Daniel's Comic Book Column #9 July 2002

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by Daniel P. Dern (ddern@world.std.com)

KEEPING ABREAST OF COMIC NEWS

Allegedly, the third, final issue of THE DARK KNIGHT STRIKES AGAIN will be out July 31. We shall see. I don't mind waiting -- I remember waiting what seems like longer for one or two issues the first time around, ditto some issues of WATCHMEN. And we won't even mention the delays for some issues of MIRACLEMAN. (Would that we had those to wait for again!)

Meanwhile, one of the trailers tacked in front of MINORITY REPORT was for DAREDEVIL. It was more a teaser than a trailer -- brief, no dialog. It looked pretty good.
 

Recommended title this month:

Fables
(DC/Vertigo, $2.50) a five-issue miniseries by Bill Willingham; art by Lan Medina and Steve Leialoha.

Fairy tale characters in our world. Rose Red is dead and  private eye Bigby Wolf is on the case.

Issue #3 on sale July 17; probably you want to try and find issues 1 and 2 first, or wait and get them when they are (I presume) trade-paper-collected.

 

BOOKS on COMICS (WORDS AND NO PICTURES:

There are two interesting comic-related autobiographies out:

Excelsior! The Amazing Life of Stan Lee, by Stan Lee and George Mair
and Man of Two Worlds: My Life in Science Fiction and Comics by Julius Schwartz, Brian M. Thomsen

Stan Lee is, of course, the original driving force behind Marvel Comics, instrumental in the creation of the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, The Hulk, Daredevil, Iron Man, etc. Julius ("Julie") Schwartz did a lot at DC Comics (and also in science fiction -- hence the "two worlds").

How much of these books is historical revisionism (i.e., taking too much credit or assigning too much blame) is a question I'm not equipped to answer. But both books make for fun, easy (fast) summer reading.

Click to see next pageFor somewhat more intensive comic-related fiction, I heartily recommend The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay: A Novel by Michael Chabon. This is fiction -- but clearly (and admittedly) is based on, in part, the lives of comic greats like Jack Kirby, Will Eisner, Jim Sterenko, and others.  Chabon did serious primary research, and obviously is a major comic fan. This is a long book (not that that's bad), and/but worth the effort.

REPRINT/COLLECTION OF THE MONTH:

I've got a few this time around.

First, a reminder about the Animal Man trade reprint: ANIMAL MAN: ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES, from DC, reprints issues #10-17, plus the 19-page story from SECRET ORIGINS #39. Watch Grant Morrison wreak hob and havoc with comic book cosmology.

Next, a long-overdue treat for Legion of Super-Heroes (LSH) fans -- a trade re-issue of the Great Darkness Saga, in mid-August. Yay!

If you ask Legion of Super Hero fans to name their favorite "story arc," odds are -- if they've been reading LSH long enough --  it'll be the  Great Darkness Saga -- which appeared/ran in LSH Annual #1, V.2 #290-294, and LSH Annual #2. It's "classic Legion"  (before things went wonky, with the vat Legion, the destruction of Earth blah blah blah).

If you missed it, here's your chance.

Tom Galloway noted in rec.arts.comics.dc.lsh "Good news is that this time it's only $14.95. Bad news is that it won't contain the Giffen 'Every single character to get significant screen time in the Legion to date' poster this time."

The G.D. Saga was written by Paul Levitz, the artists were Keith Giffen, Curt Swan,
Pat Broderick, Larry Mahlstedt, and Romeo Tanghal.

If you're curious about the Legion's current incarnation -- which I'm growing at least lukewarm about, the latest issue with the powerful baby is certainly a hoot, especially the opening sequence, you can begin getting up to speed by grabbing Legion #1 online for FREE (as long as you've got Flash installed).

And if my ongoing praise for Grant Morrison's work on New X-Men intrigued you, but not in time to get the issues, Marvel's collecting the most recent story arc -- New X-Men 114-126 -- at the end of October. 432 pages, full color, hardcover. $30, so not cheap tho -- you might want to check out the "E Is For Extinction" trade paperback of just the first several issues, $12.95 list and on sale for less on Amazon when I just checked.

DANIEL'S "ONLY ONE COMIC A WEEK" SHORT LIST:

No changes to my "one comic a week" list -- Justice Society of America (DC), Amazing Spider-Man (Marvel), New X-Men (Marvel), Hawkman (DC), but since July's
got five Wednesdays ("ship days"), I'll add one -- Fantastic Four (Marvel).

Until next month!

Daniel P. Dern is a free-lance technology writer. He was previously Executive Editor of Byte.com. He can be reached at:  ddern@world.std.com /(www.dern.com)

2002 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu                                                                                   sa072302