Monday, June 3, 2013
hit the comics racks in my birth month of December 1951. The title
ran 11 issues from May 1950 to January 1953. Only three of those
issues have been indexed on the Grand Comics Database and, even on
those issues, most of the writers and artists remain unidentified.
As always, more information would be appreciated.
On a personal note, I’m getting an urge to write romance comics of
a traditional yet contemporary nature. I have three such scripts
on my long bucket list of things I want to write before I kick that
bucket. I hope to get to them later this year and then find a good
home for them.
Keep watching this bloggy thing for more vintage comic-book covers
from the month of my birth.
Good Riddance: An Illustrated Memoir of Divorce by Cynthia Copeland
[Abrams ComicArts; $17.95] is a tricky book to give or recommend to
any married person. You wouldn’t want them to think the book was
a call to action or anything other than an exceptionally well-done
work of non-fiction. On the other hand, as divorces go, Copeland
handled hers with laudable grace.
Copeland’s heartbreaking but ultimately life-affirming book begins
with her discovery of e-mails her husband and the father of their
three children sent to his lover. The betrayal is exasperated by
the cruel remarks about Copeland included in those e-mails. That
moment when Copeland realizes that her life as she knew is changed
forever is powerful and almost unbearably sad.
Copeland does not use Good Riddance to cudgel her cheating spouse.
She gives his better qualities more weight than his myriad faults.
She wants their kids to have a good relationship with their father
and she doesn’t want to treat the man she loved as her sworn enemy.
That she puts their children first isn’t surprising once the reader
gets to know her. The excitement of this book is how she seeks and
finds her own happiness.
I often say that we are all the heroes of our stories. That might
be the case with Good Riddance, but Copeland’s telling of her tale
rings true, even at its most painful. Problems arise and she deals
with them as best she can. She is as strong and admirable as any
comic-book heroine in recent memory.
So, yeah, I do very much recommend Good Riddance to you. Because
it’s a damn fine read and not for any other reason.
I get a kick out of A+X [Marvel; $3.99 per issue]. This anthology
title features two stories teaming up Avengers and X-Men. Each and
every issue opens with an amusing contents page question-and-answer
bit explaining the concept:
Q: What do you know about this comic book?
A: It’s A+X, you should take a look! Avengers and X-Men, palling
around, running into bad guys and taking them down.
Okay, maybe it’s not a difficult concept to grasp, but the title’s
intro page always makes me smile. Do you know how rarely I smile
at a modern-day super-hero comic book? Not often enough, my dears.
A+X #8 [July 2013] teams Spider-Woman with Kitty Pryde and dragon
Lockheed...and Hawkeye with Deadpool. Writer Gerry Duggan managed
to get both heroines, the dragon, the Absorbing Man, agents of both
A.I.M. and Hydra, and a delightful droll homeless subway passenger
into a ten-page story. Even with a double-page fight scene, this
story never seemed crowded or rushed. Artist Salvador Larroca did
a fine job with both the storytelling and with drawing recognizable
versions of all the above characters.
The Hawkeye and Deadpool story was written by Christopher Hastings
with art by Reilly Brown. The villain was Captain Barracuda, which
would have tickled me all by itself. Hawkeye cracked me up on the
first page of the story and the banter between him and Deadpool -
and I’ve never been much of a Deadpool fan - continued to amuse me
throughout the story. Hastings gets extra credit for using one of
Deadpool’s abilities to screw the Barracuda’s plan. I like clever
writing in comic books.
An anthology comic book with super-heroes who make me smile. Done-
in-one tales that don’t send me rushing to Wikipedia to figure out
who the characters are. A Marvel comic book that doesn’t tie into
some massive event and whose stories stand on their own. I really
like A+X and I think you will, too.
Batman: Arkham Unhinged is “based on the hit video game Batman:
Arkham City,” which, for me who does not play nor overmuch care for
video games, means the comics series started out with one strike against
it. What convinced me to give the title a chance was that someone
told me Paul Dini developed the game. Dini’s terrific stories for
animated shows and comic books alike have earned him the benefit of
the doubt with me.
In Arkham Unhinged, a chunk of Gotham City has been turned into a
sealed-off community for the incarceration and alleged treatment of
criminals and psychos...and the ongoing peril of anyone unlucky
enough to live in those neighborhoods. Hugo Strange is running the
show, the shady cops are mostly working for him and some villains
have craved out their own turfs within this Arkham City. The book
seems to be set in a universe of its own. Over at Marvel, I assume
every book is set in its own universe, so, on that score, Unhinged
is fine with me. I prefer not thinking about whatever is going on
in DC’s legion of other Batman titles.
Unhinged is written by Derek Fridolfs, though some issues/stories
are based on “screenplays” for the game. Every story is complete
unto itself, though the major issues are never resolved. Each of
the issues I’ve read thus far has been drawn by a different artist.
I enjoy the variety.
The stories are okay. The characters are darker than they are in
even DC’s oppressively dark “New 52" titles, but I just assume that
is who they are in the Arkham Unhinged universe. I do continue to
be appalled by the retooling of Killer Croc into a cannibal. It’s
the kind of thing done to characters by editors and writers lacking
imagination or skill. Lord knows there’s no shortage of those at
I have several more issues of Batman: Arkham Unhinged waiting to be
read. I plan to read them soon. If anything about them changes my
ambivalent feelings about the series, I’ll check back in with you.
Otherwise, the above review stands.
I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.
© 2013 Tony Isabella