK. A beloved character died last week (violently, I might add!) and a whole bunch of fans were upset. I can't say that I blame them. I wasn't too happy when Bruce Wayne "died" a little while back. But I knew he'd come back. Same with Captain America. And Superman, and Green Arrow, and Green Lantern, and Ms. Marvel.

All dead as dead can be when their special, double-sized issue with six variant covers came out--burnt to a crisp by Darkseid, shot through the heart on the steps of the Capital, pummeled by Doomsday, blown up while saving the Justice League.

Dead, dead, dead.

Until they stopped being dead. So, to all you fans of the most recently killed off comics character, don't worry. He (or she!) will be back some day.

And now (finally and blessedly) on to this week's new books. For those of you who stayed with that whole mess up there, uh. Thanks for reading? And sorry.

First up, we have a book whose title pretty much sums up the way I feel on most days. From Dark Horse, we get Mike Mignola’s latest, Hellboy in Mexico (Or, a Drunken Blur). Being that I'm a big fan of Hellboy and I laughed out loud at that title the first time I read it, there's really no chance that I won't be picking this up.
Double negatives aside, I'm looking forward to this book--anything Hellboy is right up my alley, and the solicitation information from Dark Horse has me excited about this one-shot.

Here's the blurb from the publisher:

During the 1950s, Hellboy caravans across Mexico with a trio of vampire-killing luchadores, finding the undead; evil turkeys; a terrible bat god; and a little too much tequila.

Reuniting Mike Mignola and Richard Corben, the creative team behind the Eisner Award-winning miniseries Hellboy: The Crooked Man!

* Arriving just in time for Cinco de Mayo this issue features a variant cover, in Spanish, by Mike Mignola.

A-yep. I'll be buying this today.
Next up, we have a special one-dollar comic. Uh-huh, I said one dollar. Comic. From Vertigo, IZombie, issue one, ships today and promises to be one of the month's most interesting, bizarre, and flat-out good comics.

Here's the (long-winded) solicitation information from Vertigo:

Gwen Dylan is a gravedigger in an eco-friendly cemetery…and a zombie detective. Once a month, she has to eat a human brain – both to keep from going all "Night of the Living Dead," and to keep her own memories intact. As a result, Gwen's mind is crowded with the dead person's thoughts.

And lately, she feels compelled to fulfill their final requests. Torn between a mysterious mummy and a dashing young monster-hunter, Gwen is set for adventures beyond imagination! A were-terrier, a swinging '60s ghost and a pack of paintball blasting vampires complete the cast of I, ZOMBIE.

Written by World Fantasy Award finalist Chris Roberson (CINDERELLA: FROM FABLETOWN WITH LOVE) with art by Eisner Award-winning superstar artist Michael Allred (X-Statix, Madman), I, ZOMBIE is a monster of a tale with razor-sharp prose and powerful pop artistry.

Don't miss this special debut issue launching Vertigo's next monster hit, priced at just $1.00!

I've read some early, positive buzz about this book, and I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that this book is going to be one of those special, critically-acclaimed, and impossible-to-find issues in a few months. So if that description has you on the fence, just be sure to check out the fantastic Allred art, and hey, it's a buck!

Give it a shot!

And finally today, we have a book that I have been waiting on for...well, I don't even know how long at this point. The Walking Dead, by Robert Kirkman, is the only book that I read exclusively in trade. Well, wait, that's not technically true. I only read the book in hardcover. So far, there have been four hardcover volumes, each priced at $35 and including 12 issues from the ongoing zombie series.
I was seriously late to the WD party, and so I didn't actually start reading the collections until the first four volumes were out in the stores. I bought volume one, finished it in one sitting, and ran out to buy the next three volumes. Kirkman's zombie epic is cerebral, heartbreaking, and scary as all get out.

Here's the (short and sweet) blurb from Image Comics:

This hardcover features another 12 issues of the hit series along with the covers for the issues all in one oversized hardcover volume. Perfect for long time fans, new readers, and anyone interested in reading a zombie movie on paper that never ends.

If you like zombies, or horror stories in general, Walking Dead is must-read. Very few comics are frightening--horror is incredibly difficult to do in the funny books--but WD will have you cringing when you turn the pages, much like audience members cover their eyes in the theater.

Obviously, start with the first trade--all the stories are also collected in cheaper trade paperbacks, so trying out issues one through six will run you around $12. But do give it a shot. I promise, it's well worth your time and money.

And that's my dealie for today, everyone. Before I go, though--what are you Waiting for?

1 comment:

Scott said...

Considering what happened after this particular character died, I found myself thinking that it wasn't going to last for long. My first thought was actually something along the lines of "I hope this isn't Douglock all over again."