Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Wednesday Comics #1 – A Review

Wednesday Comics #1 (of 12)

Publisher DC Comics

Creators – Azzarello, Risso, Gibbons, Sook, Baker, Bullock, Heuck, Arcudi, Bermejo, Busiek, Quinones, Gaiman, Allerd, Berganza, Galloway, Pope, Palmiotti, Conner, Didio, Lopez, Nowlan, Caldwell, Kubert, Kubert, Kerschl, Fletcher, Simonson, Stelfreeze

Editor Mark Chiarello

You have to love when a plan comes together and boy did this plan hit a home run. I always give DC credit for having a willingness to try things and why they may be spectacular failures or meet critical acclaim without sales success or be the smash hit, they are willing to dare to be different.

I have found that lately I rather just share the emotional side of the experience when it comes to certain things that I’m reviewing and with Wednesday Comics so much of this was just that a great emotional experience. From the beginning to end the entire experience was a joy, so much so I bothered my wife with my joy by constantly showing her stuff in certain strips, to which she feigned a dutiful interest. After I completed the first issue and refolding it I noticed the editorial credits and saw something that made the whole project ever better and was the icing on the cake the bow on the present, it was dedicated to Archie Goodwin. Goodwin from my outsider’s perspective was always the class of the business and perhaps the best editor that comics ever had. He would have loved this project and from what I read Editor Mark Chiarello deserves a ton of credit and kudos for a job well done.

I have always had a love of comics and I have enjoyed cartoon strips and Prince Valiant in the newspapers. As a kid every Saturday I would drive down with my Dad to the newsstand while he brought two Sunday newspapers (yes Baltimore had two viable newspapers then, sort of three depending how you counted as we had a morning and an evening Sun paper and the News American). I would buy my comics (at 12 cents each) and we would come home. In addition to reading the comic books I would grab the Sunday funny pages and open it up to the various strips I enjoyed the most and then go back into reading my comics. As I grew older I read the newspaper for the news and sports and then when I was in banking the Wall Street Journal was my daily habit. Times past, things change, the internet takes over, the only viable newspaper is more of a pamphlet and then we get this gem. I come home and open it up and my childhood comes back, my joy of newsprint comes back, the fun of sitting with a full newspaper in my face, flipping pages, refolding it on itself was all back.

At the same time it is wrapped in nostalgia for me it is also totally fresh and new with a marvelous array of high quality talent that tells their stories in modern ways, yet respectful of what came before. Each strip is enjoying how they see the material and drawing from what they see are the best elements of these series represents. Every single strip was not perfect for me and if I had too classify what two missed in their opening page it would be Wonder Woman and Teen Titans, but I still enjoyed them. It was the wonder of each page that was glorious. Paul Pope’s Adam Strange was a mixture of Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, John Carter of Mars and Adam Strange and jumping into a grand adventure in one page. Hawkman by Kyle Baker was a stunning array of birds and an airplane with a stunning portrait of Hawkman dead center of the page. Flash by Kerschl and Fletcher was a return to the Silver Age as it should have been and how it never was. It had a villainess talking gorilla, running late for dates with Iris and art that was smooth and oozed speed. The hell with Flash:Rebirth give this to me as my Flash comic every month and I’ll be there all the time. Metal Men by Didio, Lopez and Nowlan was probably an intentional homage to that odd ball time when the Metal Men all were running around looking like humans. Deadman by Bullock and Heuck, squeezes in his origin and starts a murder mystery all in one single page. Sgt. Rock was full of power and emotion. Supergirl was outrageous fun with Krypto and Streaky added in. Strip after strip were all done very well, so many gems that the paper almost glittered in the reflected light of my reading lamp.

And remember digital comics anyone. Well I’m sorry, but there is a time and place for digital and there is a time and a place for print and then there are Wednesday Comics. These guys all took advantage of the wonderful full canvas they had to work on. Anything you have read online showing these strips has diminished the power and impact this format gives you and yes sometimes size does matter. That Hawkman panel by Baker would never fit anywhere else and when they collect this series it needs to be in a true oversized type format as the shrinkage will cause you to loss the impact of the pages.

Look I love this so much I’m actually keeping a copy for myself and I’m giving away copies to my two daughters and Dad (who is 89). I worry that critics and more mature fans (me) will love this but some retailers may have been scared away by the format and that the collector mentality out there will worry it will be too hard to keep a mint copy. I hate the collector of things mentality. Many of us collect to read and re-read what we love, but the “collector” just hoards to own. If there is too big of a percentage of those people out there and they are enough of the buying public it could mean the sales on this may not be good enough for a second shot of Wednesday Comics and that would be a crime against the industry. I know the outside public if they knew about this might make it a break out type of book. Think about it 15 new comics in a single package, but top tier talent and names who would not necessarily be seen on a monthly 22 page comic.

Overall grade – A +. I have loved a few new books and projects this year and this year started blah, got better and better and this is the pinnacle book for 2009. Let’s see anyone beat it. Of course it is not fair as this has 15 writers and artists.

Bravo, DC, Bravo Mark Chiarello, Bravo Dan Didio, Bravo Paul Levitz. Encore,

1 comment:

  1. I was loving it too until I got to the 5th page which was a repeat of the 1st page. I had two outer sheets, my middle section was not correct. Apparently out of all the multitude of copies that came into Cosmic yesterday, I was the LUCKY one to get this one of a kind defective copy. I may have to swing by the store on the way to the cookout to get a new copy -- I can hardly wait until next week. I wish it was a little cheaper, maybe $2.50 or $3 instead of $4. It would be worth it to have an extra copy to keep in good condition, but let everyone in the house read the other one -- the pages will likely tear too easily. Really an awesome book -- especially the Kamandi!