I've really gotten into comics again since my daughter was born; I can easily fit a few issues or maybe a trade paperback into one of her naps. And there's not the same level of commitment necessary with comics that there is for Serious Literature--you can generally get a sense of whether or not something's going to suck within an issue or two, rather than having to slog miserably through someone's thick prose while you wait for it to get good. I find that I've lost such track of what's on bookstore shelves that I don't want to take the same kinds of risks with books (expensive! time consuming! with misleading marketing!) that I can take with comics.
To give myself an excuse to blog more often, I'm going to start sharing some quick notes, on a weekly basis, about anything noteworthy or interesting that I've picked up. Here are my highlights from last week...
The Weird World of Jack Staff: #2
Issue two takes us deeper into the mystery of Jack Staff (Britain's greatest hero), his history, and apparent amnesia. The art's breezy and fun, and with a revolving cast of novel and cleverly-named superheroes, I'm getting a bit of a Venture Brothers vibe, though with less acidity than VB. I'm really looking forward to more.
King City: #7
One of the weirdest but best things I've read, King City seems like what would happen if Möbius and Phil Foglio made Transmetropolitan. Joe uses his skills as a cat master (with the right injections, a cat can put Batman's utility belt to shame) to pull off bizarre heists in a run-down cyberpunk metropolis. It's cheeky, though with heart, and full of fabulous little details that have me scouring every panel for hidden jokes.
Electric Ant: #1
In this adaptation of the Philip K. Dick story, Garson Poole has a great life until he discovers that he's artificial. Thus begins the inevitable slide into trademark paranoia and unease as Garson seeks his true function and the identity of his owner/creator. If you like Blade Runner or any of Dick's other stories about identity, this is worth picking up.
In my opinion, the first issue of Turf is the big winner this week. I saved it for last (a cherished spot in the weekly comics reading order) and was well-rewarded by the choice. It's 1929. Powerful mobs rule New York, while corrupt police help keep the system in place. A noir tough guy and a scrappy young reporter are about to be caught up in a major power struggle as a family of eastern European immigrants makes a play against a mafia don. It could be a typical crime novel... except that the immigrant gang are vampires. And a spaceship crashes.
Okay, so the concept may be a little goofy, but the art and writing take it so seriously that what might have been a campy misfire is instead a mature, gritty thriller. I can't wait for more!